Member Spotlight: Nichole Burgdorf

Name: Nichole (Niki) Burgdorf Employer: Mercy Title: Communications Supervisor Favorite quote: “Your own reasons to make art are enough. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, from her forthcoming book, Big Magic. How have you benefitted from being an IABC St. Louis member? IABC St. Louis has helped me in many ways. One of the biggest is networking with local communicators. It’s so nice to know you aren’t alone in your struggles and I love hearing about others’ victories and learnings, as well as sharing my own – we have to stick together, right? I’ve also benefited from the committee work I’ve done, both for the Bronze Quill Awards and social media, which has stretched my skills beyond what I practice day-to-day. What possessed you to enter the communications profession? I studied both international business and English as an undergrad. Because I was a double major, I needed one extra credit hour in my last semester to graduate. I could choose between art history and public relations. I took the public relations class and I’m so glad! I was hooked immediately. This was a class where I could use what I learned in both majors, and it had the added benefit of being all about shaping how people think. (I’ve always been bossy, so it was a perfect fit.) When I took my second (and current) job, I went back for my master’s degree in public relations, where I got the core of my training, and I’m still in love, nearly 15 years after that first class. How would you describe your role at Mercy? My...

Member Spotlight: Travis Snyder

Name: Travis Snyder Employer: Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Title: Senior Communications Specialist Favorite Quote: “Be who you are and say what you   feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss   Why did you join IABC St. Louis?  I joined IABC St. Louis in January this year for the opportunity to network and learn best practices from other business communicators in the St. Louis area. Though I’ve only been a member a few months, I have already gained valuable professional insight through my attendance at IABC professional development events. I’ve learned how to better manage my time, how to stay focused on the most important aspects of my job, and I’ve learned the real value of what we do as professional communicators. What possessed you to enter the communications profession?  I have a passion for meeting people and telling their stories, as well as taking complex subjects and writing about them in a way that’s easy for everyone to understand. My career in communications allows me to explore these passions on a daily basis. I’m from Indiana and I moved to St. Louis in July 2014 to advance my career. I’d previously worked as a news reporter for a local newspaper in my hometown of Vincennes, Ind. How would you describe your role at Mallinckrodt? As a communications specialist, I develop communications that support and reflect Mallinckrodt’s focus on improving lives in a variety of ways, including employee emails, news articles, blog posts, web and graphic design, photography and digital signage to name a few. What do you like most about your job? I...

Member Spotlight: Shera Dalin

Name: Shera Dalin Employer: U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (a division of U.S. Bank) Title: Media & Community Relations Manager Favorite quote: “Would you rather be right or happy?” — A Course in Miracles How did you enter the profession? In 2006, I quit my job as a business reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to become a freelance magazine journalist. (Note how freelancers are “journalists” and newspapers have “reporters.”) I quickly discovered that the freelance journalism field was overrun with writers and the competition was fierce. I added corporate and nonprofit copywriting and public relations to my skill sets as a matter of necessity. I attracted a variety of clients, many of whom are friends still today.  How have you benefited from being an IABC St. Louis member? I can’t praise enough the opportunities I’ve had to add to my professional development and share wonderful camaraderie with other members. Members have also been very open to sharing their expertise when I’ve asked, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount. How would you describe your role? Like so many communications professionals, I wear a lot of hats. I write and distribute press releases, work with media, keep an eye on reputation management issues, manage our government affairs efforts, write copy for trade advertising, write social media posts, and even create signage for our interior and exterior spaces. What do you like most about your job? I do work that I can believe in. Every day I get to share the good news about the affordable housing developments we invest in, the historic buildings we help preserve, the businesses we help...

Member Spotlight: David Sheets

Name: David Sheets Employer: Perficient, Inc. Title: Public Relations and Communications Manager Favorite quote: “Don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions.” Bill Harmon, faculty adviser of my college newspaper and my first boss. How did you enter the profession? Through journalism. I was a newspaper editor and content manager for almost 30 years, 15 of which were spent at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. After the newspaper downsized, I started my own business as a digital content manager for small and medium-size companies, which led to assorted marketing communications projects. How have you benefited from being an IABC St. Louis member? My membership was directly responsible for getting me my job. The connections I made through IABC led to other networking opportunities that put me on Perficient’s radar. Plus, I have met many people through IABC who are not just excellent business contacts, they are now wonderful and cherished friends. How would you describe your role? I clarify and coordinate Perficient’s message in house, make sure it advances our objectives as well as those of our strategic partners and clients, then work with the marketing director and CEO to promote our thought leadership and advance Perficient’s global reputation as a respected player in the information technology industry. What do you like most about your job? It’s so different from what I was doing in newspaper journalism but just as important, and the challenges it presents are well worth tackling. Success in business requires more than just an enviable business model. Effective communication helps match people with needs to people with services. Without a clear message and the strategy to deliver it, superb products will...

Member Spotlight: Rhonda Sciarra

Rhonda Sciarra, Communications Manager at Mallinckrodt and a past IABC St. Louis president, now serves as 2014-2015 Director of IABC’s Pacific Plains Region (PPR). The organization supports the leaders and members of the region’s IABC chapters with resources and professional development opportunities. Here, she talks more about her role heading PPR and why she stepped up to volunteer. 1. Why did you become involved with IABC at the regional level after your leadership experience at the local level? Since I joined IABC 10 years ago, I have found incredible value in part through investing in volunteering. IABC has provided me with great access to best communications practices, an expanding network of peers and friends in the profession, and a way to grow my skills as a leader and communicator. I became involved at the IABC Pacific Plains regional level because I was enthused by the region’s purpose: to connect and support chapter leaders and members at large across the U.S. West and Midwest. It was a great next step in my IABC involvement. 2. The release says: “The Pacific Plains Region of IABC supports the leaders and members of the region’s IABC chapters with resources and professional development opportunities.” Which examples of resources/professional development opportunities that IABC members can use would you want to highlight? In addition to a focus on chapter leader development, the region offers IABC members professional development opportunities in the form of webinars, in-person events and our annual awards program.
The Silver Quill Awards give professional communicators in our region an opportunity to showcase their best work. And the 2014 Silver Quill Awards program is easier than ever. This year, we have better aligned the...