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It was only a few months ago that I was honoured to collect the most coveted Gold Quill, the Business Issues Award, on behalf of Transurban and VicRoads at the IABC Gold Quill Awards in Toronto. I called on my fellow Melbournians Adrian Cropley and Melissa Dark, who collected Telstra’s and Cabrini Health’s Best of the Best Awards, to join me on stage for a photo opportunity. We beamed with pride. Three of our nine Victorian Gold Quills were recognised as the most exceptional — truly special.

The time to consider and prepare for the Gold Quills 2015 is now. The call for entries has opened with the early bird deadline being 12 November 2014 and the final deadline 7 January 2015. For the project to be eligible it must have been implemented, published or broadcast between January 2012 and the day of submission. If you have entered the 2013 or 2014 Gold Quill awards but did not win, then you can re-enter your project.

There are a number of changes that have been made, including the simplification of the entry process for the Communication Skills division and the addition of six new awards for agencies and communication departments of corporates and not-for-profit organisations. There are now 47 categories across four divisions. For further information on the awards, check out the Gold Quill website.

To further assist you with your Gold Quill entry, we've also published an information page this month. The information page provides links to all the relevant global content as well as insights from past winners and judges. Earlier this month, for example, we held a members’ Gold Quill Roundtable where a number of the recent Gold Quill winners and Blue Ribbon judges shared their insights into the process. Don’t forget that IABC Victoria can also provide assistance with the entry process and can arrange an independent review of your entry. Further information and contact details can be found on the information page.


What’s special about October?

Three years ago I left a senior role as a strategy director in a creative services agency to start my own consultancy. I realised that one of the key factors to my professional success — past and future — was my network. I attended events and assessed the value of joining the associations or groups running those events. One of those was IABC. I have not looked back since. I found true value in the professional and personal connections that I have made at a local, regional and global level. I am comfortable in the knowledge that I can contact any member anywhere to ask for their help, their expertise or to catch up over a coffee or drink if I’m in their city. They too know that if they are in Melbourne the action would be reciprocated. I’ve also developed my knowledge and skills through professional development and volunteering, and I am proud to have been recognised with a Gold Quill for my work.

Why bring this up? From time to time I’ve had discussions with members who’ve lapsed or non-members about the value of IABC membership. Sometimes I share my story or that of others who’ve also secured jobs, training, Board roles and/or speaking opportunities through the IABC community. I think it is true to say that you extract more value through involvement. If you’re a member there are plenty of opportunities to grow your professional brand and profile, to connect to like-minded communication practitioners across multiple disciplines, for professional development, to share your content and to meet some amazingly talented people.

October presents the opportunity to do this.

During October, IABC is running an international membership promotion. If you become a member (new or lapsed) during this month, we will waive the $40 joining fee. You’ll also go into the draw to win either $500 a Starbucks card (not an incentive in Melbourne) or a Gaggia coffee machine (that’s more like it). If you would like to find out more then go here.

This month we are also thrilled to provide you with the opportunity to meet a leader who truly encapsulates excellence in leadership and communication. On Thursday 16 October IABC Victoria is proud to present Chief Commissioner Ken Lay and his trusted advisor, Merita Tabain, Director of Media and Corporate Communications at Victoria Police. We will explore the role of communication in effective leadership, engagement with multiple stakeholders, community and media engagement, and issues management. Please note that Chatham House rules will apply at this event and we will not be tweeting so if you are keen to be part of the conversation, then book your tickets soon.


Professional development opportunities

Outside of our local events, IABC is running a number of online workshops and webinars from now until the end of the year. Although the online workshops are run over a series of weeks that are at times friendly to the North American audience this does not mean that we should disregard the opportunity to learn from the experts in the field. All paid and registered attendees receive an email with the recording and link to the supplementary materials (e.g. slide decks and presentations) after the close of each session.

Two that I think would be particularly good are:

Prove Your Worth with Communication Research and Measurement

  • 22 October–3 December (weekly web session)
  • Presenter: Angela Sinickas, ABC, IABC Fellow

Employee Engagement

  • 4 November – 16 December (weekly web session)
  • Presenter: David Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, Founder and CEO, The Grossman Group

IABC also has an archive of recorded web seminars from experts presenting trends and best practices in communication. These are free to members and USD100 to non-members.

Wrapping up, I’d like to thank those who have submitted a presentation paper for the 2015 IABC World Conference in San Francisco. Naturally we keen to showcase the talent in Australia and New Zealand on the global stage. In the coming weeks as part of the Program Advisory Committee I along with twenty plus IABC colleagues across the globe, will commence the evaluation process.

Hope to see you all at lunchtime event on the 16th.

Cheers … Zora