IABC turns the page


WASHINGTON – As a sixteen-year member of the International Association of Business Communicators, I have always found my involvement worthwhile, but often became frustrated with a culture that has leaned towards taking itself too seriously.

Now, advancing the cause of business communication and those who practice in an often-hostile marketplace is a genuinely worthy matter, and IABC has often done a great job.

But the Association has had a historical and cultural tendency to emphasize IABC for IABC’s sake, and particularly, to see other communications organizations as competitive or even hostile.

Indeed, IABC had the following passage enshrined in its Bylaws, that its mission was to:

“unite the communication profession worldwide in one diverse, multifaceted organization under the banner of the International Association of Business Communicators.”

Today. IABC at its Annual General Meeting here overwhelmingly voted to delete this passage.

In its stead is simple new language:

  • Vision: Professional communicators at the heart of every organization.
  • Purpose: To advance the profession, create connection and develop strategic communicators.
  • Philosophy: IABC pledges to:
    • Represent the global profession.
    • Foster a diverse community.
    • Focus on insights and results.
    • Honor our Code of Ethics.
    • We will achieve this by being open, contemporary and professional.

The new language is more inclusive and respectful in tone. It illustrates a focus on members and other communicators.

Most importantly, it comprehensively abandons the ill-fated and toxic goal of shaping the communications world so that IABC is at its center.

The great American Mark Twain once said “the two most important days in one’s life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Has IABC finally figured it out? Its new vision, purpose and philosophy give reason for optimism.

One thing is certain.  I’m in.

I’ve agreed to take on the role of Vice Chair of IABC’s Europe Middle East North Africa region.

It’s a significant, three-year commitment, on top of continuing to drive my influencer research and strategic messaging business.  And it’s a commitment I am taking because I would like to see IABC build community and partnership with people and organizations considered “rivals” and “competitors.”

Over the last few years IABC has turned a corner.  Today, as it starts its 2017 World Conference, it turns the page.