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...

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...

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...

The Jailhouse Rocked at the 2014 IABC St. Louis Quill Awards

With a fun, slightly raucous new theme, the 2014 IABC St. Louis Quill Awards, presented by Towers Watson, brought with it a wave of new processes, tools and a party that really rocked the jail house. Nearly 50 glass awards were presented at Jail House Rock: A Celebration of Breakout Communications. In addition to the award presentations, attendees at the annual awards gala rocked out to Elvis Presley and other jail house tunes as they mixed and mingled at Mad Art Gallery, the old third district police station, in Soulard on May 29. A police sketch artist (caricaturist) was in attendance to document the “offenders.” Elvis himself was in the building and made for some great “selfies” that accompanied a social media contest hosted by Common Ground Public Relations. Speakers included IABC St. Louis President Shelley Lester, IABC St. Louis President-Elect John Twombly as well as Annie Rzepecki of Towers Watson, the 2014 presenting sponsor. Local companies Mercer and Monsanto were also recognized for their participation and recognition in the international Gold Quill competition. Those awards will be granted in Toronto at the IABC World Conference this week. From the 2013 competition to 2014 the number of St. Louis Quill entries increased 25%. This larger quantity of awards was more easily managed by both entrant and awards committee because of a new online submission and payment process. This same system was also used for the reciprocal judging with other IABC chapters. Entries were judged on their individual merit using the IABC 7-point scale of excellence, the global standard. Each entry was reviewed and scored by two communications professionals from...

A Letter From IABC St. Louis President, Shelley Lester

Hello 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...

Member Spotlight: Mackenzie McNamara

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,...