Tuesday, July 17, 2007

IABC T&T AGM's speech

Editor of the Express Newspapers, Allan Geere

Fellow Board Leaders of the International Association of Business Communicators, Trinidad and Tobago Chapter

Members of IABC T&T

Friends and Guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Thanks so much for being here at our Association’s first annual general meeting.

Two weeks ago I returned from IABC’s international conference in New Orleans and a funny thing kept happening…..

A strange thing kept occurring each time I introduced myself as the president of IABC Trinidad and Tobago. You see each time I said the name of our country the person to whom I was introducing myself would say something like: Oh so you’re from Trinidad and Tobago, I hear your chapter is doing some wonderful things, and in other cases I would be offered congratulations for some of the specific projects we had completed.

Of course, praise, especially when you do volunteer work is a wonderful thing to receive. I am certainly am not immune to it. But what struck me as I received congratulations for our work was that our voice, the voice of IABC Trinidad and Tobago was being heard globally.

And that as a Chapter, one of the newest on the block, our voices, well… our voices matter. This is no small accomplishment in light of the fact that there are 100 IABC chapters located in every corner of the globe.

My trip to New Orleans served as real affirmation of our work. Let me get straight to the questions that often bubble at a meeting such as this..

Has IABC T&T first board been active? You bet.
Have we surpassed the expectations and objectives that were set forth in our 2006 strategic document? You bet.
Have we given members the content, credibility and connections to succeed in their career? You bet
Has our work been noticed in the global network that comprises some 14000 members from every continent in the planet. The answer is an unequivocal yes. And I can prove it.

In New Orleans I was told by IABC’s incoming chair that our Chapter is eligible to take part in the Chapter of the Year Awards in 2008 … a huge honour considering that our Chapter is just 12 months old ..

IABC T&T is also being considered for full fledged Chapter status 12 months earlier than when it is customary to bestow such an honour. This is based just on our accomplishments…let me list just some of them …I get a real kick tooting IABC T&T’s horn

• Earlier this year the IABC T&T board met President George Maxwell Richard and presented our vision for our Association
• Our membership has increased by 150 % with the membership renewal rate being steady at 100%. Within the past ten days alone we had seven new members join us and our membership currently stands at close to sixty.
• Our professional development programmes have an 89% positive rating
• Our accounts are healthy and show promising signs of future positive growth
• Our student Chapter is about to be initiated with 5 members joining us at the end of July
• We use the wisdom of the web to communicate including a web site, a President’s blog and a soon to be released podcast. Our material is archived on an fttp site allowing for easy succession planning

It has not been all smooth sailing. Just this week I was talking to one of members in Advertising and she was saying to me that she had to consciously carve the time in her schedule in order to connect with both the Association and its members.

And therein lies the challenge the most obvious being how do we as a Board continue to keep you, our members engaged in the face of increasing work loads, family commitments knowing full well that we are, all of us, trying to find the magic bullet that will somehow miraculously balance our work and life commitments.

The fact is even as the strength of IABC T&T continues to be centered within the core of its various committees there is recognition that our volunteerism habits are mirroring the general pace of our lifestyles and that there is need for another type of volunteer i.e. Individuals who are seeking out drive-by volunteer opportunities, these members usually want responsibilities and commitments that are fast and that can be quickly executed within a specific time frame

As we flesh out the various needs of the committees in the next 6 weeks in preparation for our year ahead, I can tell you that IABC will have room for both… the enduring volunteer who want to make great impact in moving our profession forward and the drive by volunteer who has a lot to give but in a shorter time frame. For us to continue to grow I believe that the two types must comfortably co-exist within IABC T&T

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen I’ve arrived at what is my absolutely favourite part of the evening… the part where I get to say thanks to several persons and I will begin with the founding members of IABC T&T by asking them to stand as I call their names, Executive VP Maria Mc Mc Millan, VP of Administration Maria Mohammed, VP of Professional Development Wynelle Gregorio, VP of Membership Giselle La Ronde West, VP of Finance Alicia Lewis and VP of Communication Dawn- Marie Gill … ….

On behalf of the members of the International Association of Business Communicators thanks you so much….Ladies and Gentlemen please join me in saying thank you for their selfless acts of quiet purpose and dedication which often follow their strong convictions and passion for the communication, marketing profession..

I am going to ask that remain standing and I am going to ask those of you who have assumed leadership positions at committee level to join them by standing … if you have volunteered at our events, planned our meetings, worked at the committee level, Please stand. Ladies and gentlemen , once again, please join me in saying thanks to them. The people before you make IABC T&T such a special Chapter. Without them, our association of communication marketing and advertising professionals could not exist.

Thank you…..

The IABC T&T begins planning for its term later this month and joining us will be 3 new Vice Presidents… our new VP of Branding and Visual Communication is Brevard Nelson of Guardian Holdings Limited, our VP of Administration is Wendy Bishop the Sponsorship and Advertising manager at UTC and Dexter Charles Group Communication Manager of First Citizens will join us as our Sponsorship and Advertising Vice President …Maria Mohammed, our former VP of Administration will serve as our new VP of Future Communication and Social Media

Welcome to the team…
So we are on our way… our year 2007-2008 which will culminate in our 2008 Communication Summit. As I anticipate my year ahead...

I encourage you to log on to use the international web site to your own advantage
I encourage you to read the book that IABC read the books that IABC publishes
I encourage you to get familiar with your local chapter mission, vision
I encourage to volunteer your time and become invloved.

We're all very busy people. But we need you to invest some time if we're going to make this a better profession and a better business for ourselves and the people behind us. It has to be done collaboratively – whether you are a drive-by volunteer or of the enduring kind.

I look forward to the year ahead.

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