Saying 2017 has been an interesting year to be a communicator is a little like saying Donald Trump has slightly weird hair.
In the first full year of the new post-truth world, the purpose, validity and credibility of the work we do has come under scrutiny like never before. Technology and social networks have “weaponised” communications and those with the intent and the resources can trumpet any message out to the audience they seek to influence and, through volume and deflection, change or shape perceptions to suit their purpose.
The welcome response from many, journalists, academic institutions and the IABC global leadership among them, has been to focus on restoring confidence among a jaded public and reassuring them that standards and frameworks for ethical behaviour guide communications practice. They’ve been the violins countering the trumpets – seeking to shine a new light on the need to demand credentials, credibility and evidence from the sources of information people access.
Coming to the end of 2017, communicators are at a real crossroads, and with all crossroads, there are questions. What will our profession be in the future? Will we shape our future or submit to it? What role does each of us play in that process? What is the choice we’re going to make? Will we be the trumpets or the violins? Will we be the noise (sincere apologies to lovers of trumpet concertos here…) or will we be the music?
On a personal note, 2017 was a year when the richness of the IABC community came into full bloom for me. The privilege of holding a position as a Chapter leader and reaching out into this community of ours, on a local chapter level, in the APAC region and into the global organisation has been enriching and revealing and, simply put, has reminded me why I became a communicator. Celebrating the excellence and achievements of the local profession – highlighted by our record breaking 17 International IABC Gold Quill Award wins in 2017 – was proof that we strive for and produce standards of practice which stand alongside the best in the world.
As I pull up stumps (had to get a timely metaphor in there…) and take my leave from the Board, I welcome incoming President Danielle Jorgensen, who will step in over the summer period and lead the Board and the chapter in what will be an amazing 2018 for IABC Victoria.
My personal thanks go out to our brilliant IABC Victoria members – individual and corporate – for the welcomes they have extended to me and for their continued participation in a local chapter that is known and respected across the entire IABC network. My thanks to our official partners for the invaluable support and expertise they bring to our organisation, and for helping champion our profession. A special thanks also to our 2017 Student Ambassadors for the leadership they’ve shown the new generation of Victorian communicators.
My gratitude, finally, to my colleagues on the 2017 IABC Victoria Board. Serving on a working volunteer Board is no picnic – you do it for free, you do it while meeting your other full-time responsibilities and most of what you do is invisible to the many people the work benefits, so it takes a special individual.
The skills, tenacity, vision and dedication that these special individuals have brought to our collective task has been inspiring to me, has made our Victorian Chapter stronger, and, in 2017, has made music from the noise.