2018-2019 Annual Report

*download the full report as a .PDF

1979-2019: Celebrating 40 Years of IABC London

2018-2019 Vision: Learn. Connect. Celebrate.

Starting 2018, IABC London was in a fantastic position. After several years of solid growth of the chapter, we were sitting on a solid foundation:

  • Strong financial situation > an opportunity to take a strategic look at investing in our chapter and our audience
  • Solid membership with opportunity to add more students and corporate memberships

Looking at the 2018-2019 year, the board recognized the opportunity to build on this success and raise things up incrementally over the next several years, particularly as we moved into the chapter’s 40th anniversary in the 2019 calendar year. That meant looking at what we’re good at… what our core function as a chapter is, as our building blocks to build on.

What we’re here for is really quite simple, and that’s where
“Learn. Connect. Celebrate.” was derived.

Help professional communicators Learn
IABC International’s Vision is “Professional communicators at the heart of every organization, and its purpose is to “Advance the profession, create connection and develop strategic communicators.” By helping our audience learn this year, we support that vision and purpose. We will provide amazing learning opportunities this year for our audience.

Help professional communicators Connect
We have seen that our audience simply loves the opportunity to meet each other and network together. Therefore, our ambition doesn’t have to be to stage a blockbuster keynote speaker event every single month – we have the opportunity to focus on what we’re good at: helping communicators at every stage of their career to connect with the people they want and need to reach. We will, this year, increase our networking opportunities for our audience. 

Help professional communicators Celebrate
A major opportunity is the 40th anniversary of IABC London in 2019. We will mark this occasion by resourcing an anniversary celebration that lasts for the full year. We will celebrate our history, involve those who have built the chapter’s successes over the years, and get excited about our future. Part of the opportunity this year is to also take a careful, strategic look at our awards and celebration programming to align it fully with what our audience needs for celebrating excellence in the profession.

Chapter Goal for 2018-2019 + measurement

  • Increase the total size of IABC London’s audience this fiscal year by at least 10%

September 2018 non-member email distribution list: 160 contacts 
September Facebook Page followers: 715 
September Facebook Group followers: 80 
September Twitter followers: 2084 
September LinkedIn followers: 176 followers 

June 2019: non-member email distribution list 239 contacts 
June Facebook Page followers: 839 
June Facebook Group followers: 107 
Created Instagram: 227 followers 
June Twitter followers: 2138
June LinkedIn followers: 263 followers

Total Audience September 2018: 3215 
Total Audience June 2019: 3812 
Difference: 597 net new audience members of IABC London

18.57% increase in audience size

Anniversary Celebration Objective 2018-2019

  • To mark the chapter’s 40th anniversary with a celebration event that is attended by at least 150 current and past members of IABC London’s community, on budget and recognizes the significant contribution of past and current members to the chapter’s success.

The Ruby Jubilee was held June 6, 2019, and celebrated 40 years of impact and inspiration. 156 people attended, including 16 past presidents and the event received rave reviews. There was a great mix of members, non-members and students at the event that included a reception, two-hour program and an after party.

The 2018-2019 objective noted above was achieved, with the exception of the budget element. The board of directors approved running a deficit on the event to elevate its calibre and secure a keynote speaker, motivational comedian Susan Stewart who culminated a successful celebration. A deficit of $3,869 on the total event cost was considered a worthwhile investment for a high-quality event that significantly supported our audience engagement efforts in our 40th year.

Awards Portfolio Objective 2018-2019

  • Engage stakeholders in a thorough review of IABC London’s chapter awards program to inform future direction.

We successfully conducted a fulsome review of IABC London’s awards offering over this past year. This strategic review was steered by an ad-hoc committee consisting of communications leaders from London and area. The committee was co-chaired by Robert DeLaet, Awards Director, and Julia Oosterman.

The committee developed a research plan consisting of three pillars: stakeholder engagement and feedback; a peer review to study awards programming offered by other Canadian chapters; and a historical analysis to review the history of the Virtuoso Awards program.

We heard from a total of 71 communications professionals from London and area through our digital survey and Think Tank event. They provided valuable feedback on our current awards programming and suggestions for improvement. We also engaged eight chapters through a peer review survey and follow-up conversations, and conducted additional research for an understanding of all chapter awards programs across Canada. Finally, we conducted a historical analysis of existing data from the past 25 years of the Virtuoso Awards program.

Our committee took our findings and developed recommendations for the future direction of awards programming at IABC London. Based on feedback from our stakeholders, the committee recommended that we continue the Virtuoso Awards with a number of changes to refresh and enhance the program, including its marketing. 

Professional Development Objective 2018-2019

  • Host two tier 1 one events [targeted at business leaders and strategic advisors], one tier 2 event [targeted at specialists and generalists] and two tier 3 events [targeted at foundation-level communicators] throughout the 2018/2019 year, commencing September 2018.
  • Each event hosted, must align in an obvious way to one of the Chapter’s goals and vision: Learn. Connect. Celebrate. 
  • Gain a minimum of one new IABC chapter member as a direct result of a non-member attending a professional development event.
  • Maintain a balanced budget ($3,100 total) for all Professional Development projects executed and receive $1,000 in-kind sponsorship.
  • Measure relevance of topics delivered to members, non members and board members.


  • Five events executed, as described by tier: Tier 3 – Connect & Celebrate, Tier 2 – Connect & Learn, Tier 3 – Learn & Connect
  • At least five different individuals approached the PD directors this year inquiring about membership, and those individuals were introduced to the Membership Director to on-board as members
  • Revenue was slightly more than the objective ($3122.95) and the PD portfolio maintained a balanced budget due to lower-than-expected expenses. Surplus at the end of the year was $351.91. A total of $3635 of Gifts in Kind from partners Streaming Inc. and Bruce Mayhew Consulting and local retailers including Starbucks, London Brewing Co-Op and Booch Organics was received.
  • Engagement rate average of 1.1% (across FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Eventbrite page and website traffic). As well, event surveys concluded that those in attendance at this year’s events felt the programming was timely given the state of the economy, society and technology businesses are facing in the 21st century. Anecdotally we also heard from a number of senior strategist/business leader members that they were pleased to have useful events to attend this year, something they felt had been lacking for individuals at their career level.

Membership Portfolio Objective 2018-2019

  • Increase chapter membership by at least 10%
  • Recruit at least one community corporate member group
  • Research and recruit volunteers to prepare for launching an IABC London mentorship program in 2019-2020

Chapter Membership grew from 142 to 158 active members
(June 2018-Aug 2019)

Secured a student membership agreement with the Public Relations Post-Degree Diploma program at Western Continuing Studies, whereby all students in-course automatically are enrolled as IABC members.

We pitched the Community Corporate Membership to several large organizations in London, and will continue work in 2019-2020 to demonstrate the value/benefit of corporate membership in the effort of attracting an organization to come on board with this membership level.

Researched existing mentoring programs and best practices, including peer review of programs in Calgary and Ottawa. Also research a new Mentoring Toolkit developed by IABC International. Created the position of Mentorship Director for 2019-2020 who will pilot the new Mentorship program based on these research findings.

In October 2018, mid-month, IABC London was the IABC Chapter with the highest retention rate in the world.

In March 2019, at the end of the month, our Chapter had the second highest growth rate in the world.

Communication Portfolio Objective 2018-2019

  • Integrate Hootsuite into how we use/schedule social media. 
  • Have a daily presence on social media (Monday to Friday). 
  • Ensure we are consistently creating IABC London original content (4 to 5 articles for the year). 
  • Increase social media followers by 10%: 
    – Twitter = 2,084 (increase to 2300)  
    – Facebook = 720 (increase to 800)  
    – LinkedIn = 170 (increase to 200)   

Increased use of Hootsuite to schedule social media posts
Highly engaged and regular social media presence
Twitter = 2,138 (increase of 2.6%), 162 followers shy of our goal
Facebook = 772 (increase of 7%), 28 likes shy of our goal
LinkedIn = 268! (increase of 58%), 68 followers above and beyond our goal!
Launched Instagram > Launched Instagram! 232 followers, 62 posts, great use of stories during events.

Certification Portfolio Objective 2018-2019

  • Increase awareness of communications certification and increase the number of certified professionals in the London community
  • Build rapport with senior communicator in the London area, particularly those who hold an ABC


  • Held one certification exam in London on April 13, 2019
  • Facilitated three communicators to take certification exam
  • Welcomed two new certified members to IABC London
  • Posted multiple social messages to recruit participants
  • Published one article online about the value of certification
  • Connected with a few communicators who expressed interest in certification (who may be applicants in the near future)

Sponsorship Portfolio Objective 2018-2019

  • Retain current sponsors for IABC London and secure additionally one major sponsor for a PD event  

The major PD event that we had targeted for acquiring a major sponsor was rescheduled to fall 2019, so that goal was not possible to achieve this fiscal year.

However, we did retain almost all of our existing sponsors, and were also successful in securing some new ones for the chapter, aligned with our 40th Anniversary Celebration:

  • TMD: Silver Level sponsor; GIK for design support AND design student award
  • Fanshawe College’s Reputation and Brand Management Department: Silver Level sponsor; cash contribution to the event
  • Producer’s Post: Event Level sponsor; GIK for videography and editing support for the 40th Anniversary video AND the Outstanding Communicator nominee videos
  • Impression1: Event Level sponsor; cash contribution to the event

These partnerships allowed the portfolio to exceed its financial targets this year, and contributed to the financial health of other portfolios as well.

A sponsorship prospectus was also developed this year.

Financial Objective 2018-2019

  • Gather information and recommendations around the structure of our organization (tax structure, nonprofit registration), look into a chapter audit, move chapter to a sustainable cloud-based financial management software platform. 

A significant amount of information has been gathered related to our structure as an organization, and what has been learned so far has confirmed that further research is warranted. We decided early in the fiscal year to hold off on seeking professional advice from a nonprofit lawyer until the 2019/20 fiscal year as it was determined that the investment could wait, allowing for the chapter to invest resources into other strategic initiatives, such as the 40th anniversary.

Based on conversations with other chapters as well as IABC HQ, it appears as though a financial review, rather than a full-scale audit, would be sufficient to ensure we are following best practices and maintaining accurate records. This will be explored for feasibility in 2019/20.

Our chapter finance system was transferred from Quicken to QuickBooks Online, allowing for revenue and expenses to be tracked in a cloud-based system. This has proven to be successful, as QuickBooks is easy to use, produces several canned reports, and is quite cost-effective. Management of the system can be easily transferred at any point in the future.

2018-2019 Financial Report

Plus gifts in-kind contributions in addition to cash revenue:  $11,403.50

Other Achievements in 2018-2019

  • 26 job board postings > 17 from members, 9 from non-members
  • CASL-verified our entire non-member email distribution list > resulted in a significant drop in subscribers, yet more than 200 confirmed their continued subscription
  • On-boarded more than 16 volunteers with the board committees
  • Chapter Finance Policy was put in place for the chapter
  • Major improvements throughout the year to the IABC London online presence > HTTPS security added to website, animated video banner to increase engagement, and a newly refreshed presence for membership and sponsorship

Ruby Jubilee Silver Sponsors

Ruby Jubilee Bronze Sponsors

Ruby Jubilee Event Sponsors

Student Award Sponsors

Professional Development Sponsors

Chapter Website Sponsor

Awards Website Sponsor

Professional Development Event Recording Sponsor

Fanshawe Student Awards

IABC London Award: Western University

Outstanding Communicator Award

Celebrating 40 Years of Impact & Inspiration

  • Created a 40th Anniversary webpage: shared 23 (and counting) video stories of chapter ambassadors > distilled into one 5-minute highlight reel shown at the Ruby Jubilee

IABC London’s 40th Anniversary Ruby Jubilee

  • June 6, 2019
  • Attended by 156 members of our communication community
  • 16 past-president attended
  • Keynote presentation by motivational comedian Susan Stewart

IABC London 2018-2019 Board of Directors

2018-2019 IABC London Volunteers

Cassie Caranci, Job Board
Courtney Morgan, Connect Editor
Katy Boychuk, Professional Development Committee
Maria Galicia, Professional Development Committee
Alicia Baertsoen, Community Liaison
Sonia Hota, Membership Liaison & Fanshawe Student Liaison
Stephanie Stimac, Western Student Liaison
Alex Leonard, Digital Content Liaison
Sarah Walker, Design Liaison
Leo Aul, Sponsorship Liaison
Anna Tavener, 40th Anniversary Liaison
Ahmed Ismail, Membership Ambassador
Klevis Mazreku, Membership Ambassador
Trevor DeHaan, Connect Writer
Gaurav Ghose, Connect Writer

40th Anniversary Committee
Jaye Bowers
Tristan Joseph
Jennifer Routly
Katrina Munro
Cassie Dowse
Michelle Paonessa
Marianne Levogiannis
Victoria Bright

Virtuoso Awards Review Committee
Gary Lintern
Jacqueline Sullivan
Keith Marnoch
Laurie Lashbrook
Liisa Sheldrick
Tori Laird
Kelly Zeigner
Julia Oosterman