Provincial politicians often come under fire when proposing and passing legislation. But what happens when the public outcry is originating from parents and stakeholders in your own organization? In 2016 Westwind School Division experienced public outcry from parents and community stakeholders. These people were concerned about the recently released document, “Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions”. Our stakeholders began attracting and organizing an online group of over 18,000 concerned people across Alberta.
We will look at how Westwind conducted research and analysis to address this outcry, planned stages of communication and engagement, implemented key communications and used key communicators to reinforce messaging, and used multiple communication modalities to reach different demographics.
We were able to build trust in our brand as a result of proactive public relations in a difficult period.
Presenter: Graham Ruttan
Graham Ruttan moved from Vancouver Island to southern Alberta in 2009 to attend the University of Lethbridge; a metaphorical fish out of water. He earned a B.A. (Co-op) in 2012 and has worked for a local government and a school division in the fields of public relations and corporate governance.
In 2016 Graham earned the Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association, the BRAVO! Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education, and the Public Engagement Award from Alberta School Boards Association. These were all for his work engaging with the public regarding the recently released Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions on behalf of Westwind School Division.
Graham is an avid podcast listener, a political strategy nerd, and a proponent for welcoming, safe, caring, and respectful communities for all people.