The cumulative impact of the residential school system is a legacy of unresolved trauma passed from generation to generation that has had a profound effect on Aboriginal peoples and on their relationships with other Canadians. The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was a significant step on the journey toward redefining these relationships and reconciling our communities for a better, stronger Canada.
But what does this mean to the public relations profession? Dr. Marie Wilson will describe the work of the Commission, why the legacy of residential schools as a symbol of the traumatic relationship between Canada and its Aboriginal peoples matters in our day-to-day lives, and how a deeper understanding of that dark past may help light the path forward toward a mutually beneficial relationships based in trust, respect and reconciliation.
Dr. Marie Wilson (C.M., O.NWT.) Commissioner, 2009-2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Marie Wilson served as one of three Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada following decades of experience as an award-winning journalist, trainer, and senior executive manager, including many years as the Regional Director for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the CBC North region responsible for three northern territories and northern Quebec. Fluently bilingual in French and English, she has been a university professor, a high school teacher in Africa, a senior executive manager in both federal and territorial Crown Corporations, and an independent consultant in journalism, program evaluation, and project management.
Dr. Wilson was appointed the 2016 Professor of Practice in Global Governance at the Institute for Study of International Development, McGill University, and a 2016-2017 Mentor for the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. In addition to awards for writing and journalism excellence, she is the recipient of a CBC North Award for Lifetime Achievement, Northerner of the Year, the Calgary Peace Prize, the Toronto Heart and Vision Award, and the Pepin Award for Access to Information. She has received Honorary Doctorates from St. Thomas University, the University of Manitoba and the Atlantic School of Theology, and has been awarded both the Order of the Northwest Territories and the Order of Canada.
Meaningful consultation and engagement have become some of the most important tools in a communicator’s toolbox over the past two decades. For organizations to deliver programs and projects with positive results, an increased commitment to inclusivity and boosted efforts to obtain community support have become an essential strategic priority. Ensuring that people have the opportunity to be informed, be engaged on their own terms, and provide feedback that contributes to decision-making processes is part of the day-to-day operations of business. How does a modern communicator use engagement to improve overall project, organizational and community outcomes? What types of engagement work best for specific audiences or specific projects? Can we do consultation by ourselves or do we need specialist help? What lessons can we learn from consultation efforts?
Our moderated panel discussion will focus on:
Prior to joining COFI, Mina was on the leadership team of BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy (Site C) Project as Director of Public Affairs, Community Consultation and Properties. In this role, she led the public and community consultation program, communications, and properties for Site C. The Site C project undertook comprehensive public consultations which were critical to seeing the project approved after a nine-year review and development process. Prior to joining BC Hydro, Mina was Director of Communications at Partnerships British Columbia, a provincial crown corporation with the mandate to provide leadership and expertise in the procurement of complex capital projects through private sector innovation, earning value for money for taxpayers. Mina has also worked in both Victoria and Ottawa, as well as in the private sector at a leading communications agency in Vancouver.
Mina holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, and she studied French at Laval University. She was awarded a Silver Leaf of Excellence by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for a successful communications campaign leading to the merger of two financial institutions, and frequently gives presentations on public consultation, coalition-building and crisis communications.
We’ve seen many times the case studies and speakers on “how to respond to a crisis” and “how to develop a crisis communications plan”. Less often we hear about the aftermath and follow-up from major crisis situations. What happens after the media frenzy has died down and things get back to “normal”? What are the long-term impacts on a company’s or an industry’s operations and reputation, and what role does public relations play in the ongoing management of communications in the wake of a major disaster?
Our moderated panel discussion will focus on:
the interface between operations and communications during, immediately after and in the months and years following;
the impacts when crisis protocols are either not followed or fall far short of what is required, both from a communications and an operational perspective;
how industry can plan for and manage ongoing reputation management, the costs of communicating and implementing changes and improvements to policies, regulations and legislation.
Lac Megantic rail disaster (2013)
Fort McMurray fires (2016)
Her business history includes her start as Director of Communications for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, moving into running the public relations divisions of Simons Advertising and Palmer Jarvis Advertising (now DDB Canada) until 1995 when she set up Quay Strategies Inc. with a partner. After 15 highly successful years of providing top-notch consulting, crisis management, training and facilitation sessions, both partners decided it was time to begin new ventures. For Della that meant concentrating on facilitating, stakeholder engagement and training workshops while carving out time to write a book. She has been writing a weekly communication blog since 2012 – dellasdeck.com.
Della spent a good chunk of her career working in crisis communication for a wide range of companies. In the transportation sector she worked with companies such as Greyhound Lines of Canada, Brewers Distributor Limited, Edmonton Regional Airport Authority and Translink.
Q Workshops primarily works with clients in the private & public sector, academia, health, regulatory organizations, member associations, not for profit and transportation.
Michael is the Chair of the Transportation Roundtable, representing Canadian transportation interests and a current member of the Board of Operation Lifesaver, a rail safety initiative.
Michael has almost 30 years of experience in a variety of public policy roles as a political staffer, a public servant and in government relations for Bayer and the Canadian Chemical Producers Association.
During his career in government and the private sector, Michael has been involved in significant communications challenges and crises, including food and drug recalls, a national referendum, as well as chemical industry and rail incidents.
Michael is a graduate of Toronto’s York University, where he studied Public Administration and Economics.
At the end of the day, the concept of PR people extolling the virtues of their clients will no longer be sufficient for media outlets anywhere in the world. Instead, as media undergoes a massive transformation, the true rising stars of the PR world will be those who are trusted, who are embraced for truthful, honest, and open communication with journalists, that are backboned by positive feedback from their clients' customers around the world. In other words, no one believes how great your clients are, if you're the one that has to tell them.
Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur, CEO, runner, skydiver, podcaster, Ironman Triathlete, and most importantly, a dad. He’s the founder of ShankMinds: Breakthrough, a private, online entrepreneur community with hundreds of members around the world. He’s perhaps best known for founding Help a Reporter Out, the world’s largest source repository in the world, which fundamentally changed how journalists source their stories. His customer service and social media clients have included American Express, NBC, Universal, E Entertainment, Sprint, the US Department of Defense, Royal Bank of Canada, Saudi Aramco, Snapple, Walt Disney World, and many others. Peter is the author of four books, including his most recent best seller, Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans. Peter also hosts the top-rated Faster Than Normal Podcast, helping people understand that ADD and ADHD is a gift, not a curse. He’s based in NYC.
Despite today’s focus on social content, big data and the death of traditional media, there are large parts of the Canadian population experiencing radio silence in the new digital landscape. In fact, the elimination or transformation of many traditional public relations channels has meant communications professionals in less populated regions of the country are finding themselves going back to the future to reach their audiences.
This panel will consider the radical changes public relations has experienced over the last decade in two distinctly different settings: rural and urban. In large, urban settings, new tools and tactics are being developed and deployed every day, and the challenge for PR practitioners is to stay on top of the latest trends, while continuing to follow sound principles of communications. Conversely, rural practitioners are required to be creative in reacquainting themselves with oft-forgotten channels to reach their audiences in small, geographically dispersed and sparsely populated regions.
Kim has served as Consul (Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs) at the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle from 2006-2008, representing Canada in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. She then moved to Veterans Affairs Canada as Acting Associate Director General of Communications where she worked the 90th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, and new legislation for Allied Veterans. Kim has also served as Regional Director, Issues Management and Communications (Atlantic Region) with the Canada Revenue Agency and as the Communications Manager for the Energy Resources Conservation Board, since 2011.
A past alumnus of the United States International Visiting Leaders Program, Kim was named one of the 50 Global Women in Energy in 2005 and has received awards for her work in media relations during the Swissair Flight 111 tragedy and for energy education in Nova Scotia. Kim is currently Vice President, Public Affairs for the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta’s single regulator for oil, oil sands, natural gas and coal development in the province.
Steve leads work in media, stakeholder and government relations, crisis and issues management communications, health promotions and marketing, employee and physician communication, web development and the employee intranet. Steve is also the Executive Lead for the Health Emergency Management program and for Patient Transportation, which includes the unique NH Connections bus system.
Steve has stewarded Northern Health through many challenges including the media response & communications during two mill explosions, he has been a leader in pioneering innovative approaches to engaging with rural and remote communities, and he has developed unique internal and external communications partnerships. As a winner of both IABC and CPRS awards, Steve has led numerous initiatives that are having a measurable impact on the health of northerners. Steve joined Northern Health in 2008, and previously worked in the chief communications role at the College of New Caledonia, as well as in leadership roles at the University of Northern BC.
Steve holds a BA and an MBA, is a father of two, and participates on a number of local, provincial, and national boards and committees.
Originally a broadcast journalist, Bob maintains an on-air presence as a regular commentator on media and communications matters on Bell Media’s flagship talk radio station, Newstalk 1010 in Toronto and Global TV’s national Morning Show. He is the creator and presenter of “Touchdowns & Fumbles,” a weekly feature looking at major newsmakers how they handled their time in the media spotlight.
For more than 15 years, Bob has served Veritas clients in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors with strategic communications counsel spanning proactive campaign development, issues and crisis management, message development and media coaching. Some of his best work involves the issues and stories you never got the chance to read about.
For much of the 1990s, Bob worked as a senior political communications advisor to the Premier of Ontario, helping the government get its message out while dealing day-to-day with some of the most challenging journalists in Canada.
Mass layoffs in journalism, the rise of alt-media, unmarked advertorials, extremism, clickbait articles, echo chambers and filter bubbles leave a troubling situation for public relations practitioners to communicate within Canada.
The last year in public communications has taken an ugly turn, in a “bigly” way. Fake news permeated not only the elections of our southern neighbour, but in every western country. Factual information is now challenged as fake, major news media have been repeatedly attacked from the Oval Office as “fake news” or “dishonest,” while alternative facts have become something nearly a third of the United States population believes.
This is not a new development. It has come through decades of key moments where those in trusted positions have intentionally or by mistake, eroded the public trust. Edelman’s Trust Barometer notes an implosion of global trust. They found two-thirds of countries surveyed are now distrusters, with under 50% trust in mainstream institutions of business, government, media and NGOs. Never has trust been this low in 17 years of data collection.
The expectation is that automation and outsourcing of jobs will further erode trust, leaving those already with low income and education in a losing position, while the growing 1% challenge capitalism’s ideals.
How is trust defined for those who are economically cut off? How will public relations function in a world which is just as likely to trust alternative facts as real ones? What can you do to communicate among deeply-entrenched positions living in echo chambers? How does your organization and leaders begin rebuilding trust, when they are perceived as untrusting?
This will be an open discussion, both within the room and across Canada, as we look to all practitioners to compile ideas on #AlternativePR.
Begin now by posting your observations, ideas and opinions for #AlternativePR to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Since Daniel became president of Argyle in 2003, the firm has grown dramatically, appearing in the PROFIT 500 list of Canada’s fastest-growing companies in both 2015 and 2016. Argyle is invariably among the leaders in awards from the Canadian Public Relations Society and the International Association of Business Communicators, with almost 200 local, national and international awards during Daniel’s tenure.
Daniel has spoken at conferences on every continent, lectured on public relations at Queen’s University at Kingston (Canada) since 1996, and contributed to leading PR and marketing textbooks. He appears regularly in broadcast, print and online media, including recent comments in the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, Reuters, CBC Television, Global News, PR Week and Strategy. He is a member of CPRS, the IABC and the Arthur W. Page Society.
Born in Madrid, Spain, and raised in Toronto, Daniel speaks English, French and Spanish. He holds two degrees from Queen’s University — a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies and a Master of Business Administration. Daniel is a member of the Queen’s University Board of Trustees, a leader in the international Scouting movement and a board member of Social Venture Partners International.
This year, Canada marks its 150th anniversary of Confederation. From the outset of planning, the Government of Canada has invited Canadians to shape the celebration and drive the conversation. From online consultations and crowd-sourced brand development to grass-roots seed funding and work through community leaders on the ground, learn how the Canada 150 team’s focus on participation has sparked engagement from coast to coast to coast.
She holds a Masters of Law degree from the University of Toronto. She is married with two children, and in her spare time can be found playing competitive badminton, experiencing the highs and lows of raising two teenagers, and continuing to master the French language one glass of wine at a time.
Brand journalism combines real reporting and lively storytelling (that's the journalism), with your organization's experts and experiences (that's the branding). A few organizations have figured out a new way to tell their stories, using the tried-and-true methods of journalism to engage their audiences and boost their competitive advantage.
In this session, Mark Ragan will share the principles of brand journalism and show you how you can apply them to your own organization.
You'll leave this afternoon session knowing how to:
Write and manage content that appeals to today's hectic reader
Organize your communication strategy around a standard newsroom
Use original and curated content to be the leading publisher in your niche
Create content that is so useful that people will be compelled to share it—over and over again
Become the #1 destination for customers and potential customers—and get this done on a tiny budget
Master the 10 email techniques that increase readership and brand loyalty
Integrate social media and content to boost your website traffic
Generate leads for your organization by writing must-read white papers for your customers
Build a subscription list of customers, the media and key influencers and keep them coming back for more
Measure the success of your content strategy
Mark Ragan is the Publisher and CEO of Ragan Communications, Inc., the nation's leading provider of corporate communication information and training. For 15 years, Mark covered Congress, the White House and national political campaigns for Copley News Service, States News Service, New York Newsday, the San Diego Union-Tribune and Insight Magazine.