By: Jamie Gill and Laura Tyrrell
“If you’re an adrenaline junkie you have picked the right field!” For IABC London member Shannon Sasseville, working in communications is fast-paced and unique in that it is both rewarding and challenging. “It almost becomes more of a lifestyle than just a career.”
Sasseville is a member of the senior management team for the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). She is primarily responsible for communications, public affairs, issues management and organizational development.
LHINs plan, integrate and fund local health care, improving access and patient experience. Among many accomplishments, Sasseville proudly supported a team that helped find family doctors and nurse practitioners for over 15,000 people in the region. She also worked with the community and local health care providers to maintain services in a small community emergency department.
Like many communicators, Sasseville is passionate about different areas – too many to choose just one! Her top interests include issues management and crisis communications; the role of communicator in an organization as advisor and strategic council; public engagement, especially during challenges; and, training for presentations and public speaking.
“Work/life balance is important in our field because there will always be more communications work than there is time. You also get to know about many different projects and have your hands touch most of them.”
Being a member of IABC is “like having a virtual community at your fingertips,” says Sasseville. “One of the biggest mistakes people make is underutilizing the resources available. The education sessions and conferences have been key learning enablers for me.”
Sasseville is also deeply committed to volunteer roles in the community. “Too involved my family would say!” She is Vice President of a competitive swimming team called the Chatham Pool Sharks and recently became an on-air personality for the Rotary of Chatham’s new live bingo TV show. Hoping to make a difference, she is also running for local school board trustee.
To students and those beginning their careers, Sasseville encourages them to look at how they cope with change. “Most of my day is spent on the unexpected and unplanned. If you aren’t mentally ready for that, it can be challenging.” What’s the best part? The skills that you learn are transferable to other jobs and careers, even to other areas of your life.