Author Archives: Danielle Kelly, APR

About Danielle Kelly, APR

Senior Communications Coordinator, Children, Youth and Social Services I&IT Cluster

AGM Recap


On Wednesday September 27 members of CPRS Toronto gathered at the Mill Street Brewery for the 2017 Annual General Meeting.  In addition to a presentation by political commentator Scott Reid, CPRS Toronto Co-Presidents Erica Silver, MA, APR and Danielle Kelly, APR presented a year-end report.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Incredible member achievements from new APR, PRK exam participants and award winners
  • An overview of our financial position and our strategy to meet our financial obligations going forward
  • A review of our membership demographics
  • A recap of our PD, Education and Research activities from 2016-17

You can read the AGM Presidents Report 2017.

We look forward to serving you again next year.  If you ever have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at

Remembering Krys Potapczyk


This post is written with great sadness. As many of you may now be aware, CPRS Toronto is mourning the loss of Krys Potapczky, APR, FCPRS. Krys was an active member of CPRS, having most recently been Chair of the Accreditation  in 2016.

Krys lost a hard-fought battle with cancer in late-June, 2017.  The CPRS Toronto Board of Directors has made a donation in Krys’s name for the Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation. I never want to speak for anyone in times like these, but I am sure many of you share the same sense of shock. Krys and cancer were two things I would never associated together.

Krys is most fondly remembered by many for her tenacious spirit and drive for excellence in the practice of public relations. Her  most recent group of students recall her as an impressive woman who was tremendously supportive with both her time and advice

To me, Krys will always be an inspiration. There are not many of us in the public service with an APR, so I always knew I could rely on Krys to be a cheerleader and mentor for me as I tried (and yes, continue to try) to execute ethical and high-quality communications counsel in the public service.

Krys and I shared a very special moment during the WPRF forum last year. She was at my side, and was my witness, when Tracy Moore stopped me and asked me where I got my dress for he Comm Prix  Communications Awards Gala. I still get a kick of out of that story to this day, and feel cool by association!

She was so proud. She took this photo of us together and emailed it to me with this simple phrase and subject line: “US….don’t we look beautiful”.

Yes, yes we do Krys. Your beauty, grace, poise, and drive during your cancer journey is something beautiful to be admired. In your honour I hope to maintain your passion, and commitment to life and the pursuit of excellence in communications and public relations.

Thank you, my beautiful friend.


June Co-Presidents’ Message


Though it has begun as cloudy and rainy, Spring has brought with it some incredible accomplishments and successes from our CPRS Toronto members.

We want to raise our glasses to all the recipients of this year’s ACE Awards.  It was an evening filled with friends, networking and laughter, and a wonderful celebration of success and outstanding achievement in the field of public relations. We’d like to again thank our ACE chair, our judges, the Board and our army of volunteers, who made the night such a success.

With the CPRS National summit wrapping up last week, we are thinking of all the enlightening topics presented by the speakers and panelists.  “Illuminate” covered such important aspects of our jobs: building trust, strategic storytelling, meaningful engagement and transparent communication, with the opportunity to review how to successfully implement these facets in the field.  We were delighted to see such a strong representation from Toronto, and know we house some of the best in the business.

We also celebrated incredible achievements in professional growth with the celebration of this year’s PRKs, APRs, College of Fellows and Award of Attainment recipients.

Wholehearted congratulations to Brooke Kelly and Carolina Salcedo for completing their PRK and Caitlin Coull, APR; Kim Daynard, APR;Ruth Fernandes, PMP, APR; Nate Habermeyer, APR; Audrey Ready-Holt, APR; and, Bryant Sullivan, APR on their APR designation. As well, we congratulate Sheldon Rose, BPR, APR, FCPRS on his induction into the College of Fellows and our recipient of this year’s Lois Marsh Award, Carol Panasiuk, MBA, APR, FCPRS LM on her 2017 CPRS Award of Attainment.

Congratulations to all CPRS Toronto members for continuing to distinguish yourselves and highlight excellence in the practice of PR. You all make us #CPRSproud!

Danielle and Erica


Staying ahead of the curve

With the public relations profession currently confronted with the need for profound change and adaptation, CPRS members are sure to find value in a speech by CPRS Toronto Board of Director and Chair of Education, Heath Applebaum.  Applebaum delivered a keynote address to students and faculty in the McMaster University, Master of Communications Management program that sparked rich discussion.
Applebaum shared his insights into the necessary evolution of public relations to help organizations to successfully navigate these risky waters.  Among his many ideas, he suggests why successful organizations will be those that are most willing to listen, anticipate and adapt to disruptive changes and cultivate authentic relationships. He adds that in these volatile economic times, and digitally influenced world, reputations are proving to be more valuable and vulnerable than ever, but must be built from the inside out.
Applebaum is a global-award-winning communicator and the President of Echo Communications, a leading reputation management consulting firm based in Toronto.  He is also a highly respected Public Relations Professor at the University of Guelph-Humber with 20 years of diverse corporate, agency, consulting and non-profit communications experience.
To view excerpts from this captivating speech that were  published in the Journal of Professional Communication, click here:

Tips on Navigating the Social Influencer Sphere

C5ynS5AU0AA9x9x By Rosita Chakardan

As PR professionals, we are constantly striving to communicate our brand’s message in a meaningful and impactful way to engage our audience. So when I received an invitation from CPRS to hear their panel of experts speak about the growing significance of social influencers, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more.

Tackling a number of key considerations when selecting an influencer, the savvy panelists touched on some key points that I think act as a good tactical guide.

Know the Power of Influencers

Influencers are individuals who have tremendous clout on social media and blogs with niche interests and topics. Having said this, the influencer does not necessarily have any expertise in their niche, but rather a passion that resonates with their audience. They establish a large following by communicating through blogs, videos, photos, and posts on social media.

Find the Right Match for Your Brand

The key in driving awareness, and most importantly generating action, is to ensure that your brand is matched with the right influencer. For instance, a food blogger writing about how fantastic a national brand’s sports equipment is, would seem misaligned. The blogger’s audience tunes in because they want to consume content related to food … not sports equipment.  The product is not relevant to the influencer’s niche. Selecting an influencer who aligns with your brand’s interests and values are the key to targeting the right audience.

Remember that Authenticity Rules!

It just makes sense! Today’s audience is bombarded with so much content that they’ve developed a discerning eye for artificial information. This is very similar to the latter point of selecting an influencer who fits your brand. A great way to achieve this is by creating a ‘top 10’ list of influencers who create content related to your brand’s focus. In order to determine which of the top 10 is the best fit, dig deeper by observing their tone, messaging and style.  Ask whom they have partnered with in the past, and what resulted of the partnership.

Give Your Influencer Creative Freedom

Once you’ve successfully recruited an influencer, how much creative leeway should they have? Well, you selected the influencer for their storytelling and ability to connect with their audience, which in turn is your target audience.  Give them creative freedom but ensure that you clearly communicate your brand’s objective, key messages and tone. If you have picked the right fit, the influencer will seamlessly advocate on your behalf with content that is on brand.

The same values that PR professionals should adhere to in every aspect of our profession also apply when collaborating with social influencers: transparency, meaningful storytelling, and authentic content. To ensure best practice, check out disclosure guidelines regarding paid promotions when working with social influencers.

With millions of influencers to choose from, it’s a whole new world to navigate. Remember the golden rule, ‘quality over quantity’, to make the biggest splash.


February Co-Presidents Message: Love What You Do

In mid-February we all take a break to celebrate the people and the things we love. Whether you celebrated St. Valentine’s Day or Family Day, it is a great time to reflect on how and why we demonstrate commitment and passion for certain aspects of our lives.

What makes you a passionate PR professional and proud CPRS member? For me it is the ability to connect with our industry peers through programs like the ACE Awards and professional development opportunities. Our Professional Development program is kicking into high-gear and we have a fantastic event planned for Tuesday, February 28th about Social Media Influencers. We hope to see you there! If you have an interesting idea for an upcoming Professional Development seminar or webinar, contact our PD Chair.

Speaking of ACE, the response to this year’s ACE Awards has been amazing! We are looking forward to another great year celebrating the best and brightest stars of our industry. Also, don’t forget to check in with the website for tips, tactics & learnings from your peers. Even if you are not participating in the ACE Awards you are more than welcome to come out and celebrate your peers on May 2 at the Arcadian Court. Tickets will be on sale shortly.  You can also show your support on social media by using the hashtag #CPRSACE.

Another wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded folks is at the annual CPRS National Conference. I find that attending the conference is an energizing experience.   Erica and I are submitting our registration information in the next few weeks, and we hope to see as many CPRS Toronto members there as possible. It will be my first-time to BC and I am excited I get to combine two passions over a few days: Communications, and wine!

When was the first-time you realized that Public Relations was for you?  For me it was when I did a High School Co-Operative education program and watched the Director of Communications for a theatre company work a press conference like a boss. That is when I knew I wanted to learn more about this amazing industry. It has been a phenomenal ride so far that has taken me to 4 countries ( to both study and work)  and afforded me opportunities to contribute to the betterment of both my personal and professional communities through work with local and provincial governments, and CPRS Toronto.

On behalf of Erica and myself we are pleased to share this passionate journey with you as your chapter Co-Presidents. We love being here and doing our small part to help this chapter succeed. But, we couldn’t do it alone.  We want to share some love for our fantastic Board of Directors as well! Thank you for all that you do.

If you ever have any questions or comments about your society you can always reach us as Co-Presidents through, or through social media.

Stay tuned for more details about March Membership month and an educator specific professional development event in the coming weeks.


Danielle and Erica



The sexiness of PR


Diane Bégin, APR
ruckus Digital / APEX Public Relations

If public relations would have remained what it was say 15 years ago, I would have eventually have become bored and likely would have changed careers.

The tools available today have given us the opportunity to connect directly with our audiences, no matter how niche – and for that I’m grateful, because that’s what made me stay.

Human connection is the sexy part of public relations.

PR now gives us the opportunity for real two-way connection, as opposed to the primarily broadcast, or one-way model that previously existed for decades. And it can give us a taste of what an individual is about.

My own career in public relations started around 1997 when I was working for a small business association, which was heavily weighted in government relations as a lobbyist.

By 2004 (the same year Facebook was founded), while working full-time, I began my graduate studies, which is around the time when I felt a reawakening for the profession.

I became familiar with the Toronto School of Communication.

In particular, Marshall McLuhan’s 1964 “pioneering study in media theory” Understanding Media felt very real.

“With the arrival of electric technology, man has extended, or set outside himself, a live model of the central nervous system itself.” Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions Of Man

Edmonton-born, Winnipeg-raised and as an adult, Toronto-based, McLuhan became a cultural icon between the 50s-70s.

The Playboy Interview, a Laugh-In bit with Goldie Hawn called “Marshall McLuhan, Whatcha Doing?, and a cameo in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall with Diane Keaton are some of the outcomes of how dramatic of an influence McLuhan had on society at the time.

He died in 1980, but in the mid-2000s, the National Film Board – recognizing the timelessness of his thinking – released McLuhan’s Wake.

Consider the many things McLuhan said and how they continue to resonate today. Also keep in mind, a number of people at the time thought he was crazy.

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”

“In this electronic age we see ourselves being translated more and more into the form of information, moving toward the technological extension of consciousness.”

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”

“The new electronic independence re-creates the world in the image of a global village.”

“As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. The age of automation is going to be the age of ‘do it yourself.’”

“The more the data banks record about each one of us, the less we exist.”

“Innumerable confusions and a feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological and cultural transition.”

“The photograph reverses the purpose of travel, which until now had been to encounter the strange and unfamiliar.”

“Obsolescence never meant the end of anything, it’s just the beginning.”

The magic in Mcluhan’s thinking is essentially pattern recognition of the effects of all forms of media on individuals.

He realized that humans are always just humans – no matter the time period they’re in, or the media available.

The ability to be able to connect directly – and increasingly in more meaningful ways – with the “extensions of man” that we know today as social media, was the shift that I needed to realize that PR was where I continue to want to be.



Happy Holidays from Erica and Danielle!



Erica and I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a safe and happy holiday season. We hope that you enjoy your time off in the company of good family and friends. As 2016 draws to a close (and all too quickly at that!) we are taking a moment to reflect upon the accomplishments of the past year, and to set an intention for the year ahead.

We are looking forward to another successful year at CPRS Toronto in 2017. We have an enthusiastic team on the Board of Directors working on some exciting projects – stay tuned for more details in the coming months!

If you have set an intention to mark 2017 as your year to get involved in your community, consider contributing your skills to CPRS Toronto. There are many opportunities – both big and small – to get involved. For more information you can reach out to Erica or myself, or send an email to


Danielle Kelly, APR

Erica Silver, APR

Greetings from your 2016-17 Co-Presidents Erica and Danielle


We are delighted to accept the position of Co-President for the upcoming two year term and are looking forward to continue and build upon the profile that our predecessors created for CPRS Toronto.

In the coming years we hope to strengthen the relationship with CPRS National that was reinforced by the WPRF conference and increase the transparency of the goals and objectives of the Board to our community. We will also continue the tradition of excellent professional development opportunities for practitioners, and draw on the experience of our industry to teach the next generation of communicators the incredible accomplishments of our field.

Erica Silver, APR
Danielle Kelly, APR