Join IABC in October: It’s an investment in your career, with a sweetener

[UPDATE: Membership Month deals have been extended through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 7.]

Happy anniversary to me. Five years ago this month I clicked this link for the first time and never looked back. It’s the link to join IABC. Every October since then, I have not hesitated to renew.

Regardless of when you joined or last renewed, this month is the smartest (cheapest!) time to take the plunge. Just click the RENEW link on the top right of the homepage.

I confess I paused as I enrolled the first time — on the page where you have to pull out a credit card and invest some money. But there are two reasons I pressed ahead, and continue to renew my membership at this time every year:

1. Because IABC membership pays off for your career better than any organization I have found.

2. Because October is Membership Month, the time when IABC International discounts memberships. And this year our local chapter, IABC/OC, is offering a free event as a special sweetener. (More on that below.)

Why join IABC?

When I compare IABC to other organizations, the first thing that stands out is how our members look out for one another. As I wrote in a previous President’s Letter, whether the crowd is small or large, I would describe our events as intimate. Supportive. With lots of laughs.

The other thing that stands out is the variety of communication disciplines we serve and draw from. We are communication strategists, writers, graphic designers, marketers, social media experts, journalists, photographers, editors and more. We draw professionals representing everything from public affairs, public relations, media relations and video production to corporate communications, human resources, employee communications and investor relations. We work for corporations, PR agencies, educational institutions and nonprofits. Many of us work independently.

Why is that span of expertise a good thing? In today’s world, successful communicators often wear multiple hats. A graphic designer might also do social media. A writer might do technical writing, script writing and journalism. So our Network & Knowledge series of monthly events provides education that serves a broad base rather than a tight vertical. As a side effect, we introduce you to a network of people in a variety of fields that need your talents.

Your membership includes free participation in IABC/OC IndyComm meetings, and an endless supply of materials at little or no cost via IABC International’s website (workshops, first dibs on jobs, award opportunities, articles, webinars, videos, a Hub for conversations and advice from members worldwide, and much more).

Your membership also makes you eligible to join the IABC/OC Board — where you learn the most, help the most, and make the best connections. We’ll soon be putting together the ballot for the 2020 board. So click that join link or renew before Oct. 31. And email me if you’d like to be on the board.

Why now?

I’m telling you all this now because October is Membership Month, and this year’s version is even better than years past:

• IABC International is offering its Membership Month discount — 10% off your International dues. Just type in the discount code “OCTOBER 10”.

• Plus our local chapter has a special sweetener: a Join & Go Offer. If you join or renew during October 2019, you will receive free admission to one upcoming IABC Orange County event.

When you join or renew by Oct. 31 and select Orange County as your chapter, you will receive an email from IABC Orange County with instructions on how to redeem your free event.
What if your membership doesn’t expire in October? It’s still smart to renew now. Your renewal will take effect for a full year starting when your current membership expires.

Get unglitched

This year, Membership Month is also an opportunity for people who were caught up in IABC International’s computer glitch.

Victoria Dew, IABC’s International Executive Board Chair, sent an email to all IABC members on Sept. 20 announcing the arrival of new IABC Interim Executive Director Erin McClain to “resolve some of the challenges we’ve faced this year.” Chief among those challenges were bugs in a technology rollout, which blocked people from registering and renewing. Also, some members might not have received their annual renewal notice.

If you’re not sure whether your membership is up to date, log on to, click the “My IABC” button, then click “My Membership.” You’ll see your status.

The site is up and running now. So whatever your status, now’s a great time to join or renew.

If you have questions, please send an email to me or IABC/OC Vice President of Membership Tammy Nienaber.

We’re pleased to have you as a member.

John Fabris
IABC/OC president, 2019

Feel the power of being part of the tribe

Only a few days removed from celebrating our nation’s independence and the respect we have for those who dare to break away and go it alone, I find myself thinking about freedom along different lines. It’s the concept of becoming a part of something bigger than ourselves.  I’m talking about the power of association.

Think back to the pivotal moments in your professional career. Chances are they unfolded because of a connection to a particular individual with whom you shared common interests. In other words, you both belonged to the same tribe.

This need for connection is what drives the growth and success of IABC Orange County. We all long for career enrichment in whatever form that may take. However, the truly enduring and most valuable gains we achieve in our professional lives stem from the relationships we form along the way.

Some would have you believe that the concept of association membership is becoming obsolete. They will opine that people much prefer the freedom to show up at professional events whenever and wherever they choose – and pay the premium for doing so.  I would as well, if I believed that the value proposition for being a Member was restricted exclusively to networking and passing out business cards.

Candidly, that’s not a big enough ROI for me. Important as those gatherings are, they are merely catalysts to something much bigger: the sense of belonging to an internationally recognized and accomplished group of like-minded professionals – and the doors that open through that association.

Whether your desire is to develop new skill sets, give back through volunteering, or access top-level practitioners and informational resources, there’s always someone at IABC/OC to whom you can turn. Someone who understands your world.  Someone from your tribe.

If you’re an active Chapter Member, you get it. If not, I invite you to join and experience what I’m describing.  We’ve got a large tent.

Michael Shepherd
IABC/OC president, 2017

Nothing beats the relationships you gain by joining an IABC committee

When communications professionals use the word engagement these days, more often than not the conversation touches on analytics. I’m going to go old school and talk about that term in a different context.

It’s become fashionable these days to avoid professional memberships. With so many choices and different events, the idea of committing to one organization just doesn’t make sense – or, so the argument goes. Better to “cherry pick” the ones that interest you most. Besides, we’re all too busy to be burdened with trying to fit all those commitments into our schedules, right?

Here’s the problem with that logic: It places the value proposition of membership in organizations like IABC too much around events. Even as a devoted networker, I can assure you that’s a questionable strategy.

Let’s set aside the obvious price penalty of attending events as a non-member. Or, the inability to access valuable IABC member-only content and continuing education resources that can advance your career faster.

The bigger loss is the missed relationship building and engagement that comes from serving on a committee – a privilege reserved exclusively for members. Whether you’re cultivating connections for your next career gig or a great consulting opportunity, the seeds of those relationships take root inside committees.

If you’re an IABC member serving on a standing committee – Programs, Communications, Membership, Finance or Sponsorship – you already know it. If you’re a member that hasn’t discovered this somewhat counter-intuitive benefit, I encourage you to engage.

And, finally, if you’re reading this and find yourself on the fence about whether or not to join, there’s not a better time than right now to dive in. The waters, like the people you’ll meet, are warm.

Michael Shepherd
IABC/OC president, 2017

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.