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A community of spirit. (IABC Annual Report 2000-2001).

When you consider the words that make up IABC--international, association, business, communicators--which word is the most important?

Some might argue that it is communicators because it is this creative, tricky, vital profession that brings us together. Others may opine that it is business because it is in the business world that we practice our craft. And many may vote for international because it is our global membership that differentiates us from other communication associations.

What I have learned, starting with my first interview with IABC volunteers last April, is that the most important word in our name is association. Webster's defines association as "an organization of persons having common interests and purposes." That definition certainly gets at the basis of why communicators choose to join this organization.

But Webster's has other entries that more closely reflect an association's value. Association is also defined as "connection in the mind between ideas." IABC offers many forums for the exchange of ideas--Chapter meetings, professional development seminars, international conference, Memberspeak, e-mail, Communication World, webinars, IABC books and manuals, Foundation research studies, the accreditation process, the Gold Quill competition, board meetings and informal conversations over a cup of coffee.

Through all these vehicles for idea exchange, a member can see how the tools, solutions and strategies that are used by another communicator in another city, country, or even continent could be applied to his/her own communication challenge.

Yet the definition of association that I think best captures the value of our organization is "the act of bringing together friends, partners and fellow workers." IABC creates a global network; it brings communicators into professional relationships and possibly even friendships. Because of the strength of those IABC-fostered relationships, members did what they could to help their association navigate through this difficult year.

Members invested in the 500 Club to help IABC rebuild its reserves. Some chapters returned a monthly dues payment to help us pay our bills. Board members and other volunteers rolled up their sleeves to find a new president and develop a new strategy for the future. But most important, members all over the world kept their faith that IABC could learn from its mistakes and move forward as a stronger, wiser organization.

I recently heard a volunteer leader refer to IABC as a "community of spirit."

With that spirit, we can all work together to construct an association that promotes the common interests of communicators throughout the business world.

I am honored to be a part of that community.

Julie Freeman, APR

President
COPYRIGHT 2002 International Association of Business Communicators
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Title Annotation:International Association of Business Communicators
Publication:Communication World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:420
Previous Article:The New IABC. (IABC Annual Report 2000-2001).
Next Article:Highlights of fiscal year 2000-2001. (IABC Annual Report 2000-2001).
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