Laura Perdew
Laura Perdew, IOM
President, IABC Orange County

Over the past year and into 2021, we have had our work cut out for us. As communications professionals, we’ve provided counsel to C-suite executives and have been on the frontlines of strategic messaging. Our pictures and words have informed, comforted, and undoubtedly caused anxiety and provided hope as we told the stories of health and economic crises, racial strife, political upheaval, and what our clients are doing to support the greater good. With the tenets of accuracy and forthrightness, we are purveyors of credibility, trustworthiness, influence, and engagement on behalf of the organizations we serve.

The stakes for getting the tone just right and doing the right thing may have never been higher. This is the time to be on one’s A-game. Five California IABC chapters have collaborated to offer workshops to help you do just that. Our four-part 2021 Communication Management Pro series kicks off Jan. 21 with a timely topic, Ethical and Unethical Crisis Management.
The series is designed to help you hone your skills and prepare mid- to senior-level communications professionals for certification offered through IABC’s global initiative. The series focuses on areas covered in certification exams.

Why consider certification? Becoming CMP® or SCMP® certified will distinguish you as the expert professional you are. And you may be closer to qualifying than you think. Through participation in IABC chapter meetings, conferences, workshops, and completion of Learning Center modules, and classes offered by academic institutions and commercial entities, you may already have earned experience hours eligible for examination requirements.

I hope you’ll join IABC Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley chapters for this series, as well as the certification exam in Irvine on May 1.

For more information on the Communication Management Pro and certification, see details below and visit

Stay well.

Laura Perdew
President, IABC Orange County
Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Greater Irvine Chamber

Writer’s block… stuck and frustrated. As writers, we’ve all been there.

You sit down to write only to be greeted by a blank, white screen that’s metaphorically mocking you. You’ve had a story swirling around in your head for the past month or year, and you just want to translate it through your fingers onto the page so you can share it with the world. But you’re stuck! You’re stuck in the minutia; you’re filled with angst and your feeling frustrated because the words just won’t come.

Writer’s block is an affliction that can happen at any point in your writing process; either when you’re in your flow, churning out content, or when you’ve taken a necessary break from your writing without any intention of returning. The STUCK is an evil place. Your brain feels overwhelmed, your body feels tired, and you just want to push the whole project aside erasing it from your brain. It feels crippling.

Don’t get discouraged. Writer’s block is a rite of passage. It happens to every writer, seasoned or aspiring. And, while it’s maddening, utilizing some tools can help you overcome the overwhelm to find your way back to writing confidently.

  1. Step Away – Take a walk or read something unrelated to your project. Give yourself space to gain a new perspective, to explore something creative and thoughtful, and to think about something other than writing.
  1. Limit Time – Limit the time you write. Give yourself 30 minutes of uninterrupted writing time without distractions. Allow yourself to write uninhibited, detaching from the results to write freely.
  1. Mix it Up – Use a pen and paper to write. Studies show that writing with a pen to paper slows down your thinking, activating a different part of your brain to focus more intently and to brainstorm spontaneously.

Staying stuck in your writing only leads to more stuck and more frustration. Know that you are a writer! Give yourself permission to write bravely and fearlessly, without self-judgment or criticism, allowing the words to flow easily through your fingers.

By Rhonda Salvestrini

Rhonda Salvestrini
Rhonda Salvestrini
Writing Coach

About Rhonda Salestrini:
As a communications expert and writing coach, Rhonda Salvestrini is on a mission to help writers overcome the overwhelm that writing creates, find confidence in their voice as an authority, be inspired to write bravely and fearlessly, and connect with their audience through authenticity. With 25 years’ experience as a professional writer, she’s helped aspiring writers publish their story, longtime authors complete their memoir, entrepreneurs reach new clients, and TEDx speakers bring the audience to its feet. Through one-on-one coaching, she guides writers through the stuck, frustration, and self-doubt, transforming their messy and disorganized content into beautifully written stories that resonate with audiences.


Cara RaffeleA good percentage of industry articles, webinars, and professional development programs for communicators that I receive through promotions are directly or indirectly centered on leadership. And for good reason. Leadership is everything. Well, okay, as we were critically reminded this year, our health is everything, along with family and some other important things. But leadership is a biggie in our work lives.

Leadership is tied to growth and success. It’s connected to integrity and work ethic. It drives the trajectory of our careers, the work we do, the teams we supervise, and those we mentor. In other words, leadership is ownership. Ownership of our future.

To be a good leader takes effort and a fair amount of self-awareness. And it’s a moving target. Good leaders never stop looking for ways to be better leaders. Through IABC, I’ve been fortunate to develop a network of talented colleagues who are leaders in the companies they own or serve. I’ve been able to expand my leadership skills by collaborating with them, whether through professional development opportunities or serving with them in leadership roles, such as on the IABC Orange County Board of Directors.

As we face challenges and empathize with others as they experience disruption due to the Coronavirus crisis, opportunities to strengthen our network and expand our knowledge and skills have taken on a particular urgency and importance. Being resilient is a group effort.

I invite you to join colleagues and develop your leadership skills by becoming involved in IABC OC. Whether you want to give back to your industry, lead side-by-side with industry peers, grow skills in a safe space, or add to your skills resume, serving on an IABC OC committee or Board may turn out to be a career-changing action.

Below is the 2021 Board of Directors slate. Please let any board member now if you are interested in participating in any of the areas listed below or would like to be considered for one of the open positions.

Thank you!

Cara Raffele

President, IABC Orange County


2021 IABC Orange County Board of Directors Slate:

President: Laura Perdew

President-Elect: OPEN POSITION

Senior Delegate: Cara Raffele

Vice President, Administration: Lisa Thomas

Vice President, Professional Development: Bridget Soden Mills

Vice President, Communications: Laura Perdew

Vice President, Finance: Sarah Willis

Vice President, Membership: Kim Evans

Vice President, IndyComm: Elaine Marshall

Director, Professional Development: OPEN POSITION

Director, Sponsorship: OPEN POSITION

Director, Social Media: OPEN POSITION



In his book, “The One Thing You Need to Know… About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success”, Marcus Buckingham identifies five needs shared by all of humanity; the need for security, community, clarity, authority, and respect. He goes on to suggest that these five needs should command our greatest attention in our quest to become a great leader. As you resolve to elevate your personal brand in 2017, become the Master of Brand You.

Successful personal branding is about identifying the qualities that differentiate you and projecting your authentic self–your goals, vision, purpose and values. By understanding that personal branding goes beyond marketing yourself, the easier it will be to incorporate the process into your professional development plan. It’s about recognizing how you use your personal brand to increase your visibility, facilitate trust and develop credibility.

Of the five human needs that are required to be a great leader, four of these needs are addressed in the personal branding process.

  1. The Need for Community. Identifying your target audience enables you to communicate your message to those who need to know about you so you aren’t perceived as an outsider. Having a strong personal brand helps you to build your community by connecting with those that have a common interest. Another person’s intuition about your shared common interests and values are validated non-verbally. For example, what if the community you wish to build values success. It’s quite possible that others are going to look to associate themselves with successful looking people. Does your appearance and behavior communicate established success?
  2. The Need for Clarity. Developing clarity for who you are and what you want will transform angst for the unknown into confidence for the future. The clearer you are in communicating in the virtual world, in the real world and through everything that represents you, the clearer you will see where you are, and the easier it will be to see (and for others to see) where you’re headed. Without being rigid, a high degree of consistency gives others the opportunity to reinforce your brand in their hearts and minds. Is there clarity and consistency in what you communicate about yourself?
  3. The Need for Authority. Depending on your personality, you may prefer to work for someone who is in charge, but when it comes to your career, you are the authority figure. Being organized will help you to keep chaos at bay and put you in control. Classifying things is a basic human need. Take the time to organize your thoughts regarding your values, passions, vision, purpose and goals. Know your strengths, and identify what you’ll need to know as you give thought to where you would like to be three, five and ten years down the road. Plan ahead. Does your image communicate to others that you are in control of your life?
  4. The Need for Respect. Society places value on individuals who are distinct and have a positive self-image over a negative one. To facilitate trust and develop credibility, you need to be aware of what other people think of you. Your brand is held in the hearts and minds of those who know and experience you. Wouldn’t you want to know if there was something about you that could potentially interfere with you reaching a goal? Making the effort to improve upon a negative impression will be seen as a positive move which will help you in earning the respect of others.

Whether you aspire to become the next great business leader or not, you will want to become the leader and CEO of Me, Inc. to sustain your individual success. Addressing these needs while discovering and utilizing your personal brand requires some effort. The process itself will help you to develop clarity, which becomes the foundation for the strategy that will move you forward.

In today’s world of work, fearing or resisting change will only serve to keep you on the side lines. Make the commitment in 2017 to develop your personal brand and take control of your career.

If your professional goals include honing your leadership skills, growing your network, gaining a wider view of the communications profession, enhancing your skill set by volunteering to do something you don’t do in your current job, look to IABC/OC to unlock new opportunities.
We have opportunities for both short-term assignments and board positions. Note that board assignments are reserved for chapter members, but short-term assignments are open to all.
Current volunteer opportunities are listed below. For additional information, contact VP of Membership Judy Iannaccone at or at (714) 480-7503 (office) or (714) 222-4777 (mobile).
Director of Sponsorship: This board position serves as an liaison with existing sponsors and prospects; handles sponsorship inquiries, communicates regularly with IABC/OC president; follows through on supplying new sponsor’s logo to VP communication; and be sponsors’ contact before, during and after events. The position reports to the Chapter President. Must be a member of IABC.
IndyComm Coordinator: IndyComm is designed for independent communication consultants who want to discover creative ways of marketing their businesses, attract new clients, acquire a higher level of business acumen and network and brainstorm with like-minded professionals. Ideally, you are an independent practitioner who would like to offer support by helping to secure relevant presenters for this cutting-edge IABC/OC program.
Director of Student Education/Outreach: This board position serves as an liaison with IABC student chapter at Chapman University; handles requests for professional chapter’s participation in student chapter events, communicates regularly with Chapman University student chapter advisor and leadership; reports on student chapter activities to board, promotes IABC benefits to college/university students in and around Orange County. The position reports to the Vice President of Membership. Must be a member of IABC.

People worth following

Like many of you, my days are busy and my life is crazy. But somewhere between fielding media requests and keeping my editorial calendar in good form, I make time to follow experts that keep me informed and inspired. Here are some of my favorite people to follow:

The BraudCast. I’ve been following The BraudCast ever since I heard media training expert Gerard Braud speak at last year’s IABC World Conference. This guy is a pro, and his style is relaxed and straightforward. Why I follow him: Gerard gives bite-sized bits of best practices, like this short YouTube episode: “Should social media be part of your crisis communications strategy?

Shel Holtz. Always ahead of the game, Shel Holtz makes it his business to help communicators stay current on trends and technology. In a recent Friday Wrap, I learned that virtual appearances by hologram aren’t just for Stephen Hawking, given this Washington Post article: “Accenture’s CEO attends meeting as a hologram.”

IABC Speakers. I love our monthly Network and Knowledge Series because it exposes us to experts worth following. I’ve quickly become a fan of: Kate Peters, Joan Gladstone, Tyler Wagner, Raleigh Gerber, and Matt Clayman. When it comes to internal communications, Chuck Gose is my go-to expert. You’ll want to check out Chuck’s ICology podcasts on iTunes. And, I’m looking forward to our IABC event in June by Katie Wagner on “Social Media Storytelling” and how to dominate social media.

My network’s online engagement. My idea of ‘wasting time’ is scrolling through LinkedIn’s Pulse feed or seeing how my network is engaging with other thought leaders. Just today, fellow IABC member Robin McCasland shared a Business Insider article that had me laughing – check it out! “This résumé for Elon Musk proves you never, ever need to use more than one page.”

Who are your favorite people worth following?

Elaine Beliakoff
IABC/OC president, 2016

We’re bringing you expert speakers on topics that matter to you as a communication professional. 
Earlier this month, social media strategist Raleigh Gerber shared her expert insight and examples of brands doing it right. Coming up on April 12, Matt Clayman, Director, Client Partnerships at Innovation Protocol will discuss developing your personal brand.  Registration is open and seats are limited – sign up today!

Special thanks to Kim Evans, Vice President, Programs, for coordinating the multitude of details for our 2016 Network and Knowledge Series! Kim Evans, together with Jayne Merritt, is leading the charge to deliver incredible networking and learning opportunities for professional communicators in Orange County.

If you’re an independent consultant, we’d love to welcome you to one of our future IndyComm events.  Our next event will be held in May and will focus on your website – you won’t want to miss it! Our last IndyComm event on “Answers to Legal Issues Every Independent Constant Needs to Know” was eye opening and attendees walked away with a better understanding of legal issues that they may face.  More details for the May event will be available on our website in the up coming days. IndyComm is unique to IABC/OC and led by our very own Claudia Miller.

Invest in Yourself: Join IABC! 
IABC members enjoy unparalleled opportunities for career development through job connections and online workshops as well as global events throughout the year. Not a member? Join this month! Whether you’re a corporate communicator, independent consultant, academic or student, IABC offers the resources, connections and learning opportunities to move your career forward.

Elaine Beliakoff
President, IABC Orange County

Elaine Beliakoff - Communications Director

I delivered my first big speech when I ran for President of my fifth grade class at Los Robles Elementary.  I employed the “I have a short speech” stunt: I unrolled a long scroll of paper that dramatically fell off the podium and barreled down the stage. My hard-to-crack audience of 9- to 11-year-olds laughed. The auditorium was abuzz with good energy. I was confident. Nay, fearless. They were waiting to hear what I had to say. I let my perfectly orchestrated pregnant pause fill the air, and then…   

I pledged free ice cream sundaes every Friday. I guaranteed a celebrity-studded Halloween parade. 

Like a good politician, I made outlandish and fiscally irresponsible promises. I pledged free ice cream sundaes every Friday. I guaranteed a celebrity-studded Halloween parade. I promised to fund construction of the school’s new driveway for parents to more efficiently chauffeur my esteemed fellow students to and from school. All this I vowed to deliver – when I was President. 

I lost that presidential race to Bobby Godinez. It was a painful loss, but an important life lesson. I learned that my voice is a powerful communication tool, and there should be no fear in using it. 

I lost that presidential race to Bobby Godinez. It was a painful loss, but an important life lesson.

Heaven help my parents for the hours I made them sit on the couch while I practiced that big campaign speech: energy and emphasis, rhythm and pace, intonation, and body language. Looking back, I felt safe to fail in front of my parents, my first audience. In that safe practice environment, I learned to give myself the freedom to be vulnerable and fearless. They didn’t mock; they uplifted, coached, and applauded.   

The most rewarding moments of my career have involved working closely with leaders to build confidence in their on-stage presence and leadership voice. Breakthroughs happen when we have real conversations about personal insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, and even painful memories. In these moments of vulnerability, healing occurs and confidence builds. 

Sure, there are easy techniques to improve presentation skills. But true confidence – a fifth-grade fearlessness – happens when we feel safe to fail, and when we practice until we’re confident.

Next time you’re preparing to speak in front of an audience, channel your inner fifth grader: Know your audience. Believe in your message. Practice in front of someone who believes in you. And, have fun!

Elaine Beliakoff
President, IABC Orange County

Elaine Beliakoff - Communications Director

Expand your world.
Get moving and #createconnection.
Join or reinstate your lapsed membership in March and you’ll get 10% off international dues AND a waiver of the $40 application fee. This rare opportunity allows you to save over 18% while joining IABC and doing something really GREAT for your career and for yourself. If you join or renew during March 2016, you’ll also be entered into a drawing to win a Fitbit Blaze.
There’s even an incentive for Corporate Membership! Corporate Members who renew or join at the Silver Level or above receive one complimentary registration to an IABC On-Demand Workshop (one registration per company, not individual). They also receive the 10% dues discount.
Join the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and #createconnection with a world of resources. IABC provides you access to a network of 12,000 like-minded communication professionals in over 70 countries worldwide.
How can you #createconnection through IABC?

  • Connect with Your Career – Unparalleled opportunities for career development through job connections and online educational offerings, the Orange County chapter’s Network and Knowledge series, as well as global events throughout the year.
  • Connect and Advance – Discounted access to many programs such as International Gold and Silver Quill Awards and the new Communication Management Professional (CMP) certification program.
  • Connect with Ideas – Communication World (CW) magazine and rich online resources to provide career insights.
  • Connect with Your Peers – Access to all the programs run by your chapter and/or region and the unbeatable network provided by IABC’s global presence in over 100 chapters.
  • Connect with Content – Access up-to-the-minute information at World Conference 2016: #IABC16 in New Orleans 5-8 June 2016 or FREE archived webinars or discounted pricing on online workshops.

With so many assets that will help you #createconnection, IABC-OC can help you design a career for today and tomorrow.
And if you are already a member, you can still benefit from International Membership Month. Here’s how:

  • Member-Get-A-Member Referrals: Entered into a drawing to win a FitBit Blaze. One entry per referral.

You or your referrals have until Thursday, March 31 to join or rejoin at a special discounted rate. Join at  So get moving and #createconnection.
Questions about membership? Contact IABC-OC Vice President of Membership Judy Iannaccone at or at (714) 480-7503.

 Gold Quill Award logo
With four divisions and 28 streamlined categories, the Gold Quill Awards has never been easier to enter. And the Gold Quill website has a huge wealth of resources to help you make your entry the very best it can be.
Just imagine what it would be like to get up on stage at the Excellence Gala during IABC’s World Conference in New Orleans in June and accept an award for your work! Receiving recognition for your work in Orange County – and from your peers around the world – that your work is of global standard!
Entries are open now and the late deadline is January 27, 2016. Find out all you need to know to get started on the path to global recognition on the Gold Quill Awards website.