Personal Opinions, Professional Collisions

Social media can be a great way to connect with friends and colleagues. You can even use it to boost your career through networking! But, it can also put an end to your career. Amanda Godfread and Hope Sisk, Odney Advertising, will talk about social media pitfalls and how to balance personal opinions and a professional image.

Members: $20
Non-members: $30
Lunch is included.

Click here to register.

IABC is Turning It Up for Member Month!

Now is the best time to join IABC. Join or renew your membership in “Röcktober” (Oct. 1 to 31) to save 10% on dues and get entered to win one of five $100 Ticketmaster gift cards! In addition, members who recruit new members will be entered to win one of 10 Amazon echo dots for every new or reinstated member who lists them as a referral source! For more information, visit

Building a Brand and Filling the Stands

The Bismarck Larks hit a homerun in its first season. John Bollinger, the team’s General Manager, shares how the Larks developed their brand, exceeded their first year goals, as well as a few lessons learned along the way.

Members: $20
Non-members: $30

Lunch is included.

Click here to register.

Beers with Peers

Join us for the IABC Great Plains fall kick-off event, Beers with Peers, on Thursday, Sept. 21 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Enjoy free appetizers while you network with fellow IABC members and prospective members! Drink tickets will also be provided.
The event is free to members and anyone interested in joining IABC Great Plains
  • WHAT: Beers with Peers
  • WHEN: Sept. 21, 2017  from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Lucky’s 13 Pub


Join Our Mailing List

Join our mailing list to receive information on upcoming IABC Great Plains events! Click here to sign up.



Using the Gift of Communication to connect

Fresh on the heels of a holiday designed to showcase our love for others (yes, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day), let’s take think about how we can carry that love forward into other aspects of life and business.

Your local chapter’s first Gift of Communication event will be Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 11:30 to 1 at the Hughes Education Center on North Washington. Come for lunch and a discussion with a local nonprofit that is seeking ways to better connect its services with those who need them.

Read the summary below. Put your thinking caps on. Come to the event and share your ideas with a great organization that’s eager to hear them.

~ Erin Huntimer, your board president

The nonprofit

Missouri River Educational Cooperative

Lyle Krueger, executive director

The overview

The Missouri River Educational Cooperative (MREC) is one of eight Regional Educational Associations (REA) in North Dakota. We are comprised of 37 School Districts, 3 Cooperating Partners, and 8 collaborating partners. We provide support and services for 60 elementary schools and 44 secondary schools.

Mission: To provide sustainable action focused solutions which educate, inform, and inspire our member districts.

Vision: To become a leading educational organization that strengthens member districts in preparing all children to become responsible, active, participating citizens of society

The challenge
• Branding – clearly communicating who they are & what they do to their target audience(s)
• Reaching diverse target audiences – district superintendents, teachers, parents
• Effectively using existing communication channels

The run-down directly from Lyle:

“One of our biggest challenges is simply people knowing who were are and what we do. We are a Regional Education Association (REA). When most people hear of an “REA,” their first thought goes to “Rural Electric Association.” Same goes with MREC, they hear MREC they think “electric cooperative.” Getting past that obstacle.

“Additionally, we do a variety of things/services, so getting people to realize what we do, for whom, and who we impact, is a struggle. This struggle has multiple levels because we have several target audiences based on the work we do. For example, our member district superintendents know the services we can provide. However, teachers may only think of us providing large professional learning events and may not know that we have specific ways we can do to help them at their district. Parents in Bismarck-Mandan may only know us for the Extended School Program (afterschool program; we are not BLAST) if their child attends one of the schools we serve, but they don’t realize we provide other online course offerings for Career and Technical Education for high school students or that we work with businesses/colleges to develop and host college/career symposiums.

“Lastly, I am trying to better organize the services our member school districts can utilize in a manner that provides them with enough information to be informed and know how to find us, but not a full page narrative report trying to explain it (which they won’t read!). We know what we do, districts who use our services understand, but how do we get others to understand our services and/or access them? What strategies are best to inform them of the various services?
“We have recently updated our website ( to make it more user friendly. We also try tying our newsletter article/information to go back to our website to drive traffic. We send out that newsletter twice a month to our districts and began pushing a lot more info out on our Facebook ( and Twitter ( accounts too.”

Learn the new video rules in November

keenan-h-headshotOur November 2016 professional development session is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. At KLJ.

Videos are taking over the social media landscape. Marketers are jumping on the trend and adding video to their 2017 marketing budgets. Keenan Hauff, Chief Executive Visionary at Threefold, will discuss what you need to know about video and how it can boost your client engagement.

Register today

The Power of Presentation – and Membership

Join us Thursday, Oct. 20, for the first professional development luncheon of the year: The Power of Presentation.

PowerPoint may be the standard for professional presentations, but it isn’t the only option. Darren Hertz of Bank of North Dakota will show you how you can enhance your presentations by demonstrating the capabilities of three other popular presentation tools: Nearpod, Kahoot! and Google Slides. Read more and register….


Speaking of powerful things, how about IABC membership? (How do you like that segue?)

Thinking about joining IABC Great Plains? Now’s the time to do it! October is Membership Month. Save 10% on international dues, PLUS the $40 application fee is waived.

Contact any IABC Great Plains board member to hear why local membership is so powerful. Learn more about international benefits on IABC’s membership page.



Let’s get this year started

A note from your chapter president, Erin Huntimer

Welcome to your 2016-2017 IABC Great Plains year ‘o fun and learning!

Stacy Sturm (in pink) hosts a Haunted History tour that included a look into tunnels under downtown Bismarck.

Stacy Sturm (in pink) hosts a Haunted History tour that included a look into tunnels under downtown Bismarck.

I’m your chapter president this year and I had a blast seeing so many of you at the fall kick-off event, Beers with Peers, on Sept. 27. Many thanks to Annette Schilling and Stacy Sturm for allowing us to attend Bismarck Tour Company’s inaugural Haunted History Tour of downtown Bismarck. CREEEEEPY, but cool! Our next event is Oct. 20, Power of Presentation.

I want to introduce your slate of officers, as submitted by the nominating committee and ratified by an email vote of the membership, with 24 of 42 active members responding. They are generously giving of their time and talents to bring local, affordable professional development opportunities to you:

  • Immediate Past President: Kay LaCoe, Lignite Energy Council
  • President: Erin Huntimer, Basin Electric
  • President-Elect: Chris Gessele, Basin Electric
  • Professional Development Chair: Annette Willis, Agency MABU
  • Treasurer: Jill Beilke, KLJ
  • Secretary: Krista Harju, City of Mandan

Also, many thanks to Lacey Lange of Bismarck State College for being our chapter volunteer.

A couple other things to note for the month of October:

Notes from IABC’s Leadership Institute

From your chapter’s president-elect, Erin Huntimer

I just flew in from Long Beach, and boy, are my arms tired! [I crack myself up.]

I attended IABC’s annual Leadership Institute Feb. 4-6 in sunny California, as did Andrea Blowers who serves on the Pacific Plains Region board. (Thank you, Andrea, for your higher service in the IABC world.) I want to report back to you, the membership, about what I learned and how I intend to apply it going forward.


Three countries come together in this photo from the Leadership Institute: Canada, Australia, and the United States

Most significantly, I walked away excited about International’s vision for the future. It’s no secret that leadership at the top has been lacking. We as chapter leaders have struggled with lack of support and technology failures at the corporate level. The last time I attended the Leadership Institute in 2008, International was largely absent from the conference, and I noticed chapter leaders struggling with basic but critical survival issues like fiscal viability and succession planning.

This Leadership Institute was different. IABC Chairman Michael Ambjorn was present and fully engaged, not only as an emcee, but as a presenter and full participant. IABC Executive Director Carlos Fulcher was present and engaged as well, though I feel he was observing and harvesting feedback from chapter leaders.

Bottom line: I finally feel that the pieces are in place for chapters, regions and International to begin linking more strongly, and for all to be able to better demonstrate the value of IABC membership. I encourage you to check out their quarterly report, which details the vision:

I attended several sessions where leaders shared best practices. I walked away with MANY ideas, including but not limited to:

  • Ideas for encouraging new communication professionals to join.
    • Web designers? Graphic artists? Pitch the benefit of broadening education.
  • Ideas for demonstrating the value of IABC membership not only locally, but regionally and globally.
    • Point members to relevant materials on at our professional development meetings, and demonstrate that broader connection.
  • Ideas for new professional development sessions that really are the core of our local value.
    • Annual “Gift of Communication” sessions, webinar+workshop, successful communication in fast-paced political campaigns, “Fame and Shame,” business fashion
  • Ideas for encouraging new leaders to step within IABC Great Plains
    • Ask members what they would like to share with the chapter through board service.

As part of your board’s commitment to chapter leadership development, I’ll also be attending the IABC Pacific Plains region meeting in St. Louis in April. If you have any questions or concerns you’d like me to research during my trip, please let me know.

I also must say how much I appreciated the opportunity to go to Long Beach for the Leadership Institute. I was stunned by the caliber of communicators who attended, and am grateful to have connected meaningfully with many of them. I’m grateful to the boards of the past who committed to such leader development. I have already had experiences that will stick with me for a lifetime!