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.

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.

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!

Sullivan wins IABC Silver Quill

Congratulations to Basin Electric staff writer Dain Sullivan, who won a 2015 Pacific Plains Region IABC Silver Quill Award for his work on the “Why Basin?” blog series. The series shares the story of new employees and how their interests and values tie into the Basin Electric culture.

IABC Pacific Plains’ Silver Quill Awards are held annually to provide communicators an opportunity to share their best work with the region. For more information, visit

Added: A member directory

Though it’s still under construction, you can start getting a look at our member directory. It’s a main menu item up top.

We believe a directory is a feature that’s been lacking on our website, and that it will be helpful for putting a face to a name, especially for new members. It’s also a tool for learning about each other.

After all, that’s what being an IABC Great Plains member is all about – finding professional contacts who can help you reach your goals!

This is our new website

That’s right! You’ve made it to our new website. Thanks for checking us out.

We’re hoping to do a few cool things with this site, including the addition of a member directory with photos. That way, if you’re new to the group, or need to put a name with a face after you get home from an event, the member directory could be your helper. Plus, if you need help in an area of communications with which you’re not familiar, maybe you’ll find a fellow member who could give you advice.

Please take a look around this website and let us know what you think. We welcome suggestions. Email Tracie Bettenhausen with those.