By Will Tigley, IABC/Calgary President 2016-17

As an IABC Member, I’ve always maintained my membership regardless of whether my current company is paying for my dues or, if I was in between jobs, I was personally financing it.

If it was the latter, I would usually wait until #IABCMemberMonth rolled around for the discounted fees because, we all know, every little bit helps. As an added tidbit for those unaware, if your membership is about to lapse (in the next two or three months), you can sign up in advance during membership month to get the discount and incentives and your new membership won’t activate until your old one expires.

I guess why I’ve always been so diligent about renewing is because I see value in this association. I find myself constantly telling other communicators how essential IABC has been to my career and what it continues to provide me personally and professionally.

Access to resources and opportunities
It only takes a quick visit to to realize the type of resources members have access to. There are articles, books and research on a multitude of communications topics that you can apply to your own work and career. On the flip side, YOU can be a resource and be seen as a knowledge expert by contributing to these thought-leading communications publications.

Also, in the spirit of skills development, as a member you belong to a very organized professional association that’s in need of volunteers to deliver its many products and services. There’s opportunity for all communicators to step up and get experience in projects that utilize their unique skills or help build skills in areas where they may be unfamiliar. Marketing, Social Media, Events Management, Finance, there’s a role for anyone who wants to get involved.

Our board for 2016 to 2017 – an awesome team that I am lucky to work with!

Discounts on events
IABC is about professional development at all levels in your communications career. As the Calgary Chapter, we are committed to delivering a variety of events throughout the year to our members at a discounted price. Go to all the events we have during the year and you get at least $100 worth in savings.

While this only represents a portion of your membership fees, consider the events you have access to internationally. There are free webinar events and international conferences that give significant discounts to members. Most recently there’s been an overhaul to IABC Academy which will prove to be an amazing source of knowledge in the form of free online workshops and webinars for members.

Leads on jobs
The most common question I hear when talking about IABC is, “Can IABC get me a job?” In short, the answer is yes, but it depends on how you present yourself and utilize your network. I think it certainly makes the job hunt easier by posting leads for jobs in Calgary on our CareerLine and our soon to be launched BidLine for consultants. These jobs are posted for members-only by employers who see the value of accessing a network of certified communicators.

As part of a professional network, there have been interviews and meetings I’ve entered where I can easily play a quick game of six degrees between my IABC network and another member in the room. It immediately helps to build credibility as a communications professional with relevant experience and who can fit in on a team when searching for a job.

Recognized as a communications professional
For me, credibility as a communications professional is a high priority and I’m in the midst of pursuing my first Silver Leaf or Gold Quill Award as well as certification. While you don’t have to be a member to achieve awards or certification, application to both are discounted for members – in the case of the Communication Management Professional (CMP) fees, the difference as a non-member versus a member is basically THE membership fee.

Calgary’s membership is rapidly growing where we have the most certified CMPs internationally. If we look towards the future, we may be building a professional standard for communicators that will be required to be fully recognized in our industry. This can only strengthen communications in our city and make our profession more relevant in business.

A strong network of peers
Above everything, IABC is a professional network. A tribe. A family. Whether I need advice or guidance I have IABC members I can go to locally and internationally. It always amazes me how many members will drop everything to meet with me when I’m in need. It also blows my mind that I can go to another city in Canada or internationally and simply mention that I’m an IABC member and will immediately be embraced into a completely new circle of communicators.

This professional group of colleagues who I consider my friends is priceless and the networks I’ve cultivated  over 15 years in my career has made my membership worth every fee I’ve ever paid.

I urge you to renew your membership this month if you can. If you’re lapsed, consider coming back to us – We have some amazing things planned for the next few years to build off our 50th Anniversary. If you’re not a member, take a chance and find out what we’re about and how we can help further your career.

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