Ask leaders what “communication” is and you are likely to hear a wide range of answers, especially when it comes to the role of a company communication function. Some of those answers may be accurate, others not so much. Too often, leaders see communication as a one-way messaging function, for example. In the first of this two-part discussion, four IABC Fellows explored exactly what communication is…and isn’t. The conversation took place on Thursday, July 21. (The second installment, with another quartet of IABC Fellows, is set for August 18.)
About the panel
John G. Clemons, ABC, APR IABC Fellow, an independent communications consultant based in North Carolina, has held senior executive and consultant roles over the course of his career in corporate and organizational communications. He has special expertise in providing strategic counsel and support for top executives and corporate offices of Fortune 500 companies. John has served as chair of IABC and holds accreditations from both IABC and PRSA. John has worked with Walmart, Raytheon, and Marriott (among others).
Neil Griffiths, ABC, Chart.PR, IABC Fellow, is Senior Manager, Global Communication & Global Inclusion Lead at ERM, the world’s largest sustainability consultancy. Neil has worked in communication management for 15+ years in public, private, and non-profit organizations. Neil is a serial volunteer and has held a number of leadership positions on global committees within IABC, including the inaugural Global Communications Certification Council. Neil was Chair of the 2018 IABC World Conference to be held in Montreal in June 2018. He has been recognized with awards for his leadership within the profession, being made IABC Fellow in June 2019. Together with co-author Deborah Hinton, Neil has published two studies on the current and future state of the communication profession and has spoken on the topic at several conferences. Neil holds the Freedom of London and is a member of the Company of Public Relations Practitioners.
Edward “Ned” Lundquist is a retired U.S. Navy captain with 33 years of professional public affairs and strategic communications experience. He is a principal science writer at MCR Federal in McLean, Virginia, supporting government clients; and has his own company, Echo Bridge LLC, which provides outreach and advocacy support to commercial clients. He served on active duty for 24 years in the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare officer and public affairs specialist. Captain Lundquist was a Pentagon spokesman with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Director of the Fleet Home Town News Center, and director of public affairs and corporate communications for the Navy Exchange Service Command. His last tour of duty was commanding the 450 men and women of the Naval Media Center. He is an accredited business communicator and award-winning communicator who served as president of IABC/Hampton Roads and IABC/Washington, director of U.S. District 3, and chair of the International Accreditation Council. He was named an IABC Fellow in 2016. Captain Lundquist is a member of the executive committee of the Surface Navy Association and chair of the SNA communications committee. He writes for numerous naval, maritime, and defense publications and chairs and presents at communications, naval, and maritime security conferences around the world.
Jennifer Wah, MC, ABC, has worked with clients to deliver ideas, plans, words, and results since she founded her storytelling and communications firm, Forwords Communication Inc., in 1997. The company operates as a strategic alliance of hand-picked professionals; all renowned for work in their areas of specialization. This approach means the right team is assembled for each project; no more, no less. With more than two dozen awards for strategic communications, writing, and consulting, Jennifer is recognized as a storyteller and strategist. She has worked in industries from healthcare to financial services to academia and is passionate about the opportunity for stories to inspire actions and reactions within organizations. In 2013, Jennifer was named Associate Faculty of Royal Roads University, and in this capacity, continues to teach, coach, and mentor others with an interest in business communication.