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 Robin McCasland, who is the featured speaker for our November luncheon. While Robin is not an IABC/Tulsa member, but she’s well-known among the IABC International crowd, where she’s just finished a term as the chair of the IABC Research Foundation. We’re excited to have this native Texan travel north of the Red River to speak to Oklahoma’s finest communications professionals.
IABC/Tulsa: You’ve had quite an “IABC career.” How long have you been a member?
Robin: It’s been nearly 19 years – hard to believe.
IABC/Tulsa: What leadership roles have you held during that time?
Robin: I just finished a term as chair of the IABC Research Foundation. I served a consecutive term on the IABC executive board. A few years ago, I was a member of the Southern Region board. And, I was president of the Dallas chapter in 2001 and the Fort Worth chapter in 1994-95.
IABC/Tulsa: You’ve probably attended some great conferences and seminars?
Robin: Yes, I have. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to name my favorite. If I have to single out one, though, it would have to be the first international conference I attended in Chicago in 1993. I can’t even tell you who the speakers were, but I remember that I got “bit” with the passion for IABC and it motivated me to do so much more with my career.
IABC/Tulsa: How has IABC played a part in your professional development?
Robin: Some of the best jobs I’ve had came about because an IABC buddy recommended me, or recommended that I apply. Recently, I’ve met new clients because of IABC speaking opportunities. The leadership development roles have been phenomenal. I’ve met so many wonderful IABC colleagues around the world. I met some of my closest friends through IABC – people with whom I will be connected for the rest of my life.
The important thing to remember is that you get of IABC what you put into it. Having a membership isn’t enough. It’s when you volunteer; take on leadership roles, etc., that you can demonstrate your skills and experience. Eventually, those volunteer leadership roles pay off with job and client opportunities.
IABC/Tulsa: You’ve just started your own business, right?
Robin: That’s right – Brain Biscuits Strategic Communication. I love having my own practice. I work primarily on the things I love…strategy, employer branding, employee engagement, event planning…and some writing. I love working with a variety of different companies, and I’m happy when THEY’RE happy because the strategies we implement work like they should. I love the freedom of setting my own schedule. And…I admit…I sometimes like working in my robe and bunny slippers!
IABC/Tulsa: When you’re not working or serving IABC, what do you like to do?
Robin: I can’t just sit still or choose just one thing to do for fun! I am a shopaholic, and Dallas is a great place for shopping. I love gardening; digging in the dirt is my personal time with nature and God. I also enjoy creative pursuits – painting, playing piano, interior design.
IABC/Tulsa: Rumor has it that you’re a huge college football fan?
Robin: I love, love, love college football season! I am a graduate of UT Austin (don’t hiss, OU and OSU grads…you know I love ya!). I attend most Texas home games and bowl games.
IABC/Tulsa: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Robin: So far, it is Maui. On one day during our vacation, I was standing high on a hill in the middle of a pineapple field, I think! My hubby and I looked around…wind in our faces…sun going down…Pacific waves crashing on the rocks below us…and I realized how small we are…how insignificant…and how magnificent it was to stand there at that moment. It was as if a huge weight came off my shoulders. The universe is so much bigger than we are. Life is good…and we’re not responsible for taking on EVERYTHING that comes our way in life.
With that said, I have wanted to see Australia for years. I’m hoping to get there in the next year or two!
IABC/Tulsa: Favorite movie?
Robin: “The Natural,” starring Robert Redford. I’m not even a big baseball fan! However, this movie features so much symbolism…good triumphing over evil. Doing the right thing. Karma. Making a stellar comeback against all odds. Reconnecting with lost love and family you didn’t even know you had. And besides, Redford was easy on the blinkers.
IABC/Tulsa: Favorite restaurant?
Robin: I don’t have one! There are so many great places in this country. I like local mom-and-pop dives as much as five-star palaces. However, being a native Austinite, I have to call out three places that I love to visit when I’m in Austin: Iron Works BBQ, Guero’s Taco Bar and The Frisco.
IABC/Tulsa: The future of the field of communications…
Robin: …is evolving at light speed and in fascinating ways. With the advent of social media, we’re seeing the lines blur among internal and external communication, PR, marketing and other specialties. I believe personally that the most successful communicators will know how to balance social media and other communication tools artfully. The most successful communicators won’t necessarily activate all the “bells and whistles” just because they’re available. They’ll know instinctively which tools to use based on their company or client cultures and industry expectations.
IABC/Tulsa: What advice would you give to new communications professionals?
Robin: Regardless of the communication changes we’ve experienced through social media, you still have to know how to write complete sentences! You should understand proper grammar and punctuation. You still have to present yourself professionally. I may sound old-school, but you should understand that the way you demonstrate your knowledge – and the way you appear to others – may determine whether you get a great job or sign a new client. You may not care about some aspects of traditional communication, but many times the future boss – or the person making the decisions – DOES care. In those instances, it’s about their perceptions, not yours. We humans are judgmental folks, aren’t we? First impressions still matter.