Magazine article Communication World

Changing of the Guard: IABC Leaders Look Back and Move Forward

Magazine article Communication World

Changing of the Guard: IABC Leaders Look Back and Move Forward

Article excerpt

Past chairman Annette Martell, ABC, MC, is a consultant in the communication practice of Mercer Human Resource Consulting in Toronto. An active IABC volunteer leader, she has served several times on IABC's international board, as director of IABC's Canada District 2, as president of IABC/Atlantic Canada and as a blue-ribbon panel judge with IABC's Gold Quill Awards Program.

In conversations with Joseph Ugalde, contributing editor for Communication World, outgoing board chairman Annette Martell, ABC, MC, reflects on her term, while incoming chairman Stephanie Griffiths prepares for the year ahead.

INTERVIEW WITH ANNETTE MARTELL Joseph Ugalde: You were at the helm of a communication-focused organization during a particularly challenging year that included an uncertain global economy, war in Iraq and SARS. How has IABC responded to these challenges both in terms of member needs and as an organization?

Annette Martell: Last year was IABC's time to meet its expectations as a communication organization. As a strategic communicator would advise a senior management team to do, IABC faced these challenges by researching the situation, developing a plan, implementing the plan and then adjusting the plan as needed.

Behind each step and course correction was the question "What's best for IABC and its members?" Though we adjusted the year's blueprints as the various challenges arose, that mandate was the foundation grounding the choices.

JU: What was your primary vision when you started your year as IABC chairman?

AM: Guiding the 2002-03 hoard was a collective vision and conviction to revitalize IABC, renovating it for future growth. IABC's revitalization project successfully tracked along three themes: restoring IABC's financial health, serving members' changing needs and giving a global voice to communicators.

JU: What was the biggest personal challenge you faced as chairman?

AM: Keeping up. The executive board and IABC's broader leadership team moved swiftly and responsibly on primary issues. I kept my seatbelt on throughout the year; it was an exhilarating, demanding and rewarding ride. For example, usually the executive board and its executive committee meet three to five times a year. During the 2002-03 term, these teams met 10 times. Much needed to get done, And they were serious about producing results.

JU: What do you consider your biggest success?

AM: Looking at the list of 2002-03 achievements, it's tempting for an IABC chairman to brag about her results. Instead, these results belong to hundreds of volunteer leaders around the globe,

Among our biggest successes were our efforts to restore IABC's financial health for long-term stability. We accelerated a strict cost-containment program that saw last year's expenses reduced by 18 percent, and we improved year-end financial results by almost three quarters of a million dollars. At the same time we continued to develop new programs to serve members, like CW Bulletin, the Online Library and the Job Centre. Plus, we found new cost-efficient ways to deliver knowledge, including our web seminar and teleseminar series. And we continued to expand IABC's global reach with new chapters in Russia and Switzerland.

JU: What future do you envision for IABC?

AM: It's very easy for a past chairman to sit back and forecast. The reality is that it's not that easy to do. What I can say with certainty is that the potential for IABC's future--and that of its members--is very bright. …

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