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CPRS Vancouver Report to Members 2020 – 2021

President's Message

When I stepped into my presidency last June, I knew that we would certainly have a challenging year ahead of us. But looking back, I am so proud of our board of directors who despite the ongoing struggles we’ve all faced this year, both professionally and personally, have committed themselves to ensure that our members continue to see the benefits of belonging to the CPRS Vancouver family. A global pandemic certainly didn’t hold us back from achieving the goals set out in our annual strategic planning sessions.

Focus #1: Engage our student members

As the future of our profession, engaging students is important to CPRS Vancouver; however, they have not historically been a large percentage of our membership. Thanks to the leadership of our Students and Education Director, Alexandra Skinner, we brought on two new student board directors: Quinn Frankel and Ruth Baldiconza to help engage Vancouver PR and Communications students to deliver programming meaningful to them. They planned two student-focused events and continue to look for new ways to share the value of a CPRS Vancouver membership with new practitioners.

Focus #2: Launch a local awards program

Vancouver has plenty of talent and it’s time we recognize it! It has been many years since CPRS Vancouver had it’s own awards program and what better way to resurrect it than during a pandemic to highlight the value that we, as communications professionals, bring to our organizations.

Thanks to the project team led by Rashpal Rai, APR and Bev Pausche, APR, we successfully launched the PRestige Awards and look forward to announcing the inaugural prizes this year.

Focus #3: Highlight member benefits

For many of us, the value of connection has remained constant throughout this pandemic. And while we may not have been able to gather in person at networking events, we certainly wanted to give our members a way to continue to connect with colleagues. In September 2020, the board made a decision to offer all our virtual professional development events to our members free of charge. Even better—members from across the country were also encouraged to attend! This not only gave CPRS Vancouver members the opportunity to connect and learn from others locally, but broaden their networks across Canada.

Focus #4: Promote the value of the APR

In 2019, I earned my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from CPRS. It was one of the most valuable experiences of my career and as a board, we wanted to ensure other members understood the value the designation could bring and how they could access support through our Accreditation chairs at CPRS Vancouver. Thanks to a successful virtual information session led by co-directors Scott Jackson, APR, and Patricia McNeil, we received a record-number of interested members for this year’s program intake.

Looking ahead

As our programming year ends, I’d like to extend thanks and appreciation to all of our members. Thank you for sticking by as we adapted and for continuing to be the community we all need and rely on. It has been a pleasure serving as your President and I look forward to the day (hopefully in the not-so-distant future) where we can celebrate all of our wins and accomplishments—in person!

Until then, keep on keeping on. I know the days are long, our brains are tired, and we’re all in need of a much needed holiday after a year of flexing our crisis communications muscles. But we’re almost at the finish line! Stay healthy, stay safe, until we can meet again.

-Tanya Colledge, APR, President CPRS Vancouver

About CPRS Vancouver

Founded in 1959, CPRS Vancouver is a networking and professional development organization serving public relations and communications practitioners in British Columbia, with a specific focus on Metro Vancouver. Our membership is diverse and ranges from senior practitioners and public relations executives to students and newcomers to the profession.

The Canadian Public Relations Society Vancouver chapter exists to support public relations professionals in the Lower Mainland by fostering professional growth and career goals. We do this by:

  • Promoting high professional standards and encouraging our members to earn their Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).
  • Adding value to the membership experience by offering accreditation support, mentorship programs, networking events, speaker series, and professional development for all levels.
  • Striving to advance professional stature of public relations in Canada through the cooperation with other regional Member Societies and with like-minded organizations in other countries.
  • Serving the public interest by upholding a code of professional standards and advocating for ethics in the industry.
  • Encouraging student professional development by working closely with local PR programs at colleges and universities throughout Metro Vancouver to support entry to the profession.
  • Providing opportunities to connect with other practitioners in this exciting, evolving field.
Some of our favourite areas of Vancouver

Sponsorship profile: Ballistic Arts Media Studios Inc.

We are so fortunate to have members who are dedicated to giving back to our industry and our profession. When Ted Lau, CEO of Ballistic Arts reached out expressing interest in a sponsorship with CPRS Vancouver, we were thrilled! Thanks to their expertise, we developed a brand for the PRestige Awards, hosted two digital marketing lunch n' learn sessions, and developed templates to support event promotion. We look forward to continuing our work with Ted and his team in the coming year.

If you're interested in sponsorship opportunities with CPRS Vancouver, visit our website.

About Ballistic Arts

Ballistic Arts is a high-touch digital marketing agency that focuses on growing sales leads for B2B, professional service providers, e-commerce and trade associations. They act as their clients’ marketing department with full divisions in:

  • Lead generation digital marketing
  • Video production
  • Graphic design
  • Web design & development

They provide effective ROI for businesses that want to raise brand awareness and garner tangible leads for their business growth. Their pro-active high touch service combines innovative creative storytelling with leading-edge data analytics that has increased clients’ sales leads by up to 500% and beat industry-standard ad buys by anywhere from 30-80%. Contact them today to see how they can reach the audience you need!

Meet your CPRS Vancouver Board

CPRS Vancouver Directors are leaders in their profession and industry. They volunteer their time and expertise to ensure CPRS Vancouver is well run and serves its members, delivering high-quality programming and services.

Tanya Colledge, APR

President, CPRS Vancouver Chapter

Current Gig: Communications Leader, Vancouver Coastal Health

Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me... Clear communications is always the right approach. While this is important in everything we do, it is especially true during a crisis. This past year we’ve seen examples of when messaging was not clear—when it created more confusion and questions; and examples of when it has been done right. When communication is clear, fact-based, and uses plain language, it not only reassures your audiences that you’re being transparent, but helps your messages be understood. It helps create trust and positions your organization as a source of truth.

Amanda Munro

Vice President, CPRS Vancouver

Current Gig: Partner, Munro Thompson Communciations

Connect with me: Twitter

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me… even the best laid plans can be completely interrupted or ruined by crises you never imagined possible (or planned for). However, with a strong strategy and the right team you truly can get through anything the world throws at you. Moreover, you'll always find a way - or even better, a new way - to reach your goals. We are all more resilient than we think!

Hosea Cheung 張梓豪

Treasurer

Current Gig: Internal Co-Founder and Principal, Spotlight West Communications

Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me… the importance of community. Without an ability to physically see others or to keep ourselves busy with work events, this past year has show how much we need to connect with people — and from a PR perspective — to highlight the human side of brands and stories.

Treasurer's Report

The CPRS-Vancouver 2020-21 fiscal year saw the Board face an unexpected year navigating the pandemic, resulting in directional change and a lack of in-person events that resulted in lower budget expectations — which were finalized prior to the start of the pandemic. Overall, the Chapter saw a negative net income of $8,226, finishing the year with total assets of $32,462.

Revenue

Our total revenues for the year was $23,407, a decrease of $27,876 over the previous year and reached 37% of budget expectations.

Key portfolios that generated revenue include:

  • Job Registry with $12,495
  • Memberships with $9,893
  • Workshops - Jr. to Mid and cPRsips with $377
  • Speakers series with $345

Expenses

Expenses also decreased significantly as compared to the budget, with five portfolios contributing to the main expenses. Total expenses for the year were $31,632, a decrease of $54,369 from the previous year and 51% of budget expectations.

Key portfolios with expenses include:

  • Board expenses with $5,310
  • Management Services with $14,779 — which is 81% of budget expectations
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping with $2,533
  • Student Scholarships with $2,000
  • Communications with $3,600

Justine Sanford

Director, Operations

Current Gig: Internal Communications Specialist

Connect with me: LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me… the value of appreciation and recognition. During the early days of the pandemic, we saw an incredible outpour of support for healthcare workers – be it through neighbourhood evening clapping sessions or brands shifting their messaging away from their typical self-promotion to adverts with words of encouragement and gratitude. Organizations have had to adapt quickly to government health orders, meaning extra work for their staff; service industry workers are putting themselves at risk every day to ensure businesses stay open so we have groceries and haircuts. Thank you goes a long way!

Robin Cook Bondy, APR

Member at Large

Current Gig: Faculty, Public Relations and Applied Communications, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Connect with me: LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me… that in times of crisis and chaos there is an opportunity for people to rise to the occasion in ways that they couldn’t in times of normal. Crisis can fuel illumination, innovation and creativity.

Bev Pausche, APR

Member at Large

Current Gig: West Vancouver School District (on leave)

Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me...patience. It’s also reminded me to make the most of every moment and to cherish those we love.

Patricia MacNeil, APR

Director of Accreditation

Current Gig: Director, Communications, Vancouver School Board

Scott Jackson, APR

Director of Accreditation

Current Gig: Manager, Communications, Co-Operative Housing Federation of Canada

Accreditation Report

It’s been up and down (or more accurately down then up, in terms of enrollment) for the APR accreditation program during this very challenging year; progress as shown in Fig. 1:

In 2020, like many others, the APR study group pivoted from live group sessions completely to zoom for a small group of students. We also hosted one of the dozen national APR study sessions at the request of national office. In November, at the support of the Vancouver chapter President, we hosted an orientation session to encourage potential candidates to commit to undertaking the APR program in 2021, which thankfully resulted in a much improved enrollment of five local candidates who are all now involved in the study group sessions.

Sessions have continued to focus on:

  • Writing work samples and work-sample overviews
  • Familiarity with the APR process and curriculum
  • Review and feedback on candidates’ work-sample drafts
  • Study tips, reviews and individual consults
  • Written- and oral-exam practice
  • Discussions of current events, strategic analysis and workplace decisions

Constructive feedback encouraging growth is key to these sessions. Tightening up written work samples, with precise, concise writing with a strong focus on RACE (research, analysis, communications and evaluation) encourages candidates’ development in pursuance of accreditation. Sessions also strengthen awareness of the CPRS code of conduct promoting high ethical standards for decision-making in today’s workplace.

Throughout our three-year term, we’ve benefitted from a very strong involvement of past APR graduates as guest speakers at the study sessions. A big thanks to all of those who volunteered to share their experiences and study strategies!

As we look to close out our term, we have been involved with the incoming new APR co-chairs, Caeli Murray and Robin Cook Bondy. A smooth transition is expected in the coming weeks.

We have been very happy to lead the APR portfolio for these three years. It’s been a wonderful learning and networking experience for us to have met the many great candidates and folks who help deliver this truly valuable accreditation program. As we depart the portfolio, we extend our best wishes to the incoming co-chairs, the Board and the 2021-22 AP candidates. May all your endeavors be successful and fulfilling!

Sarah Thomas

Director, Communications

Current Gig: Manager of Indigenous and Coastal Communities Relations, Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping

Connect with me: LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me… Building relationships in a pandemic takes time, and commitment. Just as you would connect face to face it is important to remember how body language and eye contact is important when communicating virtually.

Communications Report

The 2020-2021 year for CPRS Vancouver communications team was a busy one but we managed to come out on top of this pandemic as a team as we focused on providing meaningful and engaging content for our CPRS members to read on all our social media channels and through our blog posts. The team continued to adapt to the new rules of the pandemic as they arose and shared content that was relevant to working in PR during a pandemic. Some shared personal stories of their experiences through blog posts and others connected the members to important information for the PR world.

A big thank you to the volunteers who created content for our website, social media channels, blog posts and newsletter. These stories helped CPRS Vancouver connect to our members virtually by sharing news and information.

We are always looking for volunteers to add to our amazing and talented team, to help with social media managers, content writing, and digital marketing, so if this sounds like something you would be interested in being a part of, please reach out to see how you can become a volunteer.

Quick Stats

  • Twitter – @CPRSVancouver: 4100+ followers
  • Newsletter – 15+ newsletters and special announcements
  • Facebook – 700+ likes
  • LinkedIn – 500+ followers
  • Blog posts – 20+

Alexandra Skinner

Director of Students and Education

Current Gig: Internal Sr. Manager, Government & Media Relations, WorkSafeBC

Connect with me: LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me... While the news media has declined and seen significant challenges in recent years, only exacerbated by COVID-19, relationships with news media and key journalists still matter. So many of us are trying to pivot our organizations while information, policies, and even our understanding of science, changes as the pandemic evolves. News media can serve as key partners to share accurate and timely information, and correct inaccuracies and misunderstandings. As Britt Ehrhardt, public health communications expert for Santa Clara County, says, “The mainstream media are essential channels of communication based on trust—and relationships with media must be fostered long before you really need them.”

Students & Education Report

The student portfolio grew this year to a team of three board directors, with the addition of two “real-life students.” While there was only one official opening for the board role, two stellar applicants caught our eye—and in September the board welcomed Quinn Frankle, (a recent PR grad) and Ruth Baldiconza (a first-year PR student) to the team. Ruth and Quinn have been stepping up ever since—adding a fresh lens on what students really want from their professional association.

The student portfolio also worked with our membership director, Lesley Chang, to present the benefits of CPRS Student Memberships to students at Simon Fraser University’s PR Program and to students at the PR Diploma Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

We also hosted two student-centric events: Virtual Speed Networking (featuring experts in digital, media relations and research) as well as a professional development session by career coach Russel Garrett, on how to access the hidden job market. Our $2000 student scholarship was awarded in December to Vernon Lee, public relations coordinator at Coldwater Communications.

Lesley Chang 張桂敵

Director of Membership

Current Gig: Account Manager, Beattie Tartan

Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me... To be quick on my feet, and to trust my instincts. Be agile and don’t be afraid to be creative. Having clients in the tourism and hospitality space, being able to adapt your work into an advisory role on messaging and ensuring your client doesn’t come off tone deaf on social media, advertising and traditional media is a skill that’ll follow you throughout your career. Now is the time to think outside the box and come up with something no one has done or thought of before!

Membership Report

It’s hard to believe that in 2019, we were blowing out 60 candles on the CPRS Vancouver anniversary cake, only to see one of the most devastating years deal blow upon blow to so many industries due to COVID-19. However, there’s plenty to be proud of, and CPRS Vancouver’s membership was overwhelmingly supportive throughout the pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, CPRS Vancouver members were able to come together in new and innovative ways, and had the opportunity to ‘meet’ PR practitioners from other chapters throughout Canada, thanks to the magic of Zoom meetings.

CPRS National decided to extend membership month from one month to two, extending discounts and subsidies for membership to those whose roles were impacted by the pandemic. As a result, we were able to maintain a strong membership base in Vancouver, providing support to practitioners when they needed it the most.

CPRS National also launched CPRS Connect on cprs.ca which includes a COVID-19 Resource Centre, members discussion, best practices, issues brief templates and so much more to help members navigate a quickly-changing situation. While the end of the tunnel is in sight for COVID-19, these supports remain in place for members to gather, discuss, and share knowledge post-pandemic.

CPRS Vancouver took steps to take care of members by offering a full program of FREE virtual events, including the continuation cPRSips, professional development events, student events and more throughout the year. Events were well-attended and discussions were lively - by both members, and non members as well.

As a result, CPRS Vancouver ends 2020 on a strong note, welcoming five new members this year. We hope to attract new members with even better in-person offerings and benefits, and we hope to see the collaborative nature continue.

Marsha D'Angelo

Director of Mentorship

Current Gig: Principal, Apostrophe and PR Faculty, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Connect with me: Email | Twitter

Mentorship Report

This year marked my second as Director of Mentorship for CPRS Vancouver. Despite the very real challenges of the worldwide pandemic, mentors and mentees signed up enthusiastically for the program. With 24 participants, in total, the CPRS Vancouver Mentorship class of 2021 is an impressive group working in business, agency, government and non-profit.

Just like last year, it was easy to find common ground and assign appropriate mentor/mentee pairings among this group. I heard from mentors and mentees that while the professional learning was important, it was the simple act of connecting with others this year that was especially valuable.

We were unable to gather for a kick-off celebration, but mentors and mentees connected regularly online and by phone. In June 2021, we will meet online for a year-end celebration. I look forward to hearing this group’s stories from the past year and how they believe we can continue to improve the CPRS Vancouver Mentorship Program for the benefit of future participants.

Rashpal Rai, APR ਰਸ਼ਪਾਲ ਰਾਏ

Director of Senior-Level Professional Development

Current Gig: Senior Communications Consultant

Connect with me: LinkedIn | Twitter

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me… To stop and take a moment to breathe, appreciate what we have and consider our own mental health. As communicators, we are often at the front, provide sound counsel to help other deal with crisis situations. In this pandemic, we have seen that the mental and emotional toll can be high on us as well. For us to help others, we need to make sure we take care of ourselves as well.

Senior-Level Professional Development Report

The Leaders Network brings together members who are considered to be at an advanced stage of their career – communicators with at least 15 years in the industry, accreditation (APR) or Fellow (FCPRS) status, or have been a CPRS member for at least 10 years through networking and professional development opportunities geared to them.

In following the provincial health orders, the Leaders Network took a hiatus from in-person interactions and our members focused on support their employers, staff and clients, and supporting their fellow practitioners.

Over the summer, we ran a blog series called Crisis Communications and Pandemic PR: Tips from our Leaders Network where members shared their wisdom and insights in navigating organizations, our teams and our clients through these uncharted waters. Our senior-level practitioners shared their collective experience and lessons learned form in time of crisis such as economic downturn, significant changes to business operations and reputation loss to help us all understand the importance of using best practices in communications through this pandemic.

It is times like this where the real value of being a member of CPRS shines. When we are faced with the challenges in providing counsel for situations we have never experienced, we can look to our fellow members, especially senior practitioners, for their advice, guidance and support.

Emily Marroquin

Director, Special Events

Current Gig: Stay at Home Mom (extended leave after 2nd child) & freelance contractor

Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me...to slow down and enjoy the most important things, to not take relationships for granted, and to recognize beauty and blessings in the midst of the most challenging of times.

Special Events Report

This year, Special Events worked with the events team as a whole to coordinate a number of virtual events. From the first virtual AGM with special speaker Laurie Dawkins of PHSA, to “Dress Up from the Waist Up” our virtual Holiday social, to this year’s AGM with Shelly McArthur and a special cocktail demo, we’ve worked to create memorable moments among the ongoing Zoom fatigue we’ve all experienced.

We also worked together to provide top-level professional development sessions (kudos to Carolyn Rohaly for spearheading this for much of the year and doing a fantastic job!), and I was pleased to help run our highest attended event of the 20/21 season, “Bridging the Gap between Stakeholder Relations and Communications” with panellists Alex Russell, Gay Robinson, Katie Mai and Amanda Mitchell.

This season took creativity and ingenuity to provide events that brought value to members, helped keep us all connected during our time apart, and that were fun and informative. I am happy to have been a small part in making these happen.

This AGM marks the end of my time as Special Events Director and I want to thank the many professionals with who I have had the pleasure of working over the last three years, with special mention to Amanda Munro, Emma Shea, Theodora Jean, Johanna Ward, and Tanya Colledge. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Carolyn Rohaly

Co-Director, Professional Development

Current Gig: Public Relations Specialist, United Way of the Lower Mainland

Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me... How to share stories that can be engaging on camera when camera people can't be near others. It’s also important to accept that this is a crazy time where old rules are breaking down and new ones are being created. So now's the time to build up and create something new.

Professional Development Report

Since all our events were virtual this year, they embodied PR in a New World. We worked to provide CPRS Vancouver members with engaging events and professional development opportunities that they looked forward to and learned from, which was a challenge as we entered into the "zoom fatigue" phase of this new world. Here's how we came together when we had to stay apart:

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - cPRsips Wine or Whine

It was far too long since we were able to chat with fellow PR colleagues, so we grabbed drinks, jumped on zoom (where else?) and had an evening of networking, camaraderie and commiseration.

Election Reflection, PR, Communications, COVID-19 and the electoral process, November 12, 2020

Panel discussion on the topic of elections with:

  • Mo Amir: Host and Producer of This is VANCOLOUR, Vancouver’s bona fide culture and politics podcast
  • Nikki Hill: Principal, British Columbia, Earnscliffe Strategy Group
  • Phoenix Lam: Senior Communications Officer, CBC Vancouver
  • Bill Tieleman: President, West Star Communications, Political strategist and commentator
  • Liza Yuzda: Reporter, BC Legislature, News 1130

CPRS and members of the Vancouver Coastal Health communications team case study on TikTok as a public relations tool, December 9, 2020

Panel discussion on reaching younger demographics during the pandemic, featuring Communications team members from Vancouver Coastal Health:

  • Jennifer Brady, Director of Content and Digital Communications
  • Deana Lancaster, Communications Leader
  • Digital Communications coordinator (and rising health-care TikTok star) Danika Thibault

cPRsips: New Year, New Career, January 14, 2021

Our first cPRsips event of 2021 started with a 20-minute discussion with Karen Tankard and Hosea Cheung, who made the transition from journalism to PR.

ted(LAU) Talks Digital Marketing, February 4, 2021

Ted Lau, CEO Ballistic Arts, shared digital marketing tips in a lunch and learn lesson.

What Are You Doing Now? The employer search for communications unicorns, February 11, 2021

Alice Ko from Procurify, Colin Macrae, communications leader and coach/facilitator at Fluency, and Marina Guy, communications and creative recruitment consultant with Smart, Savvy + Associates joined us for an informative and entertaining discussion on the change in communications careers.

Listening to Understand: Advancing the Conversation about Anti-Racism in the PR and Communications Profession, February 18, 2021

The amplification of racist incidents in Canada and around the world this past summer prompted deep and difficult conversations about systematic racism in our society, the frameworks of privilege and resigned acceptance that allow it to endure. This not a new conversation, but we knew our profession and our Society can lead the charge through our role as trusted advisors to amplify the damaging impacts that systematic racism continues to have on racialized people, especially Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPoC).

CPRS Vancouver recognized that, as a professional organization, we have not done enough to ensure our membership and leadership reflect the diversity of the country and of the profession. But before we can assume the role of agents of change, we must first gain a mutual understanding of the lived experience some of our fellow members have had around racism and discrimination.

Gail Strachan, MCM, Chair, Inclusion & Equity with CPRS Toronto moderated this important discussion with Vancouver communications professional Cher Lee, Sarah Thomas and Rashpal Rai, APR to advance the conversation about anti-racism in the PR and communications profession.

Virtual Speed Networking for Students, March 1, 2021

PR students and recent grads had the opportunity to connect with the following PR professionals and learn about key areas of interest.

cPRsips: Get the Dirt from Entertainment Publicists, Thursday, March 11, 2021

Prudence Emery, Charlene Coy and Nicola Pender gave members a look at the world of entertainment publicists.

Bridging the Gap between Communications & Stakeholder Engagement, April 7, 2021

Discussion on how stakeholder engagement is transforming our profession and best practices in public relationship management. Panelists included:

  • Katie Mai, Leader, Patient Experience and Community Engagement, BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services
  • Amanda Mitchell, Public Engagement Specialist, City of Vancouver
  • Devi Goberdhan, Director of Engagement at First Nations Health Authority
  • Moderated by Alex Russell, Principal, Russell Communications.

Uncover the Hidden Job Market with Certified Career Coach Russell Garrett, April 12, 2021

Russell Garrett took our guests on a journey to get past the “proverbial stack of resumes” to uncover those hidden gem opportunities that they didn't even know exist!

Top 10 Digital Marketing Tips Workshop with Ballistic Arts, April 22, 2021

Our second digital marketing lunch and learn session with Ted Lau , CEO of Ballistic Arts.

cPRsips: Agency Life, May 13, 2021

Our guests, Amanda Munro, Lesley Chang, Crystal Kwon and Naseam Ahmadi spoke about their experiences working in agencies.

CPRS Vancouver Leaders Network, May 19, 2021

CPRS Vancouver's senior practitioners virtual get-together.