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 2014 Silver Quill Awards with the international IABC awards process by offering an easy online submission process with our partner AwardSentry. Entrants submit a work plan and work sample that trained business communicators evaluate using an approved standard for communications excellence. You can find more on the webinars, Silver Quill and about the region at ppr.iabc.com
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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”
$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:
“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!
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.
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.
$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
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!
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.
Thursday, August 22 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
11:30-12 Networking and Registration
Ces & Judy’s
10405 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63131
$30 – members
$40 – nonmembers
$20 – students
Almost as soon as the question materialized – “What on earth?” – I remembered: My mother is the one who introduced me to IABC, many years ago now.
It was the year I moved to St. Louis to begin my career in communications. At the time, my mother worked for the American Red Cross, which is still located on Lindell Blvd. Her job was to organize blood drives in Missouri and Illinois. One of the staff she worked with closely was the director of public relations, Karen Isbell.
Then as now, the resident PR person at most organizations had the responsibility of taking photos at internal events. Karen had captured an engaging image of two coworkers – one of them being my mother. It was published in black-and-white, 8- by 10-inch glory on the back page of IABC St. Louis’ Headlines in 1979 as a good example of organizational photography.
When I arrived in St. Louis years later, Karen was an active member of IABC St. Louis and a recent president. She suggested to my mother that I attend some IABC meetings as a way to meet people and get to know the town. I took the idea to heart and quickly connected with my first mentor, a woman who extended job opportunities, support and advice over the next several years, a kindness I have never forgotten. (C.S., I’m talking about you.)
I realize now that I also should be thanking my mother, whose encouragement to join IABC St. Louis remains the best career advice she ever gave me. Thanks, Mom.
Next week, we’ll tackle another box and see what it holds.
Melissa A. Moulton, Director