Tonight, I’ll receive the 2014 Karen Utterback Volunteer Award from IABC/Chicago.

The IABC/Chicago website states, “This award, which began in 2012, recognizes a veteran IABC/Chicago member who exemplifies communications excellence and stewardship. The recipients demonstrate unyielding dedication to the betterment of the communications field, serve as mentors to professionals and embody the essence of IABC/Chicago. They truly represent the best of our organization.”

I’m rarely at a loss for words, but I can’t adequately express my appreciation to those IABC/Chicago board members who nominated and voted for me. I’m like most people; I don’t volunteer for personal glory, I volunteer because I like to share my experience and knowledge with others.

Tonight, I’ll share three keys to continued success for IABC/Chicago leaders and members. The three keys are: Prepare, Participate, and Pass It On. Later this week, I’ll expand on each of those keys in separate posts.

To end this post, I’ll refer back to the information regarding Karen Utterback that appears on the IABC/Chicago website. I might have won the award named in her honor, but I doubt that I ever will be able to fill her shoes—particularly the ones she wore during marathons!

Karen Utterback, ABC

Karen Utterback, ABC

“The award memorializes two-term IABC/Chicago chapter president, Karen Utterback, ABC, who unexpectedly passed away in 2009. Utterback had served as IABC/Chicago’s president since June 2008 and as its director of finance from 2005-2008. She actively encouraged and mentored communicators to pursue the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation, since earning her own designation in 2005. In addition to her IABC work, Utterback was a board member of the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, a volunteer for the Taproot Foundation and the Chicago 2016 campaign. She raced sailboats, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2008, and had run more than 19 marathons, including races in Antarctica and on the Great Wall of China.”

What a privilege to have served with Karen, and to now be associated with the award honoring her memory.