Learning is not limited to the classroom

Categories: News

Submitted by Jamie Gill and Laura Tyrrell

Tristan JosephTristan Joseph is the National Media & Communication Officer for The Sunshine Foundation of Canada. Sunshine is a Canadian charity that fulfills dreams for children with severe physical disabilities with the goal of giving them a sense of confidence.

Joseph is responsible for conveying Sunshine’s mission to a diverse audience through a variety of different communication vehicles. Her projects are diverse as well, including communication planning, publication writing and design, and developing relationships with media from across the country. She also supports internal departments by providing assets – anything from a compelling story to a great photo of a child living his or her dream.

“I love writing, planning and most importantly seeing a project succeed,” says Joseph.

Recently, she was proud to work on the media strategy for a girl’s dream to meet Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield. “There were a lot of discussions about what made sense for the girl, Abby, and for Sunshine. My job is to represent and advocate for both.” Joseph worked to implement a plan that respected Abby’s time with Chris Hadfield, and gave her the opportunity to be ‘the star.’ A strategic media plan that leveraged established relationships created meaningful media interviews for Abby. Afterwards, she was being recognized in the community – a small part of her dream ended up making her feel important. “For a shy girl, it gave her the chance to feel confident about her abilities. That’s one of the most rewarding things about my job.”

Joseph became an IABC member as a public relations student, and the benefits started right away. “I was introduced to a network of professionals who were pleased to share their experience and advice.” She was the IABC student representative for her program, giving her the opportunity to coordinate events and use communication skills outside of the classroom.

“Continuing education is one of my priorities as a professional and as an IABC member.” Resources such as courses and online articles contribute to her growing knowledge base. “PR and communications is an industry that changes constantly; so, keeping up-to-date with new techniques, technologies and ideas is vital. IABC gives me that opportunity.”

Working for a non-profit organization by day, Joseph still finds time to give to others. “Volunteering is an important part of who I am.” She is a support volunteer with The National Eczema Society of Canada and an Asthma Ambassador for The Asthma Society of Canada.

“Learning is not limited to the classroom,” explains Joseph. Throughout her post-secondary education, she spent time learning new skills and then volunteering anywhere she could to develop those skills. In any position, she made opportunities to use communication skills.

“I started off in the film industry in Toronto, and the most important things I learned were to make great coffee and ask questions. What that means to me years later is that you should show people you are open to different opportunities, especially when you’re starting out. When you don’t know something, ask. These are lessons I still think about now.”

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