IABC Heritage Region Conference scholarships offer chapter leaders and members-at-large who have strong volunteering experience a great opportunity to explore the region's signature professional development and networking event. After a careful application vetting process, evaluators chose this year’s winners: Poonam Sharma, a proposal writer for ASSYST and VP of social media for the DC Metro Chapter, and KayAnn Taylor Rutter, AVP of marketing for United Way of Central Ohio and a member of the Greater Cincinnati chapter. Here are their experiences.
My top Take-Aways from the 2017 IABC Heritage Region Conference
2017 Scholarship Winner and VP, Social Media, IABC DC Metro
Proposal Writer, ASSYST, Sterling, VA
Attending the IABC Heritage Region Conference in Pittsburgh is an experience I will always treasure. Not only was it my first time attending a regional conference, I also got to attend my very first Leadership institute!
After a short hop flight from Washington, D.C, I arrived in Pittsburgh on a rainy autumn day and jumped straight in to conference mode with a half-day session dedicated to simple, strategic takeaways for leading within and beyond IABC. This included a great think tank session with other chapter leaders on recruitment and retention, volunteers and professional development. There was plenty of food for thought!
In addition to 21 breakout sessions by 28 experts in their field, and four keynote sessions touching upon the entire communications spectrum, the 2017 IABC Heritage Region Conference offered great networking activities for hundreds of communications, public relations and marketing practitioners from all over the United States and Canada.
There were a lot of great takeaways for me, some of which include:
- From Steve Crescenzo’s keynote, Cutting through the clutter: in strategic communications it is critical to make the important interesting.
- From John Brabender’s keynote, Lessons learned on the campaign trail: creativity is not effective without a clear message.
- Amelia Reigstad led a fascinating interactive session on gender differences in communication types and their influence on the practice of public relations. We discussed how knowing your communication style, and understanding gender differences and stereotypes can help with communicating in a workplace setting.
Some tips from the closing keynote by Jennifer Bullano, Communications Director of the Pittsburgh Penguins, on how to avoid complacency and communicate like a champion.
- Start each day from scratch.
- Surround yourself with people that will tell you like it is.
- Focus on the process instead of the outcome.
- Continuously learn and adapt.
- Recharge the batteries.
I’m grateful to the IABC Heritage Region for the conference scholarship and for the IABC/DC Metro chapter for nominating me. In addition to professional development, the conference provided a platform to share ideas, forge connections, and celebrate achievements. A truly inspiring experience!
Shortening my to-do list
2017 scholarship winner and Program Committee member, IABC Greater Cincinnati
AVP, Marketing, United Way of Central Ohio
In the midst of a long "to do" list at work, I debated about taking time away to attend IABC Heritage Region’s 2017 On Point Conference. On the one hand, there were so many good topics, from branding to video to data, and the chance to meet with colleagues who do everything from internal communications to nonprofit marketing communications to running their own shops. On the other hand—that never-ending list!
Yet I could not turn down the opportunity to learn, connect and communicate. Spending two days in Pittsburgh gave me the chance to pause, see where trends are going and to reset my priorities on that "to do" list. So much is changing in the communications field—so rapidly—you can’t learn it all on your own; you need to learn from others! Though my chances of making a Super Bowl commercial or directing communications for a professional sports team are slim, there were still lessons learned from those who do.
The mantra from Steve Crescenzo’s keynote sums up my reason for attending: "Do less and do it better." Many of the other sessions armed me with the ideas and tools on just how to do that. Plus, I have an expanded network of colleagues who can help when I get stuck.
In the end, I came away from this conference with a renewed commitment to data, to becoming a better business partner within my organization. Thought it might add a few extra projects to my list in the short term, I’m now looking forward to shortening that "to do" list going forward. Thank you, IABC!