John Bailey, 76, died recently after a long battle with cancer. He was president of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) when I first joined the organization. He was a valued friend and mentor, a shining example of leadership who made IABC what it is today.
John was born July 12, 1935, in San Francisco. He had over 50 years of experience as an association executive. His credentials and accomplishments are far to numerous to mention here. I prefer to talk about what he meant to me as a young communication professional. He meant everything to me.
John was a leader in every positive sense of the word. He led by strength of example. He was wise and thorough and compassionate. He was a man of honor and commitment, a trusted friend, and the driving force that made IABC into the vibrant professional organization it is today.
He was fearless in his leadership. He was candid in discourse, thoughtful in deliberations, and accountable without passing the buck. He praised in public and critiqued in private. He literally drove IABC to become a worldwide success, meeting ever greater needs of its members with quality products, programs, and services.
When I broke my back and was paralyzed in 1977, he made sure that I was accommodated and welcomed back to active IABC involvement. When I was named an IABC Fellow in 1997, he made the effort to be there for the ceremony even though he had moved on from IABC long before. I was honored to have this great man there to support me.
John Bailey represents so much of what I have loved about IABC. I am honored to have worked closely with him. I will never forget the lessons learned from this great man.