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By Alexandre Johnson-Chalifour
July 17, 2023

IABC QC partners with OXO Innovation

An interview with Marie-Soleil Pepin, President, IABC QC

Committed to remaining at the forefront of the global language service industry, OXO Innovation is proud to support IABC QC as a major sponsor. To showcase our partnership and IABC QC’s activities, we’ve sat down for an interview with the organization’s president, Marie-Soleil Pepin

OXO: For starters, would you like to say a word about the partnership between IABC QC and OXO Innovation?

MSP: We’re thrilled to have OXO on board! It will be fantastic to host events together and boost each other’s presence. I believe it’s truly a great partnership. Our goal is to share expertise so that everyone can benefit. We’re going through exciting times here at IABC QC as we rebuild our organization.

OXO: Tell us a bit about IABC on a global scale.

MSP: I have been a member of IABC for a long time. What sets IABC apart and has always spoken to me is the organization’s international reach—we have regional, provincial and national chapters throughout the world. We have colleagues in Australia, in Africa and across the globe! That makes for some fascinating, insightful conversations. We get to see how things are done elsewhere and learn more about communication best practices.

Content has always been IABC’s biggest strength. As a member, you get access to a wide range of training courses, webinars and white papers covering every field of communications. It’s a wealth of information! IABC is an invaluable resource when it comes to communication best practices. The organization focuses on every aspect of business communications, from social media and external communications to corporate and employer branding. Recently, internal communications and employee engagement have also been top of mind for us.

OXO: Do IABC QC members have access to all the global organization’s resources?

MSP: Yes, and they can also take part in its activities. Members can even join discussion groups to follow a topic. After signing up, they get weekly updates informing them of newly published content.

OXO: What is IABC QC’s mission?

MSP: Our primary mission is to highlight the profession and support communicators by providing opportunities for dialogue and professional development.

OXO: What types of communications professionals does IABC QC cater to?

MSP: What we do at IABC is sure to interest directors, consultants and corporate communications teams. Many consultants visit the IABC website to access resources and share new resources. There’s a willingness to engage in dialogue and knowledge sharing. For example, there’s a lot of content on storytelling, writing for the Web or an internal audience, and even public speaking. I mentioned earlier that internal communications, including employee engagement, are a topic that has grown in popularity in recent years. There is also content on external communications, media relations, social media and related subtopics, and event planning.

OXO: Could your activities and resources be of interest to language professionals?

MSP: Absolutely. We have an extremely wide range of resources, including lots of content on how to create a narrative hook, write for different channels and more. Many of IABC’s resources can be useful to language professionals. Another interesting benefit is the ability to connect with the business community and better understand client perspectives. In one of my previous jobs, we worked with a small translation company that was very skilled on a technical level and never made any mistakes per se but was not able to convey the intention behind our words and the company’s tone of voice. We felt the translations sounded a bit cold and lacked an understanding of the business community, of the world of communicators and of their needs. IABC provides language professionals with useful resources, whatever field of communications or line of business they choose to focus on.

Another key advantage is the opportunity to share ideas with other professionals. For example, our events may spark inspiring conversations with communications directors who wish to learn more about translation and customer relationships, the way things are done and so on. It’s more than just networking—we truly share expertise.

OXO: Are there specific requirements to join IABC QC?

MSP: No, there are no restrictions. To become a member, you just need to pay a membership fee.

OXO: Are events you organize in partnership with companies open to both company staff and IABC QC members?

MSP: Yes. We try to ensure everyone in the company’s communications department attends the event so that participants can meet the team members and see things from their perspective, their “case study.” Most of IABC QC’s activities are open to members, of course, but also to non-members. Anyone who is not a member but is interested in a particular topic can sign up for an activity in exchange for a fee. We also organize a few exclusive events for members only.

OXO: What benefits do you offer your members in Quebec?

MSP: As we prepare our upcoming activities, we are focusing on relationships with members. We are looking to invite renowned leaders—perhaps even CEOs of big companies or public figures—to highly exclusive VIP events for our members. Our networking efforts and connections with people and companies will help us determine the content and activities available to our members. As the one and only bilingual subdivision of IABC, the Quebec chapter creates French content that complements our global English publications.

OXO: What types of programs do you offer?

MSP: Last year, following the pandemic, we relaunched our popular mentorship program. IABC QC members take on the role of mentor or mentee, and the organization oversees the process. Our experienced leaders and seasoned entrepreneurs are exceptional mentors on a mission to help young professionals get started.

The CMP® or SCMP® levels of certification, which are recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), are also an important component of our offering. Certification is managed by a third party but is closely tied to IABC. IABC and IABC QC are ultimately here to acknowledge and promote the value of communicators. Unlike lawyers or engineers, communications professionals have no association that officially recognizes their skills. IABC’s certification program helps demonstrate and validate the skills of communicators. An increasing number of HR people are now aware of this certification and recognize its value.

OXO: What are IABC QC’s priorities now?

MSP: Internal communications, employee engagement, and anything that has to do with it, are a concern for every organization nowadays. What’s more, we want to promote networking and, most importantly, help communicators build meaningful relationships. We want our members to benefit from all the expertise and support we have access to.

We focus on events and partnerships, as a way to foster professional development in particular. We strive to work with industry peers to share value, best practices, and build more bridges between communicators.

OXO: What is your main challenge for this year and those ahead?

MSP: In 2023, we will focus on recruiting and supporting members. Our members are sometimes not aware of—or forget about—all the benefits and content they have access to. That’s why we would like to help existing members make the most of IABC resources. We want to increase membership, but we also want to provide better quality and impactful services to the communications community.

One thing we would like to do is extend our reach across Quebec. We were formerly known as IABC Montréal, and now we want to expand into regions such as Trois-Rivières, Québec City and Sherbrooke. Eventually, we plan to hold in-person events there. We also offer virtual events to give people outside of Montréal a chance to attend and reap the benefits for their professional development. In other regions, namely Québec City, there are large organizations such as insurance companies, public service agencies, etc. We want to make sure we can be in contact with big companies and major communicators.

OXO: What has led to your partnership with OXO?

MSP: We were wondering what types of partnerships and sponsorships could benefit both IABC QC and its members. Our goal was to find a complementary partner, rather than a communications agency that was familiar with the same topics and issues we were and knew the same people we did. While working with OXO on a job for a big company, it dawned on me that a language services firm would be the ideal partner.

Translators are ever-present in the life of communicators, but we often fail to see them as more than service providers. We build a relationship and a history when we work with the same translation company for a long time, but the process becomes so automatic that the relationship boils down to sending documents and setting deadlines. I thought it would be interesting to explore that aspect by choosing a sponsor that provided essential communications services. Then, I told myself members would gain useful insight if we organized events where OXO staff gave us a backstage view of the translation industry. This type of sneak peak is great if we want to understand how things are done and get to know the people who work as translation professionals.

In short, our partnership with OXO was the result of a combination of factors. We had just launched our partnership and sponsorship program here at IABC QC, and I had worked closely with OXO. And of course, who could resist the incredible charisma of Fabiano Cid, Chief Operating Officer at OXO Innovation?

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