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IABC's impact: anecdotes from members' career journeys

For 50 years, communication professionals have turned to IABC to make connections and drive business results. In recent IABC Bulletin newsletters, the Catalyst editors sent out a call to members to share an example of a time IABC helped advance their career. What follows are not just testimonials, but snapshots of unique professional journeys — moments of success, do-overs, connections forged and challenges overcome — that, collectively, have kept the profession advancing, year after year. Get to know your fellow members and what IABC means to them in these short anecdotes.

“When I joined the late Tucson chapter of IABC in 1998, I had two clients for my newly-created independent writing/editing business. In short order, I was asked by a fellow IABC member to help the local community college with content for its new website. She then referred me to another person looking for writing services, and I had a fourth client within the first year I was an IABC member.

"In those early days, IABC helped me build my business by giving me access to a network of people who knew where the opportunities were and who had the clout to make the decision to contract with me. This November, I’m celebrating 23 years as an independent. I owe my success to IABC.” —Elena Acoba

“In every job I applied for, I made IABC membership a condition of employment — not just the annual fees, but full support for my volunteer work. When I was about to decline the offer to become chair because of the workload and costs, my CEO called me in and said, ‘We say we’re a world-class company, and you have an opportunity to be head of a world class company. I guess we have to support that.’” —Sharon Paul, ABC, MC, Fellow, Past IABC Chair

“Joining IABC is one of the best things I ever did for my career. I found my first communication job through IABC (the same one I still have 17 years later) and was accredited through the ABC program, which proved to my employer and myself that I am a knowledgeable communication professional. Now, IABC has given me a guideline for the future as I aim toward fellowship.” —Niki Burgdorf, ABC

“IABC helped me, in a way, restart my career. I have worked in communication for 20 years, but I signed up for IABC last year, and took and passed the CMP exam this year. Purchasing an all-in pass for the courses and receiving the Catalyst newsletters enabled me to completely revamp my skills. I re-laid my communication foundation, found new ideas and new scenarios to current problems and stayed sane during a pandemic.

"Once I obtained the CMP certification, I was bold enough to advertise my skills and initiate my own consultancy. I plan to continue to be involved, and I am very excited to see the many amazing improvements from the IABC courses and communication already.” Catalina Gardescu

“I joined IABC London in my third year of university. I was studying in Toronto but had my sights set on returning home to London, Ontario — so I joined my hometown’s chapter. I attended my first chapter event, IABC London’s AGM. I was the only student at the table, everyone else was a board member … I stood out, in a good way! I immediately jumped at the opportunity that came up at the meeting: they needed someone to redesign the fledgling chapter website, and I was eager to show off my newly learned skills from school. This started a 15-year-and-counting volunteer relationship with the chapter. It also helped me land my first job interview with the then-president of IABC London who remembered me well from that AGM meeting, and I’m happy to say I landed the job.” Andrew Kaszowski

“Four years into my now 28-year membership I was looking to find a role in Dallas. I had recently served as president of the IABC Fort Worth chapter and had become friends with the president of the IABC Dallas chapter. She learned I was leaving my employer in Fort Worth and offered to pass along my resume for an HR communications position at Texas Instruments (TI). She gave me a glowing recommendation based on volunteer work we’d done together in IABC, and I got hired with TI.

"My supervisors at TI cared about my career development and my IABC involvement. I was promoted into some of the most fun and meaningful roles I’ve ever had, and I was encouraged to be an IABC leader. I became the Dallas chapter president, I was honored as a Dallas Communicator of the Year and eventually I became a board member for IABC U.S. District 5 (now Southern Region). Later, I went on to serve in another regional leadership role, then as a trustee and chairman of the IABC Research Foundation and a couple of years after that — IABC Chair.

"Fast forward to three years ago. I was seeking a new opportunity with my current company. An employee there knew me from IABC Dallas. Once he found out I was applying, he gave me a glowing recommendation. I not only got the job, but three years later, that employee is now a superstar on my own team.

"When you are a great IABC volunteer, you learn skills and gain experience that will help further your career and boost your confidence. And when fellow members notice your great work as a volunteer, they’ll recommend you for roles that might change your career — and your life.” Robin McCasland, SCMP, FRSA, Past IABC Chair

“I joined IABC and the Seattle chapter earlier this month after a painful layoff due to COVID-19 budget cuts. After three months of struggling in my job search, I have networked with and met so many helpful communication professionals. In addition to networking, I love the daily threads on The Hub and the learning opportunities. I’m also excited to start helping the Seattle chapter with some of its events.” Elizabeth (Liz) Mace

Morgan Manghera

Morgan Manghera is the senior content associate for IABC.

This blog first appeared at Catalyst.IABC.com and is republished here with permission.