Jack Pfitzer Retires

Jack Pfitzer, former board member, recently retired from a long career in communications. All of us at IABC St. Louis would like to thank Jack for his dedication through the years. He has been invaluable to us as a member, recruiting new members, encouraging members to remain active and providing AV support for meetings and seminars. He also helped with many  bronze quill entries. Here, Jack talks about his career path, what role IABC played in his success and what young professionals can do to jump start their own communications career. What made you choose communications as a career? I enjoyed writing and admired the broadcasters who integrated good writing with great and colorful reporting; one of my favorites was Jack Buck. So I majored in journalism at the University of Missouri; my goal was broadcast journalism … the competition was intense. I had the opportunity to join WKOW-TV in Madison, WI as a reporter but turned it down to stay at Mizzou for a master’s degree; in grad school, I studied business communications. It opened my eyes to the many opportunities in corporate and public communication. I enjoyed my teaching in grad school and applied for a teaching job at Winona State University in Minnesota following my graduation in 1971. I taught writing and broadcast journalism about a quarter time and spent the balance of my time managing the university’s television center and curriculum. I did that for six years. While a university career felt very comfortable I chose a different path. Targeting practical application of my communications interests I found a position as Chief of Medical Media for the Veterans Administration...

Member Spotlight: Alice Telios-Dunlap

Employer: BJC HealthCare Title: Communications Specialist Years in the profession: 2 years Favorite quote: “Your time is precious, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”– Steve Jobs How have you benefited from being an IABC St. Louis member? Meeting communications professionals from across the St. Louis area has been an amazing networking opportunity for me, especially as a younger member of our industry. IABC has also given me the chance to volunteer for different programs and events. This will be a great addition to my resume, and I have fun doing it. What advice would you give to someone considering a career in communication? One piece of advice I always give to others interested in a communications profession , especially students I have worked with, is learn what you are good at, whether it is writing, research, event planning, etc., and learn even more skills that will make you a well-rounded asset to your work team. You are never going to know when having certain knowledge, like how to edit photos or direct a video production team, is going to come in handy. Having a full tool belt will make you stand out and can bring value to any team. What do you like most about your job? I thrive on being connected to a mission that serves the St. Louis community. My daily routines may not include providing direct care to patients and families, but I try to stay connected to how my organization influences people every day. This helps motivate me, and I believe it positively influences my ability to communicate to my organization’s diverse employee...

High on Communications

Let me preface this post by saying I am not aware of any illegal substances being used or shared at the world conference (nor is that the reason for the picture of me with the police officer – more on that later). But the IABC World Conference caused quite a high by providing a rush of synergy and a wealth of information which sparked more ideas than I could ever accomplish before the IABC Conference next year. While I would love to share my twelve pages of notes with you, I will try to provide you with some of the ideas and presentation highlights. Happy Employees = Happy Customers: Sure it sounds simple, but it’s not. After hearing a presentation about how only 33% of the US work force is truly engaged at work at any given time, it’s no wonder how we (communicators) are struggling with brand management overall. A positive experience for a customer does more for your brand than any other form of marketing. Likewise a negative experience can damage your brand beyond repair. Internal communications and employee engagement is the front line – all other brand communications is support. Extra training and creating a brand culture will help your employees believe in your brand, and it will show when they engage your customers. Be Conversational and Clear: Guess what? Customers hate jargon as much as we do! In fact, research has shown that the more jargon and complex terms used the less trust the customers have in you. Customers wonder “why don’t they just explain it to me so I can understand it? What are...

Member Spotlight: Mandy Manley

Our July Member of the Month is Mandy Manley. Employer: Reliv International Title: Marketing Communications Specialist Years in the profession: 10 years Favorite quote: You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe What made you choose a career in communications? Inquisitive by nature, I have always loved to ask questions and hear the stories of others. There are so many wonderful stories that have yet to be told! From the day I started on my middle school newspaper, I knew I wanted to write and share stories. How have you benefited from being an IABC St. Louis member? I’m not from St. Louis and this can be a tough town for outsiders. Through IABC, I’ve met some really great folks and carved out a little niche for myself in this town. I look forward to the monthly meetings because I love to meet new people and enjoy walking away with new contacts. You never know when you’ll be able to help someone in the future! What advice would you give to someone considering a career in communication? Hone your craft by learning to be a fantastic listener (with your two ears and one mouth). Be curious and ask questions. Don’t assume you know the reasons for something even if it seems obvious. Seek out people who have made careers in communications and ask them to share their mistakes and triumphs, and then learn from both. Carry a journal and jot down these lessons and ideas everywhere you go. What do you like...

Does Social Media Really Work? 5 Take-Aways from our June Luncheon

IABC St. Louis’ June luncheon drew professionals from a wide variety of industries and experience levels. One thing everyone had in common was the desire to understand whether Social Media really can make a difference. We’ve been inundated with articles lately proclaiming that social is broken. With titles like “There is no ROI” and “One in five companies say they’re losing money in social,” it’s no wonder people are starting to question its true merit. But as our guest speaker, Brian Cross, explained, it’s understandable. Brian is managing partner and co-founder of Elasticity, a digital communications firm here in St. Louis. He’s also Executive Director and co-founder of Rally St. Louis. It goes without saying that we were all tuned in for what he had to say about social media. The truth is there are issues with social: The Community Manager role has changed, there have been reach and engagement issues, ROI is hard to define, and it’s difficult to tie social directly to sales, among other things.  Brian had a great deal of info to share with us in just an hour’s time, so here are the top 5 take aways from our June luncheon: 1. The sales funnel is no longer linear, because the purchase process is no longer a linear one! Rather than an upside down triangle (awareness – familiarity – consideration – purchase – loyalty), social media has changed the look of the funnel. The new sales funnel is filled with twists and turns. The two most important pieces being purchase consideration (word of mouth, peer comments/recommendations and online social behavior) and post-purchase experience (complaint or delight,...