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How IABC improves your life

By: Jan Graves

You never know what being part of IABC will bring your way. In my case, since joining IABC in 1990, I have served on two IABC chapter boards, the International Board, several international committees, Canada Eastern Region,  and I have become an All-Star IABC World Conference speaker. But the most exciting thing IABC has given me was an invitation to meet space shuttle astronauts and watch them launch into space at Kennedy Space Centre!


It all began at an IABC World Conference in Los Angeles when I had lunch with a Canadian IABCer who happened to work in Ottawa for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). We quickly figured out that the Robarts Research Institute (where I worked) was involved with NASA too and got chatting about Canadian space discoveries and research. We kept in touch a bit after that, and several months later she invited me to a CSA meet and greet in Toronto with the astronauts who were flying in the upcoming space shuttle mission. I went and had a wonderful time chatting with these amazingly talented people, one of whom was astronaut Dave Williams. Next thing I knew I got an invitation from Dave to the actual shuttle launch in Florida the next spring as a Canadian VIP representing my Institute.


This involved three days of touring the facilities at Kennedy and meeting dignitaries, technicians, astronauts and their families, and learning all about the shuttle. Aside from seeing Dave Williams again, I also met Marc Garneau (now Transport Minister of Canada) and Julie Payette (now Governor General of Canada) and had a chance to speak with them about their experiences. On the day of the launch, I sat with their families and my whole body vibrated as the shuttle launched them up into the blue. It was scary, energizing and joyous all at once and I will never forget it. What an amazing opportunity to meet these special people who are so talented and brave and are helping humanity reach for the stars. It would never have happened without IABC, and just goes to show you how wonderful making IABC friends can be!

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From student IABC member to incoming board president

By: John Gilbert

Being a board member for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) was not something I thought I had interest in when the IABC Golden Horseshoe came to talk to our PR class at Mohawk College in 2015. I didn’t really know what it was all about, nor did I truly grasp what PR was in those early stages of the program.

You hear the board members say that it’s a good idea to become a student member at the very least because of access to networking, professional development, mentorship and resources. A very reasonable membership fee for one year of testing the waters to see what it was all about.

In order to try and jump start my career, I made the decision to inquire about a board position. I was accepted and attended the summer planning session as one of two VP’s of Communications.

The next year I transitioned into the Sponsorship & Strategic Initiatives role which allowed me to expand my portfolio and grow into something I didn’t have a lot of experience in.

Fast forward to today and I am now planning a jump to lead the chapter. Scary? Yes. Intimidating? Possibly. Impossible? Definitely not. Attending Leadership Institute provided me with a foundation of understanding how to utilize my leadership capabilities and throw in a few tricks from other chapters at the same time.

IABC truly does open opportunities and also provides unique ways to advance your development in a safe and nurturing environment. If you’re a student who is on the fence about whether or not to join, do it! Trust me, I was in your shoes thinking it may not be of value to me. That small bit of ignorance almost cost me some fantastic opportunities and the chance to work with some very talented people.

Challenge yourself and you’ll be rewarded.