Volunteer Spotlight: Cheryl Foster


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Cheryl Foster is a Marketing Manager at Brown Smith Wallace, one of the Midwest region’s most prominent, locally-owned public accounting firms. Although Cheryl is a new, busy mom, she volunteered her time and marketing expertise for the recent IABC St. Louis Quill Awards. Read on to find out why – and what she thought of the experience.

What do you like most about your job?  

I love the variety and the fast-paced environment. No two days are alike. My team does everything from digital, social and content marketing to event planning and business development support for our practices and industry groups. While the demand can be challenging at times, the diversity keeps me on my toes and fully engaged.

What is the most significant experience that shaped your career?

Starting my career at Build-A-Bear Workshop allowed me to get a broad range of marketing experience very early in my career. I was there before the company went public, so there was great opportunity to contribute and take ownership of projects. It was an empowering experience that has shaped my career.

How has IABC St. Louis helped your career?

IABC has been given me a great opportunity to network with other marketing communications professionals in the St. Louis area. The organization also offers great professional development opportunities that have allowed me to keep pace with the many changes our field is going through.

Why did you volunteer for the 2013 St. Louis Quill awards committee?

Up until this point in my career, I had not volunteered much and I felt that it was high time that I got involved in something. I ran across the call for volunteers in the IABC LinkedIn group and thought I would ask to serve on the committee. It was a blast! I met a lot of great people and learned a lot about the marketing communications community here in St. Louis.

You should consider volunteering as it’s a great way to see what others are doing in the world of professional communications. In addition, it’s a great way to expand your professional network!

What significant professional challenges have you overcome in the last year?

Learning to balance my personal and professional lives has been something I had to do for the first time. I became a mom a little over a year ago and that’s been a huge adjustment. Fortunately, Brown Smith Wallace offers great flexibility for me when I need it, so I can continue to pursue my professional goals and be a good mom.

IABC December Event: Sharing Hope – How Doing Good Can Be Good for Your Business


Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have cancelled our December event. Happy Holidays and we look forward to seeing you in January!

Golden Cord FINAL VECTORLearn from this case study how Blick&Staff’s pro-bono work supported The Golden Cord Foundation and its mission by helping to make its inaugural blood drive a huge success through outreach to potential donors and media coverage to raise awareness locally of the benefits cancer patients receive from transfusions.

In addition to supporting the blood drive event, Blick&Staff has provided the foundation with strategic counsel in the areas of planning, messaging, social media and media relations and holds a seat on the charity’s board.

Learn from this pro-bono case study what results were achieved when these two organizations partnered, and what affect the work has had on both organizations. You will learn how your organization, whether a nonprofit, an agency or a member of the community, can benefit from pro-bono work.


founder photo - Jessica StegenJessica Stegen, Founder of The Golden Cord Foundation

Fighting alongside her husband Jon during his battle with a fiercely aggressive cancer in 2012 provided Jessica with a wealth of knowledge and experience she never expected to have at age 33. The journey she and Jon traveled with the support received from family, friends and co-workers continues to teach lessons of hope and love. Jessica currently operates her own special events consulting business, JLS Event Management, LLC. With more than 10 years of experience in working with nonprofit organizations, Jessica brings a unique perspective and expertise to the creation and development of The Golden Cord Foundation.

About Blick&Staff Communications

Blick&Staff Communications was founded in 1993 and is a full-service, public relations, social media and marketing communications agency dedicated to bringing fresh thinking to a select group of clients who want to make a meaningful difference for their companies, communities and customers. Rated as an A-list CSR agency by PR News, Blick&Staff helps connect brands with strategic and meaningful causes that build sales and brand loyalty.

Headquartered in St. Louis, Blick&Staff Communications operates satellite offices in New York and Los Angeles. For more information visit www.blickandstaff.com.

Samantha FisherSamantha Fisher, Executive Leader at Blick&Staff Communications

Ten years ago, Samantha Fisher traded in the news desk for the Blick&Staff conference table. Ever since, she’s been wrangling bears, bunnies and beagles from south St. Louis to South America. Whether it’s the Humane Society of Missouri, Build-A-Bear Workshop or Energizer, Samantha strives to build true partnerships with her clients – providing out-of-the-box thinking with seamless execution.

Outside of the office, Samantha goes for out-of-the-building thinking – enjoying summer days with her family at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, Missouri Botanical Gardens and playing outside.


Call for Presentations for IABC St. Louis’ Spring Seminar


“Sharpen Your Pencils: Communication Measurement & Management”

Are you an expert on one of these topics or have a topic you think needs to be shared with leading communicators? IABC St. Louis is requesting speaker proposals for a seminar focused on communication measurement and management to be held March 27. The deadline for speaker proposals is December 20 to Shelley Lester.


Measurement topics could include:

Market research, social media measurement, evaluating changes in employee actions rather than attitudes, analyzing brand recognition and response, integrated marketing communication results, meaningful measurement on a shoestring budget, QR codes, etc.

Management topics could include:

Best practices in communications planning, budgeting principles/how to, content management, supervising design/other agencies, strategic planning, reputation management tools, mobile strategies, etc.

Mark Your Calendars for March 27. You won’t want to miss this year’s seminar!

IABC November Event: Annual Reports – They’re Not Just For Shareholders


november luncheonThursday, November 14, 2013
11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Maggiano’s Little Italy

Register Here

Annual reports – they’re not just for shareholders. Our November luncheon presentation will be a panel discussion on annual reports and how different organizations use them to communicate more than financial results to key audiences.

Panelists for the discussions will be:

Michael Burger, marketing communications manager and a 12-year veteran at Monsanto. For the past five years he has been part of the Corporate Affairs organization focused on sustainability communications. In 2011 he was part of a small team that developed the first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report for Monsanto that followed the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) framework. Since then, Michael has developed a GRI B-Level report for the 2012 calendar year, and is currently working on the new G4 guidelines of GRI for 2013.

Ryan Farmer, communications manager at the St. Louis Area Foodbank since 2009. Ryan has transitioned the Foodbank’s annual reporting to a web-based format that supports story-telling about the organization’s mission and successes. Before starting at the Foodbank, Ryan spent nearly 10 years working in the radio industry, both here in St. Louis and in Des Moines, IA. He received his BA in Radio/Television Production from Drake University in 2000.

Kristin Gumper, manager with Standing Partnership where she provides reputation management counsel and strategic communications support. Most recently, Kristin completed The Doe Run Company’s inaugural Sustainability Report in accordance with the GRI standards. Kristin’s project management and copywriting efforts have landed clients numerous accolades, including several APEX Awards for Publication Excellence, IABC Silver Quill and Bronze Quill awards, and TAM awards from the Business Marketing Association in St. Louis.

Bob Prow, vice president at Obata Design. Bob is a corporate communications design expert with more than 30 years of experience in graphic design, creative process management and client service. He has produced more than 150 print and interactive annual and CSR reports for public and private companies as well as non-profit organizations. Bob’s work for an internal communications employee campaign recently received an IABC Gold Quill Award of Merit.

Moderating the panel will be John Hastings, IABC-St. Louis’ VP of Finance. John is a 25-year veteran of corporate communications and investor relations and has overseen the writing and production of 40 annual reports.

At this time of giving thanks, we encourage all attendees to bring donated canned and nonperishable food items to the meeting for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

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

This event is sponsored by Paradowski Creative.


Member of the Month: George Grimm-Howell


George Grimm HowellIABC garners its strength from the diversity, talents, and wisdom of its members. This October, we shine the spotlight on George Grimm-Howell, a 16-year member of our St. Louis chapter. George became involved with IABC as a student at Butler University. He’s since married his communications skills and passion for working with people to become Director, Talent & HR Solutions for Buck Consultants, a global HR benefits consulting services firm.

Why communications?
As a kid I was always interested in advertising and public relations. I loved the idea of fusing communication with creative concepts. As a student I was blessed to have solid writing skills. At Butler University in Indianapolis, I worked on the school newspaper and eventually changed my major from Public and Corporate Communications to Journalism.

The most significant experience that shaped your career?
My incredible ah-ha moment came several years ago with the accelerating pace of interactive communication. The ‘ah-ha’ was when I realized the ratio of print vs. online communication was going to completely flip in just a few years: 80%print/20% online quickly moved to 80% online/20% print.

The major issues facing today’s communications professionals.
Reduction in the quality of work is the most significant issue. The reduction in communication budgets means fewer professionals to do the work, and the advent of cheap and fast methods of communication often lead us to issue communications before they’re really had the proper scrutiny. A close second is the fact that our audiences increasingly don’t read, causing us to pare down content to the point where it’s almost devoid of true educational value.

Words of wisdom for young communications professionals today.
Expose yourself to examples of high quality work and surround yourself with people who are committed to the pursuit of communication excellence. (In other words, be active in IABC!)

If there was one thing you could change about your career choice, what would it be?
Since hindsight is 20/20, I now can see that I might have had even more value to my clients if I had studied more strategic organizational forms of communication rather than journalism. So much of our HR communication is essentially change management. Communication doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it happens in the context of what’s going on in the organizational environment. And the audience doesn’t read your piece only for the information it contains; rather, they view it their own lens as part of a process of validating their own world view. This is something I have learned over the years, but if do-overs were possible, I probably would study organizational communication.

How IABC St. Louis helped your career.
IABC has always been an important part of my professional life. It has helped my career by exposing me to what other excellent communication is going on in the St. Louis region and has provided a network of friends and acquaintances who help each other in many ways-from helping out when we have overflow work, to providing a specialty service that fills a unique need, to networking for employment opportunities.

Life’s next chapter.
The next chapter in life for me is navigating the experience of raising two college-bound teenagers, rediscovering the relationship with my wife after many years of busy child-rearing, and spending more time meeting interesting new people and wrestling with important ideas. Despite life’s experience, I find I’m never too old to change, to discover new experiences and to have my old assumptions challenged. I’m happy that I still don’t have all the answers, and I truly look forward to exploring the questions; the questions are usually much more interesting.

IABC October Event: An Internship Program for Your Organization – What It Takes to Get the Job Done!


Thursday, October 24
11:30 am – 1:15 pm
Webster University Emerson Library


From Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In internship snafu – to the former intern suing P. Diddy – internships are a hot topic these days. Despite these and other high-profile cases, internships are still a valuable investment for employers and students alike – as long as they are executed effectively.

At this month’s IABC St. Louis luncheon, you’ll learn how to maximize an existing internship program or start one from scratch in your organization. Our panel represents all perspectives on this topic – from an employer, to a student, to a university internship director.

Key takeaways include:

  • How can an internship program be beneficial to your organization – particularly in communications?
  • Why should your nonprofit, corporation or small business invest in an internship program?
  • What pitfalls should employers be aware of when employing paid or unpaid interns?
  • What tips do the experts recommend for establishing or improving an internship program?

Mindy Berkowitz is Director of the School of Communications Center for Portfolio Development & Internships at Webster University. She has more than 20 years in the corporate community, non‐profit and educational organizations. As Director, she has taken a small internship program in scope and size and has created a program with a defined mission, learning outcomes, and assessment plan that is fully integrated into the culture of the School of Communications. The Center assists more than 150 students within 16 different majors each year in securing credit bearing internships across the country and globe. Mindy also serves as Midwest Region Co-chair of the National Association of Experiential Education.

Ellen Flesch is the Senior Graphic Designer at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where she’s been designing and producing books, posters, signage, advertising, and more for 13 years. She started the Garden Publications intern program in 2002. With four interns each semester, she has now mentored over 80 former interns. The internship program has grown over 11 years to a defined curriculum and project assignments that teach students what is like to work in the real world before they start their first professional job. She has also formed an alumni program to help former interns network and find out about job opportunities.

Amanda Karas is a senior at Webster University seeking a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Amanda gained practical experience during her internship this past summer at the City of St. Peters. Her internship experience helped her improve her writing, event planning and more. She has always been interested in communications and has held several on-campus positions related to public relations and special events.

This event is co-sponsored by Webster University School of Communications.

Webster U

Unleash the Power of Social Media Case Study


September Professional Development Meeting

Unleash the Power of Social Media Case Study

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Don Sanford, Principal of Buck Consultants

Learn how to use social media to educate your audience about a key business topic. While social media is being used by many organizations to recruit talent and to create a forum for internal conversations, few companies have unleashed its true power to educate employees about key business issues. In this session, Donald Sanford, Principal of Buck Consultants, will provide a unique case study, with proven metrics, that shows how a “Facebook-like” social media platform was created to educate employees about a complex new business subject.

During a three-month period in 2012, Don worked with a company to launch the new site using weekly “news feeds,” personalized information and interactive quizzes, to drive key messages around an important business subject. He measured employee knowledge of the subject prior to the launch, and following the three-month period, to gauge its true impact.

This case study, presented at the IABC World Conference in June, explores the unique finding and impressive results achieved! It could become an important new way for you to communicate with all of your employees.

Register Today!

About Our Presenter

Donald R. Sanford, Principal, Buck Consultants
Don Sanford is a principal in Buck’s Communications practice and leads the St. Louis Communications team. He has more than 30 years of consulting and related management experience and has assisted clients with numerous human resources campaigns.

His past includes serving as the national leader for the Communications Practice as well as leading one of the firm’s largest offices. Prior to his consulting work, Don worked as an editor of a newspaper, as a manager of marketing communications, as an editor for a public relations firm, and as a manager of publications in a corporate communications group.

Don is a lifetime member of IABC and has received dozens of awards from the organization during his career. He is a frequent speaker on a wide array of effective communication strategies.

Meeting fees:
$30 – Members
$40 – Non-members
$20 – Students


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

IABC Discount on Ragan Communications Seminar in St. Louis


Ragan Communications’ presents the Social Media for Nonprofits Summit – a summit that will give you strategies to make social media an integrated part of your communications with advocates, members, media and other stakeholders. Join us at this even on September 9-10 at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.

Some takeaways of this event include how to: create a uniform brand across social media channels, prepare for and manage an online crisis, measure the value of your social media initiatives and use social media for nonprofit fundraising.

For a limited time, IABC St. Louis members receive a $150 discount – learn more here!

The Making of a Medical Drama at St. Louis Children’s Hospital – August Event


Lights, camera, communication!

From the large business to the small nonprofit, a video series can become an effective communication strategy. In this case study, learn about the St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s “The Frontline for Hope” – a moving six-part docu-series that takes you behind hospital doors for inspiring stories of doctors, nurses, patients and families.

Narrated by Joe Buck, the series aired on KSDK Channel 5.

At this presentation, you’ll learn:

  • How the docu-series evolved and its tie-in to fundraising
  • How patients, families and physicians were selected to appear
  • How the series was promoted to staff and the public through social media and other channels
  • How it was received and what lies ahead


Jackie Ferman, Media Relations Manager – Ferman’s responsibilities include coordinating traditional news media, social media and video/digital content. Before joining St. Louis Children’s in 2003, she worked as a television news producer at KSDK in St. Louis and at a station in Houston. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Suzanne Fontaine, Director of Events and Marketing, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation – Fontaine leads a team that raises nearly $2 million per year to support the hospital’s mission to do what’s right for kids.  She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Tulsa and a master’s degree in communications from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Abby Wuellner, Senior Media Relations Coordinator- Wuellner joined the media relations team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 2010, after spending five years as a television news reporter and anchor at affiliates in Springfield, MO and Minot, ND. She now assists with coordinating traditional news media, social media and video/digital content for Children’s. She has a degree in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Event Details

Thursday, August 22 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

11:30-12 Networking and Registration
12-1:15: Program

Ces & Judy’s
10405 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63131

Meeting Fees:

$30 – members
$40 – nonmembers
$20 – students

Register Now!

An Evening of Wine and Interesting Ideas


Join IABC St. Louis for an evening of networking, fine wine and dialogue on the power of nonverbal communications.

For more than a decade, TED Conferences, LLC has been fostering the power of “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Together with other St. Louis communicators, explore insights from a TED Talks video presentation by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. In the presentation, Amy discusses her latest research on the impact of body language to our hormone levels, feelings and behavior. She illustrates how “power posing” – even when we don’t feel confident – can in fact have a dramatic impact on our chances for success!

Have you been looking forward to reconnecting with your fellow business communicators? Then join us for what will be an intellectually stimulating evening with IABC St. Louis!

When: Thursday, June 20, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sasha’s on Shaw, 4069 Shaw Ave.  St Louis, MO 63110

Meeting Fees:
$30 – members
$40 – nonmembers
$20 – students

RSVP Here!

About the Presentation
Amy Cuddy is a Harvard Business School professor who studies how we perceive and are influenced by other people and vice versa. Her fascinating work on how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom has won praise worldwide. Amy’s TED Talk on power posing, posted in October 2012, has been streamed over 5 million times and is already one of the all-time most viewed talks on TED.com. Amy’s work has been featured on the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC and in Fast Company, Harvard Magazine, Wired, The New York Times, Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. TIME magazine named Amy as one of 2012’s “Game Changers” and Business Insider chose her as one of the 50 Women Who Are Changing The World in 2013. Amy holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton University and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado.