"Drive the Future" Regional Conference


Registration has just closed 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”
  • David Pitre, president, 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"

Additional speakers include:

  • "Communications Under Pressure; Are You Ready for the Next Crisis?," an interactive role playing session using real-life scenarios with Andrew Gilman, President & CEO, CommCore Consulting Group

  • "Think Like Ink: Using Visual Notetaking to Engage Your Audience" with Ink Factory Co-Founders Dusty Folwarczny and Lindsay Wilson

  • "Advancing Inclusion and Diversity in Today's Workplace" with Rebecca Duff-Campbell, senior director of Talent & Rewards, Willis Towers Watson, and Karolyn Karl, director of Talent & Rewards, Willis Towers Watson

  • "Where Does Podcasting Fit In Your Media Mix?" with Tracy Imm, founder & CEO, Tracy Imm Worldwide LLC

  • "Ensuring that Transformation Isn't A Crisis" with Courtney Boone, vice president of Global Communications, Westinghouse Electric Company
And that's just a start! For the full list of 30+ conference speakers on topics from marketing and social media to employee communication, public relations, crisis communication and more, visit the conference website. The official hashtag for the conference is #IABCHeritage19.

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

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 sponsors: Davis & Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Toyota, DTE Energy, Internal Comms Pro, Cerkl, Franco, Barton Malow, Oakland Community College, Dragonfly Editorial, Business Wire, Willis Towers Watson, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, Igloo Software, Ink Factory, Linx Consulting, LLC, and The Somerset Collection

"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.

Regional Leadership Institute

The 2019 Heritage Region Leadership Institute (RLI) takes place just before the 2019 Heritage Region Conference at the same location, Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit, MI. Chapter leaders, region leaders and members-at-large from across the region will be attending the valuable training and idea-sharing session.

Noon – 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (A working lunch at noon is planned, covered by a small registration fee)

Greektown Casino‐Hotel. 1200 St. Antoine Street, Detroit MI 48226 (Salon B. 5th Floor)

Chapter financial support:

The region is also providing your chapter a $500 stipend to help offset travel and lodging costs. The registration fee is just $20. Chapters can apply to have Regional Leadership Institute expenses such as travel, accommodations and the $20 fee reimbursed via the $500 per chapter stipend from the Heritage Region. Each chapter can use the stipend for one leader or split it among several.

What You Will Gain:

RLI is designed for Heritage Region chapter leaders and emerging leaders, as well as Heritage Region members-at-large who are interested in IABC leadership opportunities. You will hear helpful IABC updates and enjoy the opportunity to interact with IABC leadership, Heritage Region board members (including chapter liaisons) and leaders from other chapters.

RLI Goals 

  • Celebrate success in IABC chapter leadership while looking ahead to chart the future course

  • Recalibrate to fuel best practice strategies and tactics across volunteer and member engagement, professional development, IABC global alignment and more

  • Cultivate connection among chapter and region leaders in a collaborative, friendly environment #WeLeadIABC

Looking back at last year's RLI:

Here's a photo of many chapter leaders and members-at-large who attended last year's face-to-face IABC Regional Leadership Institute on November 11, 2018.

cropped-IABC-HR-RLI2018.jpg 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 

Sign Up Now: Certification Opportunity

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

gccc%20LOGO.pngThe 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

Professional 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 and go to recent certification webinar info here.

(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



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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

Regional Leadership Institute
Rhonda Sciarra

Conference Blogs

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