Each month, IABC/Tulsa features one of its members in the “Meet A Member” section of the newsletter. In this issue, we learn more about Tom Droege, IABC/Tulsa’s finance chair and senior account manager for Tulsa-based Rex PR.
IABC/Tulsa: How long have you been a member of IABC?
Tom: I’ve been a member for four years, and I’ve served as Bronze Quill Awards Chair and VP of Finance. But the titles don’t mean much. We all pitch in as a team to keep IABC/Tulsa running. Incidentally, if you are resourceful and eager to help, we need you! We are on the hunt for future board members.
IABC/Tulsa: What is the best IABC meeting/seminar/conference you have ever attended?
Tom: In August, a small group of IABCers went to dinner at Lucky’s with Steve Crescenzo. As our guest, the guy could order anything off the menu – grilled filet of beef, rack of lamb. He selects a chicken fried steak as big as his head! It was a hilarious evening with the fast-talking Chicagoan. He’s the antithesis to status quo corporate communications.
IABC/Tulsa: What do you love about your job?
Tom: As a former journalist, it’s gratifying to create media opportunities for deserving organizations, individuals and issues. It’s fun to pick up the newspaper in the morning and see “my” stories, even though I don’t have a byline anymore. Working for an agency has also diversified and broadened my professional contacts, and I’m surprised how many times helping one client has led to another.
IABC/Tulsa: Over the years, how has IABC helped with your professional development?
Tom: I’ve met industry peers who have become good friends and I’ve watched members land new jobs because of connections they’ve made through IABC. The new perspectives and insights shared by the monthly speakers are a great way to recharge the PR batteries.
IABC/Tulsa: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Tom: I like to goof off with my two daughters, and try to get as far away from computers and phones as possible.
IABC/Tulsa: What’s your favorite restaurant?
Tom: It was Phat Philly’s (R.I.P. September 2010). I really prefer my wife’s exquisite cooking.
IABC/Tulsa: The future of the field of communications…
Tom: … will see the pendulum swing back toward the core principles of communication like strong writing, engaging verbal communication and compelling photography and graphics.
IABC/Tulsa: What advice would you give to communications professionals who are just entering the workforce?
Tom: Do something! Prove you are a hard worker. During a trying time in my life while looking for permanent employment after college, I edited a rambling manuscript written by a World War II veteran who participated in an atom bomb testing project. Because I had plans to travel the world in search of adventure, I initially scoffed at this project. But once I immersed myself, I began to enjoy it. It led to my first real job, for which I was extremely grateful.