Message From President Robert Herta

IABC Detroit Members –

I’m grateful for members like you and our 14 dedicated board members from local companies that support our chapter. We also have a very committed past presidents council engaged in our strategic vision and plans.

As we start 2018, I want to do a quick check-in with you as our board and I focus on three IABC Detroit business priorities:

  • Drive value to current and future members
  • Improve the chapter’s bottom line/margin
  • Secure the chapter’s legacy

Here’s a snapshot of hot items that are driving our chapter priorities:


  • Feb 1 – Christina Lovio-Gorge will share what it took to support the communications for the beatification of Father Solanus Casey, an historic event for the City of Detroit and people around the world.
  • Feb 15 – Wayne State University and DTE Energy will host an all-day communications summit – “The PIO and the Right to Know” to share mission critical guidance for public information officers and communication professionals.
  • Please plan to join us at these programs and watch for details on upcoming events that will focus on relevant topics for our members. Our programs team is led by Brooke Ziomek and Pete Ternes.

Renaissance Awards 2018

This is our premier awards program and largest annual event where we offer a variety of opportunities for local professionals to be recognized for their achievements, honoring the individual and celebrating best practices that advance our profession. Nancy Sarpolis and Ed Walters are actively working to revitalize this program and take it to a new level. We are looking at everything from expanding award categories to increasing the visibility through major partnerships and sponsorships, not to mention everything else (such as the submission process, judging and venue). Nancy and Ed are also looking to recruit a title sponsor and a team of volunteers to support this huge event.


Recruiting and retaining new members is a hot priority. Those of us who are members know the great value it provides; think about others who could benefit from IABC and ask them to join. Not only do we get discounts on programs, but we get first hand access to global resources for professional development and career outreach. If you have candidates for membership, please let us know and we’ll help them get involved in the chapter. Sydney Lepora and our board are working diligently to grow membership.


Now, more than ever, we could use a boost from not only new members, but also from companies wanting to partner with us. There are opportunities to sponsor programs, Renaissance Awards, and member communications. In the past month, companies such as Franco, Stratacomm and Strategic Communications Group have renewed their sponsorship support of the chapter at the Bronze, Silver and program levels respectively. We’re also very thankful for companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, DTE Energy, ASG Renaissance, Lawrence Technology University, Eastern Michigan University, Pitch Black, SSDigital Media, Cision and others for supporting the chapter for some time. If your company is interested insponsorship, please let me know.

There’s obviously a lot of positive momentum within our chapter, but we still have a long journey ahead. Already, we’ve improved our social media channels (thanks to Shannon McCarthy and Deb Salem), revamped our website (Andrea King), improved student relations (Erica Harmon), continued building career outreach (Michael Raveane) and enhanced our plans for judging (Lilian Lorenzi). Our president-elect Heather Guentherand past president Andrea Kenski and, of course, chapter administrator and secretary Nancy Skidmore are helping me guide this chapter forward with a renewed strategy and plan.

Thank you for supporting IABC. As always, I welcome your feedback with any ideas that would help IABC serve its members in a meaningful way. I look forward to your participation in our chapter.