In News

Jo Curkpatrick
IABC Victoria Past President: 2000


1. Tell us about your journey with IABC Victoria and why you nominated to become a president?

I first learnt about IABC sitting on a plane from the UK to New York with a colleague from the International Wool Secretariat. He (in between puffs on his Gitane) asked if I was a member and I had to admit I hadn’t heard about the Association. I began researching IABC as soon as I got back and joined in 1995 before returning to Australia. My first conference was New Orleans in 1996 where I met a small group of Australian members including my friend Meryl David from NSW, a great supporter of IABC. This group decided while we were in the Big Easy that we should have an Australian Chapter… and it started from there. I have been a member ever since and am grateful for the professional learning as well as the wonderful network of friends I have around the world. I nominated for President to help in our journey to grow the Chapter and promote the profession in Victoria. Plus, I am a serial volunteer.

2. This year IABC Victoria is commemorating its 20th anniversary. What have been some of the major changes within IABC and our local chapter that you’ve observed?

Size! When we started a local chapter, stemming from an Australian Chapter in 1999 we had under 60 members. Back in 1996 with the Australian Chapter I think the number Australia-wide was under 20.

3. Reflecting on your personal experience, why do you feel it’s important for communication professionals to be involved in associations like IABC?

It is an amazing organisation for the ‘caring and sharing’ attitude of members. In the early days we worked hard to ensure IABC’s values were maintained by incoming boards. IABC is about the profession, not the individual. We are about improving professional communication across the board and I think that has helped our organisation grow and deliver excellent professional development as well as great and enduring friendships. That said, as individuals our membership brings real opportunities to become better communicators and better people.

4. On Monday 29 July we’re celebrating our Bronze Quill Awards and commemorating our 20th anniversary. Looking back at your attendance in previous years, what do you look forward to most at this event? Can you share some of your favourite experiences?

Too many to mention here. But I have wonderful memories of being a Gold Quill judge and as you’ll see from the photo, back in 2001 I chaired the Excel Award Committee – This award was given to a non-IABC member who leads the way in fostering and participating in excellent communication. I stayed in New York for the conference with a friend and colleague from WA and we went to the top of the World Trade Centre, sending home a video to her partner, not realising that just a couple of months later 911 would send those horrible images across the world.

I also chaired the International Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Panel in 2003. I have wonderful memories of sitting on the floor in the former headquarters (there is no fixed office now) discussing scores and being amazed by the work we were reviewing.

I remember spending time with a colleague in Regina, Canada, dividing and planting iris corms at her holiday home – at last report they are now right down the driveway. I remember Meryl telling me I would need every minute for the Accreditation exam and needing every minute! Great advice that came back to me for the SCMP exam.

I remember waiting eagerly for hard copy manuals and books arriving from the US before we went digital. And so many more memories to come…including seeing my many friends and colleagues at the anniversary gala.

About Jo Curkpatrick:
Jo is a senior communication professional with experience and skills across corporate communication, employee engagement, media/journalism, public relations and marketing, in house and as a consultant. Jo has represented clients across the agriculture, environment, health, community, finance, science and technology, local government, tourism and education sectors.