Canadian Blood Services has been involved with IABC for many years. As the recipient of a Gold Quill Award – IABC’s globally recognized awards program for demonstrated excellence in the communications industry – Canadian Blood Services is fully engaged in the IABC and committed to building a strong affiliation with the association.
“A lot of our staff go to IABC events in their own cities,” said Ron Vezina, Director of Corporate Reputation and Health Policy. “I’ve been to IABC International a few times and between the professional development, networking events, the value-added services, and strong chapters located in all major Canadian cities, IABC is the perfect fit for us. They clearly understand the importance of driving business objectives.”
Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit organization that operates at arm’s length from the government. They have their own board of directors and are funded by the provinces and territories (excluding Québec). What started as a venture to manage blood and transfusion systems in Canada has amalgamated to organ and tissue donation, transplantation, as well as the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network.
“We have a collection of centers across the country,” said Jean-Paul Bédard, Vice-President, Public
Affairs at Canadian Blood Services. “Over the last few years, we’ve been very much involved in a transformational journey where we’ve modernized the blood system and the transplantation system. A lot of consolidation is happening; we’re bringing new technologies to light with a big focus on quality and we’re trying to manage ourselves as a true biologics manufacturer.”
Jean-Paul Bédard manages the organization’s public affairs, which includes several foundational pillars: the departments of Government Relations, Stakeholder Relations, Communications, Fundraising, Corporate Reputation and Health Policy and Creative Services. The Communications Department at Canadian Blood Services wears many hats when it comes to its wide range of responsibilities. With 17, 000 volunteers and nearly 4,700 staff spread across the country, proactive communications is crucial to the survival of the ‘grassroots feel’ that CBS manages to uphold in communities across Canada.
“Planning, developing and creating favorable internal and external communications are vital to our success. Internally, we try to get people aligned with our corporate strategy to engage and inform the workforce and provide them with support throughout all of our changes,“ said Bédard. “Externally, our job is to share our success and inspirational stories to our stakeholders, the government as well as potential volunteers and donors.”
Needless to say, the communications team at the Canadian Blood Services is extremely busy. On top of interacting with people all across Canada to secure donations, they constantly engage and recruit new volunteers, and are accountable to provincial governments and stakeholders.
“With so many communications professionals on our team, we’re trying to create a centre of excellence in communications,” said Vezina, who until recently was Director of Communications. “This requires us to stay on top of trends and practices and that’s why I encourage my staff to take part in IABC activities so that we continually stay fresh and find new ways to engage our program.”