Where do you work? What is your role, including responsibilities and projects?
As the Manager, Communications & Media Relations, King’s University College, I lead a small, vibrant team of two staff plus myself. We also have two student employees, and interns from Fanshawe College and Western University. I also work closely with external contractors for photography, videography, graphic design and printing.
In my role I oversee internal and external communications with an emphasis on the recruitment and retention of students through a variety of communications strategies/tools that build relationships including: social media, digital, events, publications, and leadership communications. I have a special interest in social/digital integration, secondary use of social media and videography.
Additionally, I’m responsible for crisis communications, reputation management and community relations communications. I am a participant on the strategic planning committee for the university and I am part of the Sr. Administration Team providing support to the Principal Group.
I am also a graduate student, completing a Master of Communication Management degree (MCM candidate 2018) at McMaster/Syracuse universities.
In my spare time I am a writer for eatdrink magazine, specializing in culinary travel, spirits and theatre. My husband and I enjoy hitting the road for eatdrink magazine, unearthing stories about everything from lobster in Nova Scotia to wine in California. My most memorable story for the magazine was prior to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when my son Kevin and I went skiing with Nancy Greene in Sun Peaks, BC while doing a story on the culinary scene at ski resorts. As a former CBC Sports reporter (radio), and a life-long skier, it was amazing to share that experience with my son who is an avid snowboarder.
How long have you been an IABC member?
Most recently for three or four years. I was previously a member earlier in my career. I also belong to the Canadian Public Relations Society (Hamilton).
In your opinion, what are the benefits of being an IABC member? What resources offered by IABC have you taken advantage of?
Being part of a small shop, it is vital to be connected with other communications professionals. When I am at IABC events I feel that I am “with my people” which is not only validating but energizing. I enjoy attending professional development seminars. Most recently I attended the IABC Western Canada conference in Kelowna, BC, which was full of great content and networking opportunities.
What area(s) of communications are you passionate about?
I am passionate about leadership communications via digital technologies. It is intriguing to see how a leader can humanize the brand via communications. I also thrive in crisis communications situations. This may be a result of my years as a television and radio reporter. I enjoy being in sharp-focused situations. This is where social media communications shines and I enjoy being part of an energized team producing intelligent, helpful content under pressure.
Tell us about an important project or achievement from your career.
After I left Global TV, I embarked on a personally satisfying writing project called How Did You Get Here? which was a weekly newspaper column telling the story of immigration to London. It ran for five years during which time I had the privilege to meet hundreds of new Londoners with amazing stories of courage, optimism, and struggle. It led me to work with non-profit agencies and I was also named to the Mayor’s New Year’s Honour List for promotion of diversity and race relations in London. As the granddaughter of a Ukrainian immigrant, this project had deep meaning for me. I am still friends with some of the people I wrote about. Some of the articles were used by teachers and by the City. This was a very satisfying transition from journalism to communications for me. I carry the story-telling practice with me today. In the end it is all about relating and being relevant to each other on an individual level.
Are you involved in volunteer work or other roles in the community?
I am on the Board of Directors of Boler Mountain. Skiing is a life-long hobby and passion for myself and my family. I am a past-president of the Optimist Club of Middlesex-London. I enjoy helping others in the community with fund development at a local level and making a difference for youth. London was a great place to raise my children and I want to give back to continue that legacy.
Do you have any advice for students, future communicators or those starting out in this field?
At King’s I have enjoyed working with dozens of interns and work-study students. Many of them are now in the communications profession. I encourage them to attend IABC events, network, volunteer and develop a wide range of skills. They will tell you that I harp on them to build a diverse portfolio. It is vital to have curiosity, be a self-starter and to have the confidence to ask, listen, act and then evaluate. Above all, be a great writer. Everything else can be learned. I am also a Twitter addict – even though it is on the decline – Twitter is a great source of community connection and news. I encourage those starting out to get on Twitter, to which many roll their eyes, but I still encourage them to be there.
What do you like the best about your profession?
Communications and public relations is gaining respect as a valued aspect of leadership teams. As a profession, we are showing and proving our value to build relationships with measurable outcomes for our organizations. It’s all about relationships that lead to positive outcomes for both parties. When that clicks, I love my career. What is really satisfying is when digital/social leads to face-to-face meetings where positive change results. I believe in creating a virtual open door that leads to human interaction.
If you are interested, IABC London can include a link to your Twitter and/or LinkedIn profile so that other members may connect with you on social media.
Your Twitter handle: @keego1 (some people wonder about that handle – it is the name of a lake in Northwestern Ontario, and a CNR section-siding, where my father was raised. He named his company after it and then I took on the handle after he passed away. My family, friends, and I return to the lakes near Keego every summer. If you’re ever driving from Thunder Bay to Atikokan give me a call!
Link to your LinkedIn profile: linkedin.com/in/jane-antoniak-5073719