Chicago, Aug. 20, 2009 – It is with deep sadness that the board of directors of the Chicago chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC/Chicago) announces the unexpected death of its president, Karen Utterback, ABC.
“Karen will be greatly missed, as both our colleague and our friend,” said Mary Hills, ABC, IABC/Chicago board member from 2003-2009 and vice chair of the IABC Accreditation Council. “In her quiet way, Karen always made sure our chapter stayed focused on how best to help members – from maintaining our financial strength to adding networking events to reach out to our out-of-work members in this tough economy. Then you’d ask Karen about her vacation, and she’d talk about sailing the Mac Race or hiking through Mongolia. The world will be a much less interesting place without Karen to tell us about it.”
“We express our condolences to Karen’s family and colleagues,” added Julie Freeman, ABC, APR, president of the International Association of Business Communicators, based in San Francisco. “IABC/Chicago is one of our strongest chapters, due in no small part to Karen’s tireless leadership.”
Utterback had served as IABC/Chicago’s president since June 2008 and as its director of finance from 2005-2008. Since earning the designation of Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) from IABC in 2005, she also actively encouraged and mentored communicators pursuing this global credential. In addition to her IABC work, Utterback was a board member of the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation and a volunteer for the Taproot Foundation and Chicago 2016. She raced sailboats – most recently, the 101st race from Chicago to Mackinac Island – climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last year, and had run more than 19 marathons, including in Antarctica and on the Great Wall of China.
Utterback was an editor with the Government Finance Officers Association from 1985 to 2009, which led her to earn an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1991. Earlier, Utterback was an assignment editor at ABC News and an assignment editor/producer at WXIA-TV, Atlanta. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in sociology, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Information on memorial services for Karen Utterback will be posted on the IABC/Chicago web site at www.iabcchicago.com. The chapter also plans to make a donation in Utterback’s memory.
The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a global network of
communication professionals committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communication. Established in 1970, IABC serves more than 16,000 members in 70 countries with a multi-disciplinary approach to corporate communication, public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, media relations, community relations, public affairs, financial communications and government relations. IABC/Chicago is the oldest IABC chapter in the world and one of the largest IABC chapters in the United States, with about 450 members.