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IABC Philadelphia president Tony DeFazio gives his perspective on the challenging operating environment that business communicators face and the resources IABC membership provides to help communicators demonstrate value and succeed in their organizations.

As you settle into the work mode following a long hot summer, you probably have noticed two things haven’t changed.  The first is the demand on business communicators to produce measurable results that enhance organizational value is still a top priority.  The second is that we’re all pressured to do more with less in a still struggling economy.   These two seemingly conflicting themes are not easily reconciled—nor will they go away.

According to USA Today businesses are sitting on nearly $1 trillion of cash and have no expectations to spend it anytime soon.   In these times, where do you turn?   For me, IABC proves more valuable than ever.  The question is what are we doing to demonstrate value in this environment when resources are constrained?

IABC Philadelphia has responded on two fronts.  First, the Heritage Region Conference, taking place October 17–19 in Philadelphia, provides businesses and individuals looking to stretch their dollars with the perfect opportunity to enhance their communications skills with practical, how-to, resources that have become necessary to connect with customers and attract prospects.  With budgets tight, this event is a phenomenal value when you consider the series of world-class speakers and cutting-edge content.

We have arranged a special networking event on September 15 at The Loews Hotel to preview the speakers and seminars sessions at the event.  Heritage Region Director Elvin Montero will be our special guest and speaker.   You can learn more about the conference and the value of the registration in the press release we issued today.

The new programming year also brings fresh opportunities to experience the value of membership.  In July, the IABC Board of Directors met to create a list of goals for the 2010–11 programming year.  We took a different approach than in years past.  We drafted three overarching goals we hope will enhance chapter benefits and membership – and perhaps most importantly, your participation. Here they are:

1) Restore membership levels to pre-recession levels. We plan to do this through aggressive outreach to lapsed members and group membership discounts to the region’s largest employers.   We have already made progress in both areas.

2) Increase engagement with members. We plan to energize volunteer recruitment and strengthen student and college participation.  Taryn Robinson, an at-large board member for three years, has been appointed to a full-time role as Vice President for Volunteering and Student Programs.

3) Foster a more transparent chapter. By opening IABC Philadelphia board meetings to members and increasing the visibility of board members at events, we hope to strengthen the dialogue between the membership and board.

For me, it is comforting to know that when needed, IABC—with its rich resources and international reach—offers the best value for my professional develop dollar.  I and the rest of the Board of Directors of IABC Philadelphia hope that that you too will recognize the value of membership through the events and initiatives in the coming months. Here’s to a successful programming year.

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