My proudest professional moment came when I learned I had been named an IABC Fellow.
The Fellow designation is the highest honor conferred on members by the International Association of Business Communicators. To qualify, nominations need to demonstrate leadership qualities in four key areas: contribution to the profession, career achievement, authorship/speaking/lecturing, and contributions to IABC.
Since the Fellows program was introduced in 1970, IABC has welcomed only 77 Fellows, including five who joined the ranks this year. We have lost 19 Fellows in the program’s 45 years, but the 68 communicators who make up the group today represent some of the smartest, most experienced, innovative, and creative professionals on the planet. Whenever we get together (usually for dinner at the IABC World Conference), I am reminded how humbling it is to be included in such a high-power group.
At this year’s dinner, we were kicking around how the Fellows could contribute more as a group to the profession. Out of that discussion arose the idea of a live monthly panel discussion with a selection of Fellows addressing a single topic. That idea grew into The Circle of Fellows, a new monthly podcast on the FIR Podcast Network.
Each episode will start out as a live Google+ Hangout on Air, broadcast in real time to anybody who wants to tune in. After that, the video of the session will be available on YouTube and the audio made available for distribution as a new FIR podcast.
The topic: whether the value of organizational communicators has risen or declined in recent years, the forces behind the esteem (or lack thereof) in which leaders and audiences hold communicators, and what we can do to increase our value.
I will moderate each panel. This month’s panelists include the following Fellows:
- Kellie Garrett, MC — Based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, Kellie is a speaker, coach, and strategist, as well as an associate professor at Royal Roads Univesity. Before launching her own business, Kellie was Senior VP of Strategy, Knowledge and Reputation for Farm Credit Canada.
- Dr. Amanda Hamilton-Attwell, ABC, APR — Amanda is Managing Director of Business DNA, providing strategic research and consulting to clients in her home country of South Africa and beyond. She spent 15 years at the National Productivity Institute.
- Barbara Puffer, MA, ABC — Barbara owns Puffer Public Relations Strategies. Previously, she was Corporate Communications Manager at Barnes Group for 13 years; her communications management career spans 25 years, including work in banking, insurance, and telecommunications organizations. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland University College.
- Mark Schumann, ABC — Mark is the 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.
- Brad Whitworth, ABC — Brad is a senior communication and marketing manager at Cisco Systems as well as a communication coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Brad joined Cisco in 2007, before which he ran enterprise communication for the California State Auto Association and internal communication for PeopleSoft. He spent several years in various communciation roles at Hewlett-Packard, and was IABC’s 1989-1990 chair.