IABC’s 50th Anniversary

Type: News
By Natasha Nicholson
14 February 2020

For IABC, 2020 marks a major milestone that we’ll be celebrating all year with you! That’s because 50 years ago something startling happened. People from a variety of disciplines who saw the power of communication came together to form what we now call the business communication profession. 

We’ll celebrate IABC’s 50th anniversary by aiming our sights on preparing you for your professional future. Come on our journey to discover innovative thinking and experience inspiring moments. Join us—we’re going places!

A legacy takes shape

In 1970, the American Association of Industrial Editors and the International Council of Industrial Editors merged to form IABC, joined later by the Corporate Communicators of Canada, ultimately propelling communication to be at the heart of every organization. Visionary leaders created a platform from which every communication professional would have the opportunity to understand what it means to be a strategic communicator. 

IABC went on to publish seminal research on excellence in communication, the value of diversity, the importance of gender equality and the need for CEOs to be truly connected to their employees, at a time when these ideas were yet to be well understood in the workplace, let alone implemented as a course of business. 

Insights and connections

Since its inception, IABC put the spotlight on best practices in communication, seeking, celebrating, sharing and creating connections around knowledge, insights and demonstrable results drawn from the best and brightest around the world. The founders shaped a code of ethics, accreditation principles, and a mission and vision—the essence of which has shaped the great leaders and initiatives that followed.

A global communication community

See a timeline of IABC's 50-year history as an organization


As the value of business communication came into sharp focus, IABC charged on to create more breakthrough research, an award-winning magazine, a library of knowledge, a stellar World Conference, a new certification program, an educational Academy, all of which cultivated thought leadership from around the world.

And as a volunteer-driven organization, dozens of chapters, regional and international volunteer leaders continue to pave the way for the communication professionals of the future. Volunteer leaders shape the IABC community with unparalleled networking, generous information-sharing and lasting friendships. That’s because IABC isn’t just an international association. It’s a global community of caring individuals. That’s what it means to be a member of IABC.

Shaping a golden future 

It’s not just our past that shines bright on this 50th golden anniversary. As IABC looks to the future, we see it as a time for all communication professionals to shine. As integral parts of our organizations, we’ve never been more needed and valued than we are today.  

Where some see disruption, we see opportunity… 

  • As the only global organization connecting communication professionals with the people and insights they need to drive results. 
  • Within corporations, government entities, nonprofits, advertising, marketing agencies, with journalists. Everywhere. Our counsel has never been more important than it is today. 
  • Because we have the experience and savvy to influence, create successful business outcomes, reshape organizations and change lives.  

That’s why there’s no organization quite like IABC. We have a diverse membership in nearly 100 countries—more than 1,000 of whom gather annually at our World Conference, hundreds who create award-winning work and thousands who gather at local events.

“Shift: #AreYouReady” is the theme of our World Conference this year, but it’s also our motto for the future: to prepare communication professionals for what’s ahead, not just to survive the changes ahead, but to lead, thrive and grow. Join us!

Natasha Nicholson

Natasha Nicholson is Director of Content and Education at IABC, and also serves as the Executive Editor of Catalyst.

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