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
UCI Extension logo

Event Information
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If you’ve been thinking about incorporating video in to your online marketing or communication strategies don’t miss hearing from our November Network and Knowledge Series speaker Melissa Ladaire who will discuss the Power of Video Marketing on Tuesday, November 10.
Learn about the power of video marketing, as well as how video can be used to:

  • improve internal communications
  • lower your employee training costs
  • improve your customer service and training
  • and get your clients, customers and fans to help you create sharable content

Our speaker will help unravel the complexity of video production on a budget with advice on:

  • the types of videos you should be making
  • the key attributes each video should include
  • how to convert viewers into clients by driving them down your sales funnel
  • how to reach your target market with your videos and get views

This promises to be an entertaining, educational and interactive experience. We hope you’ll join us!
View a personal invitation from our speaker by pressing the play button on the video below.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Scott’s Seafood
3300 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, California 92626-1806 USA
Get Directions
(714) 979-2400
IABC Members $40.00
NAWBO Members $40.00
Non-member Registration $50.00
Student (with proof of full-time student status) $28.00
$15 increase at the door
Our Speaker
Founder, Video Producer, Video Marketing Expert
Gain Crowd Media
Melissa Ladaire
Melissa Ladaire is the Founder of Gain Crowd Media, a video production and online video marketing company. She is a graduate of the USC Entrepreneur Program and recipient of the USC Marsha Israel, Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Her early career began in restaurant and retail. She was the founder of Pacific Coffee House, Inc. then expanded into specialty retail, first with toy trends off kiosks in malls throughout California. Later she expanded to inline temporary retail locations at high-end retail malls including The Shops at Mission Viejo and The Irvine Spectrum with her concepts Fresh Lemonade Home & Garden and Lemonade Baby. Throughout her career she has been a consultant helping entrepreneurs develop business and marketing plans and implement marketing strategies.
Melissa is a Southern California native and the devoted mother of one daughter, Olivia Ladaire. She and Olivia have a love of entertainment and the arts, and were the hosts of an online radio talk show, Live with Livvey, that encouraged shared experiences, adventures and communication among families.
Through Gain Crowd Media, Melissa now shares her passion for entertainment, marketing, small business and entrepreneurship. Using creativity in video marketing, Melissa is able to help her clients rank high on local search engines, improve their online presence and gain a crowd of followers.

Preparing for the Worst
Crisis Counselors Know Disasters Occur When Least Expected
When her phone rings, internationally renowned crisis communications expert Joan Gladstone never knows what crisis she’ll be facing. Gladstone compared that 24/7 uncertainty with Forrest Gump’s famous declaration that because life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.
As featured speaker at IABC Orange County’s Network and Knowledge October 13 luncheon, Gladstone said her most important advice was for communications pros to help clients and employers determine who will serve on the advisory team when a crisis occurs. Smaller groups can mobilize quickly and communicate most effectively.
“It’s important to anticipate what leaders think about when a crisis hits,” Gladstone advised. “It’s important for us to have empathy, because the best crisis plan means nothing if we can’t persuade our leaders to follow it.”
It helps to identify a reputable consultant prior to a crisis occurring, she noted. “You can’t do media training in the midst of a crisis.” In fact, she said, a company’s CEO may not be the best spokesperson in spite of intensive media training, and such a realization needs to be communicated delicately.
Gladstone shared her own case study involving a guest at the Mission Viejo Claim Jumper restaurant who claimed to have discovered a used condom in his French onion soup on an Easter Sunday. Encouraging audience members to share their own advice and insights, she walked them through the steps she took to counsel the company through the ensuing crisis.
“You must be calm until you’ve procured all the information and evaluated the options,” Gladstone warned. “Listen to what people are saying, to their angst and emotions. Provide research. Monitor customer service calls, because they can be the best sounding board to see what people are thinking.”
In the midst of a crisis one of the best techniques, she said, is to ask logical, thoughtful questions to draw people out carefully and then come up with solutions. “Persuade your clients to say what they know immediately because the press needs information,” she advised. “Even if you only have the answer to one question, you can build your statements around that knowledge.” Most helpful, she said, is illuminating the path by providing a factual written statement that the team can focus on. “No one does that better than we do,” she said. “A one-sentence statement is better than an endless debate.”
Crisis specialists must remain objective and think ahead five years into the future about the ramifications of all their clients’ decisions, because lawsuits can take that long to go to court. “Keep track of everything the team does,” she advised. “Chronicle what was done and when, knowing that it may be evidence for the court and for fact-based reporters.”

Are you a current IABC-OC member and looking to stay on top of current Marketing & Communications trends?
UCI Extension offers IABC-OC members a 10% off one course each quarter (code IABC10) on courses in the Marketing & Communications Certificate Program, Social Media Specialized Studies Program, or the Internet Marketing Certificate Program.
Go to the links below to learn more about the Marketing & Communications UCI Extension programs!
Marketing & Communications Certificate Program
Marketing & Communications Program and Course Schedule
Social Media Specialized Studies Program
Social Media Program and Course Schedule
Social Media Specialized Studies Brochure
Internet Marketing Certificate Program
Internet Marketing Program and Course Schedule
Internet Marketing Brochure

Have you heard about the latest trends, strategies and tactics in communication? 

Your answer would be a resounding “Yes” if you attended the IABC-OC 2015 third annual Business Communications Forecast Panel discussion on January 13, where four astute Orange County business leaders shared valuable insights regarding the year ahead. 

The topics ranged from the improved outlook for communicators, mobile marketing, customer and employee engagement, social media, technology implications, branding and more.

One specific truth emerged: Business Communicators like you who keep informed and abreast of current and future trends, technology and social media will be poised to take advantage of the improving economy.

This truth mirrored one overwhelming insight from our 2014 interviews: Business communicators like you want to keep informed and are seeking resources, tools, information, case studies and a network of fellow professionals to keep you current and relevant. 

In keeping with our goal of providing relevant content, during our February luncheon we learned why Instagram isn’t just for fun or just for kids – and it how to use Instagram as a powerful B2B marketing and communications tool in your business.   For more information see the article “Think Instagram is just for millennials? You may be missing out” in the newsletter for a glimpse into why Instagram is becoming a key for communicators.

IABC has a world of ideas, support, tools and resources to help you navigate the rapid, continuous change in communication.They are right at your fingertips! For example, IABC members can read CW Magazine and review the case study, “How a Website Redesign Connects a Community,” or tune into periodic webinars.

If you’re looking to extend your network with other communications professionals, mark your calendar for an IABC mixer on Wednesday, March 18. Take a break from the work fervor to connect with others in your field. 

I look forward to seeing you all at our events this year and hearing your stories about how your involvement and membership with IABC has been a benefit!


Sarah Willis
President, IABC Orange County

We ring in each new year with anticipation, hope and eagerness for a fresh start.
The new year is a time of new beginnings, a time to do things differently.  We make lists of resolutions — promising ourselves this year we’ll lose those extra pounds, eat healthier, exercise more, take care of our careers, and find more time to enjoy our friends and our family.

Your IABC/OC chapter is no different — it is also looking forward to the new year with anticipation — eager for what 2015 will hold. We have a new beginning! You’ve elected your 2015 board and the new positions and fresh faces will give us a chance to do things differently. The gift of information many of you provided during our 2014 survey has provided us our list of resolutions — our guide to give our IABC community the substance it’s looking for to stay relevant in 2015 and the years that follow. We look forward to your continued participation in this journey.  

Participation is the key to our new beginning, to keeping our resolutions and to staying relevant. The reason so many well intended New Year’s resolutions don’t make it to February 1 is due to non-participation — we don’t participate in the new eating plan, the exercise regimen or the career development opportunity.  Participate with us in 2015! Be part of our new beginning and kept resolutions!   Join the board (there are still some open positions), volunteer on a committee, attend events, and give us feedback.  

On Tuesday, January 13, you’ll have the first opportunity to participate in our IABC/OC 2015 activities. Our annual business communications forecast will feature industry leaders with unique views and insights into the communications trends, strategies and tactics for 2015. This is not a Second Tuesday Luncheon you want to miss!    

I look forward to hearing from more of you and learning how you would be willing to join us and participate in growing an IABC that provides the substance you’ve told us you crave on the job every day. By joining together, we can ensure that IABC will be able to provide all that is needed to propel us to a prosperous and satisfying future as professional communicators.

Please feel free to reach out to me at 949.622.1218 or via email here. Join the conversation! Please follow the chapter on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and join our LinkedIn group. View our videos on YouTube and our photos on flickr.


Sarah Willis
President, IABC Orange County

Thank you!
  In October, I shared with you some of the observations and challenges our IABC/OC chapter has faced over the past 18-24 months.  Several of you stepped forward to participate in our phone interviews and assist us in understanding how we can evolve as an organization and stay relevant in our business communications community.   Your responses have been helpful and greatly welcomed.  Thank you for the gift of information.  We’re excited to examine the feedback and use it to help set the course for 2015 and the years that follow. 

Over the next six to eight weeks, not only will your IABC/OC Board will be examining its research results to set the course for 2015, we will also be looking to fill board positions that will become vacant in January.  If you are an IABC member, you are eligible to be a board member!  We are asking you for the gift of time — we’d love to have you serve.  Elections will occur in December.  

We have open board positions in a variety of roles.  If you are interested in learning about the open positions and about what is involved in serving on the board, please contact me or another board member for more information.  Serving on the board is a great way for you to give back to the communications community, to learn and grow professionally, and to work side by side with other communications professionals. The IABC/OC Board is a fun group that works hard and works well together. I invite you to join us in giving to our communications community.  You will find it incredibly rewarding.  

This year, the local PR, marketing and communications associations will not be joining together for a collective holiday mixer.  Each group will pursue its own way to celebrate the holiday season.  After much consideration regarding the best approach for our group, your IABC/OC Board unanimously decided to give you, our IABC community, the gift of time in 2014 and not hold a holiday mixer.  Instead, we will be making a donation to our chapter’s charity organization, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.  We are excited to be able to support this great organization and to give all of you the gift of time — an extra evening to take care of your holiday demands and preparations.  If you would like to augment our chapter donation, please contact me for information. Thank you for understanding our decision and thank you for considering giving to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.

I look forward to hearing from more of you and learning how you would be willing to join us to grow an IABC chapter that provides the substance that you crave on the job every day.  By joining together, we can ensure that IABC will be able to give all that is needed to propel us to a more prosperous and satisfying future as professional communicators.

Please feel free to reach out to me at 949.622.1218 or via email here Join the conversation! Please follow the chapter on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and join our LinkedIn group. View our videos on YouTube and our photos on flickr.


Sarah Willis
President, IABC Orange County

Fall… The Season of Change

We’ve entered fall, another season of change. Although the weather still feels very summer-like, it will change in the months ahead. Like the weather, we see world dynamics changing almost daily. We will be voting on policy and local government leadership changes in November and we may be facing changes at work or at home. Change makes us uncomfortable because the future isn’t clear and consequently human beings usually don’t tend to embrace change. 

IABC-OC has been experiencing change over the past 18-24 months. As with other professional associations in Orange County and across the country, we’ve seen our membership numbers dip approximately 10 percent. On the flip side, over the same time period, our Second Tuesday Luncheon attendance has grown by about 50 percent. Things are changing and it’s gotten our attention. When you don’t understand what is causing change, you want to know why.

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less”, said General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, 2003. As much as we don’t crave change, we’re open to it. Your IABC-OC leadership likes irrelevance even less. We hope you share our feelings and our desire to figure out how IABC needs to change to stay relevant. 

If you desire to keep IABC-OC relevant, we’d love to hear from you. We will be conducting phone interviews to find out how we can continue on as a relevant organization. We’ll need interview participants and they don’t need to be members. In fact, we’d love to hear from non-members!

Each interview will last approximately 15 minutes. Once we get the one-on-one interview results, we’ll need volunteer leaders to help us develop a change plan and implement the changes necessary for continued relevance.

Change is hard. It’s a challenge and we can’t do it alone. We hope you’ll join us. Join IABC if you’re not already a member. Join in the phone interviews so we can better understand the needs of professional communicators in Orange County. Join our leadership team so we can implement needed change.

I look forward to hearing from you and learning whether you would be willing to join us to grow an IABC that provides the substance you crave on the job every day.  By working together, we can ensure that IABC will provide what you need to propel you into a more prosperous and satisfying future as a professional communicator.

Please feel free to reach out to me at 949.622.1218 or via email here.  Please follow the chapter on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and join our LinkedIn group.


Sarah Willis
President, IABC Orange County