What I Learned at IABC Fusion 2023

In September of this year, IABC APAC hosted Fusion 2023 in the beautiful setting of Bali. This marked a significant milestone as it was the first in-person conference that the regional board had organised since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The overarching theme of the conference was ‘Making Waves Together’, and it’s safe to say that Fusion did just that, creating a ripple effect for all who attended.

The event was a showcase of excellence, featuring the 2023 Silver Quill Award winners, and providing invaluable insights into behavioural science, happiness, and effective communication on climate change.

The presentations were centred around three main themes:

  1. Cross-cultural and Change Communication
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  3. Leadership

The world of AI, with all its nuances (both positive and challenging), is propelling us toward an exciting future, full of opportunities for communication professionals. 

What I gleaned from the discussions was the importance of embracing AI as a tool, rather than shying away from it. I can foresee how it will significantly enhance our productivity. 

We had the privilege of hearing from esteemed speakers representing organisations such as CSIRO, Microsoft, and Accenture. As a note of transparency, this article has been edited by ChatGPT!

One of the standout themes was the remarkable progress made in cross-cultural communication. It was emphasised that inclusive thinking cannot flourish within a monoculture. Think HQ exemplified this concept brilliantly. 

Additionally, Ambassador Tantowi Yahya delivered a thought-provoking and dynamic keynote address, highlighting the power of cultural diplomacy.

Leaders in our profession shared invaluable insights on how to be an effective leader, touching on topics ranging from leadership communication to the fundamental role trust plays in effective communication.

Personally, what resonated with me most about attending this conference was the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, and to meet professional communicators from across the globe. However, the most valuable aspect was the chance to step back, listen intently, learn passionately, and form meaningful connections.

Attending professional conferences is an investment in your career, providing not only knowledge but also the chance to expand your network. Fusion is set to return in 2024, so start planning and saving now, because I can say with certainty that I will be there once again.

A huge thankyou to the organising committee. Their voluntary efforts and boundless energy were instrumental in making Fusion 2023 a resounding success. It’s essential to recognise that events of this magnitude heavily rely on the support of sponsors. Staffbase, Stratworks, Telum Media, IABC Philippines, and ASEAN Public Relations Network were invaluable.

Sponsorship not only extends the impact of membership fees but also plays a pivotal role in enabling the board to curate exceptional events like Fusion. These partnerships are the lifeblood of conferences, ensuring they reach their full potential and provide immense value to all participants.

Once again, a heartfelt shout out to the organising committee and sponsors for their outstanding commitment and support in making Fusion 2023 a memorable and impactful event. Their contributions are a testament to the collaborative spirit of the IABC.

Sarah Toaldo

Sarah Toaldo CMP is a creative communication professional with a broad range of experience from broadcast television production to corporate communication, giving her depth and breadth of experience which is unusual and unparalleled. Sarah is the Chapter Liaison Director, IABC APAC Board.


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