Meet a Member featuring Whitney Dittman

Title: Public Relations Specialist

Company: Cherokee Nation Businesses

Why do you love your job? My job allows me to serve my tribe while working in an industry I love. I am beyond blessed to collaborate with some of the most amazingly talented individuals, and together we share the history, culture and art of the Cherokee people. There is nothing more rewarding!

How long have you been a member of IABC? This is my first year as an IABC member, but I have attended and enjoyed events when possible throughout the past few years.

Have you ever served on an IABC Board? Not yet!

What is the best IABC meeting/conference you have attended? Why? I enjoyed the May 2017 lunch with Lance Latham. He spoke openly and honestly about past experiences and gave great insight to the impact having a seat at the table can make. It was a great reminder of why it is important to have public relations and communications built into the leadership team.

How has IABC played a part in your professional development? I am still new to the organization but have greatly enjoyed the events so far. The professional development opportunities are always spot on and leave time to network with peers.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work? Family is everything to me, so if I am not at work I am likely spending time with my “people.” I have an amazing husband and a 10-month-old daughter, Aubree Jean, who typically runs the show. I also enjoy baking, photography and cheering on my OSU Cowboys!

What’s your favorite vacation spot? I am happy anywhere there is sunshine and love being on or near the water.

Who is your favorite musical artist? Garth Brooks. Hands down. Seeing him live at the BOK Center in 2015 was a DREAM!

Which website do you visit daily? Facebook, CNN

What is your favorite restaurant? Such a tough call. Either Mary’s Trattoria or anywhere with good queso. I just can’t say no.

How will we recognize you at the next IABC function? I’m a very proud OSU alum and am almost always wearing America’s Brightest Orange!

Complete the following: The future of the field of communications is…always changing!

What advice would you give to new communications professionals? Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to be awesome.

Save the Date: Gift of Communications

As a way to give back to the community, IABC/Tulsa is hosting its annual Gift of Communication. This event allows IABC members and others to share their expertise with representatives from nonprofit organizations to help them achieve excellence in corporate communications, public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, public affairs and other forms of business communication.

This event will include consultation and networking with some of the top communications professionals in the Oklahoma/Arkansas areas. Volunteer your time to help local nonprofits reach their communications goals, while learning from other communications professionals in the area.

When: Wednesday, December 13 from 8:30 to 12 p.m.
Where: Tulsa City-County Library, 400 Civic Center, Tulsa, OK 74103

If you would like to nominate an organization or volunteer your time, please contact Leslie Agee at 918-477-1579 or by Friday, December 1. We will announce the participating agencies December 4.

November Luncheon: Up the Ante on Your Organizational Influence

When organizations need employee involvement, either formally or informally, group dynamics become a major factor in facilitating action. Communication professionals deal in this dynamic daily: persuading leaders to share or disseminate information, plan ahead in crisis situations, even to consider what the audience needs to hear. Making this even more difficult is the tendency in traditional organizations for one-way presentation style communications. Thus, most leaders do not fully understand group dynamics and therefore lack the skills needed to communicate to individuals and larger organizational teams.  

Join us on November 29 for this highly interactive session, led by organizational development guru Jeff Wilkie, to learn how you can facilitate change and communications when the dynamics are challenging.

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. November 29
Where: Tulsa Country Club, 701 N. Union Ave., Tulsa, OK  74127
Fee:  IABC Member fee $25
IABC Non-member fee/Guest fee $35
Student fee $15

About Jeff Wilkie

Jeff Wilkie has made a career in organizational development strategies for the last 25 years. His human capital career spans oil and gas industries, telecommunications, health care management, not-for-profits and government entities.   

He leads the Human Capital and Organizational Strategies niche under Hogan Taylor Advisory Services. Jeff works as a confidante and coach to organizational executive teams and assists in the focus and formulation of a company’s human capital strategies.  Jeff spent a large part of his career facilitating sessions and retreats related to improving communication and collaboration within company cultures. His passion comes from helping others discover their potential and improve their team and organizational interactions.

Meet a Member featuring Tom Droege

Title: Communications Specialist

Company: SemGroup

Why do you love your job? As a kid I always had fun dreaming up contraptions and then trying to build them. Communication is a lot like this, except we build with words and visuals, instead of boards and nails. The longer I’m in this field, the more I see the value of communication for organizations. It has the power to unify and motivate employees around a strategy while attracting investors, who want to be a part of the story.

How long have you been a member of IABC? I joined shortly after my first daughter was born… so about 11 years.

Have you ever served on an IABC Board? Yes. I even once served as treasurer, which proves that just about anybody can pitch in if you have the will!

What is the best IABC meeting/conference you have attended? Why? Anything with Steve Crescenzo is usually hilarious and helpful. My favorite times are just swapping corporate communication war stories over libations with IABC friends.

How has IABC played a part in your professional development? Without IABC, I’d probably still be wearing pleated khakis. It keeps me current.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work? Last weekend there was a nice breeze, so we took my sister’s two-person sailboat out to a quiet little lake. After giving rides to each of my three daughters, I sailed out on my own and watched my little family get smaller and smaller on the beach. “Sailing… takes me away to where I la de da de da…” (Sorry Keeli, next time let’s just the two of us go!)

What’s your favorite vacation spot? Anywhere I can pose with a surfboard and look pensively toward the ocean.

Who is your favorite musical artist? I like a lot of different styles of music… especially world music from different cultures and time periods. The last big concert we saw was Paul Simon. There were probably 30 musicians on stage playing all sorts of crazy instruments – a lot from Africa.

Complete the following: The future of the field of communications is….. evolving and complex, but simplicity will always win. I hope.

What advice would you give to new communications professionals? Take time to do good work. Listen a lot. Fill your trophy case with Bronze Quill awards!

Holy Rocktober! It’s Member Month!

It’s Rocktober at IABC and you need to be at this party.  Join IABC or renew your membership now to save 10% on dues. New to IABC? Join during Roctober and be entered into drawing for prizes like Ticketmaster giftcards and Amazon Echo Dots.  Amp up your career, connect with a network of industry rock star colleagues, and attain perfectly tuned insights to drive business results. 

Currently a member and not ready to renew? For each new or lapsed member who lists a current member as a referral source, the referring member will be entered into a drawing to win one of 10 Amazon Echo Dots. Active IABC members who refer five or more new members will receive one free registration to an IABC Academy course and will be recognized on the IABC website as an IABC Champion during the months of November and December.

Join now at or renew your membership at  And visit our Facebook page to learn why IABC/Tulsa members love IABC.

It’s Rocktober. Get loud.

2017 Communicators Summit: Sponsorship Packages

More than 150 northeast Oklahoma public relations and communications professionals will gather in Tulsa at the 2017 Communicators Summit on October 26, 2017, for a morning of skill building, collaborating and networking.

PRESENTING SPONSOR – $3,000 (limit one)

  • Eight complimentary event tickets ($600 value)
  • Name recognition as Presenting Sponsor on event promotions
  • Emcee recognition during event
  • Top billing in all print material
  • Logo scrolling during event
  • Logo on event signage
  • Logo on IABC and PRSA websites


  • Six complimentary event tickets ($450 value)
  • Emcee recognition during event
  • Logo in all print material
  • Logo scrolling during event
  • Logo on event signage
  • Logo on IABC and PRSA websites


  • Four complimentary event tickets ($300 value)
  • Logo in all print material
  • Logo scrolling during event
  • Logo on event signage
  • Logo on IABC and PRSA websites


  • Two complimentary event tickets ($150 value)
  • Company name in all print material
  • Company name scrolling during event
  • Company name on event signage
  • Company name on IABC and PRSA websites


  • One complimentary event ticket ($75 value)
  • Company name scrolling during event
  • Company name on event signage

The deadline for inclusion in marketing materials is September 29, 2017.

Meet a Member featuring Abigail Loveall

Title: Communications Manager, Global Office of Culture, Diversity and Inclusion

Company: Walmart

Why do you love your job? I love seeking and embracing differences in people, ideas and experiences and seeing those differences come together to make real results. And I love the people I get to work with every day.

How long have you been a member of IABC? I’m a brand new member to IABC! I joined this past winter.

Have you ever served on an IABC Board? This year I will be the secretary, and I am also looking forward to undertaking the digital presence for IABC Tulsa.

What is the best IABC meeting/conference you have attended? Why? Can’t wait to attend an event…hoping to make it over to Tulsa sometime soon! (I live in Bentonville, AR.)

How has IABC played a part in your professional development? Our whole team learned a lot from judges’ feedback from our Bronze Quill entries.  I look forward to meeting and learning from fellow communicators.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work? I’m always on the move! I never stay in town for too long; I’m always off on one weekend road trip or another. If I’m going to New Orleans this weekend, then I’m already planning my trip to Minnesota next month!

What’s your favorite vacation spot? In the U.S., I love going to Boston or San Francisco. In January, I went to Iceland and can’t wait to go back!

Who is your favorite musical artist? I’m currently jamming to Alabama Shakes and Bad Rabbits.

Which website do you visit daily? I’m pretty addicted to I have spent obscene amounts of time trying to get perfect scores on geography quizzes.

What is your favorite restaurant? Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville has the best local eats, but nothing beats Kansas City barbeque at Jack Stack!

How will we recognize you at the next IABC function? Probably from my obnoxiously loud laugh (or perhaps better described as a cackle), which I’m told can grab the attention of the whole room!
Complete the following: The future of the field of communications is… digital and personal. If you can make a personal connection through a digital platform, you’ll always have a job in this field.

What advice would you give to new communications professionals? Write every email as if they will get forwarded to the CEO. It’s easy to fire off quick emails without thinking about tone, but taking a few minutes to review how you’ve said something can improve your standing in the eyes of your colleagues.

2017 Communicators Summit: Tricks of the Trade – Mastering Communications Wizardry

Do you have the right mix of ingredients in your communications cauldron? Are you casting a spell on your audience? At the Communicators Summit, you’ll learn some new tricks to help you keep your communications approach balanced and take a peek through the crystal ball at future trends. There may even be a treat involved.
Gini Dietrich, chief executive officer of Arment Dietrich, lead blogger at Spin Sucks, and co-author of Marketing in the Round, will share insights into using an integrated PESO model for improving your brand and business.
When: 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. October 26
Where: OU Schusterman Center Learning Center, 4502 E. 41st St., Tulsa, OK  74135
Fee (full day): IABC Member fee (early bird): $65
IABC Member fee: $75
IABC Non-member fee/Guest fee (early bird): $80
IABC Non-member/Guest fee: $90
Student fee: $40
Fee (lunch only): IABC Member fee: $40
IABC Non-member fee/Guest fee: $50

Run of Show

Registration/Welcome:                  7:45 to 8:15 a.m.

Keynote:                                         8:15 to 9:30 a.m.

Why Communicators Should Embrace the PESO Model
Gini Dietrich, Arment Dietrich
A recent conversation with an executive at a global 500 organization revealed that the biggest challenge she has with communicators is they start with tactics instead of strategy. What if we had a framework that, when integrated into a complete communications campaign, gave us the strategy to start? And what if that strategy was complete with measurement so we could finally prove we’re an investment, not an expense?
The PESO model, introduced by Gini Dietrich in the book Spin Sucks, does both of those things while moving PR from media relations to an integrated strategic communications method.
Join the author herself to learn:
  • How to use paid, earned, shared, and owned media to bring the PESO model to your organization
  • Case studies on how other organizations have used it successfully
  • Examples and ideas to get started
  • What to measure and how to prove effectiveness


Break                                                 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.

Session 1:                                          9:45 to 10:40 a.m.


Finding the right ingredients for solving problems

Nancy Corbett, Mercy Health

We live in a fast-paced world and crisis situations can escalate quickly. Especially in a highly competitive environment such as health care. Learn about specific examples of how crisis now moves from traditional media to social and vice versa. Learn from experiences that Mercy Health have faced, as well as gain valuable takeaway tips that Mercy’s team have uncovered.

Nancy Corbett is executive director of media relations and social media for Mercy – one of the top five best performing large health care companies in the U.S.  She leads a virtual team that spans multiple states. Besides Mercy’s 44 hospitals and 40,000 co-workers in a four-state area, Mercy serves 240-plus hospitals across 28 states with the nation’s first Virtual Care Center, one of the world’s top health care supply chain operations and one of the most advanced information technology systems in the U.S. 


Adding Creativity to Your Workplace

Angela Byers, Byers Creative


Remember when you were a kid, and the word “possible” could stretch as far as your imagination? That unbounded creativity is still in there somewhere, and it doesn’t have to sit in a dark corner throughout your work day. Whether you work with accountants, lawyers or a roomful of designers, there are several ways that you and your team can regain and tap into that bottomless pit of creativity dwelling inside. Doing so can help you, your coworkers and your company as a whole, because creativity is more than just art and design. Creativity is problem-solving; creativity is innovation; and creativity is all of the ways our brains take what we know and who we are to change the world. As the creator of a top-notch design firm, Angela Byers has a few tips on how to take back your creativity.

Angela Byers is the founder and CEO of Byers Creative, a company that has gone from Angela working out of her spare bedroom to a full-blown agency specializing in branding and marketing solutions. Because of the unique and fun culture of her firm, Byers Creative was named one of Tulsa’s “Best Places to Work” for two consecutive years by Tulsa Business & Legal News in the “Employees’ Choice” category. Angela has also been named a “Woman of Distinction” by Tulsa Business & Legal News, the “Small Business Person of the Year” by the Tulsa Chamber and the “John Hartman Professional of the Year” by IABC. She was also awarded the IABC Tulsa Leon Bolen Service Award and participates in an exhaustive number of professional groups and non-profits, including the PR Chair for the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium.


Transition                                          10:40 to 10:50 a.m.

Session 2:                                          10:50 to 11:45 a.m.


Pros and cons of going solo: Are you considering a move?

Natalie Ghidotti, Ghidotti Communications


Are you considering jumping from the stability of the corporate world to owning your communications firm? Natalie Ghidotti will share insights into what you should consider before making the move.

Natalie Ghidotti, APR, is principal of Ghidotti Communications, a public relations consulting firm headquartered in Little Rock’s Regions Center. She opened her own firm in 2007 and has since grown the firm to ten employees and a wide range of clients, including some of the region’s best-known brands. The firm serves clients that span all industries, including retail, fast food, healthcare, technology/marketing startups, nonprofits, professional services and more. 

Prior to opening her own firm, Natalie was a senior public relations account executive with another marketing/PR firm in Little Rock. Before joining the public relations world in 2004, Natalie served as special publications editor-in-chief at Arkansas Business Publishing Group, where she was editor of Little Rock Family, Arkansas Bride, Little Rock Guest Guide and other magazines for five years. While at ABPG, Natalie won national awards from the Parenting Publications of America for her stories published in Little Rock Family. In her public relations career, Natalie has garnered top Prism Awards from the Public Relations Society of America and Bronze Quill Awards from the International Association of Business Communicators.


Connecting 5,000 employees when all systems are down

Katy Hall, BOK Financial 

Amol Gill, ThoughtFarmer 


On Aug. 6, a tornado hit $32 billion BOK Financial’s main technology center in Tulsa knocking out all major banking systems for clients and email communication for employees. Quick thinking and the recent investment in cloud-based intranet platform, ThoughtFarmer, allowed the team to remotely post frequent, prominently-placed updates that employees could access from any personal device. The emergency posts became some of the most viewed, ranked and commented posts in the company’s intranet history. Studies show employees spend 28 percent of their time managing email. In case of an emergency, they might not even have that choice. What if you could email less but connect more? ThoughtFarmer’s Amol Gill shares a checklist of best practices for communication on your intranet.


Break/Transition to lunch               11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Lunch Session:                               12:15 to 1:30 p.m.


Know your impact: Measuring PR for business results

Cindy Villafranca, Southwest Airlines


When the tornado sirens go off in the middle of your presentation to Tulsa’s communication professionals, what do you do? You come back … by popular demand.

Measurement means more than numbers! Numbers are results, but you must look behind the numbers to find the insights that tell a compelling story. Cindy Villafranca, responsible for communications measurement and analytics at Southwest Airlines, will talk about communications measurement strategy, tools, techniques and dashboards. From establishing measurable objectives to spotting opportunities and amplifying successes, you will learn how to pull the right metrics and analyze the right data to get powerful insights and results that impress your leaders!

With more than 17 years of experience, Cindy Villafranca began her career in television news as a producer for KOTV in Tulsa, OK. She left the news business after eight years, transitioning to the public relations field, where she quickly applied her news experience to internal and external communications, crisis situations, social media, and measurement/analytics. While in the public relations role, Cindy has worked for several large organizations and companies, including Tulsa Community College, the American Heart Association’s national headquarters, Balfour Beatty Construction, and currently, Southwest Airlines. Cindy’s expertise in the creation and execution of public relations campaigns on a local and national level, combined with her sound news judgment and diplomatic approach to all situations, has helped her succeed in driving business growth and recognition through key media placements and other PR tactics.


ABCs to 123s: Why Communicators Need to Know Their Numbers

As communicators, we’re well-versed in proper punctuation, style guides and grammar, but what happens when we’re expected to go beyond the ABCs and into the 123s? Join us as we explore the business language and financial jargon communicators need to know by talking with a Fortune 500 executive who balances the communications needs of a diverse audience – from new hires to potential shareholders.

What you’ll learn:

  • Key financial terms you need to know
  • The various “hats” communications professionals need to wear
  • How to promote the value of communications to the C-suite
When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. September 27
Where: Tulsa Country Club, 701 N. Union Ave., Tulsa, OK  74127
Fee: IABC Member fee $25
IABC Non-member fee/Guest fee $35
Student fee $15About Andrew Ziola:
Andrew Ziola is vice president, investor relations and corporate affairs, of ONEOK. He is responsible for the company’s investor relations, communications and community investments functions.Following ONEOK’s separation from ONE Gas, he served as vice president of investor relations and public affairs of ONE Gas before returning to ONEOK for his current position.Ziola joined ONEOK in 2004 as the manager of financial planning and analysis. He began his career in the technology and hospitality industries before joining the energy industry.Ziola was a cabinet member of Tulsa’s Future III Campaign, and is a member of the board of directors of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. He currently serves as president of the University of Tulsa’s Friends of Finance and is a recent graduate of Leadership Oklahoma – Class 30. He is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute and a former board member of the institute’s Virtual Chapter. He also is a member of the Tulsa chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators and the Tulsa Press Club.

Cheers to Ginger!

Join us in celebrating the election of one of our very own to the IABC International Executive Board (IEB). Ginger Homan, long-time IABC/Tulsa member and former IABC/Tulsa board member, was recently elected IEB Vice Chair, taking over as IEB Chair in June 2018. Ginger will be the first IABC/Tulsa member to serve in this position.

Come celebrate with your fellow IABC/Tulsa members and take this opportunity to mingle with our next IABC Chair. We’ll provide appetizers and your first drink!

When: Wed. Aug. 30, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Rusty Crane – 109 N. Detroit
Who: All IABC/Tulsa members plus one guest

RSVP at our Facebook event page to let us know you’re coming!