New Board Announced



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   — Contact:   K. Dawn Rutledge, (615) 293-3304

December 15, 2014

IABC Nashville Announces New Executive Board

NASHVILLE, TN – The Nashville Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) has announced the election of new officers for 2015. The new board will officially assume their roles Jan. 1. The IABC/Nashville Executive Board governs the operations of the local chapter, leads strategic planning, professional and member development efforts. This new slate is comprised of highly experienced communicators representing a variety of industries, including senior living, health care, and higher education. The 2015 Executive Board members include:


  • PresidentJennifer Fuqua, Meridian Surgical Partners
  • President-Elect and SecretaryPhil Matisak, ABC, UPS (retired)
  • Past President – Julie Davis, Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.
  • Vice President of FinancePam Eldridge, Connexon Partners
  • Vice President of Membership - Lynn Yates, WG Yates Construction
  • Vice President of CommunicationsMisty Moore, Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.
  • Vice President of Professional DevelopmentSteve Turney, Ten Adams
  • Vice President, AwardsTom Kenley, The Rogers Group
  • Vice President At-LargePaul Ladd, World Christian Broadcasting
  • Vice President At-LargeDr. Sherry Roberts, Middle Tennessee State University


“I am excited about the opportunity to lead one of the world’s largest, most dynamic organizations for communications professionals,” said Jennifer Fuqua, newly-elected president and marketing director of Meridian Surgical Partners. “The IABC Nashville Chapter has established itself as a leader among professional groups for communicators where great information, speakers, award recognitions, and networking opportunities are available. I look forward to serving alongside our newly-elected executive board, engaging our members and continuing to grow this dynamic chapter.”



IABC/Nashville is one of more than 100 chapters in 70 countries providing learning opportunities for its members and professional development sessions that offer new insights into the latest communication trends, technology and issues facing the industry. The chapter is diverse, with members representing area agencies, broadcast stations, corporations, universities and nonprofit organizations. IABC/Nashville also offers ties to job bank services and the annual ‘Gold Pen’ communication awards program. To learn more visit



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December Mixer at StagePost





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Since 1970, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) has set the standard of global excellence for professional communicators. Join our vibrant network of 14,000 members in more than 70 countries.

Whether you’re a student, recent graduate, working professional or a Corporate Team Member, visit the About Membership page to learn more about how IABC membership can help you advance in your career.


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Read Membership Profiles:

Elise Shelton

Lynn Yates

Gayle Gallagher

Genma Holmes

Paul Ladd

Steve Turney


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December Blog – Tom Kenley

Tom Kenley3Beyond the kudos: Why you want to participate in awards programs

By Tom Kenley

Winning an award from a professional trade association certainly makes you look good, but an awards program, especially those conducted by IABC, can offer so much more to help you grow professionally.

Judging. Every communications project has a unique goal with a unique audience and unique challenges. When that project is submitted for an award, the end result reads much like a case study, especially when utilizing the user-friendly AwardSentry online system, which most IABC chapters use. Submission judges (IABC members from other chapters) are provided criteria by which to evaluate the entry. While not every entry is a winner, there is always something to learn by seeing how other communicators approach their specific situations.

Submitting. The award submission process for IABC is like a “crash course” in corporate communications. You are asked very specific questions about the project — questions that go deeper than “what is the goal of the project?” or “who is the intended audience?” The end result? What is required is a thorough self-analysis of your project spelling out your strategies, measurements, speed bumps, and business objectives. It can seem intimidating at first, but the goal of these rigorous evaluation points (and the awards program as a whole) is to elevate the standards within our profession.

Feedback. Usable feedback to tweak messages or hone strategies can be rare, especially when working in smaller shops or one-person departments like mine. Evaluations of submitted entries for an IABC award are returned to you with scores and text feedback from judges on every aspect of your project. In addition to helping with future projects, the feedback also helps you fine tune your submission if you choose to submit your project to another IABC regional (Silver Quills) or international (Gold Quills) awards competition.

Winning. Kudos from friends, family and friendly co-workers can only go so far, and acknowledgment of our efforts from superiors can be sporadic (“Good job on that project last year!”) and unqualified (“You helped with that project, didn’t you?”). However, an award from a professional trade association can improve your department’s value within your organization, enhance your agency’s reputation with clients, and provide an impressive bullet point in your personal resume.

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Member Spotlight — Elise Shelton


Each month IABC/Nashville highlights one of its diverse members through a Q&A feature. This month, we are pleased to showcase Elise Shelton, Chief Communications Officer, Clarksville-Montgomery County School System

IABC:            What is your background?

SHELTON:     Organizational communications and daily newspapers.


IABC:            How did you get started in your business?

SHELTON:    I left the Nashville Banner in 1987 after working in newspapers for almost a decade. After newspapers, I began work in corporate communications, first at a magazine printing company, then a Nashville hospital and now for a public school system.

IABC:            What is your current position and business affiliation? How long have your been in this role?

SHELTON:     I am Chief Communications Officer for Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. I just started my 20th year here.

IABC:            What makes your business/organization stand out?

SHELTON:     Public schools are at an unprecedented time of scrutiny, accountability and competition. Communications during this time is critical.

If you could describe yourself in three (3) words, what would it be?

SHELTON:     According to my StrengthsFinder assessment, my strongest characteristics fall into these categories: Arranger (detail person/control freak), Communication and WOO (Winning Others Over, which should help offset any friction I create when I’m ‘arranging’).

Tell something about yourself people would be surprised to learn.

SHELTON:    I’m pretty transparent, but some may not know that I taught at a bilingual school in South America right after college.

IABC:              What lesson(s) have your learned along the way that you believe has made you a better communications professional?

SHELTON:     There’s always something new to learn so be open and never assume someone has nothing to teach you. And, just because you have a sarcastic wit doesn’t mean you should use it.

What makes an effective communications leader?

SHELTON:     Recognition of the powerful responsibility of this position and using it wisely. You can be the translator, the trust-builder, the sense-maker, the strategist, the barrier breaker and so much more.

IABC:            What do you feel is the greatest benefit of IABC?

SHELTON:     Keeping up with communication trends and access to the thoughts and teachings of international communication leaders.

IABC:             What prompted you to join IABC?

SHELTON:      When I started work at St. Thomas in 1989 to replace Elizabeth Latt, Liz had been an IABC member and encouraged me to join. It has been IABC love ever since, leading me to join the board, become president and be involved on the IABC District level. As a seasoned communicator, I continue to see value in this organization and have encouraged others to become involved.


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