September 2017 Print

Message From Our President

What an unprecedented and unbelievable couple of weeks it’s been. Like all of you, I’m sure, my heart breaks for our friends and family (and even those we don’t know) in Houston. It has been heart-warming, however, to see the generosity of so many who have rallied together to help those affected from Hurricane Harvey. From a communications perspective, it has been interesting to see how social media has played such a large part in the rescue efforts and updates of those in Houston. I’m sure we will study more about communications during this crisis in the years to come. For now, our hearts go out to our friends in the IABC Houston chapter. If you haven’t donated to assist with the relief efforts, please consider doing so.

This month, IABC Dallas has several opportunities for you to network and leave your desk during lunch! This month’s professional development lunch includes a knockout list of panelists from Zoe’s Kitchen, Mary Kay and TDIndustries to talk to us about creating and nurturing a strong corporate culture. We are also planning a networking happy hour for later in the month, so look out for details to come.

If you can’t make the lunch, but are interested in the topic of corporate culture, here is a recently published article in CW Magazine about culture and remote teams. This content is free to IABC members.

Lastly, our Fall Conference topics have been announced and registration is now open. Read more below about how the keynote panel was developed. Seats are limited and discounts are provided for early registration, so sign up now!

As always, feel free to reach out with questions or suggestions. 

-Melissa Hancock,


Melissa Hancock is the 2017/2018 President for the Chapter. She is also a Vice President at Weber Shandwick, one of the world's leading public relations firms.






What a Tragedy Can Teach Us

The IABC Dallas Fall Communications Conference Keynote panel will be “Managing the Unimaginable: Crisis Communications During the 2016 Dallas Ambush.” On July 7, 2016, Dallas police officers were ambushed during a peaceful protest, killing Dallas Police Department officers Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens and Michael Smith as well as Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer Brent Thompson. Nine other officers were injured, including two El Centro College police officers, with much of the incident unfolding on the college’s campus. Moderated by NBC KXAS-TV reporter Cory Smith, attendees will hear from the communication professionals at the Dallas Police Department, DART, El Centro College and the City of Dallas / Office of Mayor Rawlings, who were on the frontline in responding to the tragedy.

Panelists include:

Sergeant Warren Mitchell, Public Information Officer for the Dallas Police Department

Scott Goldstein, Chief of Policy and Communications for the City of Dallas/Office of Mayor Rawlings

Morgan Lyons, Assistant VP of External Relations for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

Priscilla Staley, Director of Marketing and Communications for El Centro College

“Our goal was to find a keynote topic that would be powerful, relevant and could offer aspects for learning to all our attendees,” says Kate Coultas, vice president of special programs, describing how she and the other members of the IABC Dallas Board of Directors began to plan the 2017 Fall Communications Conference. 

In brainstorming powerful communication stories, the Board felt that the response to the tragic ambush of Dallas police officers on July 7, 2016, provided a rich case study in crisis communication. This panel would provide an opportunity to hear from fellow local communication professionals who were on the frontline in responding to the single deadliest day for law enforcement since the Sept. 11th attacks. Coultas shared “While the ambush received tremendous exposure nationally, it was also a tragedy that took place in our hometown of Dallas and was felt by many of us personally.” 

In fact, panel moderator and Dallas native, Cory Smith, was reporting on the protest for NBC KXAS-TV as the crisis unfolded.

Ever since he has pursued the story with both personal and professional passion and reported on it extensively.

Coultas also added that “the crisis offered lessons in both external and internal communications as the Dallas police department, Mayor’s office, DART and El Centro College were dealing with everything from interviews with national and local media to helping students, employees and their families, as well as our local community, recover from the tragedy.”

 Dallas Police

 Members of the keynote panel were each closely involved in the key communications at the time, working both individually and together to craft the messages many of us still remember a year later. Coultas says that all the panel members responded positively to the invitation to join the keynote and to share their experiences. Together they will provide conference attendees with a unique communications perspective to what happened behind the scenes of this tragic, yet important, event. The panel will discuss responding during and in the immediate aftermath of the crisis as well as the long-term response as our city marked the one-year anniversary since the ambush.

Bringing together established and respected communications professionals from our own Dallas area, this October 13 event will also offer attendees breakout sessions and networking opportunities. “Our Fall Communications Conference, and especially the keynote panel, will be an opportunity for insightful conversations about important and relevant topics in communications today,” she adds. 

Early bird registration is open until September 26!


Laura Rivera serves on the Communications Team for IABC Dallas. Working in the DFW area, she has 10+ years of experience managing and producing communication strategies and marketing content.






Member Poll: How did you hear about the Dallas Police Shooting in July 2016?

When the police shooting happened last year, I was at home watching a movie with my husband, an avid Twitter user. Of course, he was on Twitter while we were watching TV and he saw the news breaking there. – Melissa Hancock

I was on vacation at my parent's house in New Jersey. It was obviously a shock. And made more so as the shooting was only blocks from my apartment. Personally, I was instantly concerned about the way that tragedies can define places. Professionally, I also knew that there would be implications as far as conversations with potential new hires that we were bringing in from out-of-state. – Nick Vivion

I received a text message from the VP of Communications at Mary Kay at 6:45 a.m. on July 8. I had been responsible for crisis communications to the Mary Kay sales force until July 1, 2016, when that function transferred to another staff member. The VP was reaching out to confirm who was now responsible, since a plan was needed to communicate to attendees who would be traveling to our city for the Annual Seminar, which started 3 days later. – Laura Rivera

July 7, 2016 was a day where a lot of things went wrong but the response to the tragedy got a lot of things right. I recall watching Chief Brown and Mayor Rawlings address the public following the incident and I felt a lot of hometown pride in how they responded as well as their display of unity. - Kate Coultas




Great Communication Campaigns? You Be the Judge!

Recently, the IABC Dallas Judges Circle completed their judging of communication program and tactics entries for the Detroit Chapter’s 2017 Renaissance Awards! The Call for Entries deadline was June 23, judging was completed in August, and the awards event will be held on October 4th.

Thank to our Judges Circle for their hard work last month! Elena Andro, David Bates, Pat Chamberlain, Adrienne Ciletti, Stacy Hollowell, Lorraine Jameson, Catherine Mitchell and Karen Reid – we appreciate you!

What is the Judges Circle? Throughout the year, we help judge award entries for other chapters who are celebrating the accomplishments and talents of their members. Judging is through an online system and each entry takes about 30 minutes to one hour to complete. You have a preference of how many entries and what area you'd like to judge. It's a small time commitment that goes a long way!

Interested in judging or want to get involved in another way? Contact Shannon Listorti at




Upcoming Events


Tuesday, September 12
September Professional Development Luncheon
The Clubs of Prestonwood, 11:15 am – 1:15 pm



Thurs, September 27 
IABC Happy Hour
Braindead Brewery, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm


Friday, October 13
IABC Dallas Fall Conference
The Clubs of Prestonwood, 8 am – 1 pm

Sponsored By:



Tuesday, November 7
November Professional Development Luncheon
The Clubs of Prestonwood, 11:15 am – 1:15 pm