IABC St. Louis Blog

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... read more

November 20, 2014 – Successfully Manage Your Communications Career

Are you well positioned to thrive in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing communications environment? Whether you’re at the beginning of your career or a seasoned professional, you can take steps to keep your skills relevant and marketable. Join us on November 20 for a lively panel discussion with four experts who will provide vital tips and strategies for managing your career. During the meeting, communications career experts will provide insights on: Making professional connections and optimizing networking opportunities Leveraging LinkedIn and other social media platforms to help you advance to the next level in your career Preparing for your job search: What recruiters look for; resume and interviewing tips; and salary negotiation tips. About the panel Frank Danzo, Executive Coach, Author and Speaker,Founder of Career Networking Pro (careernetworkingpro.com) Frank is skilled at helping clients identify and find the success they are looking for. During his career, Frank has coached, mentored and influenced thousands of employees and developed and implemented a leadership development program for senior-level employees. He has individually coached hundreds of clients and business leaders to improve their performance and trained over 4,000 additional clients on the process of networking and job search. He is the author of the job search book, “People Hire People – Not Resumes,” in which he shares his proven process to conduct a successful job search or career change. Barbara Deters, Founder of Deters Consulting LLC (DetersConsulting.com) Barbara Deters, a resume writer and career coach for the past six years, has a unique background in journalism, corporate communications and human resources that enables her to help job seekers realize their unique skills and abilities, and... read more

October 23, 2014 – How to Effectively Use Social Media During a Crisis

When: Thursday October 23, 2014 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM CDT Add to Calendar Where: Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel St. Louis 7730 Bonhomme Avenue St. Louis, MO 63144 We’ve all seen brands and organizations go up in flames online – whether the fault of an errant tweet, a product recall or a single bad customer experience. With the emergence of new communications channels, how do you manage a negative situation that’s unfolding live in the digital space? Lauren Melcher and Laura Garner from Weber Shandwick will share insights and case studies on how companies can best prepare for managing a reputation crisis. They will showcase key insights from training clients for crisis situations as they unfold on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media channels. The speakers will share: How organizations of any size or industry can use social media to develop a speedy, effective response to a crisis Key mistakes to avoid when responding to issues online Crisis and issues management changes over the last five years Register Now!* Meeting fees: $30 – Members $40 – Non-members $20 – Volunteers *No-shows will be billed their registration fee to reflect the per-person meeting cost unless contacting IABC St. Louis to cancel prior to 48 hours before the event. About the speakers: Lauren Melcher Senior Digital Manager Weber Shandwick Lauren Melcher is a digital strategist and social crisis preparedness lead for Weber Shandwick. She is the global product manager for Firebell, the agency’s proprietary multimedia crisis simulator, and has produced more than 30 crisis readiness simulations for dozens of international companies in the food, cosmetics, travel, insurance, government, healthcare and... read more

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... read more

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... read more

September 25, 2014 – Mission to Mars: Siemans' Out-of-this-World Communications Campaign

Mission to Mars: Siemans’ Out-of-this-World Communications Campaign Thursday September 25, 2014 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM CDT Add to Calendar Jim Phelan, Director of Global PR for Siemens’ largest software business, will outline the various elements and challenges associated with managing an award-winning global communications campaign. Jim led a team of communicators in more than 30 countries on five continents to execute a multi-faceted communications program that showcased how Siemens technology helped NASA land the Mars Rover Curiosity on the Red Planet in 2012.Integrating advertising, Web-based external/internal communications, media relations and other elements, the Siemens team worked closely with NASA on the Mars Rover campaign, which earned an IABC Gold Quill Award of Excellence in 2013.Join us on Sept. 25 to learn more about: Communicating successfully to a global audience Launching successful multi-channel communication campaigns Leading international teams Jim has extensive communications experience, including media relations, internal communications and websites. His background includes positions at EDS Unigraphics, IBM and Boeing. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.Where: BJC Learning Institute 8300 Eager Road Second Floor Brentwood, MO 63144 Meeting fees: $20 – Members $40 – Non-members $20 – Volunteers Register Now!... read more

Thursday, August 28 – The Communications Behind CityArchRiver, the St. Louis Gateway Arch Grounds Project

Thursday, August 28 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Ryan McClure, Communications Director for CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, shares innovative communication that defines the CityArchRiver project and its importance locally and nationally. Communication tools include earned and paid media, social media, a speakers bureau, video and more. He’ll also share: Unique approaches in promoting a better future The challenges involved in building communications from scratch for an evolving initiative A sneak peak at future CityArchRiver projects CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting the Gateway Arch Grounds Project. The Foundation partners with the National Park Service, Missouri Department of Transportation, Great Rivers Greenway, the City of St. Louis and other organizations. Ground was broken in August 2013, and many project components are underway including the Park Over the Highway and Central Riverfront. REGISTER NOW Thursday, Aug. 28, 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. Location: Maggiano’s Little Italy #2 The Boulevard Saint Louis Richmond Heights, MO 63117-1122 Time: 11:30 a.m. – Registration and Networking 12-1:30 p.m. – Program About the Presenters Ryan McClure is the Communications Director for CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation. He leads communications and marketing efforts for the CityArchRiver project and Foundation, which include all public information about the renovation of the Arch Grounds and its surroundings. McClure holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and previously worked on public affairs campaigns at Fleishman-Hillard and corporate communications at Safety National.   Tom Nagel is the Communications Coordinator for CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation. His work includes... read more

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... read more

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... read more