Maureen’s passions include communication, IABC, serving local community organizations as an employee and volunteer, and working to preserve London’s heritage. Her connection with IABC has lasted more than a quarter century, including serving as Chapter President. Maureen’s impressive career path includes working for Jesse’s Journey, The City of London, Western University, Pillar Nonprofit Network, and Fanshawe College.
- Where do you work? What is your role, including responsibilities and projects?
Following an active, fulltime communications career, where I was privileged to serve in many key roles and community projects across the private, public and nonprofit sectors, I happily transitioned to semi-retirement in 2015. Since then, I have been stimulating my creativity as writer-editor for a monthly community magazine called Neighbours of Riverbend highlighting the amazing people and stories found in the west end of London.
I also fulfill a part-time role as a writer-in-residence at Fanshawe College, with a specific portfolio liaising with its Centre for Research and Innovation. I am thoroughly enjoying this responsibility to research, write and share good news stories showcasing the innovative ways Fanshawe is collaborating and partnering with a network of community stakeholders, including Innovation Works – London’s amazing new downtown shared space.
Having previously served as Community Collaboration program manager with Pillar Nonprofit Network, when we worked to rally the community to dream of a social innovation shared space, it is now gratifying to be a bridge between Fanshawe, as an Innovation Works tenant, and my former Pillar team.
- How long have you been an IABC member?
IABC has been a mainstay throughout my communications career. Overall, I have been a member for more than 25 years, but those years are not continuous.
- In your opinion, what are the benefits of being an IABC member? What resources offered by IABC have you taken advantage of?
My dynamic communications path has provided diverse opportunities to work in business settings, government offices, educational institutions, and three wonderful London charities – Sunshine Foundation, Jesse’s Journey and Pillar Nonprofit Network. In every role, I credit my IABC training, experience and network for enhancing my potential to grow and succeed.
As an IABC member, I embraced many ways to be a part of this great international professional development organization. As a result, I was able to collaborate with some of the best and brightest communicators near and far, while learning and leading in various ways.
In addition to fulfilling several portfolios on the local IABC executive, I was honoured to serve as IABC London Chapter President in 2004-2005, and as Co-Chair for the first-ever IABC Great Lakes Regional Conference. This gathering drew delegates from Detroit, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and St. Catharines to the Forest City for a jam-packed weekend of networking, learning and fun.
At the national level, I was proud to represent London as a senior delegate and active director of IABC Canada District 2 for two years. Internationally, it was exciting to participate in two IABC North American leadership conferences and an international conference.
Through my experience with IABC, I made some lifelong friends and also earned my ABC accreditation.
4) What area(s) of communications are you passionate about?
To me, communications is the lifeblood of all things, whether in relationships with family or with colleagues at work, across communities and around the world. It is our means of understanding each other, sharing ideas and solving problems.
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with many amazing people who want to “change the world” in some way, through a variety of community-based initiatives. My greatest fulfillment comes from playing a part in bringing collaborators from the private, public and nonprofit sectors together in innovative ways to address big issues, and help to make our great city even better.
5) Tell us about an important project or achievement from your career.
How exciting it is to be part of Innovation Works – London’s new downtown shared space! This high-energy, social innovation centre is the dream of hundreds of Londoners who have worked together for several years to make this dream a reality!
I am one of those dreamers and was pleased to serve in the pivotal team role of Community Collaboration program manager with Pillar Nonprofit Network, as we laid the groundwork for Innovation Works during my three years implementing Pillar’s Collaborating for Community Impact program funded by the Province.
6) Are you involved in volunteer work or other roles in the community?
One of my passions is to ensure the future of London’s history and heritage. With this goal in mind, five years ago I applied to serve on the inaugural board of directors stewarding governance of London’s oldest home, Eldon House.
In doing so, I was privileged to serve as this new municipal service board’s first Chair, as we worked together to create staff support, strategic direction, terms of reference, policies and procedures, partnership opportunities, community outreach and public and educational programming.
Following four years at the helm, I was delighted to pass the baton to my successor, new chair Jennifer Jolliffe at our 2015 annual general meeting. Knowing we have established a strong foundation for London’s heritage gem, I now continue to provide leadership and support as past chair of Eldon House. If you haven’t visited this wonderful time capsule yet, please consider a visit soon.
7) Do you have any advice for students, future communicators or those
starting out in this field?
Volunteer! Whatever your passion, find a favourite charity or nonprofit and offer to help the team with communications, media relations or special event planning. These organizations are always under-resourced with tiny budgets, and any one of them would welcome your donated time and talent.
Volunteering also provides a chance to hone your skills in various ways. Then, once you agree to be part of the team – always fulfill your promises, as the charity will depend on your volunteer work. If you are true to your word, the charity will also likely provide a wonderful reference, when it comes time to do a job search.
8) What do you like the best about your profession?
The best part of our profession is belonging to a dynamic group of people who truly are changing the world through communications, and sharing my time and talent to further these many meaningful community initiatives.
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