By Jamie Gill and Laura Tyrrell
Networking is the main benefit that Laura Weedling sees in her IABC membership. Upon graduating from Fanshawe College and first starting out in communications, she describes herself as shy, timid and soft spoken. Getting involved with the IABC London network helped her understand how she brings value to the communications field, explaining “that it allowed me to get out of my shell a bit… Ok, a lot!”
Currently, Laura works for London Life as a Marketing Communications Specialist, specializing in online and digital initiatives. “It’s a fabulous role for me since it allows me to combine my two inner archetypes: word-nerd and technology-nerd.”
Laura has been an active IABC member for over six years. During this time, she has also volunteered with IABC London. First sitting on the Virtuoso Awards committee and then joining the chapter’s board as Co-Director for Professional Development. “With that experience I’ve been challenged to push myself. I’ve been able to create some tremendous relationships that have made me be a better professional.”
Laura also takes advantage of the online archive of past IABC London events. These come in handy when she is researching a topic or dealing with particular challenges.
Digital communications is where it’s at for this communicator. “My undergrad was in Mass Communications and I devoured anything I could find about how the simple light bulb changed the way we communicate. Think about it: where would the 24-hour news cycle be if folks couldn’t reliably read after sunset? It’s amazing how that piece of technology, on the surface so separate from our industry, was really a catalyst for modern communications.”
Bringing it back to modern day, Laura looks for conversations about how we as communicators can work with software developers to make digital tools more user-friendly and accessible.
In the community, Laura is involved with Team Tina Run for Ovarian Cancer. Tina was a wonderful, dynamic communicator at London Life who fought a tough battle with ovarian cancer. Every year, her team raises money in her memory through the Run For Ovarian Cancer and other fundraising initiatives. The money raised goes directly toward the Translational Ovarian Cancer Research Program here in London.
What about Laura’s advice for students and future communicators? “You need to be open about what you want and what you’re looking for.” For those looking for that first job, try volunteering so that you can start showing your value to other professionals in the industry. And don’t forget to mention that you’re looking for your next great opportunity. “For me, my best work experiences didn’t start with a resume but with me talking to people and finding out how I could help them.”