Innovator in Chief: Judy Iannaccone Brings Original Ideas and Experience to IABC OC
As a public relations professional with more than 30 years of communications experience, Judy Iannaccone credits IABC for providing her with expert training and important contacts.
“I could see very quickly that IABC was a combination of professional development and people,” Iannaccone recalls. “The breadth and depth of the professional development opportunities is unparalleled. It keeps me coming back and hungry for more.”
An active member since April 1985, she is vice president of membership for the Orange County chapter and has held the same position for more than three years after stepping down as past president.
“People know the Orange County chapter of IABC is friendly,” she adds. “But it is so with the organization as a whole. What keeps you paying as a member is the deeper connection – there is always someone trying to help you. We are comrades in arms.”
Iannaccone is working intensely this month to generate more members for the Orange County chapter, which has about 80 members. October and March are Member Months.
“Memberships for associations across the board is challenging. It’s never been easy to generate members,” she notes. “Some people believe that because so much educational information is on the web, there is no need for an association membership.
“But membership offers a wealth of opportunities for members, including webinars, conferences, courses and mentorship,” she says. “I want members to know that I’m available to connect with them about IABC – it’s about more than the monthly meetings.”
Iannaccone, who lives in Aliso Viejo, loves to travel and hike. With a master’s degree in Spanish from Ohio State University, she taught Spanish at the University of Arizona for several years and knew that at a certain point she wanted to switch careers.
When she worked with the American Red Cross Blood Program in Tucson, she discovered her passion for public relations and was introduced to IABC by a colleague. After that, she worked for the City of Fort Worth, Texas, as the communications manager for the Fort Worth Clean City Program. Iannaccone moved to Orange County to accept a position as director of public affairs for the Orange County Red Cross, a position she held for a decade.
For the past 16 years she has been a communications professional for the Rancho Santiago Community College District and presently is director of Public Affairs and Publications. Her department encompasses the district’s print shop, graphic communications, as well as web and social media.
Her vision is to put a positive face on the programs and services of the Rancho Community College District and its two campuses [Santiago Canyon and Santa Ana colleges] to tell the story of the educational opportunities offered for prospective students and the community at large.
“Goal No. 1 is to raise awareness,” she notes. “No. 2 is we want community members to take the time to find what’s available to themselves or the students. No. 3 is we want to improve our relationships with the community, both to grow enrollment and to retain students.”
Committed to innovation, Iannaccone says she reads constantly and stays abreast of the best practices in public relations. She remains active in the Public Relations Society of America as well as IABC. “I do my best based on the resources available to bring in new ways of reaching prospective audiences to the district.”