Robin McCasland, new chair at the International Association of Business Communicators, likened critical reporters to her dog at the June 25 annual general meeting in New York.
McCasland, employee engagement and internal communication leader at Dell, Round Rock, Texas, compared critics of IABC to her dog, Oscar. She said Oscar was having sex with a Great Dane at a dog park while she wasn't paying attention and that she had to pull her dog off the larger dog as people laughed around her. According to a video of the meeting, she told her dog, "Oscar, don't be that dog."
McCasland continued as the audience laughed: "That's an expression I think about a lot in IABC. We have a few people who behave like Oscar. ...You guys, don't be that dog. Don't be that dog," she said to applause. "If you want to be constructive in your criticism and you have a bone to pick ... We've had some people who've been the dogs and I'm hoping that if we communicate more effectively and do our part and make you that promise, that some of you won't be dogs anymore. If you continue to be dogs, that's fine. But I'm not going to continue to pull you off the Great Dane."
Attempts to reach McCasland by phone or e-mail were unsuccessful. Her e-mail responded that she is away until Monday with "limited access to e-mail."
The remarks of McCasland were posted on Dave Murray's writingboots website.
At the close of the town hall meeting, Murray posed a question and in answering it Kerby Meyers, outgoing chair, criticized Murray's coverage of IABC over the previous six months, providing what Murray said was "a truculent rebuke" of that coverage.
IABC Has Many Critics
Critics of IABC's recent policies and practices include Neville Hobson of the forimmediaterelease podcast and Ed Lallo of newsroominc.com. Nearly 300 postings were put in a LinkedIn discussion group following the firing of 16 of the 32 staffers last Nov. 30. The board did nothing about that but sit on its hands.
Among this reporter’s beefs with IABC is its poor and late financial reporting. It refuses to give details of the contract with Sorek including how long it was for and the cost of dismissing him. No details are available for the contracts with the Michael Hamm firm working on IABCs accreditation program or Extraction, which is handling digital assignments. Leaders should supply a first quarter financial 2013 report. PRSA puts out such a report. The latest 990, for 2011, was filed late in the year (Oct. 23, 2012). It only gives the pay of two staffers (COO Julie Freeman at $209,005 and Christopher Hall at $150,872). PRSA gives the pay packages of eight staffers.
Reports are that IABC has borrowed $370,000. Aaron Henreich, who joined the staff as director of communication in April, says he has no knowledge of this.
Invested $1 Million in Market
The 2012 audit shows IABC shifted $1,054,342 from savings to the stock market. "Publicly traded securities" went from $927,628 at the beginning of 2012 to $1,981,970 at the end as cash was lowered from $1,919,539 to $1,071,213 at year’s end.
Heinrich says he can't provide the IABC 990 until he hears from the chapters. IABC files its own 990 under the EIN 03-4080669 and files for the chapters under 94-3046165. We believe this is improper. The 65 IABC chapters all have their own EIN numbers but when they are accessed there is a notation that no information is available. At PRSA, all 112 chapters have their own EINS and file their own tax returns as they are required to if they have more than $25,000 in revenues.
When IABC fired the16 staffers, it refused to identify them, giving members instead a list of those not fired and telling inquirers they could compare it with past lists of staffers and figure it out themselves.
New Board Arrives
The "old" board responsible for letting Sorek can half the staff was Meyers, McCasland, Adrian Cropley, Jeff Bishop, Michael Ambrozewicz, Kristen Sukalec, Russell Grossman, Tom Roux, James Lynch, Vita Kernel, Terry Cerisoles and Gloria Walker.
Thus far the IABC website only has the names of eight board members: McCasland, Grossman, Jane Mitchell, Michael Ambjoen, Ritzi Ronquillo, Cynthia Schmieg, Sharon Hunter and Cerisoles.