IABC Victoria Past President: 2008-2009
1. Tell us about your journey with IABC Victoria and why you nominated to become a president?
I had not long emigrated from the UK, when I had the fortitude to meet and work with Melissa Dark at ANZ. Melissa was one of the early Board members of IABC Victoria and who, in her term, cracked the record of 100 members! She was the one who encouraged me to become a member but not only that they happened to need a secretary on the Board. Basically, that was it. I was hooked as I have a real passion for the communications profession and where best to share it but through the IABC.
I was encouraged by Adrian Cropley to have a stint at the Membership Chair position, which I did and if memory serves me correctly, we ended up winning IABC Vic Chapter of the year for Membership. And then, another tap on the shoulder by Adrian and before I knew it, I was President of the IAB Vic Chapter. To be honest, I was not sure I was up for the job. But I had incredible support from the Board all of whom I have the deepest respect for and are true leaders of our profession and who I remain in touch with today.
2. This year IABC Victoria is commemorating its 20th anniversary. What have been some of the major changes within IABC and our local chapter that you’ve observed?
It is incredible when I think back how far the Chapter as come. When I was on the Board, we were still firming up the foundations. I remember working closely with Dr Jennifer Frahm on developing a sponsorship portfolio and working on a Memorandum of Understanding so that every person seeking a term on the Board understood their role and the commitment required. Whilst working on these fundamentals we also had to look ahead and be leaders in the profession we knew we needed to start leveraging off this new thing called ‘social media’. Twitter…OMG…I remember Jennifer doing the first ever tweet for me on behalf of the IABC and it went viral, which wasn’t that far in those days! Now look. IABC is everywhere and members can far more easily connect and share knowledge.
3. Reflecting on your personal experience, why do you feel it’s important for communication professionals to be involved in associations like IABC?
If you are passionate about your profession and you want to be the best you can be, then I believe it is essential you belong to an association like the IABC. You can learn from books, study and work hard but you can’t beat sharing knowledge and experience with others. Quite often we don’t get things right but by sharing these learns we can help others be the best they can be. I can honestly say, that my experience on the IABC Board was life changing for me and helped me develop and hone skills that I would not have had the opportunity to have learnt in my daily working life. It is something that I will be forever grateful for.
4. On Monday 29 July we’re celebrating our Bronze Quill Awards and commemorating our 20th anniversary. Looking back at your attendance in previous years, what do you look forward to most at this event? Can you share some of your favourite experiences?
Gosh I have been to a few Gala dinners now. But overall what I love about them is that we do take the time out to come together and celebrate what each of us has achieved in the profession. It is also wonderful, for me, to be able to catch up with past colleagues and members of the IABC Board. Because we, in my eyes, became a ‘professional’ family who had and still have the same passion and drive to develop and nurture the field of communications.
I don’t think I have any favourite experiences at the IABC Gala dinner except I do have a not so favourite one and that was seeing a video of myself on the big screen talking about a project I worked on that received a Gold Quill Award. I sounded dreadful and was completely over expressive which made me look even more nervous than I was. Please don’t do that to me again!
About Helen Taylor
Helen is a highly experienced professional communications manager, with 20 years’ experience across various communication disciplines and industries. She has worked for several major corporations including Shell Australia, ANZ, Barclays, Cabrini Health and Energis. This has afforded her the opportunity to work across cultures and appreciate complex organisational structures and issues.
More recently Helen has been working for JAW Communications, a boutique consultancy where she has expanded her experience in the not-for-profit sector to build and leverage her strengths in donor and community relations, with a number of pieces of work recognised for their professional excellence with an IABC Gold Quill. Helen has an ability to quickly build relationships and engage successfully with people working at all levels across the organisation. She enjoys thinking strategically and is adept at ensuring all communications are integrated, timely and appropriate for the audience.
From 2005 to 2010 Helen was on the Board of IABC Victoria and served a term as President.