My work in communications focuses on leading the development of communications plans and activations linked to strategic priorities and brand identity.

I have expertise in leadership communications and media relations, and most recently, I have been developing a portfolio in inclusive communications.

My work in communications for higher education draws on my academic background. Having experienced higher education as a student, instructor, researcher, and staff member, I understand academic culture and how to effectively communicate with stakeholders.

See the sections below for more on my expertise:

Strategic communications

My focus as a strategic communicator is to advance the institution’s strategic priorities through effective communication. This starts with developing an in-depth understanding of top-level vision, values, and purpose, which in a post-secondary organization is often encapsulated in strategic mandate agreements, from the ideas and motivations of senior leadership, and from the institution’s brand.

Based on that understanding, I look to develop communications plans and products that directly support strategic priorities and vision. That may involve high-level publications of planning documents, impact reports, magazines, pamphlets, individual stories, and all the communications products in different mediums that represent the institution to stakeholders and the broader public.

The goal of my work in strategic communications is that all communications convey key messaging and that all the various units and sections within the institution are integrated and communicating in concert.

My current work with the University of Waterloo specifically takes this integrated approach to communications. My team acts as a nexus for communications from all parts of the organization, ensuring that publications and communications products align with institutional priorities.

Leadership communications

My work in leadership communications involves supporting senior leaders in the ways they speak, write, and interact with internal and external stakeholders and with the broader public.

My approach to leadership communication is always about conveying vision. The role of leaders is to set the vision for an organization, and so any opportunity to communicate is an opportunity to convey vision, values, and strategic priorities.

In practical terms, leadership communications involve things like speechwriting, crafting editorials, providing quotations for media, publishing internal newsletters or emails, and any other communications activations leaders may need. 

A particular specialization of mine is working with leaders in a coaching capacity, such as for interviews or even for impromptu occasions when they have an opportunity to speak. A chance meeting or a conversation at a conference is as much an opportunity to communicate as a formal speech. Similarly, the simple turn of phrase leaders use or the way they answer questions can also be important avenues for leadership communications.

Media relations

My background in media relations builds out of my experience as a working journalist. I published news articles, op-eds, and investigative journalism with outlets throughout Canada.

As a communicator in the higher education sector, my work in media relations has often focused on publishing and disseminating press releases, pitching stories to journalists, and media monitoring.

Producing press releases on complex academic subjects and highly technical research poses its own set of problems. I take an approach to knowledge translation and public academia to make research relevant to wider audiences.

Along with getting the message out, my work in media relations also involves monitoring and tracking how stories land and how audiences respond. Media relations and media monitoring are also important to reputation maintenance and issues management, so having a robust system to capture and analyze press coverage is key.

Inclusive communications

In the last couple of years, I have been developing expertise in inclusive communications, specifically with respect to accessibility and disability. Equity, diversity, and inclusion are key priorities for higher education, and inclusive communications play an important role in creating an open and welcoming environment.

I led the development of Waterloo’s Inclusive Communications Guide section on disability, and have been supporting communications and marketing teams to build capacity around inclusive communications.

This side of my work involves reviewing stories, media releases, and other communications and marketing activations that implicate disability and accessibility. I also proactively work with communications teams across campus to inform an organizational understanding of inclusive communications through presentations and transformational leadership.

A further support I offer for inclusive communications is to provide communications guidance to academic and administrative units that focus on accessibility and disability, such as researchers working in those fields or student services and accessibility departments.

Communications for higher education

My work in communications in the higher education sector is helpfully informed by my experience as a researcher and instructor. 

Having this academic experience allows me to connect with student audiences, faculty members, and senior administrators, since I understand academic culture and the way post-secondary institutions function from top to bottom.

Having worked in the classroom also encourages me to prioritize student experience and teaching and learning in communications. Students are in many ways the most important stakeholders for institutions of higher education, and I set out to reflect that in storytelling. 

Along with my practical experience in research and teaching, I study and contribute to the scholarship of communication. I was elected as a scholar with the International Communicology Institute for my work in communications research. I am especially interested in semiotics (the science of sign systems) and in hermeneutics (the science of interpretation).