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Travels with the Global Chair

The only problem with selling an exclusive offer is that somewhere along the way, you’ve got to make sure the product lives up to the promise.

The message from Head Office that the Global head of the IABC organisation – International Executive Board Chair, Sharon Hunter, was coming to Melbourne as part of a tour of chapters in the APAC region was exciting and daunting at the same time. Exciting because we had the opportunity to showcase Sharon’s talents and the international perspective of a leader at the coalface of communications practice to the brightest and best of Melbourne’s corporate communicators. So far so good. I’d had the pleasure of meeting Sharon in the US earlier this year, and knew she was great talent – erudite, engaging, a deep thinker and strategically enlightened.

I also knew that our chapter had great connections into some amazing corporate communications teams in Melbourne, from blue chip corporates with massive reach and scale, to traditional organisations working through transformations, to innovators carving their distinct niche and connecting their business with wider social themes. All would want Sharon’s perspective on the emerging future for the communications profession and her global outlook, but all would want it to resonate directly with their particular business type and be relevant in the local and regional context.

And they’d want to know what Sharon thought about the Robot Apocalypse, but I’ll come back to that.

Over an enjoyable but hectic two days of trains, trams, Ubers, reception security sign-ins and shiny elevator rides, that Sharon was able to have natural conversations with a range of communications teams on a range of themes said a lot about the depth of her understanding and her skills as a communicator, but also about how well connected practitioners in Melbourne are with the pulse of the profession and the contemporary themes that resonate with communicators everywhere. It’s no accident that our communicators are regular winners in the annual IABC Gold Quills awards program.

All of the meetings on Sharon Hunter’s tour found their way eventually to a handful of key themes; the renewed “Trump era” inspired push for a professional certification program for communicators, similar to the CPA for accountants, to drive internationally consistent standards of practice and ethical behaviour; the rise of data and actionable insights to measure the impact of communications activity, the need to effectively align communications strategy to business strategy, and the emerging and future impact of Artificial Intelligence (a.k.a. “The Robot Apocalypse”) on the way communicators generate and disseminate content and on many of the functions and tasks that currently dominate the working lives of entry and mid-level communicators.

While Sharon is now back enjoying regular life in Montreal, IABC Victoria members still have an opportunity to be part of the conversations that she led during her time in Melbourne. On Wednesday, 25 October, Wayne Aspland and Zora Artis will be hosting a workshop examining how the advances in Artificial Intelligence will help shape the future of communications. October is Member Month and a great time to join the IABC with discounts and other incentives available to those that join or renew in October, and in the next few weeks, the call for entries to the 2018 Gold Quill Awards is your opportunity to join with communicators from around the world to showcase your best communications projects.

There’s so much going on, even the robots are excited.

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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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