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.

Augmented is the New Reality

From video games and immersive 3D content to video and print design, Augmented Reality allows us to process content in an entirely new way and reshaping the way we connect with information and the world around us.

Members: $20
Non-members: $30
Speakers: Ed Sargeant & Jamie Vetter, Agency MABU
Lunch is included.

Click here to register.

Thank you to our sponsor, Agency MABU. 

Ed Sargeant, Director of Creative Services

Ed Sargeant serves as the Director of Creative Services at Agency MABU. In this capacity, he coordinates efforts with MABU’s designers, programmers, writers, videographers and photographers.



Jamie Vetter, Art & Design Manager

Jamie is the lead graphic designer at MABU and leads in branding and print projects.



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.

Thank you to our sponsor, Odney Advertising.

Amanda Godfread, Director of Strategic Engagement

Amanda uses her dynamic combination of training and experience to give clients the most effective public and media relations services. She has more than 15 years experience in marketing, public and media relations, and public information. From developing big picture strategy to managing details of implementation, she provides top-notch public relations services that help clients garner maximum media coverage. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of North Dakota.


Hope Sisk, Public Relations Specialist

Hope brings an energetic approach to managing social media and public relations for clients. She is an authentic communicator with a background in TV news, which gives her a rich understanding of how to tell a brand’s story through engagement with the public. She knows how to grab attention and make an impact in a world of ever-evolving trends and platforms. Hope has an Emmy award for her work as a reporter, and is now bringing her expertise in crafting clear messages to our clients. Hope has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.



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.