Tag Archives: Recap

October 24 Event Recap – The PR entrepreneur: Best Practices for Independent Consultants and Boutique Agencies


Kathleen Hansma is a strategic communicator and passionate publicist with an entrepreneurial spirit. Her areas of expertise are in entertainment (film and television) and lifestyle brands. She can be contacted on LinkedIn  or @kathleenhansma on Twitter and Instagram.


OCTOBER 24, 2017 –
By Kathleen Hansma

As a freelance publicist who has contemplated opening my own PR firm, I was eager to attend the October 24th CPRS event that focused on the best practices for independent consultants and boutique agencies. And from the large crowd that ventured through the brisk windy weather to attend, I could see that I was among like-minded individuals.

The selected panellists offered a wide range of perspectives with varying areas of expertise. The panel consisted of Mark LaVigne (President, Hunter LaVigne Communications), Sean Beckingham (President, Branding & Buzzing), Eric Bergman (President, Bergman & Associates) and Priya Chopra (President, 1Milk2SugarsPR Inc.).

To start the conversation, moderator Martin Waxman who is President of Martin Waxman Communications and a LinkedIn Learning Author, asked the panellists what is the biggest shock in starting their own business and becoming an entrepreneur. The top answers to come out of the discussion were that it takes a long time, technical ability alone is not enough, you can’t keep every client forever and that it is imperative that you stay current during constant change. Priya Chopra said that the last two years have been the ones with the most change out of her twelve years in the industry.

From an operational standpoint, the top tips offered for those emerging entrepreneurs were to get a mentor, have a good quality computer and internet plan, a sharp suit, reliable transportation and have staffing in place for when last minute opportunities come up. Start developing a team of people you can work with and lean on to continue growth. However, make sure that the project is a good fit for you. Take into consideration the potential clients budget and approximate hours it will take to accomplish. Do the math, is it worth it? From Eric Bergman, our accounting advocate, the advice was to ensure you are living within your means; pay CRA, then you and then invest.

The common theme throughout the night was that passion must be your driving force; know what you want to do and then get really good at it. Continue to have conversations with people and verify that there is a market for the service you are providing. And while you are out there socializing, have a life! Don’t focus solely on your company, have hobbies or something that offers a reprieve from what can be an all-encompassing project.

Now if this conversation didn’t scare you away and you’re still contemplating opening your own firm, think of the rocking chair test. When you are 80 years old and in that rocking chair will you look back and think ‘I wish I would have taken that leap’?

As for me, I’m taking the leap.

The Future of Public Relations


This post was written by CPRS Toronto’s Director of Education, Heath Applebaum, ABC. Heath is the President of Echo Communications and a professor at University of Guelph-Humber, teaching strategic communications. 

On August 15, I had the distinct pleasure of moderating the inaugural Future of PR event, where an all-star panel of corporate, agency and academic thought leaders gazed into a crystal ball to scrutinize where the profession is headed.

Panelists included Dave Haggith, Senior Director of Communications at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Daniel Tisch, President, Argyle Public Relationships, Barry Waite, Academic Chair of Communications at Centennial College, and Anne Marie Males, PR Professor and Coordinator for the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Humber College.

Together we examined a broad range of important themes impacting professionals, educators and students across Canada, including the seven megatrends impacting our industry that were identified in the recent CPRS white paper, The Elevation of Public Relations. These trends include the rising business value of reputation, the empowered audience, content shock, many speak, few listen, fake news and the decline of journalism, a gap in wealth and trust, and artificial intelligence.

The panel engaged in a captivating dialogue with a packed crowd at the Pilot Tavern in downtown Toronto with conversations flowing for hours after the formal event had concluded.


Several key ideas emerged from discussions flowing from the changing media and business landscape in Canada. Living in an era of digital transparency, relationships have become more essential than ever for building, protecting and managing organizational reputation.

In a world where information and misinformation spreads globally with the click of a mouse, public relations professionals have an unprecedented opportunity to earn leadership roles that transcend communication, truly inform and influence business strategy and outcomes.

With the emergence of fake news and unfortunate decline of journalism, panelists emphasized the need for our profession to play an even greater role in safeguarding accurate and ethical communications.

A growing concern is that the reputations of people, companies and brands have never been more vulnerable to attack. Communicators must invest more resources towards listening, engaging stakeholders and anticipating issues, and establish rapid-response capabilities.  The former 24-hour news cycle we once knew, has accelerated into more of a 24-second Twitter news cycle that is requiring our industry to consider new strategies and for organizations to become nimbler than ever.

Ultimately, with new technologies constantly emerging and predictive analytics bound to take on a greater role in our world, to stay ahead of the curve, practitioners will have to embrace lifelong learning.  Only then can we truly learn from the past, live in the present and prepare for the future.