Onward: Reflecting on four incredible years serving on the IABC London board of directors
June 30th, 2020

And that’s a wrap on an amazing four years on the board of IABC London! I participated in my last board meeting as Past President this evening and am so excited to see the chapter in wonderful hands with amazing leaders at the helm.

I am so proud of all the team and its leaders accomplished in the years that I had the privilege to support them:

  • Working with Anna Tavener and Anthea Rowe to bring in the branding leaders from SickKids Foundation and Cossette to present to our chapter for a PD event
  • Working with Robert DeLaet, Julia Oosterman, Laurie Lashbrook, Gary Lintern, Marek Kubow, Tori Laird, Keith Marnoch, Patti McKague, Liisa Sheldrick, Jacqueline Sullivan and Kelly Zigner on the incredible amount of research and strategy put forth for the “Purposeful Pause” on the Virtuoso Awards program that led to this year’s resurrection of the program with the highest number of entries in recent memory!
  • Working with Roxanne Beaubien on her stunning event execution of the best night of my life: the 40th Anniversary Ruby Jubilee. Roxanne, you really knocked that event out of the park!
  • Working with Anna Tavener and Alex Leonard to capture 20+ videos of IABC members, including many past presidents and our founding president, sharing testimony of how the chapter has impacted their careers and lives
  • Working with Richelle Lowry and other volunteers who made IABC London’s social media and web presence grow by leaps and bounds
  • Working with Laura Dockstader and Leo Aul on a great sponsorship prospectus that has served the chapter well
  • Working with Megan Zinn, Kattie Forbes and Jordan Murray to put in place rock-solid financial and administrative measures for the chapter
  • Working with Kerri Louden and Jenna Fayad to host professional development events that drew communicators’ attention to issues including diversity and mental wellness in the industry
  • Working with Adina Chirita to forge a strategic relationship whereby students from London’s communication post-secondary programs at Fanshawe College and Western University automatically become IABC London members
  • Working with Fred DeVries to welcome two new Certified members to the chapter, and hosting a Blue Ribbon Panel in London for evaluating the international Gold Quill Awards
  • Onboarding more than 16 new volunteers to the board’s various committees
  • Receiving four Chapter Management Awards for the board year 2018-2020
  • Growing the chapter’s total audience size (social media followers, newsletter subscribers, event attendance and total membership) by more than 18 per cent

And the list goes on. In this year as Past President, I so respected Marek’s thoughtful, measured and steady leadership of the chapter that saw the Virtuoso Awards’ success and steady chapter management through the COVID-19 crisis. Together with Michele Martin, Leo Aul, Roxanne Beaubien and Megan Zinn, we re-wrote the chapter’s by-laws to position the chapter for strong footing for decades to come.

With the leadership pipeline, now under Megan’s experienced helm this coming year and Robert as President-Elect, the chapter’s future is very bright!

It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable and enriching experience to serve as a chapter leader. The top three leadership lessons I learned were:

  1. Leadership never stops. It becomes a part of your everyday, every hour, every minute existence – and you just have to welcome that, and when you shift your mindset that it’s a constant, it becomes wonderfully all-consuming; but also wonderfully manageable. Applying “Getting Things Done” processes was essential and helped me shift from feeling overwhelmed by the volume of incoming communication as a chapter executive, to managing it effectively by realizing it was just always going to be with me and I could carve it into my everyday life. That mentality has carried with me to this day, in almost every facet of life: things need not be compartmentalized; rather you can frame your life to have the processes in place to handle what you take on.
  2. Things turn around and results are realized when you stay the course. I’d be lying if there weren’t times when I felt some despair as a chapter leader. There were some times when I’d go to Anthea Rowe as Past President or Jo Ann Johnston as Regional leader for advice, and they always encouraged me to stick to my guns, stick to the strategy laid out by the team at the start of the years, and that eventually results would be realized. And every time, those results were realized! It just, sometimes, took time and patience and a spirit of not giving up.
  3. Leaders make decisions; but listen first. I started my term as President two years ago saying “I can be diplomatic to a fault, and sometimes I need to be pushed to make decisions.” I grew, over time, an ability to consult, yes; but ultimately an ability to act decisively and stand by decisions that the team and I made.

One thing I didn’t master in these four years was a deep understanding of “Robert’s Rules of Order.” Oh well, we can’t achieve everything! That’s what people like Marek and Roxanne and Megan were experts at!

What a ride. Thank you all! Cheers!

Next Up: tomorrow I take on a new journey as Vice-Chair of IABC’s Canada East Region. This will be another three-year journey to become Chair then Past Chair. I’m very excited to serve the chapters across the Eastern half of Canada, supporting their leaders in their chapters’ successes. Expanding the network and gaining even more perspectives from across the provinces will be very exciting.

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