When I joined the staff of an engineering journal years ago, I hadn’t heard of corporate communication, internal communication or external communication. Armed with student newspaper experience and a bachelor’s degree in English, I began editing product descriptions, proofreading mathematical equations and checking layout proofs in my first real job. To make sure I didn’t forget how to write a story, I covered events for the local newspaper a couple of nights a week. It was a start — but IABC had not become part of my vocabulary.
A few years later, my first corporate communication role was in managed care. I wrote newsletters for employees, customers, brokers and physicians. Internal? External? It didn’t matter. I enjoyed communicating strategically with each audience.
In search of fresh professional development, I found IABC. A focus on business communication seemed like a better fit for me than the public relations or marketing programs offered by other organizations. I saw a flyer with IABC meeting topics, and there was no turning back.
Soon I discovered an invaluable IABC benefit: collaborating with inspiring people on projects beyond the scope of my day job. Locally and regionally, IABC has enabled me to apply communication strategy, standards and skills in member outreach, recruiting, programming, webinars, awards programs and even finance. IABC has expanded my perspective and experience.
Meanwhile, at work I thought internal communication would always be in the mix. But after a reorganization displaced me, I left internal communication behind and began an external role at LexisNexis.
My new audience would be legal professionals, but I was not a lawyer. How was this going to work?
You have probably overcome hurdles like this. We do it by asking good questions — it’s at the core of what we do. At LexisNexis, many subject matter experts have law degrees or deep experience in our market. For 17 years I’ve been relying on their knowledge, reading industry publications and listening to customers to keep gaining more insight.
Shortly after my LexisNexis role began, our director asked all the writers to work on promotional as well as informative projects. We teamed with designers on creative campaigns and international advertising — and competed against outside agencies. That experience prepared me for more creative opportunities in the years ahead.
Because LexisNexis is global, the “international” in IABC has become more important to me. Leadership Institute, the Council of Regions and the Hub have provided great ways to engage with our global community. That broader view has helped me thrive at work with immediate teammates across the world.
Before I began at LexisNexis, an interviewer asked if I would be willing to go back to internal communication if company needs shifted. Without hesitation, I said yes. Although I’m not planning to switch, I still read our employee communications with that question in the back of my mind. Could I go back? Of course. When change comes, communication professionals know how to flex.