Leadership Institute (LI) is an opportunity for chapter leaders to share information and stay current on chapter best practices among an international group of business communicators. This year, the focus of the 2017 LI conference was Share, Lead, Succeed. In every way, the conference experience and breakout sessions was an exercise of chapter leaders sharing their leadership experiences to create a framework for success in order to achieve the goals they create for themselves and their chapters.


LI is somewhat like a cabinet or Senate, except the fact that the gathering is more collaborative and fun. It’s intense, though, and there’s a lot of information to absorb in 48 hours with each session focusing on a different way to bring value for the IABC members in your area.

Here’s what we think IABC Leadership Institute is about for those who could not attend:


During the breakout sessions, we found that chapter leaders are committed to self-improvement and growth, constantly trying to raise the bar in terms of leadership and accountability. We enjoyed attending LI together, apart from the president-VP bonding, the whole LI experience was like a ‘lighting store’ for us. There were many light bulbs that went off! There were many ‘oh my gosh – we can do this, and we do this great! Or, we can do something like this!’ But being so close to the end of the chapter year, while some may say we are all tired because of a busy year, we challenged one another to take our chapter programming and services to the next level. Isn’t this another great reason to join IABC Manitoba?



Another fabulous thing about the LI experience is celebrating the recognition of the brilliant work of IABC leaders and volunteers around the world at the IABC Chapter Management Awards. At the end of every board year, chapters submit their portfolio plans and outcomes for evaluation. Winning chapters earn an award trophy or plaque, and receive great applause from the whole world (literally! Cause all the IABC world leaders are there). But more than anything, we feel it reassures members that the Chapters put members first! A full list of 2017 IABC CMA winners can be found here.



Finally, LI is a time to reflect on the things our board does for our members. It is also a reminder that our board volunteers work extra hours after their busy day jobs, and some sacrifice their personal and family times to organize chapter events, projects, and relationships. And, also to think about how we can support board directors achieve their goals. No board, no leaders, no Chapter!


Final thoughts

The breakout sessions we attended coupled with brainstorming discussions over this intense weekend charged leaders to be better than the year before.

But really, the most important thing we took away is setting the stage to create a supportive board system, oh, and also, submitting the brilliant work that we already do to next year’s CMA awards!

We congratulate the LI organizers and especially the IABC Dallas chapter for being an amazing host. Much love to our Texas girls and guys!


Roland Pajares is incoming President of IABC Manitoba. He currently serves as Vice President of the Chapter.

Mekala Wickramasinghe is incoming Vice President of IABC Manitoba. She currently serves as Director of Finance for the Chapter.