We’ve been able to show the value and impact a successful brand and active voice can have on creating an engaged membership.
Since we’re featuring Marketing & Communications Director Norah Black in this issue, it’s only fitting we do things a little differently. It’d be remiss not to highlight the evolution of IBAO’s Marketing Department alongside Norah’s almost eight years with the association.
Coming from BMO organizing large corporate events, Norah’s day-to-day looked a little different. “I managed events for their Private Banking team—incentive trips, conferences. We’d host roadshows for BMO clients across Canada, which was so fun in the beginning, but the travel wore off quickly. I wanted to explore more than events and make the move to marketing with a smaller organization. It was hard to feel you could make an impact at a large company like BMO.”
It was a friend who worked in the industry that introduced Norah to insurance. “It was certainly not on my radar! But looking at the association and the broker channel, there was so much opportunity to build a new brand, help brokerages understand the value of marketing and reposition the industry to the next generation.”
Marketing wasn’t a strategic focus for IBAO when Norah first started, but consumer awareness of the broker value proposition is now a pillar of its strategic plan.
“Internally, marketing wasn’t a priority either, but over time that’s shifted as we’ve been able to show the value and impact a successful brand and active voice can have on creating an engaged membership. Everything our team does focuses on member experience—from this magazine to our digital presence to every single communication.”
Over her time at IBAO, Norah’s had the opportunity to build the Marketing team from the ground up. “All our success is because of the team. We have a lot of fun and we don’t take things too seriously. The opportunity to be super creative in everything we do is another reason I’ve been at IBAO as long as I have. There’s a lot of freedom to push the envelope in all the best ways.”
Events is one of them. “I’m really proud of how our events have evolved—especially Convention and the recent transition to virtual. Events are key to IBAO’s future. Community building is the core of this association and I think we’ve had a lot of success doing that. I’m always excited to create experiences members can look forward to.”
Like most people, life pre-pandemic looked much different. Prior to Covid, attending concerts was a big part of Norah’s life. “My husband and I used to go to concerts at least once a month. I’ve kept every ticket to every show. One day I’ll do something with them. There are so many you end up forgetting about, I need a good statement piece to remember them by.”
Outside concerts, soccer has always been part of Norah’s life. “I haven’t played since the pandemic hit but soccer’s always been there, I’ve played forever and I miss it big time.”
She’s also into autobiographies of female comedians and writers like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chelsea Handler and Ali Wong. “These ladies are so talented and hilarious. I’ve read so many of them. I’ve also discovered Masterclass—I bought myself a pass for Christmas, highly recommend checking it out.”
Norah’s passion for the broker channel is apparent in everything she does. IBAO’s successes are shared successes with every one of our members, and the future is looking bright.
“We’re really trying to move the bar of a traditional association and set an example for our members. The channel’s really embraced marketing and client experience—the fact we’re seeing that happen and knowing all the work behind it is incredible to watch.”