Way more than a membership, a network, or a community

by Andrew Kaszowski, CMP, IABC London (Ontario) Chapter President

IABC defines my very being… it is my life

I’ve been an IABC member for 14 years, uninterruptedly through some major life and career transitions. Why? Why have I kept my membership intact non-stop since my final year of university at Guelph-Humber when I first learned about the professional organization?

To say that I have benefited from IABC membership, networking and community would be selling it short. Sure, I have benefited – my very first post-university job was entirely landed thanks to my IABC connection [a student in Toronto, I dreamed of landing back in my hometown of London in healthcare, so I attended IABC London’s AGM… where I was the lone student in attendance. All of the board members were interested in meeting this fresh face, and I got asked then and there whether I’d like to volunteer to redesign the chapter’s fledgling website. Within a month or so, I had connected with Michele Martin who sat on the board… and we bonded. She was hiring, and my career began.]

But it’s way more than that. Yes, I have my best friends and life experiences through my IABC involvement. Most of my career networking, professional development has taken place thanks to the connections of the organization… [getting to visit San Diego to receive an award for chapter leadership and the opportunity to speak to an international audience about IABC London’s professional development event planning was a career highlight to date!].

But it’s more than even that. IABC has pushed me to constantly live up to my potential, and stretched me to grow and develop as a professional and a person. I have entered my work for evaluation and received recognition that has propelled me farther [being awarded a “Best of the Best” award for my travel blog when I worked on a cruise ship was the sweetest way to return to London after touring the world!] – and I studied and wrote the Communication Management Professional exam and was awarded the fancy letters I now get to attach to my name!

But it’s more than that…

Belonging to IABC defines my very being. Really, IABC is in my DNA now. It’s my life. *I AM AN IABC MEMBER*

I never think twice about whether I am a professional communicator… it is who I am, and because I am a professional communicator, I am a member – upholding everything that the industry aspires to be.

If IABC had no members, it wouldn’t exist. Full stop. Plain and simple. For that very reason, I will always be an IABC member… because I believe that communication is a force for good in business and society. I believe that with my whole heart and mind. That’s everything I do – whether it’s interviewing a doctor and sharing their story for work, or whether it’s writing in my LinkedIn profile, or talking to my friends about what I am interested in, or whether it’s my involvement in my choir and theatre worlds… I am a communicator.

Because I am a communicator, I am an IABC member. And because I am an IABC member, I am a better communicator.

This is who I am. I enjoy communicating > I am an IABC member.


What are you waiting for, dear communications professional? Join or renew your membership in August and save 10% on international dues using the code “MEMBERSHIP” during checkout.

Don’t sit on the sidelines of your career and life as a communicator… make your mark and be the best communicator you can be, and support the very profession that defines who you are. Be an IABC member today!


Written by Krista Kuhlman, Experiential Marketing Manager at Giveback Sports, LLC.

Did you know the Millennial generation makes up a whopping one third of the U.S. population? Not only are they a large percentage of your potential event attendees, they are also entering their prime spending years which could mean a larger bottom line at your event; however, Millennials are selective as to where they are willing to splurge and spend their hard-earned cash. What can you do to make Millennials choose to attend your event? Read below for the five reasons Millennials are not attending events and what you can do to capitalize on this generation.

  1. Thumbs-Down Theme

How many “Through the Decades” themed events can you attend before you never want to pull out your bell-bottoms and floral button-up ever again? To ensure a millennial-approved theme, it must be original and shareworthy. Themes can be tough – if not executed correctly, they can come across pretty cheesy; but, if your theme is able to transport the audience into a different world or setting, it will deliver a greater impact and encourage attendees to take and post lots of pictures, including sharing through social media and other outlets.

Connecting the invitations, decorations, food, drinks, auction items, and presentation to the theme is crucial in a creating a wholistic experience. Slapping a theme onto an event without ensuring its actually serving its purpose to create added value for guests is a waste of time and money. Nothing is worse than a theme that falls flat and confuses attendees more than excites them. Some themes that have proven to have traction with Millennials are country-western, masquerade, medieval feast, and even nostalgic themes like Star Wars or Candy Land.

  1. Kid Duty

Over half of Millennials are now parents and as a result, two thirds are attending more daytime, family-friendly events. Don’t let Millennials miss out because they can’t find a babysitter. Invite the family! Schedule your next event on a weekend and make it kid-centric with games and activities for the whole family. Or, on the other hand, provide child-care services to allow parents to relax and have fun without the worry of kids left at home. Millennial parents are more likely to share their positive experience on social media, especially if centers around their children.

  1. Uneventful

Don’t let your event blend in with the rest. Make your next event unique by adding “experiential” components. A staggering 75% of Millennials prioritize experiences over products. Why play a game of Clue when you can go to an Escape Room and be an actual part of the live game or go to a bar for a glass of bourbon when you can do a full distillery tour with tastings? It’s all about having that memorable experience and being able to share it with others.

This concept can be used in your next event through incorporating ideas like “Dancing with The Stars” where local celebrities or influencers pair with professional dancers for live performances and attendees can vote for their favorite. Another idea is to partner with a winery and virtually transport your guests to Wine Country for wine tastings and wine blending seminars. The more you can provide guests with one-of-a-kind experiences at your event, the more Millennials will attend and share to social media, friends, and family.

  1. Food Fail

Millennials coined the term “foodie” and are often referred to as the foodie generation, meaning they are fascinated with food and love to try new restaurants, ethnic cuisine, and share it on social media. Don’t just have the basic chicken, starch, and vegetable at your event. You need to be giving these attendees something to talk and post about. Provide your guests with “Instagrammable” food and drinks and connect the meal with the theme to allow your attendees to try something new. Food and drinks must be photo-ready for this “phone eats first” generation. A donut wall is a great example of using food for a dual purpose: it’s not only delicious but provides a fun and unique opportunity for pictures.

  1. No FOMO

Are you familiar with the feeling of watching Snapchat and Instagram of your friends and family having the time of your lives? If so, then you’ve experienced FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). FOMO is a huge influencer on Millennial attendance.

You can create FOMO at your next event by providing perks for attendees only. These can be custom gifts that guests receive as they walk in the door, raffle chances for travel packages with more than just one winner, and even name recognition on social media or a donor appreciation wall. According to a 2015 Millennial Impact Report, this generation is highly motivated by name recognition and prizes in exchange for a donation. Ensuring your event rewards guests for attending, as well as providing plenty of shareworthy design, decorations, and performances all help to encourage people to learn more about your event and attend future ones.

Most of all, your event must be affordable. The Millennial generation is fairly cost-conscious and want the most bang for their buck. Incorporating the above recommendations at a reasonable cost is the ultimate check-list for getting Millennials at your event.




by Krista Kuhlman, Experiential Marketing Manager at Giveback Sports, LLC.

So, you finally decided to leave your corporate job to enter the startup world where possibilities are endless, but you find yourself questioning your decision. All of the things that once bothered you in your corporate gig – the rules, the structure, the mundane day-to-day tasks – now seem safe and stable. Alexandra Levit, workplace and expert author on the subject, describes this feeling best when she states “When you come from a relatively predictable environment, it’s daunting to not know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. Your direction can change so radically and without warning. You feel like you have to step up your game or perish.” How many of us startup dreamers have felt these emotions?

First and foremost, you need to know you are not alone. The first step in your transition from corporate to startup is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You are entering a completely new environment that may be ever-evolving as growth and success occur. But reminding yourself this leap of faith was inspired by your desire to embrace change and make a higher impact is crucial in times of discomfort.

Next, be flexible and resourceful. Corporate positions come with lots of perks and probably ones you realized you completely took for granted, like an IT department when your computer freezes or the office coffee machine that was always filled. One of the best advantages at a startup is the numerous different hats you get to wear. You will be somewhat forced into learning how to do things on your own and finding new solutions to problems. But when you stop learning, you stop growing. Remaining adaptable to all challenges thrown your way makes it even more rewarding to see your work and efforts make an impact.

Are you able to repeat the mission statement and values of your corporate job? Most people cannot. However, the mission and vision of a startup is seen and felt every day. You are constantly reminded of the purpose of your new organization that generates a passion for success in all employees. Understanding the company’s foundation, fundamental objective, and how your business can make a difference will be your driving force.

Another strategy to help in your transition is to find a mentor of someone who has made a similar transition and can be an ally with comparable experiences. Having a support system that can teach you the startup language and potential obstacles, be there to celebrate your big wins, and pick you up in times of need will make all the difference. Mentors are able to see faults that have been overlooked and widen perspectives when you find yourself missing the forest for the trees.

Lastly, embrace the startup culture! It’s no secret that one of the major perks at a startup is the culture – the relaxed environment, after-work happy hours, flexible work schedules, and other activities that encourage interaction among team members while maintaining the coveted work-life balance. Being surrounded by driven, eager, and spirited employees makes coming to work each day no longer feel like a chore.

There is no argument that the move from a stable corporation to a risky startup is scary. And as cliché as it may be, if you’re not taking risks, there are fewer chances for reward. Do not be afraid to follow your passion and take a chance outside of your comfort zone. It might just be the best decision you ever made.