IABC Russia: Energy of Commitment

I’m sitting here in a small office, behind heaps of paper and a computer screen resembling a chamomile flower because of ‘Post It’ notes stuck to it. Once I tried to count all the projects I manage or facilitate: Gold Quill, accreditation, the GlobalComm conference, programs on TV, membership, site support and editing, student relations, round tables… Phew!… being in a team of community leaders is demanding. But the addictive allure of challenge and responsibility makes me energetic and reminds how much we have achieved.

It didn’t happen all at once. The Russian chapter of IABC was founded in 2001 by Vitaly Rasnitsyn. Vitaly not only started the chapter’s development and promotion but also actively interacted with the Regional Board of the Association. As a Board member he consistently demonstrated that Russian communication professionals were mature enough to cooperate on equal terms with their peers from other countries.

When Andrey Lapshov took over as a president in December 2007, he gave fresh impetus to the chapter. In less than a year the membership grew tenfold from six people to more than sixty. This achievement was acknowledged by the leadership of the IABC at the Eurocomm Conference in February 2009.

After the financial crisis hit, some professionals didn’t renew their membership but now, again more and more specialists join the chapter and engage in its activities.

The structure of IABC Russia was defined at the first constitutive meeting of Andrey Lapshov’s presidency. The chapter has a strategic council and several committees governed by the board of directors. The directions in which the committees function, cover different areas of the communication profession, including media relations, social responsibility, international relations, government relations, social media etc.

Recently two new committees emerged: one for scientific relations and another for measurement of communication efficiency. Both topics are regarded as a top priority by the administration of the chapter. Efficiency is a key factor in professional development of the community, and it became even more important as business started to expect sound financial substantiation of communication campaigns. Scientific relations are a new but strategic field to apply communication technologies. Relations between scientists, business and government may help to propel the growth of the Russian economy. As advancement in science and innovation is of topical interest for the federal government, this direction gains the support of different audiences including top-notch officials.

One of the crucial achievements of the chapter is the launch of the Gold Quill recognition program in Russia. Now Russian communicators may apply in their native language, which became the fourth among the official languages of the program. In the first year, 8 applications were made, and two of them were shortlisted for the second tier.

Despite the instability of the national economy, the chapter continues to expand its activities. Now the administration regularly conducts master classes, presentations, round tables and research. The partnership with the leading Russian news and information agency, RIA Novosti, gives an opportunity to organize the events at the highest level and attract the attention of multiple target groups, especially the professional community.

In the next few months the administration of IABC Russia plans to present a research in GR and a draft lobbying bill, to gather IABC members and other communicators at a chapter’s open meeting, to organize a scientific relations press conference, to deliver communication training and do a lot of other things to promote the IABC and provide services, activities, and networking opportunities to help people achieve professional excellence and drive the success of their organizations through effective communication strategies and practices.

Alena Vasiltsova,
Executive Director of IABC Russia