Our commitments to the IABC NSW community Uncategorized

As part of our commitment to the IABC NSW community we promised we would deliver a strategy session this side of Christmas for our members. The IABC NSW experience survey helped set the foundation for our strategy session. 

We’re lucky to have such an engaged membership and our aim is to provide exceptional value for every one of our members. Thank you for trusting us to deliver a great membership experience. 

So, as promised in my last post, and on behalf of the board, I would like to share the actions we committed to taking to support members and propel IABC NSW into 2020 and beyond.

This is what you said and what actions we will commit to. 

Value for money

“There’s no one else out there who offers the same depth and breadth of quality thinking and content.”

“I really struggle to see the value in my IABC membership which is a shame as there is so much potential”.

We appreciate that $319 for a returning member, and $289 for a new member, is a significant financial commitment. Many of our members take on that expense themselves. To help you showcase the value of IABC to your organisation and get them to invest in your professional development we created this ‘business case’ letter. 

Over 57 people have already used this document to successfully showcase the value they, and their company, can gain from their membership. 

As a board, we committed to continuing our workshops, which we initiated this year, – member only opportunities. We ensure that each workshop facilitator is confident that they would charge >$150pp when facilitating a workshop like this to the wider market. We charge $25pp with lunch or breakfast. 

This year we developed 4 workshops which would typically cost about $600. In 2020 we have an event lined up that would typically cost >$500 per person. So, if you made it to one or two workshops and nothing else, or you make it to that one >$500 event in 2020 you will enjoy great value. As a board we delivered 10 events in 2019 – we’re committed to delivering and maintaining the same excellent local event experience in 2020. 

On top of all these global and local benefits we are confident that in 2020 and beyond we will continue to deliver exceptional value for money. 


“[I] have never explored membership and never been encouraged to do so.”

“I was getting overwhelmed with all the IABC content (global, apac and local) and I ended up switching off all the notifications.”

“Expand the network by offering opportunities for regional and remote members to connect and participate in the events.”

“Sometimes feel a little lonely at the events – everyone seems to know each other.” “Be more welcoming.”

You’ve been very clear about the barrage of emails from global, APEC and local sources. Locally, we have a monthly (ish) EDM and then our ‘buddy’ emails. We appreciate that there are many emails – which can be off putting. 

As a local board we are committed to mapping the user experience and supporting you to opt in, and out of, the right comms for you. In addition, we commit to being more consistent and timelier with our local comms, blog posts and event write ups. By taking the best global, local and APAC thought leadership/podcasts, we will aim to ensure the IABC experience is seamless. 

For non-members, we want to ensure that we make it crystal clear on how to become a member and what benefits you will enjoy. In 2020, we are planning to conduct a website audit to ensure we are communicating clearly.

The board and I were saddened to hear that some people felt we weren’t ‘welcoming’ at events. We often talk about how as a comms community everyone knows everyone, but we know this isn’t the case. As a board we spoke about how easy it is to gravitate to people we know at events. Our commitment is to ensure a culture of inclusiveness. We are utilising the buddy system to nurture relationships and connections with other members and, in addition for non-members, we commit to ensuring you feel welcome at each event. We promise to build a sense of community. Each board member is more than happy to be contacted to help members and non-members build networks and better understand the IABC 

We are an NSW chapter not just a Sydney city chapter. Following the addition of corporate members in Newcastle, Parramatta and Macquarie Park we are committed to building local connections and have already started talks with regional members about potential event opportunities. We would love to use digital opportunities to create a more inclusive experience and would love to speak to members who have expertise in video, podcasting or recording so that we can start to offer recordings of our local sessions. 

Event topics

“IABC is one step above when it comes skills, topics and venues. Thank you for great work.”

“I can’t get to everything, so it has to be amazing for me to attend.”

We know that our local event schedule is the corner stone of success for the chapter. We are committed to maintaining our excellent event schedule. This year we trialled a range of breakfast, lunch and after work events. We are fortunate to be supported by a range of exceptional speakers and facilitators who give up their time to support the community and we’re excited by our 2020 event schedule. 

Off the back of the user experience survey we conducted an event survey and the results helped us form our 2020 event plan. Keep your eye out for our calendar. We’re committed to giving first access to events to our members before opening them up to the wider community.  

We promise we are looking at achieve a more consistent quality to the way we execute our events. 

Brand presence 

“I’ve been working in business communication for 15 years and never heard of you.”

As a board we’re very aware of the need to invest in brand awareness activities and communicating the benefits of membership more clearly. 

In 2019, our focus was ensuring we were confident about the quality of our local offering and value. 

Many of us on the board have been members for 5+ years and we appreciate that there can be year on year inconsistencies. Linked to our commitment to map the user experience, we have ideas about ways to ensure we’re educating the community on how to tailor preferences and make the most of memberships. 

With our increased confidence that we have the fundamentals right, we’re ready to start building our brand presence. Our members are our best ambassadors so we shall be asking you to help us build our community.     

Professional network and professional L&D

“Congratulations to everyone involved in taking the time to work on our collective professional development on top of your busy lives!”

“Introduce some networking events specifically for seasoned communicators.”

“I know a member and I’ve hear positive things. I’d be keen to engage in F2F events and leverage building professional network – it would be one of the key reasons I would join.”

Networking is always a key component of the IABC experience. We’ve grown the community by 16% this year at a time when other chapters have seen declines or stagnated. Our aim is to reach 200 members by 2022. 

This year we’ve been thrilled to welcome Optus, Greater Bank, Aurecon and HealthShare as corporate members. With a 15% saving, we hope to achieve continued community growth and build our professional network. If you want to learn more about our corporate membership, please reach out. 

Our community is made up of a diverse range of professionals at various points in their careers, and we’re very fortunate to have a range of seasoned and very senior communicators. Last year we trialled the ‘Chatham house rules’ roundtable, which brought together our most local and senior members. We have committed to running similar events this year and have been kindly supported by several experienced professionals on an ad hoc advisory capacity to support us in this approach. 

We continue to work closely with UTS and understand the importance of being closely connected both academics and industry leaders in our field. Last year, we also trialled events which broadened the ‘traditional’ comms approach – our sold-out event on Mental wellbeing being testament to the power of supporting the community with issues, topics and tools outside of the everyday comms professional expertise. 

Our board members are all volunteers and do our IABC work outside of our day jobs. By establishing sub committees, we hope to take the IABC experience to the next level.

Job market opportunities 

“I see more value for IABC in uncovering the hidden job market through the networking and connections.”

We’re very proud of our ongoing sponsorship with the team at Salt & Shein especially Director, Lucy Newcomb, who has been supporting us to grow the chapter and helps members uncover the hidden job market for our members. 


“I wasn’t aware I had an IABC Buddy but having become aware of that through this survey process I’d like to explore opportunities to develop that relationship.”

“I think assigning a buddy is a really nice idea, it’s very personalised”

We are very proud of our buddy program where each member is assigned a board member. The commitment our board members make is to ensure each member:

  • has a point of contact for questions about membership, 
  • is someone you can provide feedback to, 
  • is your connection to the wider board to raise topics of interest, 
  • can welcome you at events and introduce you to the wider community, and 
  • Will communicate our upcoming events and member only offers.

While our board program is held up as best practice across the IABC global community, we are committed to ensuring a consistent experience for each member via a more centralised approach to buddying in 2020. 

Our commitments to you

At the board strategy session, we used the survey results as the ‘beacon’ and, as you can see, we have made a number of commitments and promises to you, our members. 

Our key priorities are:  

  • Maintain excellent events 
  • Centralise the buddy system 
  • Map the member experience 
  • Develop a targeted approach to corporates, and
  • Ensure a culture of inclusiveness. 

Our next level of priorities will be:

  • Stretch board resources e.g. into sub committees 
  • Communication of global thought leadership/podcasts
  • Use Digital to create a more inclusive experience, and 
  • Leverage members for content. 

Roles for 2020

I’m thrilled and honoured to be taking up the Presidency next year with the support of Suzanne Houweling as Vice president. We look forward to working alongside our continuing board members Megan Thomas, Patrick Armstrong, Sach Trikha and Marisa Bishop to deliver on our strategy. 

We were overwhelmed with the quality of applications for new board members and, at our AGM on the 3rd December, we announced four new Board; Jane Hamilton, Karen Godfrey, Stephanie Cook and Gabrielle Day. Roles will be determined in early 2020.  

On behalf of the board our deepest thanks to Andrew Cooper for his leadership and commitment to the IABC, Andrew will now take up the position of past president alongside his APEC role. To Mark Woodrow for his dedication and infectious passion for the ‘tribe’ over many many years, Mark is a former president and what feels like lifetime advocate of the IABC. Our thanks also to Caitlin for her impact and strategic mindset this year and to Phillipa for keeping the membership and buddy system aligned to our strategy.  

Our Christmas drinks event is being hosted at the Prince of York, Sydney CBD. After 35 tickets sold out within days, we have increased the capacity to 50, so we look forward to seeing you there to celebrate 2019 and kick start 2020!

Our event calendar will be circulated at the drinks and then published on our website. On behalf of the board, thank you to all our members for being part of our community. Here’s to an amazing 2020. 

Our sincere thanks to Alison Doak, our client experience advisor, for her support, guidance and dedication for going above and beyond to deliver this survey for us. 

World conference and events 

Don’t miss #IABC20 world conference keynote Abigail Posner, head of strategy at Google’s brand unit and many others at next year’s IABC world conference in Chicago next June.

Valued at over $1000, we have a conference ticket for one lucky IABC NSW member. To be in the running to secure this golden ticket we’re asking you to describe in 25 words or less why the conference theme Shift #areyouready resonates with you. Then in another 25 words or less, how you’d share your conference experience with our community. 

Applications via a word doc to Patrick Armstrong and the board will judge the best entry, nominating the winner by our first event in February. Applications due first week of February.

Ticket is valid for international conference entry only, no additional expenses included.