June 20 Meeting Update: The Presenter May Change, but the Content Stays the Same

Don’t forget to register for the June 20 IABC Lincoln luncheon “Like Facebook on Steroids—Online Collaboration.” The registration deadline has been extended to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18.

The originally scheduled presenter will be unable to join us, so in his place will be Cindy Kelly, communication coordinator for the Kansas Area of the United Methodist Church. Kelly has been an administrator and active user of the MindMixer site EngageGreatPlainsUMC.org, a cooperative venture by the Nebraska and Kansas communications department to engage United Methodists in discussions about coming together as one new Great Plains Conference of the church.
Previous to her work for the United Methodist Church, Kelly worked as a freelance social media manager and strategist with Wichita-based clients. Come hear her practical insights on how organizations can create more meaningful engagement with coworkers and constituents.

IABC Lincoln Leaders Needed

IABC Lincoln leaders invite new and experienced IABC members to be a part of our leadership team.

  • Help your chapter by sharing your expertise.
  • Learn new communication skills by volunteering in a no-pressure environment.
  • Develop your leadership skills.
  • Network, network, network!
  • Be part of a fun, vibrant team in one of the strongest IABC Chapters of the World.

Opportunities available:

  • sponsorship development
  • finance support
  • membership development/relations
  • professional development and special events
  • co-coordinator (president-elect for 2014-2015)

Two-year leadership team terms start July 1 – June 30. For more information, please contact Teresa Ingram at 402-328-5114, teresa.ingram@allstate.com or Janet Denison at 402-477-1050 or janetd@visionexhibits.com.

 

Member Profile: Janet Denison

From time to time we track down a member of the Lincoln IABC chapter and ask a few questions so you can get to know them better. This month we talked with Janet Denison, who currently serves as the president of our chapter.

Janet Denison
Janet Denison

IABC: Janet, thanks for answering a few questions for the members of IABC Lincoln. First off, who is your current employer? Tell us about your business.

Janet: I actually own my company, Vision Exhibits, along with my husband. I also serve as president, marketing manager, creative director, exhibit designer, installation supervisor, production, janitorial … you name it. We provide trade show exhibits and branded environment solutions for businesses of all sizes nationwide. The majority of my job is working with clients to create trade show exhibits and office graphics that meet the branding needs and budget.

IABC: Why did you join IABC?

Janet: I love the opportunity to meet people, develop professionally, to learn from the best communicators around and help grow my business. I am a graphic designer by trade, so I always felt the need to improve my written and oral communication skills—even more so when I became an account rep at an agency. My IABC connections and preparing Quill Award entries have helped immensely.

IABC: What area of communication are you most passionate about and why?

Janet: Visual communication stirs me to be creative. I love the challenge of finding solutions for my clients and meeting their hard and fast deadlines.

IABC: In what area of communication do you have the most experience or skill?

Janet: My experience is mostly in visual communication. I’ve designed logos, print materials, exhibits, display graphics and office environments for more than 30 years. Although I age myself when I reveal that I “set type” on a Compugraphic 7700; produced artwork on a drawing board with a t-square, Rapidograph pens, design markers, and a waxer; shot veloxes and developed negatives in darkroom trays, then stripped them and burned plates; that experience has really been the foundation of all my experience and career growth. I’ve worked first-hand with printers in the pressroom, installers at trade shows, in a sign shop, and numerous other hands-on production projects all within only three businesses in my entire career. That was a lot of opportunity.

IABC: What do you like to do for fun?

Janet: I like to paint with watercolors and incorporate calligraphy. Timothy Botts’ scriptural artwork really inspires me. I don’t paint enough, but I’m trying to rekindle the talent and master the skills again. I also like to can salsa and cook for a group of people. While not related in anyway, both are time-spenders that allow me to see a big accomplishment when I’m done.

IABC: Tell us about your family.

Janet: My husband of 32 years, Scott Denison, is also my business partner. Together, we live on a farm near Holland, Neb., where we raised three daughters, Jennifer (28), and Karin and Kaylin (twins, 24). All are married, so they’ve blessed me with fine sons-in-law. We have one grand daughter, Lydia, who is the absolute joy of our lives.

IABC: How long have you lived in the Lincoln area?

Janet: I grew up on a farm outside of Cortland, Neb. I lived in Lincoln during college and my first few years of marriage before moving to Holland in 1983.

IABC: Is there anything else you’d like the IABC membership to know about you?

Janet: I truly appreciate the membership of IABC Lincoln. I have had the opportunity to get to know so many people and have developed long-term friendships with a number of people whom I admire and respect. The more I’ve been involved in serving on the leadership team and in volunteer opportunities, the more I’ve expanded my network. There is no better chapter or organization than IABC Lincoln.

Lincoln chapter offers $1000 scholarship for World Conference

The IABC Lincoln chapter recently announced a $1000 scholarship for a Lincoln member to attend the IABC World Conference to be held  June 23-26, 2013, in New York City.

Barb Sanford, a long time IABC member, attended her first IABC World Conference in 1998 thanks to a scholarship from IABC. “The first time I attended the conference, I wanted to expand my horizons in the communication profession,” she said. “I wanted to learn more about writing and editing marketing and membership communications (my focus at the time) and to expand my network among my peers.”

Sanford found the conference so useful, she couldn’t stay away. “Since then, I’ve attended the conference many times,” she explained. “Now, I attend to stay on top of trends in the profession—to build on what I know, and to learn what I don’t know that I need to know. I also am able to connect with communicators all around the world who have become my IABC colleagues and friends. I’m still hooked.”

The annual IABC World Conference attracts thousands of communicators from around the world who enjoying networking and more than 70 sessions in a wide variety of communication tracks. “It’s like drinking from a fire hose—but in a good way,” Sanford said as she reflected on what she had learned over the years. “Each year, it’s something different. Early on, it was tips on writing more effectively for online communications, which was a new medium at the time. Next, it was writing more effectively for social media.”

Lincoln members interested in applying for the scholarship should contact Teresa Ingram (Teresa.Ingram@allstate.com) or Janet Denison (janetd@visionexhibits.com) by Thursday, April 11. The winner will be drawn at the IABC Lincoln Spring Workshop on reputation management on Friday, April 12. Members need not be present to win. “This is a great opportunity to reduce expenses and cash in on valuable professional development opportunities,” said Ingram, the Lincoln chapter’s co-coordinator.

To learn more about the IABC World Conference and the many workshops that will presented in New York, visit wc.iabc.com.

“Just go,” encouraged Sanford. “You’ll come back with learning you can put into action immediately at work—and you’ll make friends you’ll keep for life. I can’t wait to find out what I don’t know but need to know in New York this year.”

Lincoln chapter receives Award of Excellence

by Teresa Ingram, president elect

Last month, leaders from IABC chapters around the globe gathered in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the annual Leadership Institute. Chapter Management awards were given to those who applied for recognition of their work the prior year. The IABC Lincoln chapter was one of four chapters to receive the prestigious Award of Excellence for financial management.
Teresa Ingram accepted an award of excellence on behalf of the Lincoln chapter (pictured here with Pacific Plains Region board member, Molly Walker). Having a financial professional such as IABC Lincoln board member Lucas Arndt overseeing our chapter’s finances has put us in the most solid financial position we’ve held in some time. And he continues to take our financial management practices to the next level. Thank you, Lucas, for helping us achieve this international recognition.

Member Profile: Teresa Ingram

From time to time we track down a member of the IABC Lincoln and ask a few questions so you can get to know him or her better. Here is our conversation with Teresa, who is the 2015–2016 Past President and Co-Coordinator.

Teresa Ingram
Teresa Ingram

IABC: Who is your current employer and what is the principal business of the company?
Teresa: I joined the Lincoln Community Foundation (LCF) in January 2016. Prior to that I worked at Lincoln Benefit Life (LBL) for 28 years, overseeing employee communication, media relations and community relations, including charitable giving, sponsorship and employee volunteerism. That background benefits my role at LCF, a nonprofit helping donors who share a common interest—improving the quality of life in our community—create a collective, charitable impact. The Foundation also identifies current and emerging issues, channel resources to address our community’s needs, and help Lincoln prepare for the future.

IABC: Tell us a little bit about what you do?
Teresa: I’m the Marketing Coordinator for LCF, directing the communication functions for community engagement activities, including Prosper Lincoln (please visit www.prosperlincoln.org!). I also assist with overall Foundation marketing.

IABC: Why did you first join IABC?
Teresa: Because Marcia White said I should! Seriously, I didn’t know about IABC until I met Marcia and she asked me about my job at Lincoln Benefit. That was 25+ years ago and I’ve enjoyed the monthly professional development meetings with my local peers.

IABC: What part of communication are you most passionate about and why?
Teresa: I really enjoy writing and editing. I try to use storytelling, even edited down to a sentence or two, to make it memorable. My mother was an English teacher and published poet, so she influenced my creativity and attention to detail. I’m told I have an “eagle eye” … I even see typos and punctuation errors on billboards when I’m driving!

IABC: In what area of communication do you have the most experience and why?
Teresa: That would have to be written communication. But I’ve also coordinated Town Hall meetings, events/celebrations, research projects, videos and more—my role at LBL covered a lot of territory. My new job has given me some challenges that are exciting for my personal growth, including social media and website curation.

IABC: What do you like to do for fun?
Teresa: In the summer I golf with girlfriends and in the winter my husband and I snow ski with friends in the Cornhusker Ski Club. Both are individual sports that challenge me, but I get to do them with others. We also love to travel and try to plan 2-3 non-ski trips a year.

IABC: Tell us a little bit about your family.
Teresa: My husband is Todd Ingram—he works in IT at Continental Group (formerly Veyance/Goodyear). We have a “furry” kid, Coco, who was a 2-time shelter pup at a young 14-months when we adopted her in 2013.

IABC: How long have you lived in Lincoln?
Teresa: I’ve lived in Lincoln longer than I lived in my hometown of Kearney. I moved here after college, in 1984.

IABC: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Lincoln IABC membership?
Teresa: I have a lot of friends in our IABC chapter and gained leadership skills due to my membership, mainly because I volunteer on the board. If you want to get to know your peers better and grow professionally, please say “yes” when asked to serve the association!

Barbara Rixstine, former board member, passes away

Barbara Rixstine, former IABC Lincoln board member, passes away

Barbara RixstineBarbara Rixstine, former IABC Lincoln board member, passed away from cancer on February 20. Barbara shared her excellent writing skills with our membership as IABC Lincoln’s Vice President of Communications from 2010-2011.

With Barbara at the helm, our monthly membership e-news was a pleasure to read and distributed on time. She was particularly adept at coming up with an opening statement to draw you into the monthly membership e-news and remind you of IABC resources. Here’s one from January 2011: “A new year and a new start. Some of us vow to get organized, some of us vow to keep our inboxes clear, and others just hope for another year of good work with good people. The IABC Lincoln chapter isn’t in the hope fulfillment business, but we hope to see more of you at meetings and events this year. Add us to your calendar each month!”

Beyond her many career accomplishments, the Lincoln Journal Star published Barbara’s freelance book reviews (she was an avid reader) for more than a decade, and she was a featured columnist in the monthly L Magazine.

Those who served with Barbara on IABC Lincoln’s leadership team have missed her attention to detail, upbeat attitude and wonderful sense of humor at our meetings.

Memorial services are Saturday, March 2, 3 p.m., at Roper & Son’s, 4300 “O” Street. Visitation with Barbara’s family is 6-8 p.m. on Friday, March 1.

The IABC Lincoln board has sent a memorial gift on behalf of our organization. If you would like to personally remember Barbara, cards and memorial gifts to either the family or the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries may be sent to her husband, Jim Danielson, 1310 Idylwild Drive, Lincoln, NE 68503-2040. Read Barbara’s obituary Lincoln Journal Star.

Membership month offers special deals for new and lapsed members

February is membership month for IABC. For each new member or lapsed member, IABC will waive the usual $40 application fee. Plus, new members will receive a free month of membership for every new member they bring with them in the month of February.

If you know anyone who has been thinking about joining, encourage them to sign up right away.

Click here to learn more at the IABC International website.

Kansas City Chapter annual Business Communicators Summit

The Kansas City IABC chapter has extended an invitation to Lincoln members to attend their annual Business Communicator’s Summit on February 15 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas.

“At IABC’s Leadership Institute, the Kansas City chapter was showcased for their great success with this annual workshop,” said Teresa Ingram, IABC Lincoln’s president elect. “I know our members will be very impressed with the content of the seminars.”

Check out the great line up of speakers or register by visiting http://kc.iabc.com/business-communicators-summit/. If you are interested in carpooling with other members to Kansas City , please post on the IABC Facebook page.

Hinrichs receives 2012 Leadership in Communication Award from IABC Lincoln

Christie Hinrichs, president of Tabitha Healthcare Services, is the recipient of the 2012 Leadership in Communication Award.

In a ceremony at Wilderness Ridge on Oct. 26, the Lincoln chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators presented the annual Leadership in Communication award to Christie Hinrichs, president of Tabitha Healthcare Services.

Hinrichs was named President and CEO of Tabitha in July 2010. As the leader of one of Nebraska’s largest health care organizations, Hinrichs launched a bold program of culture change and rebranding. Within six months of launching the brand, Tabitha saw an increase in referrals with more than 80 percent of Tabitha employees reporting brand awareness.

“I think it is a privilege and incredibly humbling to be among the great leaders in communication who have come before me,” said Hinrichs. “I think mostly for me, this is an opportunity to be able to share our story at Tabitha—about how important communication is and how important it is to get it right for those that we serve.”

Her dedication to elder care and involvement in Tabitha dates back to 1993 and includes administrator roles for Tabitha Hospice and the organization’s in-home support program. Following her service as a branch manager for Coram Healthcare and leadership experience as Chief Operating Officer a the Nebraska Heart Hospital, Hinrichs returned to Tabitha in 2006 as Vice President of Clinical Services. Throughout her time away from the organization in a day-to-day capacity, Hinrichs stayed connected with Tabitha by serving on its corporate board of directors from November 2004 through May 2006.

Hinrichs is a member of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce board of directors, the Lincoln Fire and Rescue advisory board and the Thrivent Fellows advisory board. She recently garnered national honors from the health care industry, where she was named as co-chair for the national LeadingAge Consumer Cabinet. She spends time actively volunteering with Tabitha Meals on Wheels and Junior Achievements.

The Leadership in Communication Award, one of the highest honors IABC Lincoln can bestow, recognizes a person who is not an IABC member, but exhibits leadership in fostering excellent communication. These contributions include such achievements as initiating, directing, supporting or sustaining outstanding and effective communication programs. The IABC chapter award is modeled after the IABC EXCEL Award, recognizing a person who has had international impact by supporting excellence in communication within his or her organization or field.

From the September meeting: Omaha Steaks on Celebrity Apprentice

by Cassie Milnes Martsching 

September’s IABC luncheon featured Beth Weiss from Omaha Steaks sharing what happened when Omaha Steaks was featured on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice. Beth talked about how Omaha Steaks prepared to be on the show and different ways they took advantage of the PR opportunities it provided. She showed samples from their corresponding advertising campaign and social media accounts.

I was particularly impressed with Beth’s description of her background work on behalf of Omaha Steaks before their appearance on the show. Omaha Steaks’ preparation saved the company from any unfortunate surprises and as a result, the company was portrayed in a positive light.

If your business is ever presented with an unimaginable opportunity like this, Beth recommends going for it. Do your background work and carry the PR opportunity as far as you can.

Social Media Strategy: An interview with Scott Bonertz

by Peter Morris


Scott Bonertz is the Public Information Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Innovative, engaged and responsive. Descriptors of any good social media campaign, but not what most would associate with a government entity. Scott Bonertz is working hard to change that. As the Public Information Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Scott has spent the past four years turning a traditionally inward focused communication strategy into an open, public discussion.

I met with Scott over a couple of cups of coffee to hear his story. I wanted to know how he had been able to employ social media to change public perception of his agency.

Peter Morris: So tell me about what you’ve been able to do at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. You’ve had a lot of success and great response from the public with your social media management. How did you pull it off?

Scott Bonnertz: When I started there, we didn’t have a social media program. We just had a straight news program. A public information program. So I worked really hard to get them into the social media realm with blogs, Facebook, Twitter. That’s where we really first stuck our toe in.

Next we got a Youtube channel. I see a real opportunity moving forward with video. Video is going to be huge. Kids these days don’t read directions, they watch it on Youtube to see how to do it. So we’re trying to do a lot of two and a half min. how-to videos, tips and what to do at the parks. Things like that.

We used to have a television show, “Outdoor Nebraska,” which a lot of Nebraskans watched or knew about. But with budget constraints and personnel changes, we just couldn’t do that show anymore.

PM: What are some of the struggles you’ve encountered in your position? As far as being able to get the information in front of your public in a way that you would like?

SB: Administrative buy in. Not really believing we should be as transparent with the public as we need to be. We’ve always thought that if just don’t say anything, it will go away. Whereas my opinion, if something happens you should come out and say, ‘here’s what happened and here’s how we’re dealing with it.’ Providing that information doesn’t allow for others to put in their own information, which stops rumors.

PM: And social media is the perfect place for that.

SB: Exactly. I’ve been very happy with the community we’ve created with social media. People ask us questions and I’ve been able to go out to our staff of experts–I’m no expert in all the game and parks stuff. But if we’ve got a deer question, ‘why is this happening?’ I can just ask that person, they can send me a two sentence answer, put it on social media and people are super happy we’re listening. People come back. I think we’re really building a community where people can get answers where they might not have been able to before. We’re talking to the public in a place we’ve never been.

PM: So how did you get the administration on board with social media?

SB: Well I got laughed at a lot. A LOT for the first couple of months. I said ‘we really need to be here.’ I heard ‘Awww, nobody’s going to be using Facebook. It’s just a fad. Twitter is a fad.’ I said ‘well the tools (Facebook and Twitter) might be fads, but the way we communicate is changing. The change from one person (an editor) determining what is important to what everyone is telling us what is important. We need to be there.’

PM: That’s right. I think that point is lost on a lot of people with social media. They’re too focused on the tools, rather than what is being said and how it’s being said. No matter what tools we’re using look like, the content is still the most important part of the communication.

SB: Yeah, I think so too. A lot of people say, “Facebook will be gone in two years.” Well, maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but there’s going to be another tool to take its place.” What administration realized is this isn’t a “Twitter” thing or a “Facebook” thing, it’s a communication thing. Then they came on board and were more supportive.
And staff members were asking to get involved. That’s really one of the keys to how we’ve been successful. I have about 10 trusted administrators that I don’t have to say “hey guys, did you see this?” They can answer questions. I have a guy from wildlife, a guy from fishery…more and more people see that they can answer questions and get involved. There’s no way I could be the one man behind the curtain.

PM: So what have you learned in your journey?

SB: I’ve really enjoyed being with Game and Parks during this time. Taking their social media from nothing, to where it is today. It’s been challenging, even though I feel like we’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way…

PM: But social media is a very forgiving. Social media is fluid and in the moment. At its best, it’s a person–not an organization. And people are understanding of people. If you are honest and transparent, that becomes evident to your audience. Compare that with print. Print is far less forgiving.

SB: Yeah. When I started our program, I just did it and asked for forgiveness. I say we were lucky that it was successful, but it was because we were able to get the right people involved who wanted to do this every day.

PM: Any final words of wisdom?

SB: Just try to have fun. And try to convince your administration to allow you to have that fun.

Scott’s five tips for success with a social media strategy

1. Be there every day. Even on the days that aren’t exciting. You need to be there. It’s a community. You can’t shut off for five days and just post when something interesting happens. Even if it’s a slow day say “Hey, it’s a slow day here, what about with you?”

2. Do more listening than talking. When I’ve got a new employee, I have them spend their first week listening. Read what people are talking about. Assume there is an ongoing conversation someplace else. Don’t assume you’re entering a conversation at the start. So you need to hear what’s been happening. Because it’s really not what we think is important but what they think is important and want to talk about. We help fill in the content.

3. Try to comment on everything that someone says. Some people want to complain, and a response to them like “I’ll look into it” goes a long way. Sometimes that’s all they want. Someone to listen to them. Also I’m getting really tired of typing “great photo. Thanks for sharing.” But it’s important. Just because I feel like I’ve written it a million times, it’s still the first time for that person. So I try to respond to everyone within 24 hours.

4. Don’t worry about how many people like your page. Worry more about interaction. If you’ve only got 100 “likes” but you’re really interactive page, it’s probably a better community than 25,000 “likes” with nobody talking. It’s not about likes or followers, it’s about interactions and content.

5. Success breeds success. Show that what you’re doing is working and you will get greater buy in from your organization.

September 20 luncheon: “Omaha Steaks and The Celebrity Apprentice…Can’t Trump This Merger of Branding and Sales”

September’s IABC luncheon will serve up Elizabeth (Beth) Weiss, APR, Omaha, sharing what happened when Donald Trump challenged celebrities with marketing the appeal of Omaha Steaks, a Nebraska-based company that has earned an international reputation for quality products.
The September 20 luncheon will get underway at NET, 1800 N. 33rd St., with registration and networking beginning at 11:45 a.m. Beth’s presentation will go from Noon to 1 p.m., with time for questions and answers.

Beth has served as corporate communications director for Omaha Steaks since 2005, and public relations manager there since 2001. A former member of the Board of Directors of Public Relations Society of America-Nebraska chapter, Beth also served on the national public affairs committee of the American Meat Institute, and is a member of the Integrity Awards committee of the Heartland Better Business Bureau.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she has worked in advertising, marketing communications and public relations for more than 25 years with companies, including Mutual of Omaha, the Scoular Company, and UnitedHealthcare of the Midlands.

From the August meeting: How to write for social media

by Mike Mascoe, Public Information Specialist, Lower Platte South Natural Resources District

I tolerate salad.  It’s never been a favorite of mine, so, obviously, I don’t attend many IABC meetings for the food.  It’s the networking and presentations I enjoy most.  At the August 23rd meeting I met Jerry Kane of Nebraska Game and Parks.  At this meeting there wasn’t time for much chat, but the lengthy presentation; Steve Crescenzo’s “Writing for New Media” webinar; more than made up for the shortened networking.  Crescenzo has an informal, off-the-cuff presentation style, which is exactly what he advocates in social media writing.  Even if you’re representing your employer, Crescenzo suggests the most successful “blogs” (he used the term blogs to also mean Facebook and Twitter) feature people being themselves.

Really successful new media writing, Crescenzo stressed, has three elements:  you writing to the audience, the audience writing to you and the audience writing to each other.  He showed great communication skills when he explained how all three of these elements came together in a blog by Bill Marriott that resulted in “incredible publicity” for the hotel giant.

Another great tip was to tell new media users who is writing.  No one wants to talk to the NRD.  They want to talk to Sally or George.  Have the writer initial each entry and have it link to a page about the writer.

Two final suggestions he makes is to always keep in mind what you’re trying to accomplish and if you want responses to your entries, ask for them.  So, here goes…How ‘bout pizza sometime?

Click here to register for the IABC Lincoln September networking event, “You’re Fired! The Celebrity Apprentice” featuring Beth Weiss, Corporate Communications Director for Omaha Steaks.