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mzl.dsmrfbhx.480x480-75Zora Artis, IABC Victoria, Board Vice President and attendee at the 2013 IABC World Conference in NY, USA

One or two of you may have noticed that I was a touch exuberant on twitter late last month whilst attending the IABC World Conference in New York. (In case you missed it, just search #iabcwc13 and you’ll find a plethora of tweets from the global participants at the 4-day event).

As a first-timer to the IABC World Conference, I was not sure what to expect. To me a successful conference is one where I come away having learnt something new and relevant, and have made worthwhile connections. Well I was not disappointed. Amongst the 1400 delegates, we had over 20 from Australia and NZ (including most of our local Gold Quill winners) and internationally renowned experts and practitioners in communications (all types). In typical IABC style, all were easily accessible and happy to share their knowledge.

IABC is undergoing a process of transformation and there have been a few hiccups along the way – most of which have been discussed in one form or other in social and other media. I’m sure some of the delegates wondered if IABC would address ‘the elephant in the room’. At the official opening, one of the four new IABC Fellows, Susan Salvo, did just that with her acceptance speech. The outgoing IABC Executive Board Chair, Kerby Meyers, acknowledged the year of change, the initiatives being implemented and the incredible number of volunteer hours spent by those on the Gold Quill awards revamp and judging process. On the Tuesday afternoon, at the AGM the new Chair, Robin McCasland, vowed to “…support every global member we have because the heart and soul of this organization is our members”.  

But what was it about the conference that stood out? Choice and content. In actual fact it was difficult to choose from the array of sessions on offer. Rather than overwhelm you with details on the sessions that I chose to attend, I think you should take the time to explore the speaker presentations available to members on the IABC site [contact us directly at for access details].

One of the many highlights from was the CEO panel discussing what makes a good leader particularly during times of transformation. The current and past leaders on the panel included Shelly Lazarus (Ogilvy & Mather), Dolf van den Brink (Heineken USA), Bill McDermott (SAP), Phil Griffin (MSNBC) and Peter Cuneo (ex Marvel Entertainment). All were illuminating and enthralling – ‘a communicator’s dream’. A quick summation of the key take-outs from this forum can be found at Stephanie Johnson’s blog.

Next year the IABC World Conference will be held in Toronto Canada. Having met a number of Canadian colleagues I know it will be another incredible conference. I’m looking forward to it in 2014 and hope that some of you will be joining me.