Where do you work? What is your role, including responsibilities and projects?
I work for 3M Canada, whose corporate head office is located here in the Forest City. I’m currently the Manager of Digital Content and Social Media, leading the development of content including videos, blogs and digital content for our 3M Science Centre website and social channels.
Here, you’ll find stories like building a Canadian manufacturing plant to supply N95 respirators to Canadian healthcare workers during the pandemic, to how we’re forging new partnerships to improve equity in STEM education for underserved Canadians. Using the power of science to improve lives is what 3M is all about and it’s an incredible opportunity to get to help tell our brand story.
I have just moved into this role in the past few months. Previously, I was leading employee communications which was a huge challenge during the constantly shifting nature of the pandemic. Probably one of the most challenging periods of my career. Luckily, I had great communicators to share that challenge with – our Brand Reputation Manager, Melissa Jurenas, and 3M Canada President, Penny Wise, who was a nominee for IABC London’s Communications Champion Award. We made a great team and we are all proud of how we managed the crisis. Through every twist and turn, we made sure our employees knew 3M was prioritizing their health and safety, including their mental health and well-being.
How long have you been an IABC member?
I have been an IABC member for six years, since I moved into the communications field from broadcast journalism.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of being an IABC member? What resources or programs offered by IABC have you engaged in?
Previously, when we were able to gather in-person, I really enjoyed attending local panel discussions. I love hearing stories about the challenges and initiatives of other communicators, especially across different sectors. It’s a great way to absorb and learn vicariously.
This year, I had the chance to virtually attend the IABC World Conference, which I actually preferred to the live, in-person experience. The virtual format allowed me to listen in on (many!) more sessions than I would have normally when you’re at a conference centre navigating your way through the hallways to make it to the next speaker in time.
It was just so convenient being able to sit at home and choose to listen to any speaker or topic, on demand. I was able to pause and go back to listen to a point again, or shut it down when my brain had absorbed all it could, and come back to it later.
I believe I got more value out of this year’s World Conference than any other.
What area(s) of communications are you passionate about?
Clear communication. Keeping it simple.
Are you involved in volunteer work or other roles in the community?
In my role at 3M, I have the opportunity to work on communications for 3Mgives, which is our corporate giving platform. We are active in the community with United Way and Salvation Army initiatives, both raising funds and actively contributing to helping support local agencies.
My favourite has been working at the distribution of the Salvation Army Toy Drive and Hamper program. We spend a day helping people load food hampers and gifts for their children into their vehicles. The long lineups outside of the Western Fair during these pick-up days and knowing how many people are struggling out there is sad, but when you have a chance to talk to the people for a few minutes while you’re helping them – their positivity and gratitude makes you feel so good. It’s a humbling experience.
I’m also involved with Immploy as a mentor to new Canadians who are navigating their job search and starting out their professional careers. Immploy is great with pairing you up with someone with common interests and profession/skill set. It’s an incredible program and I feel like I learn just as much from my mentee as they do from me. They are always looking for mentors and I would highly recommend the program. Very little time commitment but maximum impact in terms of helping make the connections between immigrant talent and local employers.
Do you have any advice for those starting out in this field?
Be patient, work hard and build relationships. I think especially in today’s world of instant gratification and short attention spans, it can be difficult to spend multiple years in a role and be satisfied with where you are in the present moment. I believe the power of compounding is not just a financial concept. The more time and effort we invest in building our knowledge and relationships, this has a compounding effect with skill and social capital.
Know that your career is a long game and it will likely take you places you never intended. The job I’m doing now (Digital Content Manager) didn’t even exist when I was in college. Wow, that sounded old!
Always be open to learning and keep up with evolving trends, even if they don’t appeal to you.
If you had to describe the communications profession in one word, what word would you choose?
We must always be thinking, strategizing, writing, editing, and refining our work. Every. Single. Day.
Even when I’m off the clock, I still find myself replaying and planning the next event, article, social post. Some of my best ideas come to me on a run, in the shower, or randomly at 3 a.m.
How can members connect with you?