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!

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 sporcle.com. 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.