Why I became an IABC member: Our story


The decision to become a member of a professional association is personal to everyone. Some look for opportunities for professional development. Others look for connection with industry peers.

It’s Member Month at IABC; a great time to take the plunge and become a member or renew your membership. To mark the occasion, we asked our Board to share their membership journeys and why they value their membership with IABC.

If you are interested in becoming an IABC member, or you need to renew your membership, find out more about what’s on offer this Member Month here.

Wayne Aspland – Director of Strategic Communication

I first joined IABC about ten years ago when I made the move from in-house to consultant. I chose to nominate for an IABC Victoria Board role immediately and was luckily enough to be accepted. I also quickly learned the power of IABC networks when a referral from a fellow Board member led to my first stint as a sessional lecturer in Communications. In fact, the role I am working in right now came directly from the suggestion of an IABC colleague.

If I could give you one piece of advice regarding IABC, it’s that the more you put in, the more value you will get from your membership. Over the years, I have published articles, written thought leadership papers, presented webinars and served on boards all with the support of the IABC. Along the way, I have learnt an enormous amount from a large number of incredibly talented people and made a lot of great friends.

So, all I can say to you is join up and get stuck in. Ultimately, you’ll be glad you did.

Tasha Bourke – Director of Digital Communications

I became an IABC member in 2017 thanks to my university professor at the time, Ross Monaghan (who is also a fellow IABC Asia-Pacific Board Director). I cannot express the value of this membership enough. Being a student when I joined, the opportunities to gain exposure to the industry, build my network and attend events (virtually or otherwise) were and remain invaluable. Whether you’re just entering the industry or you’re an established professional, the global IABC community has so much to offer and is well-worth being a part of.

Melinda Coyne – Director of Professional Development

I initially joined IABC in 2013 looking for like-minded professionals to connect with. I was in transition to what has become a career as a communications professional in large transformation programs across Australia. I met fellow IABC members Deb Ganderton and Ross Monaghan at my first IABC Vic event and have never looked back. Both have inspired me to be engaged in the industry in ways I hadn’t considered at the time.

In late 2020 I joined the IABC APAC Board as a Professional Director (PD), sharing the PD portfolio with Ross Monaghan where we continue to enjoy developing the series and build programs for professional development. I wanted to support the communications industry and volunteer my time on the Board as I love exploring new ideas and ways to develop strategic communications professionals.

If you’re looking to find your tribe of professional communicators and continue your professional development then I highly recommend joining the IABC and look forward to welcoming you as a new member.

Ross Monaghan – Director of Professional Development

I learned about IABC when I was studying for my undergraduate degree at Deakin in 1986. There was a local chapter, and communication with head office required that you send a letter to ask for information! I remember the reply because it was a form letter addressing me as Mr Doody. Not a particularly good start in some ways, but at least it caught my attention.

My first corporate job was at BHP’s Port Kembla Steelworks, and many of the senior practitioners working there were heavily involved in the Society of Business Communicators. There were chapters around Australia, and my manager at the steelworks, the unflappable former Herald journalist John Bown, was keen for the Illawarra chapter to grow, so I was “strongly encouraged” to get involved. That organisation has now disbanded (as far as I know) with many members around the country transitioning to IABC membership. Throughout the years I’ve been on several IABC Boards in NSW, Victoria and now the Asia Pacific region. Why? As I tell my students, membership is like a secret handshake for communicators – if you’re a member, other members will go out of their way to help you. Of course, there are many other reasons to be involved, but to me, comradery tops the list.

Samara Williams – Director of Social Media

I was first introduced to IABC by Zora Artis, our Immediate Past Chair. I had just returned to Australia from a period overseas and wanted to expand my network and make new connections within the city’s professional communication sector; but I didn’t really know where to start. It turned out that becoming an IABC member was the ideal first step.

The past three years as an IABC member has provided me with many different opportunities to build my professional network, not only within Australia, but across the APAC region and around the world. The community is approachable and is always happy to provide advice on any topic, whether it is guidance around certification, or advice on a tricky organisational communication issue. Whether you are a new practitioner, or you have been in the professional communication space for a number of years, if you are looking to grow your professional network, an IABC membership is a great place to start.

Mark Woodrow – Director of Member Engagement

I first started to go to IABC meetings and became a member during the dot.com boom and new millennium – very exciting time to be part of an international organisation focussed on communication. Eventually I joined the NSW Chapter board in Sydney, holding various roles for 7 years. I have always made good friends through IABC, it feels like my tribe. As a member, it’s opened many doors with liked minded colleagues, helped me in job applications and given me professional understanding of topics in the communication space outside my comfort zone.

The international networking opportunities in IABC are amazing. I have been to 4 world conferences and visited new countries where I have looked up chapters and members, and been invited to events, dinners and impromptu meetings. I can literally say I have good friends and professional contacts throughout APAC and beyond because I’m an active member of IABC. Sometimes my work pays for my membership, sometimes I pay it personally, but I never question the value – the return I get far exceeds what I pay, many times over.