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American educator, orator and political advisor Booker Washington once said “You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals!”

In that context, and bearing in mind the many and varied challenges that we have as a Board and community faced over the past 12 months: a flat local economy, a very flat local job market in our industry, suspension of the IABC accreditation program and controversial change and leadership at a global level, I would like to start by congratulating the current Board members on their tremendous accomplishments over the past year and thank them for their commitment and contribution.

The following table is a summary of the highlights for this year.


Leadership Development


  • All Board members and key volunteers attended the first ever APAC Leadership Institute held in Melbourne, November 2012
  • Selection of Melbourne as the host city for the first ever APAC Leadership Institute
  • Visits from IABC IEB members and Executive Director
  • 175% increase in Gold Quill Entries
  • 4 gold quill winners
  • 7 Bronze quills awarded
  • 17% increase in Accredited members (ABCs)
  • Melbourne chosen to be one of only 3 cities outside North America to host the first ever Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Judging Panel outside North America

Brand and PR


  • Partnering with other industry organisations and conference organisers on local conferences: The Global Alliance/PRIA on the World PR Forum in November 2012 and with the organisers of the Corporate Affairs Summit in May 2013
  • Stronger Profile of IABC Victoria within the Global Association
  • Two sell-out events
  • All events other than gala ran at break even or a profit
  • High calibre speakers and good turnout at all events
  • International thought leader Lucy Marcus as keynote speaker for the gala
  • Positive feedback on events
  • Strong attendance (10-12 members) at the 2013 IABC World Conference in New York


Student and Academic Liaison

  • Development of a content strategy for our communications
  • Growth of our Linkedin and Twitter communities to 220 and 750 respectively
  • Creations of a Board Chair for this function
  • 9 new student members – up from 0



Sponsorship and finance

  • 43% increase in New members
  • At least one meeting with each corporate member
  • Establishment of “new member” events
  • Two new professional partners
  • A number of new in-kind supporters/ partners
  • With cash reserves of $25,570 we have $1,674 more in the bank than at the same time last year

Thank you to each and every one of you whom I have had the honour and privilege to lead this past year.

In completing my term as President, I would like to share with you our members three things I have learnt over the past year; firstly that IABC Victoria is a wonderful community and that the contribution and investment you make as a leader of this Chapter is repaid tenfold just when you most need it, secondly every experience on the Board is a valuable opportunity to learn and develop – embrace that opportunity and finally never forget to have fun along the way.

From the outset I made a firm commitment to give Chapter leadership my all. Despite a busy and at times tumultuous year on many fronts I did so, at times investing long hours and considerable energy into driving the Chapter towards our collective vision and goals as a Board. In this time the Company I worked for (and yes I did have a “real job” as well) was going through an incredibly challenging time which ultimately saw it placed into receivership in March of this year – following which I found myself out of that said “real job”.

Whilst I was the sole communications counsel within the organisation, thanks to the time invested into building relationships with Board members for the purposes of the Chapter when times were good, I found in my fellow Board members an incredibly generous and supportive group of peers who were a crutch and lifeline when things turned sour. Their encouragement and advice was invaluable and made what could have been an incredibly dark and isolating experience into a wonderful learning opportunity through which I was supported and encouraged. In addition, since hanging up the consulting shingle in mid June I have to date had six separate work opportunities come my way. Of the six, five have been through connections made through IABC and three of those through Board members, or former Board members; people with whom I have worked and who have supported me in various ways as I learnt and grew in this role. The confidence they placed in me was humbling and the opportunities afforded – just when I most needed them – will not quickly be forgotten.

But my experience is not an isolated one, just within my own network I am aware of job offers, advisory Board opportunities and partnerships that have been formed as a result of this incredible jewel that is the IABC Victoria community. As is often said – what you get out of Membership and indeed a role on the Board is what you put into it. So to those of you about to embark on the journey as leaders of this Chapter, or those of you who may be contemplating doing so, please remember, that when things get tough – and they at times will – that the contribution and investment you make as a leader of this Chapter when times are good – is repaid tenfold just when you most need it.

Serving on the IABC Victoria Board will take you out of your usual area of work and out of your comfort zone. One of the best things about IABC Victoria leadership is the opportunity it affords to learn and develop. Never forget to embrace that opportunity. At times it will be scary but if you do answer the call and take that challenge – when you reflect at the end of your term about how much you have grown as a communicator, a leader and indeed a person, you will, like I do, look back and smile. It is a truly rewarding experience. Never miss the opportunity to learn from the role.

And finally, when taking on the leadership role – don’t forget to have fun. We have had an incredibly full and challenging year as a Board but a number of my Board members made a point early in their respective terms and repeatedly during their tenure to ask “Why are we here?” and “If we can’t have fun – why bother?” And for that I thank them.

Service of others in an intrinsically rewarding experience and as Board members we are here to serve our members – but we have also had fun along the way. Few will forget Ritzi Ronquillo and the video of the Philippines Quills or Jennifer Frahm’s Tarantino presentation at the Leadership Institute last November, the last drinks and giggles once all had left following our events or indeed the enriching and often tongue in cheek exchange of ideas following Board meetings. Yes it has been fun and I am honoured and privileged to have made some lifelong friends among my fellow Board members.

So to all our incoming Board members – welcome. You are embarking on a truly amazing journey. Do make the most of opportunities presented to you in your capacity as chapter leaders. And at those times when your responsibilities seem onerous – do remember the value of the wonderful community you are building and rest assured that the contribution and investment you make now will well and truly come back to reward you at the time when it is most needed.

To those contemplating joining us as leaders – I strongly encourage you to give it a go. The rewards are many and there is multitude of ways in which you can “test the waters” as a volunteer prior to making a longer term commitment through a Board role.

It is a testament to good succession planning that a president feels that he or she is handing over to someone even more capable than themselves and who is well placed to deliver what the Chapter needs in the upcoming term. That is certainly the case here and I look forward very much to supporting Zora and the new Board in the delivery of their vision for the Chapter. So once again – thank you to those who have contributed in the many and varied ways to the life of the chapter this past year and welcome to those who have risen to the challenge and are joining the Board this week. I look forward to continuing to see IABC Victoria, in their capable hands and with their passionate hearts, thrive and prosper well into the future.