IABC’s Florida Conference Shines
I’ve been attending IABC ‘s Leadership Institute (LI) this week in Florida. And I’ve been struck by how different this year’s offerings are from last year’s. Speakers weren’t given multi-media equipment, breakfast options seemed more limited and the sponsorship booths and tables were scarce. I guess the global economic free fall is impacting everywhere; IABC isn’t excluded.
But what LI lacked in flair was made up for in the content of the presentations and the passion and commitment that IABC leaders clearly have . The hallways and conference rooms were brimming with business communicators, people less interested in conference niceties and more focused on tapping into a network of global communicators who have a common vision for the profession. That’s powerful.
I ran into more interesting people per square inch than anywhere I’ve ever been. For instance, I had a 2 hour conversation with an IABCer from Shanghai. Natalie Lowe is about to launch China’s first Chapter. This is a big deal for IABC because the impact on its membership can be astronomical. Still, Natalie recognises the challenges: how to overcome stereotypes ( Chinese females are not aggressive), her youth (she’s 31 year old female manager in a country dominated by 50 something year old male managers ) and her outsider status with her non Mandarin Chinese name and her outback Australian twang.
I also spent some time talking to Audraine Jackson, a marketer from Atlanta who designs political communications strategies. Audriane just won a fellow under the auspices of the Public Broadcasting Service to study New Media. She had many fascinating stories from the campaign trail as well as tales from her former marriage to a Trinidadian.
The bald headed Max Brown was a wonderful presenter, his opening session on how to lead with purpose had us reflecting on the meaning of living a life well-defined and about the obstacles that prevent us from getting there.
IABC’s Leadership Institiute 2009 is a winner because it delivers on its promise to provide content, credibility and connections for communicators to excel.