There’s a saying amongst veteran IABC members that you’re only as good as your last IABC gig. And in so many ways, I think this is true.
I first got involved with IABC Edmonton as a student at MacEwan 13 years ago. I got my first job in the industry with the Alberta Medical Association, where I was fortunate to have a senior leader and a manager who were not only avid IABC members, but a founding member of the chapter, and a chapter president respectively. They were my first real mentors in the industry (other than my Dad, who is also a communications professional!) and I can very honestly say I learned much of what I know today from them. With their encouragement, I became more involved with IABC Edmonton as a volunteer, and eventually went on to serve six years on the board of directors.
After this many years and a couple of big career changes, here is what I can tell you I have learned most from IABC Edmonton, and the fine members and volunteers it attracts:
- Networking is hard to be good at. And it’s even harder to like. But IABC events and members make it easy.
- It can help keep your team connected. PD sessions and special events like mixers and the Capital Awards Gala are a great way to keep your team engaged and learning new things together.
- Being an IABC member (or even better, an IABC Edmonton volunteer) really can help you get a job. IABC Edmonton has a great reputation, and it’s a fantastic way to meet (and impress!) people.
- If you need something, ask. IABC Edmonton members are a diverse bunch who are great at sharing their knowledge, experiences and enthusiasm. Getting to know them will make you better at your job, and will mean you always know someone to call on for help.
- Entering the Capital Awards can result in more than just a shiny statue and accolades. The process of working through the awards application, completing the work plan, and putting together the work sample, can be a great way to re-visit the fundamentals of how to produce excellent communications strategies and materials. And it’ll make you proud of the work you toil away at every day, too.
- You get out of it what you put in. This is pretty much my motto in life, but it rings especially true for IABC Edmonton. I have heard people say that they don’t get much out of their membership, and to them I ask how much they have put in. If you attend events, mentor a new communicator, get out as a student and meet people, contribute an article to a newsletter, hell, even if you just come to a mixer for a glass of wine, you will get something out of it. And if you have the opportunity to volunteer, you’ll get out of it what I got: great mentors, shared knowledge, new ways of thinking and communicating, and wonderful friends.