Thinking Big Data – March 22, 2017

Event recap by Alexandra Darras and the IABC event committee at Leeds University.

“Maurice Keyworth is filling up! About to start!”. 22nd of March 2017, 6.20 pm, the social media team is calling out for latecomers as the conference will begin shortly. “Thinking Big Data” came up as the completion of three months months of work from the organising team.

The “Thinking Big Data” adventure began in December, when the Corporate Communication Marketing and Public Relations (CCMPR) students have been invited to volunteer to carry on the alliance between Leeds University Business School and the IABC UK, and organise a networking event involving both parties for the second consecutive year.

Nineteen students have been involved in the organisation, all split up into different poles to ensure every aspect of the event was covered. Nonetheless, even though each had a specific task to focus on, everybody have taken part in the discussions and decisions for each step of the organisation process.

The team has come across a fierce debate about the theme of the event. Many ideas were raised, such as crisis communication, or how to communicate CSR effectively. All of the members have passionately defended their favorite topic, and big data eventually emerged as the winner. Once the theme set up, Daniel Schraibman – Board Director of IABC UK – has kindly gone through his extensive IABC network to invite speakers who would be able to deliver compelling and complementary talks revolving around Big Data.

The event has been advertised on Facebook and Twitter as they seem to be privileged platforms used by the university to communicate with students – and also allow to share all sorts of content, from short reminders about the night to longer posts describing the programme for instance.

On the D-Day, the whole team was present and made a wonderful job ensuring the smooth progress of the event. The festivities kicked off at 6pm with a cup of tea and biscuits, as a welcome to all the guests, and an opportunity for the speakers to meet and have a friendly chat before the start of the conference.

Moving on to the speeches then, Matthew Nowell, Paul Brennan, Janet Morgan and Stuart McRae gave excellent talks, each of them considering big data under a different angle – based on their own experiences- giving the audience complementary insights about this vast topic. Attendees’ feedback was very positive, all the guests that have been interviewed afterwards turned out being extremely satisfied with the content of the conference, and the speakers’ obvious professionalism, knowledge, and pedagogy.

A lively discussion ensued as speakers interacted during each other’s talks, when their field of expertise overlapped.

Click here to read an extended version of this post.

View the presentations below:

Stuart McRae

Janet Morgan

Matthew Nowell


Taking your career to the next level


downtown-montrealiabc montreal


As a former President of IABC UK, I am delighted to have been invited by IABC/Montréal (Canada)  to deliver a workshop to members later this month on business partnering.

As communication functional experts, we often feel that we struggle to make an impact at senior business level.  We have a different balance to achieve: how to work at the intersection of advice and expertise, while demonstrating solid business acumen to cement a reputation as credible advisors.

This is a tricky challenge but luckily it is one with many answers. In this workshop, I will share ideas to help communicators boost their skills and develop their careers, drawing on an eclectic mix of sources from Bob Dylan, PwC, ornithology, among others. This workshop is applicable to both in-house and agency practitioners.

You can find out more about this event – example of Global IABC in action – here:

If you happen to be in Montreal that day, please do come along!

If you would like more information about this workshop – with a view to having a session in London – please do get in touch.

IABC UK lands in Leeds

We’re delighted to welcome 80 new members from Leeds University Business School (LUBS) to the UK chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC UK).

Tony Byng, Programme Director – Corporate Communications, Marketing and Public Relations at LUBS said, “This partnership couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. We are in the process of designing a new Masters Programme in Corporate Communications, Marketing and Public Relations, starting in September 2016.

“We will be seeking to forge a mutually beneficial relationship with IABC members as we continue to develop and deliver cutting edge teaching content in conjunction with industry.”

IABC Leeds image 1

Casilda Malagon, IABC UK President said: “The UK chapter has traditionally had a large number of professional members in and around London. Over the last two years, the board set itself a number of objectives. Firstly, we looked at how we could expand and use our global network –the biggest in the world- to connect with the rest of the UK.

“Secondly we wanted to engage with our existing members, who cover the full spectrum of communication disciplines, and ensure they got enough value for their membership. Thirdly, we wanted to create long-term, sustainable relationships with the next generation of communicators. This new partnership with Leeds University helps us to progress all of these goals.”

Growth in student membership

Over the last 18 months, IABC UK has formed partnerships with the London College of Communications, Bournemouth University and now LUBS. This has not only increased overall membership but has also changed the shape of the chapter with a better balance between professional and student members, a younger age profile and a more international focus for the chapter.

IABC Leeds image 2

For a lot of students, it can be difficult to gain practical communications experience before they graduate. By getting involved in IABC events and activities, all our members gain new knowledge and skills that can make a real difference to them landing their next job.

Mentoring programme

When I was at university, I wasn’t aware of all the organisations and types of communications roles that were out there. One of the benefits of being an IABC member is the free mentoring programme which is available to everyone.

For the mentee, it means that you can find out more from professionals about particular sectors or areas of communications. This means that you can make informed decisions about what career route to explore further, and you’ve also got a head start in landing your next role as you have built connections with people already working in that field.

Mentoring is also positive for the mentor as you can learn a great deal from your mentee, it helps you to reconnect with your own skills and abilities, improve your team management and coaching skills and could mean that you’ve found a good candidate for your organisation.

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At LUBS, Lynn Pattison is the Professional Development Tutor – Marketing Division is responsible for forging better links between the university and outside organisations. “IABC provides an excellent opportunity for our students to engage with their global network of communication professionals, and for us to showcase the remarkable talent that we have here at LUBS.” said Lynn.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or mentee, drop us a line.

Developing IABC across the UK and offering better value to members

One of the main benefits of IABC membership is building connections with communicators in the UK and across the world and we’ve tried to help make that happen.

Firstly, the IABC globally, the IABC in Europe Middle East and North Africa and the UK chapter have all revamped their websites with more and better content. There’s also active social media channels so you can learn from or ask question of your fellow members, or engage in a debate on a communications issue.

Secondly, we’re running more events across the UK. We had our first event in South West England in Bath in 2014 in partnership with the South West Corporate Communicators LinkedIn group. We were very privileged to have social media experts Shel Holz and Dana Poole travel from San Francisco and London respectively to share their thoughts on where they saw the industry going.

On the 24 February, we’re excited to have our first event the North East of England in Leeds. We’re expecting a good turnout with more than 100 people attending. There’s going to be some entertaining and insightful observations from the speakers in our Rapido session (no more than five minutes each and five slides) and time to network with communications colleagues. If that’s not enough to tempt you, drinks and nibbles will be provided and the event is free to both members and non-members. However places are limited and so you’ll need to book here.

Dr. Kendi Kinuthia – Senior Teaching Fellow and Module Leader – Corporate Communications said, “Our mission at Leeds University Business School is to ‘make an impact on business and society globally through leadership in research and teaching. As such, we look forward to connecting with IABC’s global network and see this as a great opportunity to share our world class research.”

As most of us involved in the IABC are volunteers, the chapter is only as good as the energy and enthusiasm of its members so if you would like to help organise, sponsor or speak at an event where you are, get in touch: [email protected]

Daniel Schraibman is board member of IABC UK and Director of communications, coaching and business consultancy Serekinti


Useful links


IABC UK Flickr

IABC UK FourSquare

IABC UK Google+

IABC UK Pinterest

IABC UK SlideShare

IABC UK Twitter

IABC Europe Middle East & Africa website

IABC global website

Free Networking Event in Leeds

The IABC is hosting a free networking event in collaboration with Leeds University Business School.

Date: Wednesday 24th February 17:30-20:30

Place: Maurice Keyworth Building – University of Leeds. Moorland Road. Leeds LS6 1AN GB.

This event aims to help communicators establish new connections and gain knowledge. There will be a number of speakers from various industries and sectors. Here are the details on the speakers and topics confirmed so far:

  • Tim Hart, Principal at Grá Group – Reality bites: communicating by and for small business
  • Lesley Crook, Digital Transformation Adviser from Enterprise Strategies – Social networking business value in the workplace
  • Sarah Hakewill, Consultant at recruitment firm VMA – How to land a communications job
  • Ezri Carlebach, Senior Associate, PR Network and Visiting lecturer at the University of Greenwich – The four skills of the future communicator
  • Daniel Schraibman, Director, Serekinti – Lost in translation – the perils of international communications

In addition, we will be hosting our own IABC UK ‘rapido’, 5-minute-long sessions followed by questions and answers.

Thanks to the support of Leeds University, the event is completely free for both IABC and non-IABC members. Refreshments will also be provided.

Spaces are limited so we do still require you to book tickets here:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Evolving Internal Communications

Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) on platforms like Office 365 Yammer, Slack, Jive, Salesforce Chatter, IBM Connections, and currently in beta-test — Facebook at Work, we’re facing emerging office “change behaviour” that should not be left to nature (IT) for employee adoption and understanding.


Most traditional IT programs are out of date in today’s business world. ESN requires enterprise-wide “nurturing” by Internal Communications, Knowledge Management, Organisational Development, Human Resources, and IT to create a sustainable network and groups that demonstrate business value.


You might find these top 5 reasons why social enterprises fail, helpful! And take a look at some of the hundreds of ESN success stories freely available across all sectors.


IABC-UK board member, Lesley Crook was recently interviewed by Gloria Lombardi. “It’s going to be a slow burn of evolution, rather than a revolution.” Where some organisations will be ready to take enterprise social to the next level not before a good few years. There are some challenges to face. They may be different for each company. The “command and control” management structure still exists inside some companies. Some businesses might be strong on external channels such as Twitter or Facebook, but their internal “digital transformation” is still in its infancy. “Many leaders value external social media and are appreciating the value of employee advocacy. However, they don’t use the same technique internally. They don’t take the time to be visible and hear the employee voice.”


And, if you think that it’s just a generational thing, think again. It’s about mind-set. As Lesley puts it: “People of all ages are comfortable with social networking. Passionate about it and totally get it. Other people are not. Tools are getting simpler and need no training. Management and employees need to consider to change their behaviour, and cut down “email trees” and look to collaborative platforms for better ways working. Just as they have done over the years changing their behaviour from: a secretary taking down dictation, to all of us using office email, then file shares, and then instant messaging.


And, with the surprise leading Microsoft announcement yesterday, that any organisation with an Office 365 license will gain access to Yammer and have it automatically activated. This looks like a game changer for office email behaviour and Yammer competition!


For more on the business value of changing office email behaviour take a look at Working Out Loud in A Network #wolan approach developed by Lesley. It demonstrates the relevance of turning digital collaboration (ESN) into your “internal DNA”, and the power of introducing intelligent hashtags. This approach has been endorsed by Microsoft, Digital Workplace Group (DWG) and GSK German Works Council.


Lesley will be part of an IABC-UK event in May on the future of work. In the meantime, you can find her on our IABC-UK LinkedIn group as community manager, and one of our regular Tweeters along with Gay Flashman.


IABC members can also contact Lesley Crook directly, ready to answer any questions that you might have in order to take this exciting culture change to the next step with your employees, staff, leaders, customers, clients and partners.