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Member Musing: Jo Curkpatrick

1. Tell us about what you do?

I’m Senior Account Manager with McCo Group in Adelaide. Our Principal is Leigh McClusky who has a long history in media and PR and sharp as tack, so I am still being challenged and loving it. I have run my own agency and worked in corporate and government so it’s sort of nice to be just getting on with the job. I moved back to SA in late 2015 after a few decades away. Since returning to where I was born and raised, and after spending a bit of time in State Government I found my way to Leigh’s business. I’m probably best described as a generalist but I do have a real passion for good employee communication and it’s something I have always wanted to specialise in, you never know…

2. When did you join IABC Victoria?

I joined IABC Australia when we formed a single chapter in the late 1990s. I sat on the inaugural Chapter Board for Australia and I think from memory there were about a dozen members Australia wide. When we had enough members in each state to support a chapter we split and it has been onwards and upwards from there. Ireally miss being a part of IABC Victoria activities now that I am in Adelaide, but I did cross the border for Gold Quill award evaluations earlier this month. It was great to catch up with fellow IABCers who are not just colleagues but friends.

3. Why did you become an IABC Victoria member?

I joined IABC when I was working in the UK with the International Wool Secretariat. A colleague told me about the organisation and because I love to learn and grow in my profession I joined. After my UK secondment I came back to Melbourne and began to look for fellow IABCers. At about the same time I got an email from San Francisco asking if I would like to be involved with forming an Australian chapter, so I put up my hand and found myself on the inaugural board alongside my good friend Meryl David from Sydney and a group of other dedicated volunteers. That started my journey with IABC and opened my eyes to what the profession can contribute to a business. And with it came an international network of colleagues and friends always willing to lend a hand, give sage advice or some really good ideas. Since then I’ve served as Chapter President, on the Blue Ribbon and Gold Quill evaluation panels and a load of other roles. It has been a wonderful journey.

4. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing communication professionals now and into the future?

I suppose the biggest challenge for me as a communication professional has been keeping up with change and new methods for communicating. In the past couple of years it’s been harder and harder to keep up with the latest in social media, but I’m not giving up yet. I’ve often thought about getting myself a mentor under the age of 18. Another challenge has been the loss of interest in punctuation and grammar. Call me a pedant (please) but it is bloody important in helping our audiences to understand our communication. I say the apostrophe must stay!

5. How do you think IABC Victoria can help communication professionals overcome
these challenges and stay ahead of the game?

What I love about IABC is that as members we have a care and share attitude. We care about communication and we are willing to share what we know and give advice to help our fellow communicators do a better job. The more opportunities to care and share means more opportunities to grow our profession, do a better job and make lots of new friends. I guess that is what the Chapter can do – always keep that approach to improving the profession and those of us that work in it.

6. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in our profession?

Listen and learn and ask lots of questions. I came to business communication through the back door. My first degree (actually a diploma in those days) was in agriculture and I worked in agricultural research before joining ABC Radio and then moving into communication. So I always had my own little issue about not being qualified. IABC has helped me to build my confidence and the skills to regard myself as a professional communicator, and becoming an Accredited Business Communicator ABC really helped to tick the ‘qualified’ box. So get to events, get involved, and learn, learn, learn.

Join or renew your IABC membership in March 2018 to get 10% off your annual dues and go into the draw to win a VIP prize package for IABC World Conference in Montreal.

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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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