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 - http://www.linkedin.com/in/abbyhughes

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 emailabby@risingabove.com

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 www.mallinckrodt.com. 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 – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rebecca-lorentz/5/699/914

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.


Sharpen Your Pencil: Communication Measurement & Management Seminar


IABC Spring SeminarThursday, March 27, 2014
a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Frontenac Hilton

Register Here

Communicating without measuring? You’ve been there. Making sense of your social media metrics? You’ve probably done that. Managing content, budgets and communication plans? It’s all of our jobs! Attend this full-day conference to hear our industry’s leading communicators share principles and best practices on communication measurement and management.

IABC St. Louis Spring 2014 Seminar Program

Sessions and presenters will include:

• How Crisis Strategy Strengthens Day-to-Day Reputation Management
  Kim Link, Arch Coal, Inc.

• These Are A Few Of My Favorite… Social Media and Digital Marketing Reports
  Danielle Hohmeier, Atomic dust

• Engaging Employees to DRIVE Doe Run: A Business Strategy Launch Campaign
  Tammy Stankey, The Doe Run Company

• The Lindenwood Case Study: How Communications and Advanced Analytics Improved Its Customer Base
  Dr. Julie Turner, Lindenwood University and Don Bruns, The Survey Institute

• The Evolution of Brand: Mercy’s Experience
  Barb Meyer, Mercy

• Adapting for the Seismic Changes in our Business
  Christopher Barger, Author of “The Social Media Strategist”

Meeting fees:
$50 – Students
$125 – Members
$175 – Non-members

$30 – Breakfast-Only Option (Christopher Barger Keynote)

JOIN AND GO: Plus, if you join IABC in March, you can attend the seminar at the member rate and your application fee will be waived – that’s a savings of $90!

- Simply join at www.iabc.com/join, then register as a member for the Seminar.

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

Frontenac St. Louis Hilton
1335 S Lindbergh Blvd, St Louis, MO 63131

Complimentary parking is provided.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors:

TSI New Final Logo





Member Spotlight: Jim Phelan


Phelan head shot

Jim Phelan is the Director of Global Public Relations for the product lifecycle management (PLM) software business of Siemens, a global engineering conglomerate. In addition to his current role, Jim has held positions in media relations, marketing, sales and engineering during his 34-year career. He was born and raised in St. Louis where he has spent most of his life. Jim has three grown children, ages 24, 22 and 20, all living in St. Louis.

What made you choose communications as a career?

I sort of backed into it. I actually consider communications to be my third attempt at a career. My first career was as a mechanical engineer for McDonnell Douglas where I got some experience using computer-aided design (CAD) software. My second career was selling CAD software for IBM and my current company. Then, a little over 15 year ago I decided to get out of sales because I wanted to stop traveling so much. So I started talking to several executives inside my company trying to find a place where I might fit. The head of Marketing at the time was looking to replace his outside PR agency with someone internally. He asked me to write a sample press release as a test, which I apparently passed and got the job. I think I’ve written or edited about a million press releases since then.

Are there any common threads that tie your diverse jobs together?

The common threads are engineering software technology and communications. I learned engineering in college and gained experience with CAD software in my first job. I always had somewhat of a knack for verbal communication, which prompted me to take a job selling the type of software I was using to other engineers. My transition into PR at an engineering software company was a natural fit because I used my technical background, sales experience and written communication skills to develop press releases and “sell” story ideas to editors.

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

Know your audience! If you can understand and empathize with the various challenges that your audience faces, as well as the objectives they are trying to achieve, you can communicate to them on their terms and in their language. This will make your communication much more effective. Too many forms of business communication are developed from the point of view of the source, rather than that of the audience. After you write something, read it as if you were the target audience and ask yourself if you would take the action that the communication is trying to get you to take.

Has IABC played a significant role in your career?

Yes. In fact, just last year I won an IABC Gold Quill Award of Excellence for a global communications campaign I worked on with NASA, describing how they used our software to design, simulate and manufacture the Curiosity Rover that landed on Mars in 2012. It was very gratifying to receive that recognition and it helps validate all the hard work that went into the campaign.

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

Networking and knowledge. Even though I am a lifelong St. Louis resident, none of my jobs have connected me to other St. Louis companies and professionals. Other than the people I have worked with at my various employers, most of my connections have been outside the St. Louis area. IABC St. Louis gives me the opportunity to network with other St. Louis-based professional communicators and to learn from them.


5 Reasons to Add Video to Your PR Campaign



By Steve Turner, Solomon/Turner Multimedia Public Relations

Video is one of the hottest marketing and public relations trends.

The visual medium presents a huge opportunity to build brand, generate more web hits and add credibility to any marketing or public relations campaign.

In fact it has become a must-have part of the marketing toolbox for 2014. Here’s why…

1. Video is a great match for the growing need for short, “snackable” information. The growing use of mobile devices is creating a demand for messages that are brief, informative and entertaining. According to Pew Internet research¹, as of May 2013, 51% of U.S. adults owned a smartphone. In addition, as of September 2013, 35% of Americans age 16 and older owned a tablet computer. That number is expected to rise, providing marketers an excellent opportunity to tailor messages easily consumed by the mobile marketplace. Nothing works better for that than video.

2. Video helps elevate your company on search engines making it easier to find potential customers. Many companies create videos and post them solely on their website. However, that should be just the beginning of your video marketing. For example, YouTube² boasts some 1 billion user visits each month and six billion hours of video are watched every 30 days. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults, age 18-34, than any cable network. The growth of YouTube has essentially made it the #2 “search engine” after Google. And, by the way, Google owns You Tube. Therefore each video should be posted on YouTube. In addition, other video sites such as Daily Motion and Veho offer opportunities to post videos and increase viewership. These sites also offer analytics to make your efforts measurable against your targeted audience.

3. Video is ideal for connecting with your customers through social media. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social sites provide an outstanding opportunity for businesses to connect with clients and prospects by linking videos to their posts. The links provide an easy way for clients to view your content. As viewership increases so will the elevation of your brand as you generate more website hits.

 4. Video helps increase open rates with email newsletters. Studies have shown that placing videos within email newsletters helps to increase open rates by as much as 60 percent. Clients and prospects are more inclined to watch a video than read an elongated report or whitepaper. The use of video should be a key part of any email newsletter strategy.

 5. Video humanizes your company and makes it real. The use of video can showcase your company and tell your story in a whole new way. The video can include photos of your company history, footage of your current facility, interviews with executives and staff, and even testimonials from customers. You can add music and other production techniques. The goal is to create an emotional bond between your firm and your client as only a video can.

1. http://pewinternet.org/Commentary/2012/February/Pew-Internet-Mobile.aspx

2. https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/


Steve Turner is a Principal with Solomon/Turner Multimedia PR, a St. Louis public relations firm offering media relations as well as video, audio, PowerPoint marketing, and digital marketing. The firm was founded in 1990 and works with clients on a national and local basis. Steve’s blog is http://www.solomonturner.blogspot.com. The website is http://www.solomonturner.com. He can be reached by email at sturner@solomonturner.com and by phone at 314-205-0800.


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