Tag Archives: PR

CPRS Toronto panel revealed top communication trends for 2018


TORONTO – December 15, 2017 – To think of 2018 and what that means for the PR profession can be exciting and frightening. No matter what side of PR you work on, the landscape has been changing at a rapid pace with no end in sight.

At the final Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) – Toronto Chapter event of the year on December 4, a panel of CPRS members and thought leaders explored communication trends to watch for 2018. The panel included:

  • Ian Ross, APR, director of communications, Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (moderator)
  • Tracey Bochner, co-founder and president, Paradigm
  • Bruce MacLellan, founder and CEO, Environics Communications
  • Lauren More, vice-president of communications, Ford Motor Company Canada

The discussion focused on three key trends.

Trend 1: PR practitioners need a new set of skills.
Teams are being built in different ways to solve communications challenges and data is being used more to influence decisions. “This is a great opportunity for PR as it gives you a chance to expand and adapt your skills – like learning about data and metrics as they are becoming extremely important to PR,” said Bruce MacLellan.

Also, with artificial intelligence (AI) being harnessed to provide value to consumers – it will be used by approximately 80 per cent of chat bots in the US next year – engagement with clients and consumers will change. Although there’s a shift to AI, Lauren More believes “one thing that AI cannot do is tell a story that will tug at people’s heart strings and resonate beyond the noise.”

Trend 2: PR is becoming increasingly integrated.
PR campaigns are no longer focused solely on one channel. “When you get an RFP, it’s not the same [as it once was] – you have to include PR, digital, social and experiential marketing,” explained Tracey Bochner.

The panel discussed how it is a misconception that PR is merging into other areas like advertising and marketing. In reality, the practice of PR is expanding and growing into new areas. Clients, for example, no longer want to go to three different agencies for three different things – they want one agency for several services.

Trend 3: PR practitioners need to change how they develop content.
Resource crunches are affecting all companies – budgets are getting tighter and traditional media outlets are decreasing. This forces PR to be strategic in how it’s used to tell meaningful stories.

The panel agreed, more content is not always better. Effective campaigns can no longer rely solely on news releases and earned media efforts. They now require some aspect of paid media, which can include influencers to help further target key audiences.

This CPRS Toronto communications trends panel is the first annual (held at the end of every calendar year), hosted by the local chapters president(s) with panelists made up of thought-leading chapter members.

The Canadian Public Relations Society is a national professional organization focused on establishing and upholding educational and ethical standards in Public Relations. CPRS Toronto is one of the largest local societies with nearly 600 members. For more information, please visit: http://www.cprstoronto.com.

CPRS Toronto’s Doris Whiteside Award winners share tips for success in PR school


Education Chair and Board Member Heath Applebaum recently caught up with each of the seven outstanding 2016 recipients of the Doris Whiteside Award. The awards are given to one deserving student at each Toronto public relations program annually, who exemplifies both academic excellence and outstanding leadership qualities. To qualify, students must be members of CPRS Toronto.

Heath asked the seven winners to reflect back on their academic journeys and share their advice for current and future public relations students. Valuable insights and tips to make the most of their academic experience and prepare for the real world after graduation.

Kristen Cockburn
Program: Public Relations Post-Graduate Certificate, Loyalist College
Status: Communications Advisor, Public Health Ontario

“Public relations is definitely an exciting field, but it can also be a scary journey to embark on.  Trust me, as someone who made a career change, I know how intimidating the decision to go back to school can be. One thing I did differently this time around, which I think contributed to my success, was that I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone; there’s no better time than school to do that. Whether it is being in front of the camera, selecting a personal story to tell in an assignment, or asking a professional from a networking session for a follow-up coffee, I took this time to push my personal and professional boundaries. My advice to current and future public relations students would be to take every experience in your program as a future opportunity. Put the extra effort into your assignments and build a great portfolio, stay connected with your classmates, and talk to everyone who walks through your classroom. You never know where that door may lead.”

Zena Schmidt
Program: Advanced Diploma Program, Humber College
Status: Completed PR internship and looking for her next big opportunity

“Attending the Public Relations Advanced Diploma program at Humber College was an amazing journey. When I think back to all the professors and fellow students that took part in shaping my learning experience, I will be forever grateful. If I was to give current and future public relations students helpful advice it would be this: collaborate with your teammates; one solid unit working together is always better, and more productive, than one person operating alone. When facing obstacles, don’t simply identify the problem, be an integral part of the solution. Most importantly, compete with yourself. It is not about being better, or brighter, than the person beside you, it is about constantly challenging your personal best. Embrace your internships, be a self-starter and believe in yourself. Confidence is key; people notice it and respond to it. The transition from the academic and internship world to the real work world can be daunting. Be persistent, patient and network, network network.  In closing, a thirst for knowledge is an exceptional gift; wake- up every day with an inquisitive mind and a passionate heart.”

Erika Manassis
Program: Corporate Communications Post-Diploma, Seneca College
Status: Account Coordinator at Cohn & Wolfe Canada

“I say the same thing to all PR students that I’ve met since graduating – volunteer, and get hands-on experience. No matter how strong you are academically, there is only so much that can be learned in the classroom.  So, get out there. If I had to do my public relations program again, I would tell myself to get in the habit of reading more news, from more sources. Being a student can certainly be busy, even stressful at times, but setting aside time to read the news (newspapers, magazines, websites, social media – everything) has so much value. I believe it has made me a better PR practitioner, because I have learned to recognize the names and interests of the writers and editors that I now communicate with regularly, and I am beginning to be able to identify editorial trends. I wish I had started this habit sooner.”

Lori Talling
Program: Public Relations Post-Graduate Certificate, Ryerson University
Status: Program Coordinator, Sport Tourism, Regional Municipality of Durham

“From my first Intro to Public Relations class, I knew Ryerson’s post-graduate certificate in Public Relations was the right path for me. I loved the content and I was fueled by a desire to learn all that I could about public relations. I often spent hours researching assigned topics, I took an active role in group work, which included listening and learning from other students, and I considered quality a high priority. In my view, enthusiastic, open-minded, hard-working and engaged students will achieve the most success in the program. I recommend that students treat course assignments as opportunities to apply what they are learning and prepare for future roles in the field – work hard and have fun, collaborate, and be prepared to go the extra mile to make your mark!”

Amy Gingerich
Program: Post-Graduate Certificate Program, Humber College
Status: Account Coordinator, Veritas Communications

“One of the most important things I learned during school was to create positive relationships, with fellow students, professors and connections. This can come from a lot of things: being respectful, going above and beyond, and keeping your word, are three that seem like common sense, but are often forgotten. The public relations world is small, and memories are lasting, so the impression you make now can affect you later. Absorb as much as you can, especially when you’re learning from seasoned pros, and use their knowledge as much as you can.
Once you’re in the working world, be ready to work hard, but know that especially at the beginning, it’s not always the most glamorous work. Do it enthusiastically and you’ll make a great impression, and that’s always important when you want a reference or to move up the ranks.”

Stephanie Murphy
Program:  Public Relations Graduate Certificate Program, Centennial College
Status: Communications and Public Engagement Coordinator, Canadian Red Cross

“The best piece of advice I can think of – for both school and employment – is to take the opportunities that come your way. The best way to learn in this field is by doing, so when your instructor asks you to help with an extracurricular project, or your boss asks you to support in a new way, take it as an opportunity to learn and grow – you never know what may come of it! It will also show your dedication. While you’re in school, your instructors are a great resource. They’re industry professionals after all! Whether you have questions about an assignment or are interested in something they did in their career, chat with them outside of class time. In the workplace, if there’s a particular project you’d like to work on, or skill you’d like to develop, definitely ask. There are so many opportunities to learn in the workplace, but sometimes you have to speak up so your supervisors know you’re interested.”

Ashley Haraburda
Program: Bachelor’s Degree, Public Relations, Humber College
Status: Media Officer, The National Ballet of Canada

“Find ways to get involved in the public relations community. Throughout my time at Humber, I attended CPRS networking events, went on informational interviews and volunteered at agencies and events. You never know where one connection could take you. The more hands-on experience you gain outside the classroom, the better prepared you will feel when you start your career.”


Keep it hot, key to crisis communications


Managing the reputation of North America’s third largest transit system (after New York and Mexico cities) is something his colleagues call a “Daily Miracle,” because of its 800 million daily boardings and daily news coverage, says Brad Ross @bradTTC, executive director, Corporate Communications at the Toronto Transit Commission.

On August 15, 2016 the Canadian Public Relations Society – Toronto #CPRSTo hosted Ross at the Rum Exchange, who shared his secret for daily crisis communications – keeping it HOT – honest, open and transparent. An approach that ironically, he recognizes, is in direct conflict with the tattoo on his left arm that reads “No comment.”

Ross – with his 30 years’ experience in communications, including eight in his current position – says a crisis does not necessarily mean an emergency, and vice versa an emergency does not necessarily mean a crisis.

While a quick Google definition check offers each as a synonym for the other, they are subtly different. A crisis is more specifically defined as “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger,” while an emergency is “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”

Ross offered that in saying nothing in the face of a problem leaves the scent of scandal, where an issue can quickly transition to a crisis.

A recent example included the previous week’s terrorist threat in which Ross said the TTC’s standard operating procedure is to be vigilant by telling employees, “If you see something, say something.”

And in terms of communication – this is where you see HOT (honest, open, transparent) in action.

“If we don’t own issues, others will for us…own the issue by getting out in front of it,” says Ross.

The TTC was not a target in the terrorist scare and by saying the transit system was not named, by noon the next day, the transit media angle fizzled.

“In a crisis, time is not a luxury. The next news cycle is now,” says Ross. And, in a time of crisis it can mean danger or opportunity.

Twitter is the social platform of choice for the TTC – to communicate quickly with one person or one million.

Social media is here to stay and has forever changed how we manage a crisis.”

Ross also added his understanding of the criticism and feedback of the TTC on social media is because transit users are passionate.

Still he said, Twitter is in a crisis with racist, homophobic and exploitive remarks that are unregulated. Ross hopes to see swift improvements to the platform to maintain its viability.

At the TTC, potential crisis means that communications staff is on call 24/7 and that live radio and TV updates must come from other senior communications staff or Ross himself. There are eight individuals in the corporate communications department, including internal communications.

When asked “should the CEO take media interviews?” he said there are no easy answers. Reserving him or her for bigger issues – like budgets or high profile incidents that require an organization’s leadership to be seen and heard – is important but there may be other instances, so trust your gut. (Also, read 3Qs with TTC CEO Andy Byford.)

Being nimble is a strategic decision that is part of the TTC communications team’s approach, as Ross admits traditional planning is difficult for ever-changing daily issues. There is no time to ponder things for two days when issues need to be responded to on social media in real-time.

A couple other ways TTC communications remains nimble is by reporting directly to CEO and by sitting at the decision-making table.

Parting words from Ross to his fellow communications practitioners were

“Lead where you can, respond swiftly and accurately, and always do the right thing.”

That last part is also aptly a tattoo on his right arm.

Diane Bégin @dibegin, APR, is with APEX Public Relations (where this blog post originally appeared), ruckus digital and CPRS Toronto as a board member.  

How First-Year PR Students Can Stand Out: Lessons from Michelle McTeague, Publicity Manager at Shaw Media


As the first year of my public relations program comes to an end, I now understand the importance of securing an internship in the field. An internship in PR allows you to hit the ground running, get hands-on experience and really get a feel for the industry.

That’s why it’s important that, as first years, we bring our “A” game to interviews and always leave a great impression on potential employers. Though graduation is still three years away, it’s never too early to start preparing for internship opportunities.

Michelle McTeague, Publicity Manager at Shaw Media, offered us her advice at this stage in our professional careers, speaking from experience and her in-depth knowledge of the industry. After graduating from Durham College with an Advanced Diploma in Public Relations, Michelle accepted a publicity internship at Bell Media. She went on to hold positions at TIFF, Dancap Productions Inc., and FLIP Publicity & Promotions Inc. Today, as a publicity manager, her portfolio includes Food Network Canada, Showcase, Slice, and Lifetime.

Here is Michelle’s expert advice on how first-year PR students can prepare for their internships, and really stand out from the competition.

What can a student do to make their resume stand out?

It has to be attention grabbing, great format, unique and uses keywords. Your resume also has to be error-free, make sure to always spellcheck. It has to be as detailed as possible and very strategic.

What are the key documents/materials to have in your portfolio?

A cover letter that is tailored to the specific job position, key writing samples, mock releases, event flow, and mock event. A range of your writing shows the employer your thought process, how you were being strategic and how you leverage different social media platforms and other tools.

Many first-year PR students may not feel the need to think about their internships right now. Why is it important to start preparing for your internship in the beginning of your program?

Preparing now gives you a sense of where you want to start. Networking and keeping in contact with the employer is also very important since it could be where you first officially begin working in PR. Also, be passionate about what you want, it will show in your work.

Are there any specific extra-curricular activities that employers look for on a resume that first-year PR students should be involved in now?

Employers look at any extracurricular activities that enable you to showcase some of your skills. However, make sure you identify and draw out what is relevant to the job. Also, include what sets you apart from the competition. Personal development should never stop.

Can you outline the expectations vs. reality when it comes to internships?

Don’t have too many expectations. Go into any opportunity with the mindset that you are a sponge, you want to learn and absorb as much as possible. Instead of expectations have a set of objectives. For example, “By the time I finish my internship at Google, I want to know how to write an effective press release.”

Are there any skills you think we should focus on now to prepare for internships?

Time management, prioritization, organizational skills and communication skills are very important skills to hone and to have. When it comes to prioritizing, if you’re not sure what’s most important to complete, or how to prioritize a long list of tasks, never hesitate to ask your employer or professors for advice.

What precautions should first-years have online when entering this industry?

Think before you do anything!

How can first-year PR students build or improve their social media presence or personal brand?

Share your interests, and think of how you can be your own publicist. You could also showcase your favourite brands in positive ways (like in a blog post!).

What sector would be the most beneficial for a first-time intern? Agency, in-house, corporate…?

A great place for first-year PR students to start, especially when you’re young, is agency. Be prepared to give your all! Finding the right placement can be rewarding professionally. If you’re not sure where you want to work, base the decision on your heart-of-hearts and the products you want to promote. Try everything to find out what you want. Also, remember doors never close!

Written by: Tomiko Stanton is a first-year student at Humber College, in the Bachelor of Public Relations program.

2016 CPRS ACE Award PR Campaign of the Year: Edelman for Ontario Association of Optometrists


2016 CPRS ACE Award Creative Campaign of the Year: Narrative PR for Scotiabank


2016 CPRS ACE Award Best in Show Contender: APEX PR for Walmart Canada


2016 CPRS ACE Award Best in Show Contender: Veritas for Stella Artois


Banking and Optometry Come out on Top at the 2016 CPRS Toronto ACE Gala


CPRS Toronto Recognizes Award-Winning PR Campaigns

TORONTO, May 5, 2016 /CNW/ – The Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) in Toronto hosted the Achieving Communications Excellence (ACE) Awards Gala and recognized award-winning public relations campaigns from across the Greater Toronto Area. More than 360 professionals attended the event at the Arcadian Court to celebrate their campaigns, showcase client work, and support their colleagues.

“The industry continues to evolve in many ways and the work presented this evening reflects that evolution and dedication behind the public relations profession,” said Diane Bégin, Co-President, CPRS Toronto. Jeff Rohrer, Co-President, CPRS Toronto added, “There is an immense amount of talent found within the Toronto community of public relations professionals and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to be a part of a ceremony that recognizes that.”

The Best in Show awards two outstanding campaigns with creative approaches to meeting the clients’ business and brand needs. Narrative PR received the Best Creative Campaign of the Year for their work with Scotiabank and its SCENE Fall campaign targeting millenials during Frosh Week, combining experiential and creative marketing. The Public Relations Campaign of the Year Award went to Edelman Toronto for its informative and engaging 20-second Daydreams campaign, which brings awareness to computer vision syndrome for the Ontario Association of Optometrists.

“We introduced a new category this year called Marketing Communications Campaign of the Year in response to the shift underway in our industry. The long list of winners in this category is proof of how far we’ve come,” said Carolyn Merchant, ACE Awards Chair, CPRS Toronto. “It is a pleasure to once again lead a team of committed volunteers and judges dedicated to the advancement of the communications profession.”

The 2016 ACE Award recipients include:

Best PR Campaign of the Year

  • Edelman Canada – Ontario Association of Optometrists 20-Second Daydreams

Best Creative Campaign of the Year Award

  • Narrative PR – Scotiabank SCENE Fall

Leadership Awards

  • Lois Marsh Award: Christina Marshall, APR, Vivant Communications
  • CPRS Toronto PR Professional of the Year Award: Lauren Dineen-Duarte, American Express Canada
  • Volunteer of the Year: Terrence Freeman, Humber College
  • CPRS Toronto Public Relations Student of the Year: Charzie Abendanio, Humber College

Investor / Financial Relations Campaign of the Year


  • Kaiser Lachance Communications – PUDO Lists on the CSE

Crisis or Issues Management Campaign of the Year


  • De Beers Group of Companies – Closure of Snap Lake Mine

Community Relations Campaign of the Year


  • Kaiser Lachance Communications – Sears Canada Milestone Celebrations Program


  • Edelman Canada – Canadian Women’s Foundation Get Consent Campaign
  • Veritas Communications – Microsoft Code Generation
  • Weber Shandwick – Ronald McDonald House Charities

Government Relations / Public Affairs Campaign of the Year


  • Counsel Public Affairs – Ontario Real Estate Association


  • Sussex Strategy Group – Dairy Farmers of Canada “Canadian Milk Matters”

New Product or Service Launch Campaign of the Year


  • MAVERICK Public Relations – Amope PediPark
  • Weber Shandwick – WOW Air Canadian Launch Announcement
  • Weber Shandwick – McDonald’s Canada Restaurant of the Future Launch


  • Weber Shandwick – McCafe Standalone Launch
  • Narrative PR – The Journey Begins Here: Scotiabank GM VISA Launch

Brand Development Campaign of the Year


  • Edelman Canada – KD Rebrand
  • DDB Public Relations – CIL Beauty on a Small Budget


  • PRAXIS – Quaker Canada “The Recital”
  • Weber Shandwick – McDonald’s Canada Restaurant of the Future Launch


  • Weber Shandwick – McCafe Standalone Launch
  • Edelman – Go RVing Canada #BringBackWildhood”
  • North Strategic – AIR MILES “Brand Rejuvenation”

Best Use of Special Events


  • Narrative PR – BACARDI PALADAR
  • North Strategic – Airbnb “Stay At Air Canada Centre”
  • Veritas Communications – Stella Artois’ Sensorium
  • Weber Shandwick Canada – McFlurry 20th Anniversary


  • Media Profile – Google Canada “Youtube FanFest”


  • Canadian Tire – “Canadian Tire presents Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame 2015”
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies – Maytag Ultimate Laundry Room, 2015 Pan Am Games Sponsorship
  • FleishmanHillard – Temptations “Just for Cats”

Best Use of Media Relations Under $50,000


  • Paradigm Public Relations – Kid Poker Documentary Debut
  • Weber Shandwick – WOW Air Canadian Launch Announcement
  • High Road – American Express Canada “Entertainment on Cloud 10”
  • Kwittken Canada – Re-introducing The Keg to Canadians
  • FleishmanHillard – Concord Adex “Nineteen Century Schooner Discovery”


  • Porter Novelli Canada – Kids Help Phone’s BroTalk launch
  • Strategic Objectives – MEGA BLOKS “Building Kids Up Through Play”
  • MSLGROUP – RandStad Workmonitor: from thought leader to game changer
  • Narrative PR – NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto
  • Argyle Public Relationships – Beating the ‘Cancer Blues’ on World Cancer Day
  • Kaiser Lachance Communications – Sears Canada Holiday Media Relations

Best Use of Media Relations Over $50,000


  • APEX Public Relations – Get Ready for Back-to-School with Walmart Canada


  • Argyle Public Relationships – Sugary September: Diabetes and the Canadian Election
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies – FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Add A Little Joy with Nutella: 2015 Truck Tour
  • Edelman Canada – Canadian Women’s Foundation Get Consent Campaign
  • Strategic Objectives – Kellogg’s Breakfasts for Better Days
  • APEX Public Relations – Discover Another Side of Walmart Canada
  • Strategic Objectives – #YouAreWelcome from MNCFN: The Official Host First Nation of TO2015
  • APEX Public Relations – Nestle Canada launch of the new SMARTIES packaging
  • MSLGROUP Canada – P&G Always #LikeAGirl: Turning an insult into a confidence


  • Weber Shandwick Canada – PetSmart Charities of Canada National Adoption Weekends 2015”
  • Edelman Canada – Baking with Becel ® and Demystifying Margarine News Bureau
  • Kaiser Lachance Communications – Royal LePage “Thought Leadership in Canadian Real Estate”
  • North Strategic – Cadillac Fairview National Black Friday 2015 Campaign
  • FleishmanHillard – MARS Pet Mixed Feeding
  • Woods Canada – Ultimate Dream Job
  • Strategic Objectives – Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats for Toys Holiday Program
  • Edelman Canada – KD Rebrand
  • MSLGROUP Canada – Indigo Holiday 2015
  • Citizen Relations and Loblaw Companies Ltd. – President’s Choice® Insiders Collection™ Holiday Boutique

Best Digital Communications Campaign of the Year


  • APEX Public Relations – POLYSPORIN®: Targeting the Quebec Market on Facebook


  • Strategic Objectives – Second Cup Coffee Co. Hot Chocolate: #TasteItRateIt
  • High Road – Canadian Labour Congress “Better Choice”
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Edgewell Personal Care “Be Carefree. Everyday”
  • MSLGROUP Canada – P&G Always #LikeAGirl: Turning an insult into a confidence
  • Cohn & Wolfe – Coleman Canada “Get Outside Day”
  • MSLGROUP Canada – P&G’s “Pantene #ShineStrong Tag Challenge


  • Edelman Canada – Canadian Women’s Foundation Get Consent campaign
  • Veritas Communications – Kimberly-Clark “Buckle Up, Creampuff”
  • Sussex Strategy Group – Dairy Farmers of Canada TPP Campaign

Marketing Communications Campaign of the Year


  • Edelman Canada – Ontario Association of Optometrists 20-Second Daydreams
  • APEX Public Relations – Get Ready for Back-to-School with Walmart Canada
  • Narrative PR – Scotiabank SCENE Fall
  • APEX Public Relations – Discover Another Side of Walmart Canada”\


  • Edelman Canada – Intuit Canada “Know Your Worth”
  • FleishmanHillard – Uncle Ben’s for “Ben’s Beginners”
  • Media Profile – “Starbucks Canada Sparkle Shop”
  • Toronto Public Health – “The Truth about Smoking Hookah”
  • Government of Ontario – Public Education Campaign to Prevent Sexual Violence and Harassment”
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Add A Little Joy With Nutella: 2015 Truck Tour
  • Weber Shandwick – McCafe Standalone Launch
  • Woods Canada – “Ultimate Dream Job”
  • Media Profile – Cancer Care Ontario “My CancerIQ Online Risk Assessment Tool”
  • Weber Shandwick – McDonald’s Canada Restaurant of the Future Launch
  • PRAXIS – Quaker Canada’s “The Recital”


  • Narrative PR – Bayer “Break up and move”
  • Veritas Communications – Microsoft Canada for “Microsoft Surface Studio”
  • Engagers – Bay of Quinte: Isn’t It time
  • Cohn & Wolfe – Coleman Canada “Get Outside Day”
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Tim Hortons Warm Wishes

Student Public Relations Communications Plan of the Year


  • Centennial College – Civic Action “Up All Night”
  • Centennial College – Civic Action/Project Fusion “Know the Signs”

The Canadian Public Relations Society is a national professional organization focused on establishing and upholding educational and ethical standards in Public Relations. CPRS Toronto is one of the largest local societies with nearly 600 members. For more information, please visit: http://www.cprstoronto.com.

Special thanks to our sponsors:

CNW, the ACE Awards title sponsor

Business Wire

CNW Creative


Fifth Story

Freeman Audio Visual Canada

Leger Marketing


McMaster University

The Canadian Press


The Edelman Team with their PR Campaign of the Year Award for Ontario Association of Optometrists: 20-Second Daydreams


The Narrative PR Team with their Creative Campaign of the Year Award for Scotiabank SCENE Fall


For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Charzie Abendanio
Lead, ACE Marketing/Communications
CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Committee


Passport to PR’s Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard Sessions


Group A visits the Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard offices

Battling spring showers and Toronto traffic, we arrived unscathed and (fairly) dry at one of Toronto’s communications hot spots – Bloor Street. We were set to meet and explore three diverse and equally awesome communications and PR organizations: Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard.

We heard it all from the Shaw Media crew


First up on the list, Shaw Media. Right from the start the team had our group laughing and well caffeinated. We learned that a day in the life of a Shaw Media communicator is always varied. From organizing media tours for Chopped Canada’s Brad Smith to establishing their talent as subject matter experts to sending Supergirl capes across the country, Shaw Media communicators are constantly on the move. The team also gave some great advice for any PR and communications student looking for their first internship.

“Be resourceful and people will remember you.” – Jacqui, Senior Publicist for Global

“Volunteer inside of your organization to meet new people and expand your professional network.” – April, Publicity Coordinator for Food Network Canada

As for the golden rule of media relations, Greg, Associate Publicist, told students to be “100 per cent reliable, 100 per cent of the time.”

Paradigm PR gives us a glimpse into agency life

Next up on our route, Paradigm PR, a creative consumer PR agency. After introductions and Timbits we saw a number of client case studies. A favourite was definitely the media relations for Toy “R” Us’ ‘Chief Play Officer’ (every child’s dream job).

Johnathon, an intern turned account coordinator, went on to describe the variety of accounts he gets to work on, and the challenges he faced when transitioning from school to work. Anticipating what’s next in agency life can be difficult, as you’re moving top speed (almost) all the time. He credits attention to detail and meeting last minute requests as a sure way to build great relationships inside and outside your agency.

The Paradigm PR team also stressed the importance of company culture fit. Do your research, ask for informational interviews and find out as much as you can about the dynamic, clients and day-to-day rhythm of the agency. When you know the company culture you’ll know if it’s the right place for you to thrive.

Johnathon’s parting words of wisdom, “Be hungry.”


FleishmanHillard introduces us to the diversity of PR

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FleishmanHillard greeted the group with a number of faces from across different practices and various levels. From associate consultant to senior partner, the presentation was full of interesting insight into FleishmanHillard and the communications industry itself. The unanimous decision from the FleishmanHillard team, agency is the right place to “earn your chops”, build your professional network and gain exposure to many different elements of the industry.

We saw sizzle reels from consumer brands such as Uncle Ben’s Beginners, which leveraged influencer Logan Guleff (MasterChef Junior winner) to get more kids in the kitchen. We also learned about their work with Bayer, a healthcare company, for a completely different take on communications. The campaign was creative in building community around “Hemophilia Champions.” Without direct mention of the brand in any of the communications, it was all about relationship building between stakeholders.

One of the best pieces of advice we learned from FleishmanHillard: take a shot; initiative goes a long way.

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Until next year

Passport to PR was an amazing introduction into the very busy lives of PR and communications professionals. The candid conversations, exposures to real client work and bits of wisdoms from so many talented professionals were extremely valuable. If you get the chance to join a CPRS Passport to PR group, don’t hesitate. It’s a learning experience that you cannot find in any classroom at school.

To see more photos of the event and other locations click here: http://on.fb.me/1YRX3Pa 

Written by Sarah Rogers, Centennial (Story Arts Centre) PR Post-Graduate Certificate Program student and representative on the Student Steering Committee