14th Annual Conference Registration Open


Early-bird registration is open and keynote speakers have been announced for the 2019 IABC Heritage Region Communication Conference. With the theme "Drive the Future," a slate of top-notch marketing and communication keynoters and breakout speakers will share their insights and interact with communication professionals in the Motor City. This year's Communication Conference takes place Sept. 22-24 at the Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit, Michigan

“Our ‘Drive the Future’ conference packs the most compelling communication speakers, case studies, best practices and interactive sessions into a dynamic two-and-a-half-day program,” said Nancy Sarpolis, co-chair, 2019 Heritage Region conference. “We’re focusing on strategies communicators need to know now to be successful in the future.”

Keynote speakers announced today include: 

  • Aaron Foley, chief storyteller, City of Detroit – “Seeing Detroit as Detroiters See It”
  • Alison Davis, founder and CEO, Davis & Company – “Becoming a Superstar Communicator”
  • Andy Hetzel, vice president of Corporate Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan – “Managing Your Brand Reputation in a Fragmented, Omnichannel Media World”
  • Paula Silver, vice president of Communications, DTE Energy – “Engaging Employees and Stakeholders During Fundamental Company and Industry Transitions”
  • Brad Heureux, Founder and CEO, Zing Media Group -- "Consumers in Control: The New Reality for Marketing and Communications"

A full list of conference sessions and speakers will be announced in May and posted on the conference website. The Heritage Region conference draws nearly 200 communicators annually from throughout the Northeastern, Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic United States, as well as Canada. 

“Whether you are a senior communicator or new to the industry, you’ll learn value-added skills from national and regional professional communication leaders on a wide range of topics, including employee communication, skills development, strategy, and the latest in technology,” said Debra Salem, co-chair, 2019 Heritage Region conference.

Conference participants will:

  • Learn from the best and improve communication knowledge and skills during nearly 30 professional development sessions, including keynote, breakout and extended sessions
  • Celebrate successes at the Silver Quill Awards luncheon
  • Make new friends and expand networks to include colleagues in the Heritage Region’s 17 states
  • Savor the sights, sounds, and tastes of the nation’s top rising urban hot spot, at the popular Dine-Around event
  • Enjoy a first-rate conference at the AAA Four Diamond Greektown Casino Hotel in the heart of the Greektown district
  • Save money, by paying just a fraction of the cost of other top conferences

Early-bird full conference registration is $699 for members and $799 for non-members for payments made by July 30, 2019. Registration after July 30 is $799 for members and $899 for non-members. Student rates, as well as one-day and keynote only rates, are also available. Dine-around event is optional with participants paying separately. To be eligible for special conference hotel room pricing, reservations must be made using this link.

The AAA Four Diamond Greektown Casino-Hotel is situated in the heart of the bustling Greektown District and within walking distance of great restaurants, nightlife, sports arenas and live entertainment. Detroit was named one of the “10 Coolest U.S. Cities to Visit in 2018” by Forbes magazine.

IABC Detroit and the Heritage Region thank the following event sponsors for their generous support: Davis & Company, DTE Energy, Barton Malow, Oakland Community College, Igloo Software and Linx Consulting LLC. Conference sponsorship packages are also available. Contact Pat Frey, ABC, at or Deb Salem at for more information on sponsorships.

"Drive the Future" Sept. 22 - 24

Eager to share your professional insight? Learn from communication experts? Meet people from across our 17-state region? It's time to mark your calendar to attend this year's IABC Heritage Region "Drive the Future" conference in Detroit, MI. The image below will take you to more details, including registration and sponsorship information.

2018 Regional Conference Photos

Business communication professionals from across our region, ranging from the Midwest to the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states and portions of the South, enjoyed exceptional sessions and great networking in November at the IABC Heritage Region Conference in Richmond, Virginia.

2017 Regional Conference Photos

2016 Conference Photos

Nearly 160 business communication professionals from across the Heritage Region and beyond enjoyed outstanding sessions and networking Oct. 9 - 11, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio.

Demonstrating Your Expertise

 Are you ready to take your career to the next level?

gccc%20LOGO.pngProfessional certification through the Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC) gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise—and provide evidence of your outstanding abilities.

You can view a quick video with testimonials on the benefits of certification here.

The Communication Management Professional (CMP) and Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP) certification exams will be offered at the IABC Heritage Region Conference in Detroit from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, before the start of the 2019 Heritage Region Conference

(The exam dates page on the GCCC website includes exam dates for other locations. Check back often for new dates.)

You must apply for the CMP or SCMP path at least two weeks before the exam date and then, once you’ve been accepted, register for the exam at least one week prior to the test date.

And don't forget, IABC members save 75% on their GCCC application fee compared to the non-member fee. That's a savings of US$300. And the IABC Foundation is now awarding scholarships for certification to members through the Gift of Excellence program—more here: The program is designed to support prospective certification candidates who demonstrate a financial need. The foundation is accepting applications until December 10, 2019. 

Getting ready to take the CMP or SCMP exam:

Step 1: Choose the certification path that’s right for you and apply at least two weeks before the date you’d like to take the exam. 

 Step: 2: Once your CMP or SCMP application is accepted, register for the exam at least one week prior to the test date. 

 Step 3: Prepare for the exam by visiting the GCCC study resources page and/or through the CMP refresher course or SCMP refresher course available from the IABC Academy. 

 Step 4: Take your exam. 

Please email with any questions about certification. Or contact Pat Frey, the Heritage Region Certification Chair at


cropped-IABC-HR-RLI2018.jpgChapter and region leaders, as well as members-at-large interested in volunteer leadership, attended the face-to-face IABC Regional Leadership Institute on November 11, 2018.

Participants heard updates and enjoyed interacting with IABC leadership, Heritage Region board members (including chapter liaisons) and leaders from other chapters. Attendees enjoyed:

  • Renewing relationships in a collaborative, friendly environment
  • Celebrating successful results and brainstorm ideas
  • Leveraging regional support 
  • Focusing on best practice strategies and tactics
  • Gaining tangible takeaways to support chapter success 


Find details on the program and region financial support here. The Heritage Region will offer a similar program in 2019.



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2019 Conference Planners

Questions about the conference? Or interested in volunteering? Contact Nancy Sarpolis at or Deb Salem at

Conference Co-Chairs
Deb Salem and Nancy Sarpolis

Region Board Conference Liaison
Pat Frey, ABC

Marketing Chair
Ted Coutilish

Sponsorship Leads
Deb Salem and Pat Frey

Speaker Chair
Joy Lovejoy

Welcome Chairs
Sydney Lepora and Heather Guenther

Dine-Around Chair
Andrea Kenski

Finance and Logistics
Amy Miller and Nancy Skidmore

Volunteer Coordination
Ryan Bowers

Consulting Leader 
Gary Spondike

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