Tag Archives: Diane Begin

Event Recap – Unprecedented Crisis: Fort McMurray Wildfire


On June 20, CPRS Toronto partnered with  the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) to host some of the key players in the dramatic Fort McMurray wildfire response and recovery, including representatives from the Canadian Red Cross, IBC and former members of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The panel was full of engaging stories and frank insight about what it took to tackle the most costly natural disaster in Canadian history. CPRS Toronto would like to give a special thanks to the team at IBC for their support in making last week’s event possible, as well as the panelists and moderator for their participation.

“As an actor in the wildfire response, I’m always happy to have a chance to discuss what was done and rehash those moves,” explained Robin Smith, one of the panelists and a former Communications Strategist at the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo who stayed behind to facilitate the evacuation of the city. “It’s enjoyable to be able to pass on the things we learned to other people who might use them one day, but we also benefit from being able to talk through the experience and gain new perspective on things that might seem mundane to us.”

“Our chapter is always looking to the cutting edge so that we can give our members the opportunity to engage with new ideas and ask thought provoking questions,” said Danielle Kelly, APR, CPRS Toronto Co-President. “It was fascinating to hear a firsthand account of an event that relied so heavily on communication. There was a lot to be learned and I think people came away with a new appreciation of how important our role as communicators can be.”

Photos of the event are posted below. Stay tuned for updates on CPRS Toronto’s next event, The Future of PR on August 15. More details are available on the Events page.

9 tips for your new blog


Now that it’s the New Year maybe, just maybe, you’ve thought about starting your own blog.

Every semester in University of Toronto’s Digital Strategy & Communications Management Certificate (#digitaledu), my colleagues (@DonnaPapacosta @AlisonGJ @EdenSpodek) and I experience blogging for the first time with an incredibly diverse group of individuals looking to expand their respective digital footprints.

From what you should know about Scotch tasting to what a Breatharian is (exactly as it sounds), the breadth of topics adds so much to my cocktail party conversations. Really.

Everyone has a unique story and blogging is the ideal outlet to reflect just that.

As consumers of content, online navigation is now intuitive for most of us, but ironically that sometimes doesn’t translate to when we become publishers of our own content.

So, here are a few things often overlooked when starting a blog:

  1. Add a few categories for navigation, then use as many tags as make sense. Simplicity is always best and that hierarchical view of a few categories and tags makes it easier to follow.
  2. Add a search bar. Often overlooked, it will make it so much easier for your readers to find content or go back to something read previously.
  3. Have an “About” page with a picture and at least your first name. Also include a way to get a hold of you, whether through a form or an email. It gives me more of a connection as a reader.
  4. Include a call to action at the bottom of your posts. Do you want me to offer my opinion or share a picture of how your recipe turned out when I made it? Then ask me to do that.
  5. Don’t assume I’ve read all your previous posts. Create each piece of content as standalone and incorporate your other previous content as makes sense.
  6. Hyperlink your text with relevant content within your post. Make it easy to check out that quirky store by having your text obviously linking to it and not as a footnote or with full URL text.
  7. Embed everything else. Videos, tweets, Soundcloud recordings and anything else that has embed code available to publish should be used. It’s a legit way to add interest.
  8. Capture me in your first few words. Write a headline that tells my exactly what I’ll get. Cryptic magazine-like headlines don’t work but phrases I Google do.
  9. Keep it succinct and make it appealing to consume. While there’s a place for long form online, most of your content could be 300-500 words with subheads, bullets and pictures.

Anyone can blog and its success really comes from a willingness to constantly evolve it.

Are you a member who wants to blog for CPRS Toronto? Drop us a line.

Presidents’ Message: Happy Holidays


Before the calendar turns a page and we head into a new year, we wanted to update members on a number of exciting developments and to look ahead to a few things that are planned for 2016.

Congratulations to College of Fellows Inductees

On December 2, six public relations professionals were inducted into the CPRS College of Fellows, including three members from the Toronto Society : Maryjane Martin APR, FCPRS LM, Krys Potapczyk APR, FCPRS, and Deborah Trouten APR, ICD.D, FCPRS. All three inductees are long-time CPRS Toronto members with both Maryjane and Krys being current members of the Board. The College of Fellows recognizes CPRS members who have made significant contributions to public relations and are proven leaders in their communities and profession. Congratulations to Maryjane, Krys and Deborah and thank you for all that you have done to enhance the practice of public relations!

Welcome to New Board Members

In November, the Toronto Society welcomed two new members to our Board, Jenny Shin, President and CEO, Milestones Public Relations, and Erica Silver, APR Director, National Media Relations and Corporate Communications, Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc. We are all grateful to Jenny and Erica for giving of their time and expertise to help CPRS Toronto move forward with our plans for the year ahead.

Survey of Journalists

Working hand-in-hand with journalists is a core part of public relations. But how much formalized (and current) research has actually been done to understand how journalists want to work with PR practitioners? CPRS Toronto wants to change that. We’ve entered into a partnership with Leger and CNW Group to survey journalists across the country. The survey is currently in market, with plans to present the findings to members and the broader PR community in the coming months.

World PR Forum

As you have likely heard by now, the World PR Forum is being held in Toronto from May 29-31, 2016. This event is a unique opportunity to meet, network and learn from communicators from around the world. The theme of this year’s conference is Communications Across Cultures, which recognizes the importance of effective communication across diverse cultures and the increasingly global nature of our work. Registration is open – we hope to see you there!

Given the ambitious plan that the Board has put forward for the year and the opportunities provided by the World PR Forum, we have decided to forego the CEO of the Year Award in 2016. Instead, we will spend the year evaluating the program, taking feedback from members, and focusing our efforts on enhancing member value through initiatives like the survey of journalists and other professional development and networking events. With that in mind, please do not hesitate to contact any Board member with suggestions or feedback.

We hope that you have an opportunity to spend time with those who are important to you over the holidays and that you come back recharged for what promises to be an exciting year ahead. Happy holidays!

Jeff Rohrer and Diane Bégin