When asked what it meant to become an IABC Fellow, the 2022 cohort shared that the designation recognizes a communication professional’s commitment to the practice, validates lifelong industry contributions and honors an impactful and longstanding career. It is the highest honor IABC bestows on its members.
This year, IABC is proud to welcome Zora Artis, GAICD, SCMP, FAMI, CPM, IABC Fellow; Sue Heuman, ABC, MC, IABC Fellow; and Robin McCasland, SCMP, IABC Fellow, to this distinguished group of communication professionals. Get to know Artis, Heuman and McCasland below, and learn how their contributions to the profession have impacted the industry.
Tell us about a situation or project that you are most proud of. How did this work impact the profession?
Zora Artis, GAICD, SCMP, FAMI, CPM, IABC Fellow (ZA): In 2020 as a consultant, I worked in the communication leadership team on the public health response to COVID-19. I developed the Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 strategic communications approach and led the development of the communications and engagement framework for outbreak response during the second wave in Victoria (Australia). The latter focused on the effective response to outbreaks, helping the community understand their role in managing COVID-19 and adopting behaviors aligned with public health measures. After four months and a mammoth effort by Victorians, our state recorded zero new cases and deaths. This was an example of how important it is to engage and collaborate with community, business and government to affect behavior change. I am proud to have played a part in keeping people safe and minimizing the spread of the disease.
Sue Heuman, ABC, MC, IABC Fellow (SH): I am most proud of the time I spent helping create the IABC’s certification program and transition from accreditation. Later, I was proud to serve as Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC) Chair in 2015–2016 when we first launched the Communication Management Professional (CMP) exam.
Change is always challenging, but today we are seeing the results. The certification program is built on the foundation of the Global Standard, and ISO accreditation means that it meets rigorous standards. I’m so proud to see how the program has matured since its inception.
Robin McCasland, SCMP, IABC Fellow (RM): I took a role in a major technology company, reshaping how the business was perceived among university engineering students in the U.S. The goal was to have so many students wanting to join our company that we’d have to turn them away. We wanted the cream of the crop interning, and ultimately working, for us to create the next generation of digital chips that power the world’s technology products. I persuaded the head of staffing that I could make a significant, positive impact on recruiting. I became the only communication professional working directly in HR at that time. With the help of an agency, I overhauled our recruitment branding and recruiter training. I changed how we looked, sounded and behaved on campuses. I kept in mind what would appeal to the engineering students — not to us or our leaders.
The results were stellar. We changed how engineering students perceived our company and its opportunities. We ensured the experiences they had once they became interns matched or exceeded what we promised when we were courting them.
Our work earned us recognition from the Corporate Leadership Council as a best-in-class recruiting program. My work and influence were integral to the success of the initiative. It was a huge step forward in my career.
Recent IABC research shows that communication professionals are most likely to thrive when they are knowledgeable about multiple business functions within their organizations. As a Fellow, how do you demonstrate this cross-functional skill in your practice?
ZA: I think of myself as someone who is particularly adept at sense-making and being able to see opportunities where others see problems. I have a strong background and training in business, marketing and branding, risk, and governance, so I draw on these to look at situations holistically and assess where I can create the value as an alignment and communication strategist. Whether an IABC Fellow or not, a communication professional needs to have strong business acumen, stakeholder engagement and influencing skills to be effective in the role of a trusted advisor or part of the C-suite.
SH: I believe the time has passed for segregated marketing, corporate communications and HR/employee communications. Instead, we are seeing an integrated approach that recognizes the influence our various target audiences have over the success of our organizations. Being knowledgeable about a full spectrum of approaches helps us build more effective strategies to position our organizations with our audiences, impact reputation and contribute to the achievement of corporate goals.
RM: I specialize in employee communication and employee listening and engagement. Some of my team members create business content for our employee communication channels. The awesome way they tell stories about company priorities helps employees see how their own roles make a difference and how they fit into the overarching business strategy. Every year, we learn more about the business while sharing that knowledge with employees across the company.
Other members of my team use data and analytics to create listening dashboards that help us — and senior leaders — see how and where communication succeeds in engaging employees in the business. We demonstrate how we and our executive communication colleagues add value to the bottom line.
What makes you proud to be a Fellow?
ZA: I look at those who are IABC Fellows — their body of work and their generosity — and think “Wow.” They are an incredible brain trust that give and invest in the development of others and the profession. I’m so humbled to join this group and am grateful to have learned so much from them. I hope to be able to continue in this vein to help others grow and develop.
SH: Being a Fellow means being a role model for communication professionals. Fellows demonstrate the Global Standard in their work and live the IABC ethics in their practices. It’s an opportunity to continue to define the scope of professional communications. The Fellows are such highly regarded professionals that I have admired and respected for years. To be counted among them is truly humbling and I am deeply honored.
RM: It’s wonderful to be recognized alongside professionals I’ve admired and respected for years. I’m proud to be affiliated with thought leaders whose work has advanced a global standard of communication practice and continues to shape how our profession influences and impacts business outcomes in myriad industries.
By IABC Staff, Featuring Zora Artis, Sue Heuman and Robin McCasland
Although Zora Artis, GAICD SCMP FAMI CPM, IABC Fellow, began her career outside the communications field, she has had an outsize impact on the profession since entering it more than 20 years ago as an account director and then strategic planner with branding and integrated marcomms agencies. Since then, she has led her own brand and communications consultancy, and served as CEO of a 20-person creative, digital and strategic communication firm. In 2019, she formed her current management consulting practice bringing together strategic alignment, brand and communication expertise. She has received five Gold Quill awards.
Her significant contributions to the profession and the body of knowledge include her original research with IABC colleague, Wayne Aspland, on strategic alignment, the role of communications and leadership – the first substantial research effort for the reconfigured IABC Foundation – and co-authoring a subsequent white paper, "The Road to Alignment," supported by 27 senior communicators from five continents. Artis has also researched the correlation of strategic alignment and experiences and the impact on stakeholder value and brand. This has led her to develop her own proprietary Alignment Experience Framework. She has also examined gender equity, perceptions and bias in organizations, and wrote a chapter on this topic for the Quadriga University e-reader, Women in PR.
Since joining IABC a decade ago, she has impacted IABC as a volunteer, including roles as chair of the IABC Asia Pacific Region and IEB director; she currently serves as the chair of the 2022 World Conference Program Advisory Committee. A certified company director, as chair of IABC Audit and Risk Committee she introduced proper risk oversight to the board’s processes. Artis has been honored with the 2021 and the 2015 IABC Chair's Award for Leadership and was named IABC's 2020 Regional Leader of the Year. She is also a Strategic Communication Management Professional, Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute and Certified Practising Marketer.
Sue Heuman, ABC, MC, IABC Fellow, is a trusted advisor and an authority on organizational communications with a communication career that spans more than 40 years. Throughout this time, she has garnered respect as a leader in elevating the communication profession worldwide with her “Strategy First” commitment to developing a strategic approach to every communication challenge. In the 1990s, Heuman developed a communications model, the Triangles of Information, to educate and work with clients to home in on the most important, targeted messages they need to convey to their various audiences. She has adapted this into the Audience and Messaging Segmentation Model which she still uses today. Her work has been recognized not only by IABC, but also by the Canadian Public Relations Society and other organizations for projects where she was the communications lead. A champion for social justice, her multiple contributions in this area include participating in the Edmonton Mayor’s Task Force to End Poverty several years ago.
Within IABC, Heuman's energy and leadership insight have been sought in many roles. Most notable has been her pivotal role in the transition from accreditation to certification. She helped name and quantify the CMP® and SCMP® certification levels, reviewed and edited the first SCMP® exam questions and chaired the GCCC as it launched its first exam. She currently serves as chair for the IABC Canada West Region.
Robin McCasland, SCMP, IABC Fellow, has been a passionate advocate for IABC and the communications profession throughout her 30-plus year career. She is known for being able to blend creative approaches with business-focused thinking to transform tactical communications teams into those valued for their measurable contributions to the business. She is now in a senior leadership role with a major health insurance company, overseeing employee communications across a multi-state organization. She was named IABC Southern Region 2020 Communicator of the Year and in 2021, she was chosen as one of Ragan/PR Daily's Top Women in Communications in the Leader category.
McCasland has contributed to the profession as a thought leader on business storytelling and as a speaker and author on how to align communication with business strategy and on how to coach leaders to be effective communicators. Her podcast, “Torpid Liver (and other symptoms of poor communication)” addresses timely communication topics while also helping communication professionals overcome challenges that hinder career progression and satisfaction.
Within IABC, she has been a contagiously enthusiastic, consistent and committed volunteer at the chapter, district/regional and international levels. As one support letter noted, “Part of Robin’s true impact is in ‘how’ she does it. Robin’s ‘secret sauce’ is in her warmth, realness, humor, resilience, creativity, self-awareness and strength of character.” These qualities were essential when she served as IABC Chair in 2013-2014, a challenging year that included addressing outdated association technology and implementing more rigorous financial controls, while also advancing IABC’s priorities to launch a global certification program and professional development academy. McCasland was in the inaugural class of 13 members to receive the Strategic Communication Management Professional certification in 2017. Most recently, she became co-chair of the IABC Healthcare Shared Interest Group.