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


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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.”

Communicate Stronger 2016

CFYHBIGUkAAL0M8.jpg-largeAre you ready to raise your game when it comes to using technology in your communications and marketing tasks? Well this is the day for you!

We’ll start the morning with a data mining workshop geared at the intermediate and advanced levels, have a bite to eat and finish the day with quick sessions where your colleagues will share how they are implementing technology tools in their workplace. Not only will you walk away with practical information you can apply the next day, but you will enjoy an entire day sharing and laughing with other communication professionals from the area.

So, game on! Register today.







*Please note: If your employer becomes a sponsor, your registration may be free. Check on that before registering!






Doing Business with North Dakota’s Tribes

Expanding businesses and organizations often means entering into new territory, literally and figuratively. If your organization is planning to do business with any of North Dakota’s five Tribes, Scott Davis, the Executive Director of the ND Indian Affairs office will share some valuable tips on how to form successful partnerships. You’ll learn how to avoid cultural missteps, establish long-lasting business relationships, and create communication strategies to share your company’s message.

Scott Davis


Scott Davis, Executive Director

North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission

Scott J. Davis was appointed Executive Director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission in April 2009 by Gov. John Hoeven. As Executive Director, he serves at a cabinet level between North Dakota’s state and tribal governments to address issues regarding education systems, court systems, economic development, social services, gaming, oil-energy, law enforcement, transportation, healthcare systems, veterans and youth.

Prior to his appointment, Davis served in a number of capacities at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, including Development Officer, Wellness Activities Coordinator, Facilitator and Adjunct Instructor.

Davis also worked for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on environmental quality issues and as a teacher and coach at the Pierre Indian Learning Center and Turtle Mountain Community High School. In addition, he worked as a sales consultant for Northern Documents, a West Fargo company that produces products for private and public groups, including Indian Health Services, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal, state and local government agencies.

Davis holds an Associate of Arts Degree from Haskell Indian Nations University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Masters of Management Degree from the University of Mary, and is graduate of the Bush Foundation Native Nations Rebuilders Program and Executive Education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a descendent of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.


Lunch Sponsor:       Agency MABU


Do you plan to attend?

Please RSVP to help us plan for catering. If you need to cancel, please let a board member know at least two days prior to the event.

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

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.

An excellent start to the 2014-15 Professional Development event season

The September PD event was a smashing success!! (Although we didn’t break anything.) Donnell Roehrich and three of her colleagues from Odney, gave an in-depth analysis of advertising (aka media buys).

IABC Great Plains September 2014 Professional Development

(left to right): Marv Dorner, Mike Goulet, Meghann Chamberlain, and Donnell Roehrich.

Following are a few comments made during the open panel discussion:

  • Mobile devices have changed marketing forever, especially in the last five years.
  • It’s easier to measure (advertising) results with digital media as opposed to traditional television or radio.
  • We see a move in the next few years that includes more digital advertising.
  • There’s new technology that senses where you (a customer) are, and ads will appear on your mobile device alerting you to sales, in-store specials, etc.
  • Traditional media still plays a role in advertising/marketing.
  • New marketing technology is both “scary and exciting.”
  • No matter what medium is used, it has to provide value for both the seller and the buyer.
  • E-mail is still a very effective method of getting your message out.
  • Advertising/marketing is basically communicating; the goal is to get the best use of advertising dollars.

IABC Great Plains September 2014 Professional Development

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