After a year of leadership disarray, the International Association of Business Communicators embarks on the search for its next director a sadder and wiser girl.
Or it should, anyway.
IABC is hoping to announce the winning candidate by March, but "the real question is what is the process for choosing a new ED and the skill set the Board is looking for," a longtime IABC insider told me recently. "It was a disastrous process last time, which made the Board feel locked into choosing [Chris] Sorek. If they have learned their lesson about the hiring process, the association can indeed rebuild."
From the press release, it's hard to gleen much, probably by design:
"As IABC continues to work toward creating more value for its members and the global communication profession, we are seeking a dynamic executive director to lead the charge and continue to strengthen IABC’s market position as the professional association of choice for communication professionals," said Daniel Munslow, search committee chair. “We expect this search will yield a candidate with great leadership skills and a passion for the communication profession.”
The basic question is, will the committee seek an association management pro, or a communication professional with the skills to manage a professional association? Or can they hope to find someone who's got both qualifications, as did Sorek's predecessor, Julie Freeman a dozen years ago? She had an MBA and an APR and had run a professional association.
Setting aside the difficulty of imagining that anyone with a semblance of human life
force left in his or her soul would choose a career as simultaneously
drudgerous and dangerous, as at-once harried and hen-pecked as "association
management" … an association pro seems appropriate.
After all, an IABC executive director is completely surrounded by professional communicators—a dozen on the International Executive Board, hundreds more in regional and chapter leadership and 14,000 in the at-large membership. I think it's best for an ED to know how to steer an association. And of course any good association chief is no stranger to communication, whether or not he or she has a "passion for the communication profession." (Before coming to IABC, Freeman had run an association of picture framers.)