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Member Musings: Mairi Barton

Chief Executive: Pinch Yourself Communication

Tell us about what you do

I love working with organisations to help them make the most of the good things and the best of the bad things through the use of effective communication and stakeholder engagement. I believe communication has a critical role in creating the right internal and external environment for businesses to be successful. After close to 25 years working across the government, corporate and non-profit sectors, I now run my own consultancy, Pinch Yourself Communication which officially launched in October 2016.

When did you join IABC Victoria?

I joined IABC in 2007, so this year marks a decade of membership. Cue streamers and champagne!

Why did you become an IABC Victoria member?

I joined after moving from senior government roles in Canberra to the corporate sector in Melbourne. The IABC felt like a better fit than other industry bodies I had been a member of previously, particularly given its integrated focus on internal and external communication. As a communication leader, I’m committed to continual professional development and being a member of an industry body like IABC is important not only for your own development but sets the right example for other members of our profession. There’s been a significant rise in digital and social media since I joined, and with that has come greater opportunities to be part of global communication networks online, which are another great part of the thought leadership and learning mix we can all access today.

What do you hope to gain from your membership with IABC Victoria?

Being a member of IABC Victoria gives you a strong sense of being part of a community of practice which is more important than ever to me now that I’m operating my own business rather than being part of a large in-house team. There are opportunities to network, tap into the latest thinking, share challenges with peers and access training and development opportunities. It also introduces you to a network of people internationally and I have made some strong connections in other countries which started from our mutual membership of IABC. Membership is also a chance to contribute back to our profession, by helping to fund the important and ongoing work on the ethics, professionalization and future development of our function.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing communication professionals today?

Ongoing disruption of the function and the businesses we support by things such as digital, social and artificial intelligence are significant current challenges and opportunities – each of which plays into the other in terms of the demands on our profession. The lines between various aspects of marketing and communication specialties are also blurring and there’s ongoing conjecture about where this will lead. It feels like the case right now that if you’re not experiencing any disruption or uncertainty, you may well be missing the point and heading for obsolescence. At the same time, given the power of social media to impact the bottom line, organisations are looking for a stronger strategic contribution from communication. The upshot of this a requirement to flex new skills, apply better measurement coupled with insight, and the ability to prioritise in the face of heightened demand. Having said all of this, I’m a big believer that some of the fundamental principles of effective communication – things such as listening and understanding your audience, and the ability to tell a story – have not changed.

How do you think IABC Victoria can help communication professionals overcome this challenge?

I commend the IABC for the work it’s undertaken over the past decade to contribute to the professionalization of business communication and to create learning and development pathways. At the local level, there’s an opportunity for IABC to help people to access this body of work along with networking and peer support which are important as people navigate change. IABC has a key role in setting a clear vision for the future of communication and engaging communication professionals with the tools, training and access to fresh thinking needed to navigate the evolution of our function with greater confidence and come through this era stronger and more integral to business than ever.

 

Join or renew in October and get 10% off international dues, plus the opportunity to win some great prizes!

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IABC Victoria is the world's largest IABC chapter outside North America. Through our active program of communications thought leadership, events, certification and awards, IABC Victoria can offer you professional development, connection to your local and global peers and global recognition that will set you apart from the rest.

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