Mark EvansHi everyone,

First of all, let me say that I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and healthy and taking the appropriate precautions to protect yourselves.

As I write this from my home in Texas, many of our state’s major cities have implemented shelter-in-place orders while many of our public facilities have been closed for a week. I know many of you are experiencing similar situations I keep telling friends that I feel like we’re living in a movie-of-the-week disaster movie. The world around us has changed and likely will not return to any sense of normalcy for a while.

It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago I saw many of you in Austin at IABC Leadership Institute (LI). That seems like so far away now. It was great to see you in my hometown, and I hope you enjoyed yourselves and had a chance to network with IABC members from around the world. LI is always a great time for our family to come together to share and learn from one another … and to hopefully have some fun in the process.

Our Southern Region Board met at LI for several hours to plan for the next six months. Among our goals are improving the way in which we support our chapters and their members, as well as putting in place a plan to serve our growing number of members-at-large. I want all of you to know that we are here to serve you. Please reach out to me, or any member of the board, if you need assistance.

IABC as an organization is undergoing a bit of a transition, with SmithBucklin taking over the management of IABC this summer. Headquarters will send updates as the transition continues. It is hoped this move will enable IABC to grow and better serve its members and our profession. Please let me know if you have any questions about this. If I don’t know the answer, I will connect you with someone who does.

Our board will soon start our own transition as we approach our Annual General Meeting and Board Elections in May. Our current vice-chair, David MacDonald, will move into the chair role. Please let us know if you are interested in becoming involved at the region level. Even if you don’t have much time to give, you can volunteer to serve on a committee.

We are living in interesting times. I have seen a lot in my 40-odd-years, but I have never seen anything like this. Please take care of yourselves. Reach out to others if you need help. I know this is a stressful time, but you are not alone. In fact, we’ve put together an extensive list of COVID-19 Links of Interest that we hope you as you navigate this new world of work as a communication professional.

Until next time, take care, stay healthy and thank you for all that you do.

Mark Evans, SCMP  |  IABC Southern Region Chair, 2019–2020