Two Simple Words – Thank You

April 18, 2024

Since it’s National Volunteer Week in Canada, I thought about what this means, certainly as Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Canada East Region (CER). I know, I know, it’s a big title but with it goes a lot of fantastic experiences as a leader.

Imagine this job posting. “Looking for a communications leader. Applicant must be willing to dedicate hundreds of hours to deliver a high level of communication expertise, setting the benchmark high, in order to encourage, support and develop the next generation of communicators. Requirements include a passion for communications, the ability to see the bigger picture for the international organization and a willingness to be flexible and take on a multitude of roles.”

Oh, one important factor. There’s no pay involved.

Welcome to the world of volunteering with IABC – CER – our rather large corner of this particular communications world, in terms of membership.

Shout Out to our truly Giving Volunteers

As a veteran volunteer of IABC, I wanted to pause and recognize our many volunteers who are the heart and soul of our team. Truly, the heartbeat. The more I pause, the bigger the smile is that comes to my face. I have, and continue to have, such a happy experience working side by side my IABC CER colleagues. And they truly are colleagues – just without the pay part. A small side note there.

It is fitting that I take this moment to recognize the thousands and thousands of hours that our volunteers put in during National Volunteer Week in Canada.

The Winding Journey of Volunteering

I joined IABC more than 20 years ago when I was transitioning from journalism to public relations and communications. I was searching for my community – my community of writers, thinkers and creators. It did not take me long before I discovered an entire group of people, who not only were the best in the business, but willing to share their insights and knowledge with me.

It was humbling experience as they were all volunteers, which surprised me. I mean, here they were, people sharing their valuable time to help another communicator. For free! Wow. This was before the “pay it forward’ environment and volunteer movement, that came into play with our high school students across many provinces and territories some 25 years ago.

Generosity of Time, Talent & Patience

A sincere thank you to our many CER volunteers, from the student who helps run an event for their very first time, to the incredibly busy, experienced communicator who brings home the entire strategy and delivers the goods.

There’s something to be said about a person who jumps into a project and has the patience to not only lead, but also learn, with no financial gain. Volunteering for IABC is different than working for an employer, or running your own team, as people are motivated by the giving and not a pay cheque or climbing a corporate ladder.

It’s also a multitude of personalities that are aligned with one goal – of giving back to the communications industry through personal connection.

Seeing is Believing

Since volunteers are the backbone of IABC CER, I wanted to highlight the current opportunities we have for board positions. The nominations for next year’s leadership team close on April 21st. You won’t regret it.

You can learn more and apply here at:

So back to my thank you… thank you, as well, to everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with through IABC, many of whom I now call good friends. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with communication professionals from around the world. There’s no better way to learn, grow and shine as a communicator than with IABC.

Marie K. Fitzpatrick, ABC, B.A. – Journalism

IABC Canada East Chair 2023 – 2024