FIR Interview: John Clemons, Interim Executive Director, IABC


Leading a professional association that represents about 15,000 business communication professionals in over 80 countries is a challenging opportunity for a visionary leader.

It’s a challenge that John Clemons, ABC, APR, has grasped with alacrity following his appointment as  Interim Executive Director of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in early January as the association leadership pursues its search for a new permanent leader.

In this FIR Interview, Clemons discusses his new role with co-hosts Neville Hobson, ABC and Shel Holtz, ABC – both long-time IABC members – starting with his reasons for accepting it on an interim basis. In a wide-ranging discussion, Clemons outlined his vision as interim leader, explaining what he intends to accomplish. He paid tribute to the leadership tenure of IABC President Julie Freeman, ABC, APR, who retired at the end of 2011 after a decade in the role.

And he spoke of present issues and challenges confronting the profession and IABC at a time of continuing change and evolution in society and in business that he intends to address, including the effects and potential of social media, the importance of diversity, the international aspects of IABC, and more.

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About our Conversation Partner

johnclemonsJohn G. Clemons, ABC, APR, is a senior executive and consultant with an  award-winning record of success in corporate and organizational communications. He has special expertise providing strategic counsel and support for top executives and corporate officers of Fortune 500 companies.

His most recent position was corporate director of community relations at Raytheon Company in Dulles, Virginia, where he was responsible for the development and execution of a community involvement strategy for the greater Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region, as well as corporate outreach initiatives. Clemons’ career has also included leading all areas of professional communications for several Fortune 500 companies, as well as newspaper journalism and magazine writing and editing.

Clemons has a strong history of leadership with IABC. He served as the association’s chairman 2001-2002 and has served on the international executive board for more than six years. He has also been a member of IABC’s multiculturalism committee, the 1996 international conference planning committee, a trustee for the IABC Research Foundation 1997-1998, judged the EXCEL award, and been a member of the Communication World advisory panel. He has contributed to several IABC publications and is a frequent speaker at IABC conferences at the international and local levels.

Connect with John on Twitter: @jgclemons.

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This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information:

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(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.