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.

IABC-OC announced Roberta Coffin as the recipient of the 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award.
The Volunteer of the Year Award is awarded annually to an IABC-OC member whose efforts positively enhance the organization’s reputation and have contributed above and beyond the responsibilities of a volunteer role. The recipient is selected among a slate of nominees by the Board of Directors.
Roberta Coffin is a marketing communications professional with more than 20 years of experience in public relations, advertising, and marketing with a focus on media strategy and delivering integrated campaigns to drive results. Roberta served selflessly as Vice President, Finance for IABC-OC in 2015, and was instrumental in driving major improvements to the chapter’s fiscal responsibility, namely streamlining the online payment process for the Network and Knowledge Series. In addition to her active role as a local leader with IABC-OC, Roberta has long been involved with the American Association of University Women at both local and state levels.
“Roberta’s attention to detail and macro-view to what drives success in an organization makes her a model leader for IABC chapters around the nation,” said Sarah Willis, immediate past president and 2016 Senior Delegate.
“The Board of Directors chose Roberta especially because she exemplifies what IABC stands for,” said Judy Iannaccone, Vice President, Membership. “She is a strategic professional communicator who keeps her eye on organizational goals.”
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Roberta on January 19 during the first event in the 2016 Network and Knowledge Series at the University Club, UC Irvine.

2015 Volunteer of the Year Roberta Coffin with 2016 IABC-OC President Elaine Beliakoff
2015 Volunteer of the Year Roberta Coffin with 2016 IABC-OC President Elaine Beliakoff (Photo by Kim Evans)

I’m excited about the year ahead as President for IABC-Orange County,
and I’m honored to work alongside the 2016 Board of Directors. Our chapter leadership team boasts a full slate of 14 passionate and talented communicators in Orange County, part of IABC’s global network of 12,000 members in more than 80 countries.
We have a clear, strong vision for IABC-OC to be the preeminent organization for communication professionals in Orange County, and we have a full calendar of networking and learning opportunities for you to attend throughout the year.

Here are the top three things I’m looking forward to in 2016 with IABC:

1. Network and Knowledge Series, starting with The Past, Present, and Future of Internal Communications on Jan. 19. Chuck Gose is a crowd-pleasing, audience-rated 4-star IABC conference speaker, self-proclaimed Skyline Chili connoisseur, and Duran Duran fan with 15 years of experience in internal communication roles at General Motors, Rolls-Royce, and currently, STRATACACHE. I met Chuck at an IABC conference in San Francisco several years ago, and I look forward to welcoming him to Orange County to kick-off our chapter’s monthly speaker series! Register here.

2. 2016 World Conference, June. 6 – 8 in New Orleans.  It’s not enough to have communication that supports your organization – you need a strategy that delivers on the bottom-line. That’s where the IABC World Conference comes in. I serve on the international Program Advisory Committee planning the event designed around the 2016 theme, “RISE: Innovating Global Communication.” Spoiler Alert: This year’s conference will be amazing! We recently secured business broadcaster and Fortune’s senior editor-at-large Geoff Colvin as our keynote speaker. Register early to enjoy special discounts.

3.  2016 Gold Quill Award program. I might be IABC’s most energetic cheerleader for the Gold Quill awards! This is our profession’s premiere awards program that gives you the opportunity to benchmark your work against the best in the world. I was first exposed to IABC’s Gold Quill case studies by my powerhouse mentors Jerry Swerling, Rebecca Weintraub, and Jennifer Floto at USC. My grad school thesis is peppered with research citing Gold Quill “award-winning” communications strategies, campaigns, trends, and techniques. Professionally, I was honored to be part of a team at Disney that earned an Award of Merit for employee engagement during Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary celebration. But it was at Chevron that I grew a deeper appreciation for the application process and was thrilled to be awarded two Gold Quill Awards of Excellence on stage in New York in 2013. The way I see it: you can follow standards, or you can set new standards. Go for it! Submit your entry by Jan. 27.

Be Heard!
This month, the board will update its strategic plan and prioritize investments to best serve our members. True to IABC’s motto, I encourage you to “Be Heard!” by sending me any ideas or feedback you would like the board to consider for the 2016 strategic plan. Send me an email by Jan. 22.

Here’s to a great 2016!

Elaine Beliakoff
President, IABC Orange County

Elaine Beliakoff - Communications Director

“Is the amount of communication you receive about important information in the organization appropriate?”
That was a question a recent survey asked employees. The results they received aren’t necessarily bad, but interesting because it details one of the common challenges communicators have.
What researchers discovered is that…

  • More than 90 percent of executives and senior managers indicate the level of communication they receive about important information in the organization is appropriate.
  • 78% of mid-level managers responded favorably
  • 68% of line-level employees responded favorably

They call this the “irrigation effect.” As employees get further away from the source, the supply gets weaker. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for communicators. Following along with this irrigation approach, there are three main barriers to properly “irrigating” your communication:

  1. Technological barriers
    Technology is powerful in facilitating the flow of information. However, we cannot presuppose that “if we build it, they will come.” Don’t assume that because the information exists in bits and bytes (email, social media, company intranets, policy manuals, etc.), that employees will rush to access it.
  2. Structural barriers
    The further employees are from the source, the less likely they are to receive the information. Structural barriers include such factors as complicated organizational structures and levels, geographical locations and cultures, varying job types and differing work schedules (think day shift vs night shift).
  3. Human barriers
    Many leaders are surprised to learn that they are the barriers. This is not a surprise for communicators. We assume that we’ve communicated effectively when, in reality, the information we share is sparse, insufficient, infrequent, or simply inaccurate. If managers don’t make a conscious effort to facilitate the flow of information, rather than obstruct it, vital communication is likely to dissipate before reaching those parts of the field where it is needed most.

Attend my luncheon to hear about the relationship between the irrigation effect and new technology with internal communications. We’ll also talk about specific technology that internal communicators can jump on to get ahead of the curve.
Register Now!
Chuck Gose

Chuck Gose, Vice President & SME – Corporate Communications
Follow Chuck on Twitter

Chuck Gose is a self-proclaimed Skyline Chili connoisseur and Duran Duran fan who has 15 years’ experience in marketing, corporate communication, employee communication and sales. He’s passionate about helping companies improve their tactics and strategies to make the digital workplace all it can be. At STRATACACHE, he is the company’s subject matter expert in corporate communication, using his experience to help the company and their customers be better communicators. He’s previously held internal communication roles at both General Motors and Rolls-Royce and is currently the host of ICology, an internal communications podcast.
Thank You to our Chapter’s 2016 Sponsor
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