Tag Archives: robin smith

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.

Stand out (!) with a CPRS Toronto Public Relations Student of the Year Leadership Award


By Miranda Germani

It can be tough for students and new grads to stand out from the crowd when looking for that perfect first job. Everyone’s education and work experience tend to be similar, so winning an award can really make you shine.

One person who did just that is Robin Smith, winner of the CPRS Toronto Public Relations Student of the Year Leadership Award at the ACE Awards gala in 2012. Here’s how he used this opportunity to land a role with one of the top agencies in Canada.

“Winning the Student of the Year Leadership Award was a major stepping stone for me. I used my acceptance speech as a ‘pitch’ and advertised myself to the people most likely to make new hires. Before leaving the stage I had received my first business card, and by the end of the night I had met some very important people,” Robin says. This strategy worked, and as Robin went on to explain, “By following up on the contacts I made at the ACE Awards Gala I was able to secure a full-time position with one of the best agencies in Canada, starting my first job after graduating from Seneca College.”

Robin encourages anyone to apply, saying “I think a self-nomination is a great career building move. I knew going into the nomination that it would be a long shot, but the satisfaction and confidence that being recognized brought was a huge reward. If you’re not nominating yourself and you’re giving your colleague the nod, it is a big show of respect for that person. Taking the time to highlight the talents of one of your colleagues is a great way to show that they are appreciated and valued.”

Robin thinks his application stood out to the judges due to a shining reference, with solid volunteer experience sealing the deal.

“Receiving an ACE Award was amazing, totally fantastic. When I got the message from the President of CPRS Toronto it caught me so off guard that I just started laughing. Toronto is one of the most important cities for Canadian PR practitioners, with a large and active community, and being recognized by the group was a huge honour, especially considering how many PR students there are in post-grad programs across the city.”

If you think you or someone else should be recognized, now is your chance to nominate yourself or a deserving peer for the CPRS Toronto Public Relations Student of the Year Leadership Award. And there are no barriers to throwing your hat into the ring – entry is free!

In addition to the CPRS Toronto Public Relations Student of the Year Leadership Award there are also Award categories for Young Public Relations Professional of the Year, Public Relations Professional of the Year, Mentor of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

More information is available on the CPRS Toronto Leadership Awards page. But hurry, the deadline is soon! Nominations must be submitted by February 24, 2013.

The Leadership Awards will be presented at the ACE Awards Gala on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

Your CPRS ACE Award Submission: Round Two!


By Robin Smith

CPRS Toronto’s ACE Award judges have been poring over your submissions these past few weeks, choosing the best of the bunch. Did you make the cut this year?

To help ease the daunting task of building your “big binder” submission, we sat down with David Scholz, Vice President at Leger Marketing and ACE Awards Judging Co-Chair, to ask him some questions. We talked with Dave about the greatest submissions he’s seen, the best way to get on a judge’s good side, and the easiest way to miss the mark altogether!

What separates the good and the great?

“Sometimes it’s about taking that same old campaign, and turning it on its ear,” explains David. For our ACE judges, the best way to stand out is creativity, plain and simple (pun intended). When you are looking through your submission, take a step back and look at your campaign. What made it different? How did you take something old, and make it new?

“Creativity doesn’t come from the submission,” says David, “It comes from the interpretation of the work you’ve done.” In your submission, you need to show the imagination that went into your plan. It’s this ingenuity that will make you a winner!

What makes reviewing a submission easier for you?

Research-Analyze-Communicate-Evaluate—Use RACE properly!

“Sit down with the RACE formula and make sure you’ve answered all aspects of it.” Sound simple? Let’s do a quick review.

Research: Show how you used research to explore the situation, your organization’s relationship to it, and the publics involved.

Analyze: This is the strategic element. Establish what the key issues of your campaign were, and explain your goals, objectives, and key messaging.

Communicate: How did you get your message across? What were the tactics you used to connect with target publics?

Evaluate: Most important, evaluate the execution of your campaign to
show your results! Evaluation is key to proving the effectiveness of your campaign.

The RACE formula is crucial to showing what your objectives were, and how well you achieved them. If the RACE components are easily laid out, it makes the judging process significantly easier for David and the other judges, meaning they spend more time appreciating your campaign, and less time trying to decipher it.

What is one way you see applicants blow the “big binder” submission?

For David, the devil is in the details, specifically your entry category. One of the most damning mistakes that he penalizes for can often be avoided simply by reviewing carefully.

“You may need to do some tweaking and fixing to make sure it is clear why a piece is in a certain category,” says David. Did you enter your social media campaign under “Best Use of Communication Tools”, when really it should be under “Best Digital Communications”? You might be in trouble. Wrongly categorizing your entry can skew the judge’s review of it, so be sure to review the ACE Award guidelines first.

As you can see, making your submission shine is all about going back to the basics of good public relations: be creative, plan carefully, and be detail oriented! Second round submissions are due March 9, so get cracking!