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Member Musing: Tim James

Tell us about what you do.
I head up the Corporate Affairs and Communications practice at Ampersand International Melbourne and am a Director of the business on a day to day level. I work with organisations, communications and corporate affairs teams and individuals to either resource their corporate affairs and communications requirements or create a pathway for those looking for their next career opportunity.

We capture all levels from executive and head of function levels through to management and advisor levels. We manage the placement of both permanent and interim contract talent solutions and we pride ourselves on our networks and knowledge across the suite of Corporate Affairs and Communications specialisations. This covers the generalist or specialised sphere, including External Communications, Media Relations, Public Relations, Stakeholder Management, CSR, Government Relations and Internal and Change Communications to name a few.

When did you join IABC Victoria?

I joined the IABC seven years ago when I started at Ampersand.  In that time, Ampersand and IABC Victoria have partnered together to establish and pioneer our very own Corporate Affairs Advisory Board (CAAB) that’s been operating since 2013. The intention and result, has been a forum for likeminded, established, reputable and influential Corporate Affairs practitioners to discuss current, topical and relevant issues to increase the profile, presence and industry benchmark of Corporate Affairs here in Victoria. It’s an initiative that’s provided a secure,
open and trusted forum to exchange experiences, opinions and possible solutions to common issues and challenges that face Corporate Affairs and Communications.  At present we have approximately 25 members rotating through the Board.

Why did you become an IABC Victoria member?
I joined the Victorian Chapter of IABC, as I wanted to broaden my communications network here in Melbourne but to also learn, develop and hone my credentials, so I could continuously improve and stay abreast of the forever changing landscape. In my 7 years I’ve met many wonderful people and communications practitioners and have been able to stay in tune with the challenges and innovations in market.

What are employers looking for in a communication professional these days?
Our clients are diverse in size and levels of innovation, sophistication and where Corporate Affairs and/or Communications sits within the structure. The universal piece however, is organisations are looking for practitioners who are nimble, versatile and arrive with a suite of skills across the many facets of communications with strong digital threads. We are also now in an environment where practitioners must be able to utilise data and analytics to provide measurement in order to shape a communications strategy, plan and message.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing communication professionals now and in the future?
I think the pace of change is one of the biggest challenges. The rise of digital, data and analytics has been around for some time now and its effect will continue.

At the senior and executive end communication professionals will need to be equipped with acute financial acumen in order to play a more holistic and commercial advisory role at the CEO and executive leadership team level. We’re also seeing a convergence of Communications and Marketing as an emerging theme as the two functions become more and more integrated. At the centre of this is a greater campaign approach, pronounced use of shared digital channels and an opportunity to maximise efficiencies.

The longevity of this, who knows, but what we do know is Communications and Corporate Affairs functions are rarely getting bigger, rather focusing on efficiencies.

How do you think IABC Victoria can help communication professionals overcome these challenges and stay ahead of the game?
IABC Victoria is a fantastic platform to provide communications professionals the ability to hear and learn from others of all levels. With regular events, workshops and insights designed for its members, it’s a great forum for people to gain detailed information on those topics and themes that are the most pronounced.

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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