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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.

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