Member Spotlight: Mandy Manley

Mandy_ManlyOur 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 most about your job?
I’m a highly creative person and creativity and fresh ideas are highly encouraged at Reliv. Thinking big and trying new things are not only allowed, but also encouraged! Working with a group of people who are also imaginative and full of great ideas keeps me energized!

When not working, you could find me:

Cycling in Madison County IL, Grants Trail or Katy Trail. My husband and I love to pedal around this beautiful city and enjoy all the wonderful food, festivals and scenery.

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, giving feedback and advocating for a brand or product to those in the consideration phase).

2. The “True” value of a social media community is underestimated. 

If you were to measure these things:

  • Number of customers
  • Number of customers that can be converted
  • Number that can be moved to higher tiers (additional products, more expensive products, higher tiers of service)
  • Length of relationship
  • Typical sale total

You would learn the true LTV, or Lifetime Value.

3. It’s time to challenge the old adage “It’s cheaper to keep current customers than get new ones.” Given a finite budget, most people would split the pie approximately like this:

  • Acquisition     20%
  • Retention       50%
  • Development 30%

But… research shows that Retention numbers are set – there is very little room to move the needle. And while           Development does move the needle, it’s only at small increments. Development efforts are actually more expensive. So Acquisition is the best chance to move the needle. It doesn’t matter what costs more! Would you ask for the cheapest lawyer? The cheapest employees? No. You want the best… The Best VALUE. And that’s Acquisition.

4. Those who think Social doesn’t work are measuring the wrong stuff.  That’s right. Go ahead, read it again… They’re measuring the wrong stuff. What we need to measure is:

  • CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) of social customers
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score) of social customers.  Your NPS = % promoters – % of detractors. The average social media follower has a HIGHER NPS than your average customer. So stop trying to convert the non-believers (ugly ducklings). Just buy more swans!
  • Development opportunities of existing audience
  • Share of SERP (search engine results page) for unbranded buying search strings

5. Utilize the toolsets available:

  • Engagement
  • Reach
  • Sentiment

*And Remember… we’re ultimately measuring the VALUE of the community!

A big Thank You to Brian Cross at Elasticity for these top five – and an entire hour filled with relevant, insightful information. You can follow Brian on Twitter @vanceopel and @goelastic.

Don’t miss another IABC St. Louis luncheon or event! Follow us on Twitter @IABCstl and check our website often for the latest, greatest industry news and events!



Member Spotlight: Gwen Lanzer

Gwen LanzerGwen Lanzer is an internal communications consultant for SunEdison, Inc., a global leader in solar technology and energy distribution. In addition to her current role, Gwen’s career spans work in news media, public relations, corporate communications, and association management. She presently serves on the IABC St. Louis Chapter Board of Directors as VP of Membership. Gwen also is affiliated with the Washington University Skandalarius Center for Entrepreneurial Studies where she mentors student teams developing strategic marketing programs.


What made you choose a career in communications?

In high school, I wanted to be a journalist. I was smitten by the excitement and frenzy of breaking news coverage, of meeting new people, and staying abreast of local, national, and international affairs. I’m a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and still love of the mix of hard news reporting and feature writing. In short, I’m a news junky. I worked for a time as a newspaper reporter, where I found that feature writing is my forte. I later transitioned my communication talents into business and corporate marketing.

The most significant experience that shaped your career?

I’m a very resilient person today, which I attribute to rejection early on in my career. The job market was abysmal when I graduated with my B.J. degree. It took me three months to find a job and less than two months to lose it. Management said I had no writing talent – something I could not, and would not, accept. I made it my mission to study compelling and varied writing styles, and to take on diverse assignments where I could continually learn something new. Today, I have a vast range of writing and creative abilities, which have opened numerous doors. I’m a master storyteller who can craft and produce virtually anything – from documentaries to executive speeches to comprehensive corporate marketing plans.

How have you benefited from being an IABC St. Louis member?

Three things – camaraderie, contacts, and communication resources. I’ve found that IABC members are genuine; they share your interests and confront similar professional issues. By volunteering, you can build life-long relationships – contacts that can truly help advance your career. Last year through IABC networking, I helped land my son his first professional job. The inside information and knowledge you gain is indispensable. Plus, the international resources are simply outstanding. IABC’s global network lets you connect with a vast array of experts on virtually any communication issue.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in communication?

Follow your passion, but be open to taking a different path if presented the opportunity. Do everything you can to secure an internship with a reputable company. It’s the only way to learn whether your chosen field is a good fit. And, find a mentor. The insight, knowledge, and connections you’ll gain will help lay the foundation for future success.

A Letter From IABC St. Louis President, Shelley Lester

IABC President Shelley LesterHello IABC!

I cannot believe it’s already June!  I look back to the start of my year as IABC President and am amazed how quickly time has flown. This year’s board has done an absolutely fantastic job creating meaningful opportunities for our members and communications professionals in our region. Your time is valuable so we want to make sure the time you spend with IABC outside of your offices is helpful. It’s hard to find the kind of professional development and networking with seasoned professionals all in one place that our chapter has created. Some of the highlights from the past year have been:

  • A rocking Jail House Rock Quill Awards Ceremony recognizing some of the greatest communications work in St. Louis
  • A full-day seminar filled with engaging dialogue and many great takeaways to incorporate in day-to-day corporate communications
  • Learning from experts in their respective fields from companies including Mallinckrodt, Washington University, Weber Shandwick, Monsanto, Arch Coal Inc., The Doe Run Company, Lindenwood University, The Survey Institute, Mercy, St. Louis Area Foodbank, Standing Partnership, Obata Design, Webster University, Missouri Botanical Garden, Buck Consultants, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the author of “The Social Media Strategist.”

Wow, that’s some serious brainpower from which we’ve had a chance to benefit! And not only have I taken away concrete lessons learned from each presentation, I’ve had an opportunity to get to know more about many of your organizations and your work. It’s the connections that I’ve made that have made this year so meaningful to me.

As the board gears up for another year of engaging events, we welcome your feedback on topics you’d like to see.  If you have a topic and/or presenter you feel would be a great addition to our calendar, the Professional Development committee wants to hear from you!

If you’ve been thinking about becoming or rejoining as a member or, if you’ve been craving other membership resources (webinars, special interest groups, learning materials, mentoring), please share those with us as well. It’s the perfect time to start connecting with other communicators and accessing an international network of 13,000+ IABC members and a wealth of articles and research.

I will soon be turning over the reigns but I hope to see each of you at future events that promise to be as rewarding as those in years past. If you haven’t already done so, please consider registering and attending our June event: Does Social Media Work Anymore? Register today!


Does Social Media Work Anymore?

final Facebook-June-event

Social Media was the darling starlet of the marketing world, but as time and technology move on, people have begun to wonder if the luster has worn off.  CMOs have questioned its role in the marketing mix, ROI calculations still prove to be elusive, audiences continue to shift and the direct connection to incremental sales is just not there in many cases.

Which leads us to ponder…has Social Media lost its way?

Brian Cross from Elasticity and Rally Saint Louis will discuss new ways of looking at Social Media as part of the communications landscape and reset expectations of the medium as a valuable communications tool.  He will also go over new ways of collecting and analyzing data to help provide quantitative results to know that the time and energy put into Social Media are paying off.


Thursday June 26, 2014
11:30 AM - 1:15 PM

Meeting fees:
$30 – Members

$40 – Non-members
$20 – Students

** No-shows will be billed their registration fee to reflect the per-person meeting costs.

Maggiano’s Little Italy#2 The Boulevard Saint Louis

Richmond Heights, MO 63117-1122

11:30 a.m. – Registration and Networking

12-1:30 p.m. – Program

About the Presenter

Brian CrossBrian Cross: Brian is the Co-Founder, Managing Partner and Director of Rocket Science at Elasticity, a modern communications company based in Saint Louis.  Brian is also the co-founder of Rally Saint Louis—a non-profit focused on citizen-led crowdfunding and social sourcing of ideas for a better region.

Prior to his role at Elasticity, Brian was Senior Vice President and Global Practice Group Leader of Fleishman-Hillard’s digital communications practice.  Brian has more than 18 years of experience leading online marketing and outreach strategy, mobile programs and Social Media campaigns for Fortune 500, government, NGO, and NFP organizations.  Projects ranged from being on the team to launch the first iPhone for AT&T to launching the first text messaging campaign on a mobile platform for the United States Department of the Treasury.

He is frequently called upon by the media or conference planners to speak on emerging communications topics, crowdfunding and entrepreneurial development as he is actively engaged in startup factors including market feasibility testing, capital sourcing, vetting of business models as well as creative development of business ideas to help jumpstart the entrepreneurial community in St. Louis.

Mr. Cross holds board positions with EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) and is on the board of trustees for Marketing EDGE–the only national nonprofit of its kind solely committed to acquaint professors and college students with – and to engage and involve them in – the thriving business of marketing.

Member Spotlight: Mackenzie McNamara

MM Employer: BJC HealthCare

 Title: Coordinator for BJC School Outreach and Youth Development

 Years in the profession: 2

 Favorite quote: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten” – Anthony      Robbins

 What I (want to) get out of IABC: Although I have only worked in the professional world for about two years, I have learned so much by simply networking and listening to others. I have met some very influential people over the past couple of years and have gained valuable knowledge that I may not have ever received if I didn’t put myself out there and ask questions. Through IABC, I am hoping to network and learn from others, and also to develop professional skills in order to become more valuable for my department and for my organization.

What do you like most about your job? I love working for School Outreach and Youth Development because we teach K-12 youth how to live healthy lifestyles and how to prevent high-risk behaviors by educating them at a young age. We have come up with fun, interactive ways to educate students about their health, so they are learning, while also having fun. The testimonies that we receive from the students prove that our department really makes a difference in their lives.

What does life’s next chapter hold for you? My fiancé and I got engaged in March, so the next step is a wedding! We are looking into a destination wedding, which means a vacation with family and friends, too! I will also be starting the MBA program through Webster University in June, so I am looking forward to being challenged professionally and also learning more about the business world, more specifically marketing, which will build upon and also enhance the knowledge gained in undergrad (Healthcare Management with an emphasis in Communication).

When not working, you could find me: At the gym — my fiancé and I are into fitness and healthy lifestyles. At school, I will always strive to be a life-long learner. At church and with family and friends, it’s very important to make time for loved ones.

Significant professional lesson learned: Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t necessarily want to do in order to get where you want to be. My first full-time job out of college was a Phlebotomist. I had never had experience working with patients before and never dealt with bodily specimens, but I took the job in order to get my foot in the door with BJC HealthCare. I learned a great deal about health care, I met some amazing people and also became really good at drawing blood! I eventually applied internally through our organization to find the job I have now, which I am very happy with for the time being.

Member Spotlight: Abby Richter

This month, we spotlight new member Abby Richter.

Employer: Rising Above with John O’Leary

Title: Marketing & Media Manager

Social Media: Linked In -

Abby Richter PhotoWhat do you like most about your job?

Working for an entrepreneurial company – growing from inspirational speaking into a lifestyle organization offering multi-day events, online coaching programs, books and more – is thrilling! The opportunities are endless, the energy is high and the hats I wear are many! But what I love MOST is our mission – which we live and breathe and share with every client, partner and community member we encounter: “take back your life, ignite your possibility and change your world.”

For a girl who has been described her whole life as an “eternal optimist” – helping others find the silver lining and then thriving into their best life is absolutely where I am meant to be for the long haul.

What piece of advice would you give to someone studying communication? 

I have two tips.

First, get as much diverse internship experience as you can! If you start internships early on in college, you will get to see what aspects of communication you like and which you don’t - which will really help you focus on the right opportunities when you begin your job search. You’ll also have made lots of professional connections, which are critical when looking for your first job. Finally – never underestimate the power of the informational interview! Know a company you’d like to work for? A person whose career you admire? Ask for an informational interview to learn more about the company / industry / his career path and come armed with questions. This is a great way to learn from experienced professionals, network and get comfortable with interviewing in a low pressure setting. Also, when you land interviews, informational or otherwise: practice, practice, practice and create a portfolio of all the work from your internships.

Second, if you can: move away from your regional comfort zone for your first job. I moved to California for my first job out of college and I would not change my two years on the coast working for Girls Inc. of Alameda County for anything! The experience, independence and memories you make will make you a better person and professional candidate no matter where you land after.

What does life’s next chapter hold for you?

I just got married to my best friend in November, so this chapter is pretty unbeatable! My job at Rising Above is deeply rewarding, I love my team members and I feel professionally challenged. My family has their health. I’d say I’m hoping I can just extend this chapter for a while!

How has IABC St. Louis helped your career?

As a one-person marketing “department” I joined IABC in January to keep up on industry trends and build community / network with other small marketing departments. I actually organized a small sub-group that is going to meet monthly so we can share best practices, troubleshoot, brainstorm etc. if you are interested in joining – shoot me an

Branding a Spin Off: How Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Successfully Branded Itself for an Exciting Future

Thursday, April 24, 2014
11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Maggiano’s Little Italy

Register Here

On July 1, 2013, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals successfully spun off of its former parent company, Covidien. Before Mallinckrodt’s independence could be celebrated, the Corporate Communications team had only 18 months to strategically rebrand the new company for future innovation and growth while honoring its 145-year heritage in St. Louis. Highlights of the presentation include:

  • How market research can provide valuable data to help drive a branding effort
  • What it takes to globally launch a new brand to internal and external audiences
  • Valuable lessons learned by the Mallinckrodt team during the project

About the Presenters

Patrick Hastings: Patrick is the Corporate Brand Manager at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and a member of the Corporate Communications team. He oversees global corporate brand management for the Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals brand, including corporate marketing and advertising. His previous experience includes consumer marketing with a new market entrant for Women’s Health under the POISE brand and new product innovation at Kimberly Clark, direct-to-consumer marketing and digital marketing for all orthopedic businesses at DePuy Orthopedics (a Johnson & Johnson Company), Health Management program development at Express Scripts, and market management for Nuclear Medicine products at Mallinckrodt Inc.

Annie Haarmann: Annie is the Manager, Web & Digital Media at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and a member of the Corporate Communications team. She oversees internal and external web and digital communications projects, including Her previous experience includes digital and social media strategy for nonprofit, business-to-business and business-to-consumer target audiences. She is a member of IABC, a St. Louis Quill Award recipient (Award of Merit, Writing), a CORO Women in Leadership graduate through FOCUS St. Louis and a St. Louis Business Journal “30 Under 30” award recipient.

Meeting fees:
$30 – Members

$40 – Non-members
$20 – Students

** No-shows will be billed their registration fee to reflect the per-person meeting costs.

Maggiano’s Little Italy#2 The Boulevard Saint Louis

Richmond Heights, MO 63117-1122

11:30 a.m. – Registration and Networking

12-1:30 p.m. – Program

BuzzFeed: The Superhero of the Email Newsletter

There’s a great scene in the classic comic book Watchmen in which a brainiac superhero gazes at a floor-to-ceiling bank of television sets — each broadcasting a different channel — so that he may occasionally spurt out uncannily oracular predictions about imminent trends in world events. In a way, this scenario is the story of BuzzFeed writ large (and minus the tights): by filtering a myriad of incoming data through a few well-trained and intuitive minds, the site’s crack staff has an almost unsettling ability to tap into the proverbial pulse of the cyberverse.

But things weren’t always like this. A few years before BuzzFeed became the viral cyclone of culture-crunching quizzes a la “Which Putin are You?,” the whole affair was ready to silently fade into the ether.  However, things took a big turnaround at about the same time the site signed up Politico writer Ben Smith as editor-in-chief and Spinmagazine’s Steve Kandell in 2012. The BuzzFeed crew already had solid culture credentials — CEO Jonah Peretti was a co-founder of the Huffington Post — but the addition of Smith and Kandell seemed to have created a tipping point.


There was the team’s move to stir more serious issues and longform formatting into the mix, a decision made when Smith noticed that even the deep stuff was now proliferating via feeds. The staff’s ability to make advertisers happy with BuzzFeed’s seamless fusion of branded content didn’t hurt either. But it was really when BuzzFeed started leaning on the intuitive flashes of its people to go beyond algorithms that the site began regularly producing feeds with shares into the millions. You can feed all the Big Data into a computer you like, but it appears it still takes a spark of human insight to know the world is craving pictures of cats playing with Syrian terrorists.

There are always naysayers of course, and more than a few pundits have chalked up some of BuzzFeed’s buzziness to plain and simple plagiarism in the manner of Peretti’s HuffPost.  But it’s still clear that the guys at BuzzFeed are onto something.

Questions remain, however. Will the site’s template evolve into more sophisticated channels of information, or descend into an ocean of silly meme generators? And will more powerful algorithms catch up with approximating the human factor, or will success always depend on the ghost in the machine?



This is a guest post by Camille McClane. Camille  is a writer and researcher who enjoys creating content on        a range of topics, including tech, social media, marketing and video production. She hopes you enjoy this article, and is honored to be among such great contributors here at IABC St. Louis!

Member Spotlight: Becky Lorentz

Becky1 002

Becky Lorentz is the Marketing Manager in Towers Watson’s St. Louis office.  Her responsibilities include creating marketing opportunities that introduce and reinforce awareness of Towers Watson’s services and capabilities, generating sales lead opportunities, enhancing and fostering relationships with existing clients, and creating internal awareness of key marketing initiatives. In addition to her current role, Becky has held positions in marketing, sales, product and project management. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an M.B.A. from St. Louis University. She is an avid fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Employer: Towers Watson

Title: Marketing Manager

Social Media: Linked In –

What do you like most about your job?  The people! I work with a lot of amazingly smart and insightful people. Every day I get to come to work and help deliver Towers Watson’s expertise to our clients by connecting my colleagues with the right tools, the right content, and the right communication at the right time.

Favorite quote:  “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Dr. Seuss

When not working, you could find me: With 3 kids, I spend a lot of time going to soccer games, t-ball games, Cub Scout meetings, or wearing a tiara at princess tea parties. I also spend time perfecting my skills in Lego and fort building.

The most significant experience that shaped your career?  For a few years, I worked in Pharmaceutical Sales.  It was fun and challenging with a lot of successes, but sales is also very humbling.  The fantastic thing about sales is that both success and rejection are blatant.  I quickly learned that everyone communicates differently and in order to be successful, you need to tailor your approach and delivery on every call for that specific client – just because you want to talk about something, doesn’t mean that’s what the client is interested in hearing about.  I learned while some sales come easily, others require patience.  The amazing thing about building your sales and communication skills is that no matter what you do with your career, you will ALWAYS be selling someone on an idea, a viewpoint, an initiative, etc.  

Significant professional lesson learned:  I have found that the world is a small place.  St. Louis is smaller.  Never close a door. Never burn a bridge. The people you encounter – managers, clients, coworkers, perhaps fellow IABC members – you cross paths with again. Be smart. Be kind. Be the kind of person they want to remember.