Where do you work? What is your role, including responsibilities and projects?
I work at Brescia University College, Canada’s only women’s university and an affiliate of Western University. My role at Brescia is Director, Communications, Marketing & External Relations, and I am responsible for managing our internal and external communications strategy, leading our branding and marketing projects, supporting profile raising and creative institutional storytelling, as well as overseeing our social media content strategy. I am fortunate to work with a small but mighty team of fantastic people.
How long have you been an IABC member?
I have been an IABC member for two years and encourage those considering joining IABC to register.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of being an IABC member? What resources or programs offered by IABC have you engaged in?
One of the benefits of being an IABC member is connecting with others in your field. Over the last year or so, communications professionals have been working around the clock to effectively communicate through the pandemic. It is always great to attend a webinar or have casual conversations with other communicators about the ways they are modifying their strategy, and how you can take tips or ideas from them to make concepts work for your organization or institution. Many of the IABC resources are free with your membership or offered at a very low cost.
What area(s) of communications are you passionate about?
I am passionate about storytelling. Good communicators are efficient storytellers. They write authentically, effectively and with clarity of voice.
Tell us about an important project or achievement from your career.
Last year, Brescia became the first university in Ontario designated as a “Blue Community.” To become a “Blue Community,” Brescia renewed its dedication to environmental sustainability, through a commitment to recognizing access to water as a basic human right and by banning water bottle sales on campus as of September 2021. This was an important announcement and required a united effort between work teams and departments with varying strategies across the university. I worked with the Communications team to develop and lead a strategy of how to best communicate this message to all our unique audiences and stakeholders, to reach them where they were at that moment in time—during the pandemic—while we were operating remotely, and our students were online. We also engaged local community leaders to help share the message broadly across their own networks.
Do you have any advice for those starting out in this field?
Embrace change! Communications is about modifying the best laid plans when they don’t quite turn out as you expected. The pandemic has only amplified the need for flexibility. Our field of work is constantly changing and will require us to be responsive and open to new ways of working.
I would also suggest connecting with colleagues and other communications professionals. I believe collaboration and unique perspectives from our counterparts at other organizations help us think strategically and contribute to our success.
If you had to describe the communications profession in one word, what word would you choose?
How can members connect with you?
Members can find me on LinkedIn or on Twitter (@RheaJohnsonBUC). I look forward to connecting!