UGA’s IABC wins Student Chapter, Leader of the Year honors

UGA's IABC wins Student Chapter, Leader of the Year honors

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia chapter of International Association of Business Communicators has been named the 2009 IABC Student Chapter of the Year.

The chapter and its members will be honored on Friday, Feb. 6 during the 2009 IABC Leadership Institute and Chapter Management Awards Reception in Orlando, Fla.

“The combination of strategy, innovation and succession planning shown by the chapter across their programs led the judges to unanimously name IABC at the University of Georgia the 2009 Student Chapter of the Year,” said Janna White, chapter relations manager at the San Francisco-based IABC World Headquarters.

UGA made a clean sweep of the student chapter awards when its president, Elizabeth Kirby, was named 2009 Student Chapter Leader of the Year. Kirby is a senior public relations and economics major from Suwanee.

Still a relatively young organization on campus, the UGA IABC chapter was founded in 2006 to expose students to the professional standards and practices of communication within business, industry and associations. The student club is affiliated with the professional IABC/Atlanta chapter and its 300+ communicators in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

“I’m so proud of the chapter officers who dedicated themselves to providing great ideas and leadership for the 2008-2009 school year,” said Sherrie Whaley, IABC adviser and director of communications and marketing at the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Elizabeth Kirby was especially deserving of the top student chapter leader honor. She has been a great motivator and displayed a tremendous amount of initiative and dedication to help make the chapter a success. The groundwork she laid will be important to the chapter’s success for years to come.”

Other IABC officers include vice president of programs Ashley Lovell, an economics major from Cumming; vice president of membership Kelli Hammock, a public relations major from Savannah; vice president of communications Emily Knab, a public relations major from Duluth; treasurer Ashley Blihovde, an accounting major from Lilburn; and secretary Ching Horng Er, an advertising major from Rawang, Selangor, Malaysia.

Whaley also credited Audraine Jackson, president of Atlanta’s Jackson Communications and former student liaison from IABC/Atlanta, with providing sound advice, programming help and encouragement to the officers during the club’s pivotal third year.

For the remainder of the school year, IABC will continue working to increase its membership and visibility on campus, noted chapter president Kirby. “I want to better prepare chapter members for the world after college through a new professional development workshop, professional networking and our annual spring trip to an Atlanta corporation,” she said.

The organization will host its first professional development program for UGA students on March 25. “Life Beyond the Hedges” will help prepare students to enter the workforce. The program will feature short seminars on topics such as negotiating a job offer and understanding the recruitment process, and financial budgeting for the young professional. A panel of professionals also will discuss post-undergraduate options.

IABC at UGA hopes to make “Life Beyond the Hedges” its signature event for students. The organization received seed funding from the UGA Alumni Association’s Campus Support Fund for the workshop and is currently seeking additional sponsors. More details about “Life Beyond the Hedges” will be released closer to the date.

Students of all majors are welcome to attend IABC meetings and become members. For more information on IABC at UGA, see www.uga.edu/iabc.