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News

Dr. Christopher Mackie of Middlesex-London Health Unit receives IABC London Outstanding Communicator Award

Categories: News

Dr. Christopher Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of Middlesex-London Health Unit, was recognized with IABC London’s Outstanding Communicator Award at last night’s Ruby Jubilee, celebrating 40 years of the local chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

The Outstanding Communicator Award is the most prestigious recognition offered by IABC London. The award is presented to a leader who exemplifies excellence in communications and demonstrates strong commitment to the profession. Dr. Mackie was honoured for his leadership at Middlesex-London Health Unit and his use of communication in addressing the local opioid crisis.

Photo Credit: Anthea Rowe

“Outstanding communication is about really knowing yourself, being able to present your facts and story in an authentic way, and also understanding your audience and how to reach them,” said Dr. Mackie. “I’m so grateful to IABC London and to my team for nominating me. This is a real honour.”

Dr. Mackie has been one of the clearest voices and strongest advocates involved in the opioid crisis. His honesty, compassion and understanding have been hallmarks of his message whenever he speaks to audiences, including media, health professionals and the larger public. Examples of his outstanding communication include announcing the location and opening of Ontario’s first Temporary Overdose Prevention Site (TOPS), hosting a memorial to 400 lives lost to the local opioid crisis and timely communication related to funding and operations.

“It’s been important in the opioid crisis to show our community that those affected are people just like them and their children,” explained Dr. Mackie. “Highlighting the human side of those stories helps the whole community to understand the issue and actions needed to solve it.”

In addition to public communication and outreach, Dr. Mackie practices outstanding communication in a number of other ways. Examples include:

  • Transparent internal communication: Dr. Mackie has implemented a number of practices to ensure transparent and timely internal communications at Middlesex-London Health Unit.
    • He has created a standing agenda item for every senior leadership meeting that identifies any update needing to be communicated to the larger organization.
    • He sends an email to all staff members after each Board of Health meeting to update them on what was discussed.
    • He also supported the development of “town hall” style meetings where information about strategic initiatives, program and service updates, and other key information is shared directly with staff.
  • Support for Indigenous communities: Dr. Mackie has taken a strong leadership role on matters related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. He has created opportunities for staff to take Indigenous Cultural Safety Training and to liaise with local Indigenous communities and leaders for meaningful experiences (e.g. participation in KAIROS’ ‘Blanket Exercise’ and visits to Atlohsa’s ‘See Me’ exhibit).
  • Participation in community organizations: Dr. Mackie has used his communication skills to support local community organizations and awareness events including United Way Elgin Middlesex and Shine the Light. He was also co-chair for the Mayor’s Advisory Panel to End Poverty.

“IABC London is honoured to award Dr. Mackie with this highest honour because he lives up to our association’s mantra of demonstrating how communication can be a force for good in business and society,” said Andrew Kaszowski, President, IABC London. “He has constantly gone beyond the call of duty and used the power of communication to inspire us to care about those who are marginalized, shining a light on one of the most important issues of our time.”

IABC London announced Dr. Mackie’s award at the Ruby Jubilee, the professional association’s 40th anniversary celebration. More than 160 communicators and business leaders gathered at Brookside Banquet Centre to celebrate the chapter’s strong history of impact and inspiration in the corporate communications and public relations profession, and to learn the winner of the 2019 Outstanding Communicator Award.

Amanda Fickling, Vice-President, Marketing and Communications at Canada Life, was also named as a 2019 Outstanding Communicator Award finalist for exceptional leadership at her organization and in the communications field.

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About IABC London

IABC London is a local chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, a global professional association for practitioners of corporate communications. Founded in October 1979, the chapter is a community of London-area business communicators who practice in private, public and non-profit organizations in functions ranging from media relations and PR to employee communications and donor relations. IABC London supports local communicators in developing skills, making connections and growing their careers. And IABC London works to elevate the communication profession locally. https://london.iabc.com/

About the IABC London Outstanding Communicator Award

The IABC London Outstanding Communicator Award recognizes a leader who exemplifies excellence in communications and demonstrates commitment to the communication profession. A panel of senior communicators assesses nominees using the following criteria:

  • Use of communications that achieved business results;
  • Advancement of the communications profession;
  • Demonstrated leadership inside or outside their organization; and
  • Commitment to ethical practices, as outlined in IABC’s Code of Ethics.

For more information, please contact:
Andrew Kaszowski
President, IABC London
519-520-9497
iabclondonpresident@gmail.com   

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