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IABC Northeast Ohio

A Group for Professional Business Communicators


Getting this Profession to Greatness - IABC Cleveland's Role

A brief interview with Maya Angelou was recently published in Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) Experience feature. For me, it was a real treat because of Ms. Angelou’s deep care with words and how her undeniable spirit comes through.

I met Ms. Angelou when I was a high-school student. She spoke at a New York State Commission meeting that my English class attended when we were reading her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Her talk was powerful, but it was her presence that was – and I’m sure still is at 85 years-old – amazing. As we waited outside for our bus to take us back to school, she was waiting for her transportation near the building entrance. She saw us – a group of about 15 girls – and approached. I’ll never forget how she took the time to walk across a parking lot in late winter to shake our hands and bid us “farewell” as our bus pulled up.

The HBR article ends with the question, “As someone who’s known Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Bill Clinton and Barak Obama, what do you think makes a leader great?” Her answer was: A leader sees greatness in other people. You can’t be much of a leader if all you see is yourself.

That statement struck me because it seems like an original and truthful observation about leadership. It also made me think about our discipline of communications. To me, there is clearly greatness in our profession, but it seems to struggle to get there.

I think maybe the way to get there is to stop trying to “position” our profession and ourselves. We need to get to the truth of the value we bring and then work on ourselves. To stop criticizing so much of what we see because it’s done to us daily. To engage in discussion on any topic, even if just to ask questions. To ensure we are learning every day – about writing, business, technology, science, art, and everything else that informs us.

I firmly believe that through IABC Cleveland, we add to our communications community by creating an environment for learning and meeting others who are in our profession. IABC embraces the diversity of our profession. We have always realized that communicators need to know about all aspects of our profession because we seldom remain in the same focus throughout our careers.

For these reasons and others, think about coming to our May seminar on blogging.

And if you’ve never read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, you should. Angelou’s story is powerful and written with such care and passion for words. I know you’ll enjoy it.

Betsy DuWaldt, IABC Cleveland chapter president


So many groups, so little time: IABC Cleveland's value to members and the communications community in general

Build Your Skills. Meet Other Professionals. Volunteer.

People often ask me what IABC is all about. The way I describe it is that IABC addresses communications broadly, avoiding a focus in one area. I believe this probably is because communication tasks within organizations don't (or at least, shouldn't) exist in a vacuum. IABC Cleveland has members from many of the largest companies in Northeast Ohio, and hold a wide variety of positions, many of them at the senior level.  

One of the goals of IABC is to help develop and refine communicators' proficiencies. Members of IABC automatically gain access to a large number of tools and resources, including:

  • Attending educational monthly programs -- either in the Cleveland area or via IABC Webinars
  • Networking with other members (13,000+ worldwide)
  • Engaging on a committee or as a Board member to provide service to other communcators
  • Volunteering to serve as a competition judge (a great way to see what members from other chapters are producing)
  • Sharing expertise and experiences at a luncheon or serving as a panelist
  • Participating in district and international activities
  • Taking advantage of career aids, world-class publications, and other resources available from International, such as Communication World magazine. Learn more.

Over the past 7 months, IABC Cleveland has offered superb programming, with experts speaking on topics that matter:

  • Content Marketing expert and evangelist, Joe Pulizzi provided an introduction to the important topic of content marketing
  • Panel of social media, internal, and external communicators Stoney deGeyter, Lynn Wheatcraft, and Jason Saragian who shared experiences and thoughts on strategic communications planning
  • Sales training expert Marvin Montgomery addressed how to tell your ideas and yourself as a trusted advisor
  • Crisis communications guru Bruce Hennes spoke about crisis communications and issues management
  • 3-hour workshop on integrating content for search engines and social media with Jen Carroll and Stoney deGeyter
  • Cuyahoga County United Way agencies brought their significant communications challenges to a series of meetings wiht volunteer members and non-members, who offered their time and suggestions.  

Keep an eye out for future programs and join us!

-- Betsy DuWaldt, IABC Cleveland President

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