Earlier this year, Fred DeVries from Western University received two Virtuoso Awards. Based on that success, he submitted entries to the Silver Leaf Awards, the awards program from IABC Canada. This fall, he earned two Silver Leaf Awards – an Award of Excellence for writing and an Award of Merit for publications. We met up with Fred recently to learn what these awards mean to his career.
Q. Congratulations on your awards. Why did you submit entries to the Silver Leaf Awards?
A. Prior to this year, I had never submitted an entry to either the Virtuoso or Silver Leaf Awards. After working for many years with organizations in B.C. and Ontario, I wanted to learn how to improve my work based on peer review. So I prepared the entries to see how fellow communicators would evaluate the strategic thinking, the planning and the creativity of my work at Western. My entries focused on the 2013 editions of Impact Western, a publication aimed at informing and thanking major donors for their gifts to the university.
Q. What kind of feedback did you receive?
A. The evaluators for the Virtuoso Awards offered great insights about elaborating on the business need, objectives and challenges of producing Impact Western. They also affirmed the tactical solution and creativity I brought to the project, while also asking questions about the evaluation and results. What they provided has been helpful as I apply their feedback to improving my current work.
I took the questions and recommendations of the Virtuoso judges into account – as well as feedback from two IABC London colleagues – as I revised the entries for the IABC Canada awards program. The Silver Leaf evaluators provided a great perspective on my work, suggesting clarification on some aspects of the audience research, and elaboration on the tactics, objectives and outcomes. All of their critical comments offered constructive and practical advice I can use for my ongoing projects.
Q. What have you gained through these Virtuoso and Silver Leaf Awards?
A. I know it can be cliché to say, but I’m a bit shocked – and honoured – to have received these awards. To earn them after a rigorous judging process of my peers is an amazing affirmation and an incredible encouragement of the work I’ve been able to accomplish at Western.
Q. What do the awards benefit Western?
A. They say that Western has an exceptional team of communicators. Being recognized on the national stage by IABC Canada shows what can be done when a team of creative professionals work together on strategic communication pieces that matter. Everyone involved with Impact Western – from designers to fundraisers, donor relations experts to editors – made it an award-winning project.
Links to the online versions of the winning entry – Impact Western: