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The little chapter that almost wasn't ...

Five years ago a shrinking IABC chapter in San Antonio, Texas, faced a dilemma: extinction, or the daunting task of major planning and reconstruction.

Of course, extinction wasn't really an option, so a four-year rebuilding plan was put in place. The first step was a succession plan. Four core leaders joined forces and agreed to rotate the chapter presidency until the organization had a solid group of volunteers.

These dedicated members--Sheri Rosen, Alex Filip, Betsy Pasley and Lisa Owens--scaled back the chapter meeting schedule and cut activities to the bone. They provided only critical, achievable offerings, such as an electronic newsletter and the Bronze Quill Awards. They turned their focus to quality programming and personal relationships with members.

IABC/San Antonio took advantage of the support and resources available from the association's district and international leadership during the rebuilding process. The online Membership Management Area offered up-to-date member information, including e-mail notices to the chapter as soon as a member joins or renews, in order to establish timely, personal follow-up. The IABC Leader Centre provided a list of current chapter leaders worldwide, which proved useful when soliciting help from other chapters. The Chapter in a Box templates made chapter management easier. And the annual Leadership Institutes energized and rejuvenated San Antonio's leaders.

The plan worked. By the fifth year, the chapter was so vibrant that I challenged the board to apply for IABC's 2005 Small Chapter of the Year. Core leader Lisa Owens took the lead in submitting entries for all six Chapter Management Award areas. In February, the little chapter that almost wasn't won the Small Chapter honor.

Leaders of struggling chapters should remember San Antonio, and use the resources available from IABC. Who knows? One day their chapter may be IABC's Small Chapter of the Year.


Bookmark these online IABC services and visit often.

* MyComm: the strategic communication planning tool developed by Cisco Systems.

* IABC Speakers Bureau: Find a speaker on any communication topic with our online database of experts.

* Job Centre: Find a job or fill one with IABC's international job and resume board.

* MemberSpeak: an all-purpose, members-only public forum, primarily for IABC issues.

--Joy Powell president, IABC/San Antonio
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Title Annotation:iabc update; International Association of Business Communicators
Author:Powell, Joy
Publication:Communication World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2005
Previous Article:From the editor.
Next Article:Resnick, Holtz chosen as IABC fellows.

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