New Chair Cropley Talks Content, Career and Business of IABC

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Incoming IABC Chair Adrian Cropley, ABC, tells CW what his new leadership role means to him and how he expects IABC will move forward in the coming year. Cropley is director and founder of Cropley Communication, based in Australia. He has more than 20 years of experience in change management, internal communication and communication leadership, and now works with a number of major organizations advising on strategic internal and change communication practices.

Q: What made you decide to join IABC's international executive board?

A: I wish I could say this was something that was part of a bigger plan for my career, but in fact it was a step that just seemed right at the time. I was encouraged by some great IABC leaders. The biggest driving factor for me in volunteering at an international level was that I have enjoyed a long career in the field of professional communication. I started my communication life as the head of employee communication and change management for Ericsson in the Pacific, at a time when employee communication was still a little known function in organizations globally, and, after having reached a senior HR role, I was looking for the next great thing. Established leaders like Shel Holtz, ABC, Angela Sinickas, ABC, Bill Quirke, and Roger D'Aprix, ABC, became a source of inspiration to me in this new role, and I felt very much like a pioneer within my market. The link to IABC was clear--this was the organization where the greats hung out--so I joined ... my local chapter, IABC/Victoria, in Melbourne and got to work with other local greats like Melissa Dark, ABC, and Jo Curkpatrick, ABC. It was not at all long before I volunteered in a leadership role....

As my consultancy business took off and I did more work around the region and worldwide, I found the network of IABC to be so strong and supportive, I really did want to ensure that I gave as much as l got from IABC. It was past Chairs Glenda Holmes, ABC, Todd Hattori, ABC, and Barbara Gibson, ABC, and President Julie Freeman, ABC, APR, who I felt really supported my entry to the international board. These leaders had a clear vision to continue building IABC internationally, and really embraced and supported me in applying for a board role.

Q: What do you find rewarding about being in a leadership role on the board?

A: Leadership is an interesting thing; it can be quite hard to define. How many books have been written on leadership? You don't sit for a test or get a license to be a leader, yet you are accountable for so much. The most rewarding thing for me personally is to build on the leadership I see around me in IABC, and provide an environment where I can support excellence in leadership for the betterment of our profession. We have highly experienced professionals on our board who are great at asking the question "What if?" and challenging the norm. You can't ask for more when the people around you are really focused on taking our association forward to serve our members and influence our profession.

Q: What are you excited about taking on in your term as chair?

A: The thing that excites me most is getting in touch with members throughout the globe and providing opportunities not only for members to be heard but to be listened to. With the work I do in my business and the work of IABC, I will be traveling quite a lot. I am excited about using those opportunities to connect with members, and give a voice to ideas and initiatives that provide greater value to our members as well as growing our influence and opportunities around the globe. …