Looking back on 2016-17

It was a good year for the IABC EMENA Region. We regained a solid financial footing by reducing costs, grew our social media following through a regular cadence of communication, reviewed our dues structure, and launched new initiatives that will keep our region moving forward, assist our constituent chapters, and add value for our members.

During our AGM on Wednesday, 28 June, we provided a recap of the year, including our achievements, highlights, challenges and financial results. Members in attendance also officially ratified the 2017-18 IABC EMENA board slate.

2016-17 Highlights

Here are some of the year’s highlights for the region, in no particular order:

  • Continued to see success with our free webinars, a total of six this year, which attracted both members and non-members
  • Hosted our first ever Open Space networking event in Brussels
  • Held a Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Panel evaluation session in London
  • Held a successful EuroComm conference in London – under the umbrella theme “Transformation: adapt, invent, evolve” – bringing together almost 100 communicators from across the region
  • Received in-kind sponsorship of €15,000
  • Celebrated a total of 16 local Gold Quill winners: 6 Excellence Awards and 10 Merit Awards
  • Represented the region at the Leadership Institute in Dallas, Texas, the 2017 IABC AGM, and the IABC World Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Built on our successful web platform, iabcemena.com; monthly visitors doubled to 2,000 in last 12 months (up from just 100 in Nov 2015)
  • Celebrated passing the 2,000 followers milestone on Twitter, our primary driver of engagement
  • Brought together chapter and region leaders for in-person meetings in London and Brussels
  • Launched a monthly Region Roundup newsletter to all our chapter leaders
  • Supported the launch of a new development chapter in the Gulf
  • Tabled a proposal for the consolidation of non-performing chapters; facilitated the closure of IABC France
  • Hosted IEB members virtually and in person (LI and EuroComm and chapter events)
  • Total members in the IABC EMENA Region as at 23 June: 389

EMENA Volunteer of the Year

As chair, I have a very special responsibility (a pleasure, really) and that’s to choose the region’s volunteer of the year. It is my honour to announce that this accolade goes to long-time IABC member and serial volunteer, Susan Walker

Despite not officially being part of chapter or regional leadership, she was the driving force behind an IABC event in Dublin in October 2016. She kept the region board informed and she engaged with local communicators as the planning for the event developed. And she generously drew on her own resources, time and contacts to make it a reality.

The event was very well attended and its success is an example of what can be achieved with virtually no funding, but plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and good planning. So thank you, Susan, for all you do and have done for IABC.

More thank-yous

Everyone who leads IABC does so as a volunteer, spending precious time away from family and work commitments to do so.  Thank you to the 2016-17 EMENA region board. You’ve been an awesome team. You all know what you’ve personally done for IABC in the last year, and I thank you for your valuable contribution to the EMENA region during your time on the board. 

On behalf of the outgoing EMENA board, I would like to thank Sharon Hunter for her support of the region; her empathy, professional acumen and sense of duty to the profession bode well for IABC for the coming year under her leadership as International Chair.

And a personal thank you from me to what I privately call “my IABC Gentleman’s Club” – Neil Griffiths, Michael Nord, Russell Grossman and Michael Ambjorn. Your guidance, support, willingness to share your vast institutional knowledge, and just generally the example you set through your professionalism and ongoing advocacy for our profession is truly inspiring.

To quote a fellow IABC Council of Regions member, we don’t always know the ways we touch and inspire those we lead, but I know we do. I am grateful to each one of you for keeping me learning about leading. It’s among the things I’m proudest of in my IABC career, and it also made me proud to work with all of you.

Handing over the reigns

Which brings me to the EMENA Region Board for 2017-18. Welcome “a-board”! As a group we represent a good cross-section of skills and experience combined with youth and energy, as well as being a very international bunch (which is both befitting and beneficial for our region) – we variously live in France, the UAE, Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium, and the UK.

Incoming region chair Alex Malouf has highlighted a few areas that the board will be concentrating its efforts on, including: 

  • Resolving the issue of under-performing chapters
  • Rethinking our events strategy
  • Creating Centres of Excellence
  • Improving our media and marketing outreach

IABC leaders have never been known to shy away from a challenge and under Alex’s leadership I am confident that the next 12 months will see us move the needle on growing membership while evolving the way we operate as an association in the region in order to better serve our chapter leaders and our members. 

I look forward to a productive and – more importantly – FUN year with you all.

Nikki Edwards 
2016-17 Region Chair

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