Archives for November 2017

Digital 2.0: Defining & Understanding Digital Marketing

– April 19, 2018 

What does digital mean to you? If your first thought is a nightstand clock, you’re late to the party. Digital has changed the way we sell products. Heather LeMoine, marketing director for the N.D. Tourism Division will discuss digital media strategy and how N.D. Tourism is geo-targeting and maximizing their marketing budget.

Click here to register.

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

Communicate Stronger 2018

May 17, 2018

Culture is the single most important factor in organizational success or failure. It tells employees how to behave, how to do their jobs and how “things are done around here.” It also communicates your values to your customers. But would your employees, middle-management and executives all describe your culture the same way? How about your customers?

Communicate Stronger 2018 is a full-day seminar focused on the role communications plays in a values-based company culture. Learn the benefits of values-based leadership, the fundamentals of change communication, the mechanics of communicating across generational cultures, and the importance of identifying brand ambassadors.

Culture IS communication. How is your message coming across?

Click here to register

Advance registration is required. Tickets are $95/IABC members and $125/non-members. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Communicate Stronger 2018 is hosted by the Great Plains Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. 




Alex Dorr will provide insight on change communication and ditching drama in the workplace. Based on Cy Wakeman’s Reality-Based Leadership philosophy, his presentations will provide simple tools and techniques to eliminate drama, deliver up employees who say yes to what’s next, and cultivate accountability, not engagement, to drive big business results.

Alex’s journey with the Reality-Based philosophy began in his internship with Reality-Based Leadership. Over the next several years, he became a practitioner, living by the philosophy and determined to put its principles to the test. Today, he is a full-time member of Cy Wakeman’s team and a certified facilitator, collaborating with organizations to change their mindsets and succeed in spite of the challenging circumstances they face.



Kostas Voutsas will explore secrets to successful communication when dealing with generational, regional and cultural differences in his presentation, “From Suits to Tattoos: Bridging the Generational Gap.”

A native of Greece, Kostas has been teaching management and human resources courses for more than 20 years He is a tenured Professor of Business at Dickinson State University (DSU) at the Bismarck location. He is also a speaker, author, corporate trainer and motivational speaker. His book Secrets to Making Diversity Work discusses gender, cultural and generational differences. 

Learn the role communications plays in reinforcing organizational values
and what your organization can do to help shape company culture.


The marketing manager at the N.D. Department of Commerce, Brianna Ludwig supports staff through marketing and communications in their mission to lead North Dakota’s effort to attract, retain and expand wealth. She manages internal communications and has a strong interest in aligning corporate culture with their strategic plan, focusing on values and building employee engagement. Brianna is a 2009 graduate of the University of Mary. Outside of the office, she and her husband Garrett chase after two kids, Charlie, 4, and Grace, 2.  


Tiffaney Holm is the talent development manager at Sundog in Fargo, where she combines her passions of training, retention and employee engagement with her ability to inspire others to be their truest, best self. She believes her Patronus is a unicorn and says “rainbow” is her favorite color. She is fluent in English, sarcasm and song lyrics. She and her husband Josh are the enjoying the nonstop adventure of parenting their three children: Quinn (4) and twins Sophia and Owen (10). 


As EVP | Chief Culture Officer at Bell Bank, Julie Peterson Klein leads the mission of “Happy Employees! Happy Customers!” She inspires team members to live the company’s values of promoting a family atmosphere, providing unequaled personal service and paying it forward by giving back to the community. Julie has 25 years of banking and management experience, the past 19 with Bell, where she leads the company culture and human resources teams. Julie is a certified senior professional in human resources and a member of the FM Human Resources Association and the Society of Human Resources Management.


Sister Mariah Dietz, a native of Sentinel Butte, N.D. and graduate of the University of Mary, currently serves as vice president of mission integration at CHI St. Alexius Health. She began her career as a nurse at St. Alexius Medical Center. After completing her doctoral degree in nursing at Catholic University of America, she taught graduate nurses and served as the dean of the nursing and graduate nursing programs at the University of Mary. Sr. Dietz is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monaster

Cheri Schoenfish is partnering with state governments to enhance performance and
productivity. She’ll discuss why culture is at the heart of transformation and how
listening systems are critical. She will discuss the role organizations can play to
facilitate a unified approach and spur innovation. 


Cheri Schoenfish has always called North Dakota home. She was born in Bowman, raised in Dickinson and now lives in Fargo with her husband and three children. After earning a business degree from Dickinson State University, she spent 14 years working in training and human resources at Great Plains Software. Since Microsoft acquired Great Plains in 2001, she has served in a variety of  leadership roles at the national and global levels. Her work has given her and her family the opportunity to see the world and live in Australia for 2 years before returning to Fargo. Cheri currently serves on the board of the Plains Art Museum in Fargo.

Mindfulness can improve our ability to find calm and improve our attentiveness to our
surroundings. Through readings and exercises, Heidi Demars will explain the benefits
of seeking mindfulness and how it can help to balance the stressors of life.


Heidi Demars is a multi-passionate community leader and founder of Mindful You Mindful Me, a consulting practice dedicated to teaching mindfulness and meditation to children, educators, and organizations. She is a certified mindfulness educator, and her work is rooted in mindfulness based stress reduction. Heidi was the recipient of a 2-year Leadership Fellowship with the Bush Foundation and was featured as a 2016 TEDx speaker for her work with Heart-Centered Leadership.

Heidi teaches mindfulness to children and teens to help them cultivate compassion, empathy, build inner-strength and resiliency, and to manage stress. She believes this work will begin to transform our classrooms, boardrooms and communities into more compassionate, inclusive, cooperative spaces. Heidi also trains educators and administrators in conscious communication and mindfulness in the workplace.

Tentative Agenda

8 a.m. Breakfast/Registration
8:45 a.m. Welcome
9 a.m. Speed presentations & panel on values-based work culture
Sister Mariah Dietz, Vice President of Mission Integration, CHI St. Alexius Health
Tiffaney Holm, Talent Development Manager, Sundog Interactive
Julie Peterson Klein, Chief Culture Officer, Bell Bank
10 a.m. Building upon a culture of a high-performing, citizen-focused team
Cheri Schoenfish, Chief People Officer, State of North Dakota
10:45 a.m. Reality-Based Leadership: Ditching the Drama & Turning Excuses into Results
Alex Dorr, Keynote Speaker/Expert Facilitator, Reality-Based Leadership
12 p.m. From Suits to Tattoos: Bridging the Generational Gap
Kostas Voutsas, Assistant Professor of Business, Dickinson State University
1:45 p.m. Change Readiness: Ensuring Your Teams are Ready for What’s Next
Alex Dorr, Keynote Speaker/Expert Facilitator, Reality-Based Leadership
2:45 p.m. Mindful Me, Mindful You: Mindfulness in the Workplace
Heidi Demars, Founder/Director of Education and Training, Mindful You-Mindful Me
3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks
4 p.m. Adjourn


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President’s Message – Here’s Your Nudge

Like a scared kid on the edge of the high-dive at the swimming pool, sometimes all you need is a little nudge.

(For the record, I don’t condone nudging a kid off the high-dive, but it paints a good picture, right?)

I became involved in IABC because of a nudge from my work supervisor. I think it’s a fairly common introduction to IABC – and it meant that I wasn’t truly thinking about how IABC might impact me personally and professionally.

Fast-forward a couple years, and I’ve absorbed a few lessons.

  1. You can never stop learning. The communications landscape is constantly evolving. The opportunity to learn from and connect with those on the leading edge of the communications field every month is truly invaluable.
  2. There’s more to “communications” than meets the eye. Of course there are the hard skills, like communications planning, crisis communications, search engine optimization and social media savviness. But just as important are the soft skills – cultural considerations, tapping into the psyche of your audience and the value of communicators and accurate messaging in today’s society.
  3. IABC-ers are some of the nicest, coolest and most impressive communication professionals I have ever met. It’s a group of sharp people from different backgrounds and industries who all share the same goal – connect people to ideas and each other.

As we get rolling into the 2017-2018 professional development year, just remember that you’ll get out of IABC what you put into it. It’s fine if you choose to just periodically attend a monthly professional development session. Every time you do, you’ll be able to take home some immediately implementable ideas and inspiration from local professionals.

But if you’d like to invest more in yourself, the opportunities are great. You can become a member of IABC Great Plains and get a discounted price for each month’s professional development session. You can offer to assist the IABC Great Plains board as a volunteer. You can join the board and gain access to some invaluable self-growth opportunities. You can tap into the numerous webinars offered by IABC International. You can attend IABC World Conference and connect with fellow communicators from around the world, along with several other regional and global conferences.

Whatever your involvement level of choice may be… consider this your nudge.

Chris Gessele is a staff writer/editor with Basin Electric Power Cooperative and serves as the 2017-2018 IABC Great Plains board president.