Different generations often have different skill sets. This episode of “Circle of Fellows” will look at how communication professionals can develop new skills and keep up with trends by cross-training with colleagues of different generations and focusing on lifelong learning, in addition to other techniques and issues.
Currently, members of five generations work together: Generation Z (born after 1996), Millennials (born between 1977 and 1995), Gen X (born between 1965 and 1976), Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), and Traditionalists (born 1945 and earlier). One of the terms applied to Millennials and even more to Gen Z is “digital natives.” While there is disagreement over whether that term is useful or even accurate, the data shows the younger you are, the more likely you are to use newer communication tools and channels.
As business adapts to an evolving communication environment — and the rapid advance of technology in communication — communicators raised in earlier eras can feel overwhelmed and unprepared. To be relevant as a communicator means staying current and incorporating new competencies and skill-sets.
September’s Circle of Fellows panel — an hour-long conversation among a group of IABC Fellows — explored alternatives and approaches for advancing careers in communications.
About the panel
Tamara Gillis, Ed.D., ABC, straddles the worlds of academia and communication practice. As a tenured professor at Elizabethtown College, she is preparing tomorrow’s corporate communicators. As an author and communications consultant, she continues to influence the practice of communications and change management. Dr. Gillis’s research interests have been recognized on the regional, national and international level by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, International Communication Association and IABC. Gillis was the first educator to serve as chairman of the IABC Research Foundation.
Mary Ann McCauley is committed to ensuring people communicate more effectively about their organizations’ products and services. With a specialty practice in crisis management, Mary Ann addresses sensitive issues with timeliness, dignity, and minimal backlash. “Managing communication during a crisis requires common sense folded into a structured process,” she says.
Mark Schumann is the director of graduate business communication programs for the Zzicklin School of Business at Baruch College, City University of New York. He is also founder and principal of re-communicate. Most recently, he was VP of marketing and communications for Western Connecticut Health Network. He served as IABC’s chair in 2009-2010 and is currently IABC’s liaison to the Global Alliance. He was a managing principal and global communication practice leader at Towers Perrin for 26 years.
Brenda C. Siler, a public relations, marketing, and branding professional. She currently manages a consultancy offering short-term public relations, communications, and writing solutions for a variety of clients. Siler has lead communications teams at national associations and nonprofits including AARP, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and UNCF, the United Negro College Fund. At UNCF, she managed the rebranding of this scholarship fund retaining its iconic tagline “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” At the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, she managed a national public awareness campaign featuring actor James Earl Jones. From 1998-99, Siler was Executive Board Chairwoman for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), She is on the Board of Advisors for PRNews. Siler is a graduate of Spelman College.
Brad Whitworth (moderator) is executive communication manager at at Hewlett Packard enterprise. A communication coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Brad was most recently senior communication manager at Cisco Systems. Brad joined Cisco in 2007 and today leads integrated communication for the part of the company that builds partner ecosystems for new markets. Before Cisco, Brad led communication programs at HP, PeopleSoft and AAA. He earned undergraduate degrees in both journalism and speech at the University of Missouri and an MBA at Santa Clara University. A former broadcaster, Brad has made more than 300 presentations to executives, communicators, and university classes around the world. Brad has a long history with IABC, including serving as chairman of the international board and president of two local chapters. He is one of the authors of The IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication.
October’s Circle of Fellows will focus on managing fast-paced, transformational change. Mark your calendar for noon ET on Thursday, October 19 as Fellows Priya Bates, James Lukaszewski, Annette Martell, and Jim Shaffer share their experiences and insights.