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: https://www.iabc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/IABC_2015_Fourth_Quarter_ReportFinal2.pdf

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 iabc.com 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!

January PD encouraged attendees to find purpose in their work


Marci Narum, inspirational speaker and personal and professional development coach, presented “Defining Your Career – How to Find Purpose in Your Work” at the January professional development event in Bismarck. Narum encouraged attendees to define their unique talents and strengths, assess their skills in education, reflect on their individual journey and examine their purpose.

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 http://iabcppr.com/

October is Membership Month


IABC World Conference 2015: former board member attends and reports back

Tracie Bettenhausen

Tracie Bettenhausen, IABC Great Plains member. She took this selfie as part of a game, which was included in the IABC World Conference app.

Tracie Bettenhausen, who formerly served on IABC Great Plains board as president and director of professional development, attended the 2015 IABC World Conference in San Francisco, CA, in June. Here is a summary of what she learned.

I wish for all IABC members to be able to attend at least one world conference. This was my first. My recap follows my tweets from the event, at @tracielee. If you’re interested in learning about anything more in this summary, IABC World Conference 2015.

Day 1
First keynote: Aaron Dignan
1. How can we organize our companies and work groups so that we are not spending our time making plans (which Dignan refers to as “crap with good intentions”) and instead respond to changes and emerge with solutions.
2. Networks are important in getting work done. He used the examples of the immune system, the Internet, and colonies of ants, that we can use as examples in our own companies.
3. Learn more about “holacracy,” which is a way of running an organization so that the authority and decision making is pushed out to the very edges, away from management hierarchy.

Second keynote: Liz Wiseman
1. What you know is less important than what you can learn. Don’t let what you know get in the way of what you don’t know.
2. Try to bring back your rookie mindset. When was the last time you felt like a rookie? What did you do at that point to succeed? Wiseman helped us understand how those processes and the qualities that brought us to them can be useful all the time. When you know enough to see a pattern, you start to fill in the blanks and assume things. That is not helpful in growing and developing new and better things. And when the leaders of an organization think they “know it all” they don’t hear the feedback coming from their employees.
3. She also got into a discussion on the difference between multipliers and diminishers. Multipliers are the kind of leaders who make everyone around them smarter. Diminishers do the opposite. And there are people who are diminishers even though they have the best of intentions.

Breakouts: Allyson W. Neal and Chuck Gose
1. Allyson W. Neal of Conoco Phillips presented on how to keep your organization’s website relevant in today’s world of social media. She says you must always design with mobile in mind. At ConocoPhillips, Neal’s team is 4-5 people handling content, with one of them also handling social media. 1) Visual appeal is most important. Eye-popping images are what will keep people on your website. Image colors should match your web colors. 2) Simple architecture is extremely important. 3) Your top level navigation needs to be limited to five to seven tabs. Writing must be clear and short, just a headline. 4) Less graphics, more photos and video. Content maintenance is important. Be consistent. 5) Infinite scroll: dynamically created, generating like content as you keep scrolling.
2. Chuck Gose does not work for LinkedIn, but presented on how he uses the network. I’ve never been much for LinkedIn, but Gose’s insights (and what Dignan said earlier about networks) got me thinking I need to pay more attention to this social network. 1) LinkedIn is about data, not numbers. Once you have 500 connections, they don’t even show your number any more. Once you’ve had 99 people endorse you for a particular skill, they don’t show that number any more. The reason being by that point, you’re proven to be connected, with skills. 2) Gose recommends accepting LinkedIn connections from anyone where there could be value and not just limiting it to those you know or have met in person. He says the point is to have a network of connections, and you want to be connecting up and out. 3) What is your digital curb appeal? What do you see when you Google yourself? LinkedIn will help you build and maintain that, because the content there is trusted.

Day 2
First keynote: Bill McDermott
1. Bill McDermott is CEO of SAP.
2. The focus of his presentation was the power of storytelling and the importance of reading a room.

Breakouts: Shane McLaughlin, Shel Holtz, Chuck Gose, and Dr. Laoise Murchu
1. Shane McLaughlin of Walmart talked about WalmartOne, Walmart’s extranet for employees. It’s both on desktop and an app, and it’s password-protected, but outside the firewall, meant to be accessed off-the-clock. Some of the content is duplicated on the intranet, which is accessed during work. WalmartOne has employee’s paycheck information, benefits, vacation days, all of that. But it’s also meant to help build Walmart’s culture.
2. During the panel with Shane McLaughlin, Shel Holtz and Chuck Gose, we learned about technology’s part in today’s workforce. 1) WhatsApp can be used to reach remote employees to send information and photos to those who don’t sit at a desk. 2) Internal vs. external communications no longer exists thanks to the digital world. 3) Employees will go around the IT department to find the solutions they know are out there. Bring your own device (BYOD) is more popular than ever.
3. Dr. Laoise Murchu talked about helping employees in times of change. People seek out connections in times of change. She brought up the CAFÉ process, in which leaders focus on positive: what are we good at and how can we do that better? Consistent communication between managers and employees increases productivity. As part of an example, the Irish rugby team spends 30 percent of their time working on being a team.

Day 3
First session: Gamification
1. You can use gamification to engage and motivate employees.
2. Gamification is part of most of our daily lives now: Fitbits, fantasy football, frequent flier miles, etc. (lots of Fs…) Something to chew on.

Second session: Rapido
1. Rapido is a line-up of presenters, each presenting for less than four minutes, on a common topic. Any IABC member can apply to be part of Rapido.

In the middle of Rapido, I had to leave to get on my plane.

I did follow the tweets of the last two sessions of the day: a panel on the Boston Marathon bombing and a session on social media with Guy Kawasaki. The Kawasaki tweets were so influential I changed my profile pics on every one of my social media applications.

Live reporting from Communicate Stronger 2015

Communicate Stronger 2015

Jan Nelson, BNC National Bank, chats with Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic and Communicate Stronger 2015 keynote speaker.

Communicate Stronger 2015 was a full day of learning and networking. Our hashtag #CommStrong15 holds a pretty good rundown of what really stuck out to attendees. Here is a roundup of what you were saying on Twitter.

April PD: Personal and business cybersecurity

Charlie Tweet

Charlie Tweet, Bank of North Dakota.

We know it’s important to protect sensitive information both at work and at home. At the April Professional Development event, Charlie Tweet, Bank of North Dakota chief information officer, shared how hackers generally try to steal that information and how you can defend against those hacking attempts.

The agenda covered everyone’s individual role in information security, the definitions of information security and sensitive information, the most common types of cybercrimes and attack methods and how to defend your information against those attacks.

According to Tweet, data is one of our most valuable assets.

“Information security is an extremely important these days at your business as well as in your personal life,” Tweet said. “It’s everybody’s role to be concerned about information security.”

Some of the most prominent cybersecurity threats are:

  • nation-state attacks
  • extortion
  • data destruction
  • bank card breaches will continue
  • third-party breaches

A few of the most high-risk areas include the internet, email and social media.

“Don’t click on things you don’t expect from people, and hover over links to check if it’s a redirect to some odd or suspicious link,” Tweet said. “People are the weakest link in all this stuff; people can be tricked. Just be aware of what you’re doing.”

Some of the most common defense methods people and businesses can use are firewalls, antivirus software, supported operating systems and mission-critical passwords.

IABC Great Plains

IABC Great Plains

Mayo Clinic director of social media to be keynote at Communicate Stronger

Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic, will be speaking at Communicate Stronger, May 19, Bismarck, NDLee Aase is director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, which builds on Mayo Clinic’s leadership among health care providers in adopting social media tools. Mayo Clinic is a pioneer in hospital blogging and has the most popular medical provider channel on YouTube as well as active, popular outposts on Twitter and Facebook.

He will be discussing three aspects of social media during the Communicate Stronger conference to be held May 19, 2015, at the North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismarck. Registration is now open!

Aase’s first presentation will talk about Social media and professionalism.  His second talk will focus on Facebook and Twitter during a discussion of  How MacGyver would use Facebook and Twitter. Aase will be the featured presentation during the lunch hour where he will discuss Four ways to manage your online reputation.

By night, Lee is Chancellor of Social Media University, Global (SMUG), a free online higher education institution that provides practical, hands-on training in social media for lifelong learners.  In 2013, he was inducted into the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame, and in 2014 he was appointed to a two-year term on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Media. He also was named to the list of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better” by HealthLeaders Media.   Prior to joining Mayo Clinic in 2000, Lee spent more than a decade in political and government communications at the local, state and federal level. Aase.lee@mayo.edu | @LeeAase

Communicate Stronger 2015: Agenda and pricing

Communicate Stronger 2015

We are excited to offer Communicate Stronger, a full day of professional development training to be held Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, ND.

IABC Members: $85.00
Non-members: $125.00
Students: $25.00

*Please note: If your employer is a sponsor (listed below), your registration may be free. Check on that before registering!

Please register today! Space is limited.

7:30 – 8 a.m.
Registration and networking breakfast

8 – 8:15 a.m.

8:15 – 8:45 a.m.
Social media and professionalism
Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

9 – 10 a.m.
How MacGyver would use Facebook and Twitter
Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

10 – 10:15 a.m.

10:20 – 11:20 a.m.
Breakout session 1
• Telling your story through video: Matt Fern, owner of Creative Treatment
• Working with the media: Tom Gerhardt, news director at KX News

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Four ways to manage your online reputation
Lee Aase, Director Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
Breakout session 2
• Cheap-Fast-Good. Pick Two: Art Phillips, co-owner at Video Arts
• Effective written communications: Marnie Piehl, director of College Relations, Bismarck State College

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Breakout session 3
• Community involvement: Case studies: Starion’s Kindness Cash with Trish Helgeson, marketing and communications manager, VP at Starion Financial, and Basin’s Backyard Garden with Tracie Bettenhausen, staff writer/editor at Basin Electric Power Cooperative
• Shifting North Dakota demographics: Kevin Iverson, manager at North Dakota Census Office, North Dakota Department of Commerce

Communicate Stronger 2015 sponsors