“Communications is the single most important skill for C-suite leaders”

This message was loud and clear at IABC Ottawa’s revived Senior Communicator Series breakfast event on June 15. And while maybe you’d expect anyone to say that to a room full of communicators, it was obvious when it came from the mouth of guest speaker Amy Yee, Chief Digital Officer at Health Standards Organization, that she genuinely meant it. It was also obvious that she both excelled with and benefited from her own strong communications skills.

The lively discussion of 15 senior communicators revolved around the themes of leadership communication, digital transformation and the issue of how to elevate communicators to have a seat at the leadership table.

Amy spoke about her evolution from electrical engineering, to venture capitalist, to digital strategist and now C-Suite executive who is overseeing digital transformation, as well as IT & infrastructure, digital platforms and marketing & communications groups at Health Standards Organization.   

Successful digital transformation relies heavily on communication, both externally and internally.  Corporate intranets and the importance of communicating the value of your internal digital tools to your team is critical to facilitate and champion change in any size organization. The group agreed that communicators play a critical role in both planning and executing these types of tools as well as communicating the value and ensuring teams adopt them.

The hour and a half event flew by—there was no shortage of questions or comments for the speaker or the group—it’s clear that digital transformation and the communications connection to the C-suite is an important topic for senior communicators today.

Senior communicator events are small intimate gatherings with an expert guest facilitator. If you’re interested in attending a future event or have a topic/facilitator suggestion, please contact Kelly Rusk at krusk@banfield.agency



Join us at our Season Closer on June 26!

Celebrate IABC Ottawa’s Communicators at our End-of-Season Event!

Join us on June 26th for a night of celebrations as we bring our season to a close and celebrate Ottawa’s communications, marketing, and creative professionals!

Our annual season closer is a fun social event to thank volunteers and provide a networking opportunity for our community. During the awards ceremony we will recognize outstanding member, volunteer and community contributions and achievements!

Canapes, a photobooth, and a draw for some fantastic prizes are also in store!

When: June 26, 5:30-8:30 pm

Where: 3 Brewers, 240 Sparks Street


5:30 p.m. – Arrive & networking

6:00 p.m. – IABC AGM: Year in review, Voting and Awards

7:00 p.m. – Networking, Photos, Snacks & Draw for Prizes

Get your ticket to join us! 


Join us for the 2018-19 Season as a volunteer or apply to become a Chapter Leader!

We’re looking for enthusiastic communication professionals who are ready for a leadership challenge to join our board of directors for next season or to get involved in the chapter as a volunteer, advisor or contributor!

This is your opportunity to build your leadership skills, help advance the communications profession, share your expertise and take on a new challenge.

Get Involved: Volunteer

Why get volunteer?

IABC Ottawa is a vibrant community for professional communicators who want to thrive in their careers. Volunteering allows you to connect with this network on at a deeper level, develop new skills, and propel your career forward.

Applications for volunteers are accepted year round, but right now, we’re looking for volunteers in the following portfolios for next season: Marketing-Communications, Professional Development, Certification, and Membership. Submit your CV to president@ottawa.iabc.com and be sure to specify your preferred portfolio.

Additionally, there are many other ways you could get involved in the chapter from being on an advisory group to share ideas, hosting Special Interest Groups on a specific topic for members, contribute post-event write-ups and more. If any of these opportunities interest you please let us know: president@ottawa.iabc.com 

Call for Board of Directors

Why become a Chapter Leader?
IABC Ottawa’s Chapter Leaders make up the IABC Ottawa Board and they volunteer their time and expertise to run the Chapter, host professional development events, connect members to one another, and provide the community with professional resources.

Becoming a Chapter Leader allows you to help set the strategic direction of IABC Ottawa, connect with the community at a deeper level, and further develop yourself as a leader and professional communicator. All members of IABC Ottawa in good standing are welcome to apply to join our board, by submitting a nomination (details below). Positions for our incoming board of directors 2017-18 are open until June 20. We are looking for members who think strategically, are able to problem solve and ideally have some experience in the chapter.

Nominations are open for Chapter Leaders to take on the following portfolios:

  • Executive Secretary: Champion of internal communications in the chapter as the official chapter record keeper.
  • Executive Vice President: This position is the future chapter President after one year in the role.
  • Marketing Communications: The Leader of the Marketing Communications portfolio is responsible for leading a small group of volunteers to create excellent and engaging content for IABC Ottawa’s platforms and channels. This includes the IABC monthly newsletter, e-blasts, website, and social channels.
  • Finance: The Leader of the Finance portfolio is responsible for working with the professional accountant to maintain the overall financial health of IABC Ottawa.
  • Professional Development: The Leader of the Professional Development portfolio is responsible for leading a small group of volunteers to host networking events, social gatherings, workshops, and professional development sessions for the Ottawa Chapter.
  • Membership: The Leaders of Membership is responsible for all member relations, listening, analysis and working across the chapter to help deliver member value.
  • Community Engagement: Leader of community engagement helps build and celebrate the Ottawa chapter of IABC in the local community and beyond through awards, podcast and outreach initiatives.
  • Chapter Development: Leader of Chapter Development champions projects that will advance the chapter and deliver value to communicators. These can include Certifications and Jobline.


All Chapter Leaders must be IABC members in good standing. To apply to become a Chapter Leader, please submit your CV to and cover letter to president@ottawa.iabc.com. Cover letters should answer three questions:

  • Why is IABC Ottawa important to you?
  • What, if any, is your past volunteer experience with IABC?
  • What skillset, background, and knowledge do you believe you will bring to the Chapter as a new Leader?

Deadline for applications is June 20, 2018.

The nomination committee will review all nominations and put forward a slate for approval and election at the Annual General Meeting on June 26. We will let you know prior to the AGM the status of your nomination.

For more information on any of these opportunities or board responsibilities please contact Kaleigh Maclaren, President: president@ottawa.iabc.com.

Special Interest Group: Including Wellness in the Communications Practice

Physical and mental health play a significant role in our success. The pressures created by the speed of current information flow, the 24/7 “on” cycle with social media, smart phones, work email – we are accountable for the flow, for ensuring that issues are managed and crises averted. This is a lot to be responsible for. How do you manage your practice in a sustainable way respecting your own general wellness? Is there something you do to be well that others can learn from? Would you like to hear what others do that works well for them? This session is designed to discuss wellness specifically for the communications professional and to talk about the challenges we all face. The goal is to discuss solutions to problems that may be more common than you think. You will walk away knowing that you are not alone in this and that there are resources to help you thrive on the job.

When: Monday, 25 June 2018 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Where: Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) | 979 Bank Street | #400

This is a free member event! 

Save your spot now! 

About Special Interest Groups:
Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are IABC-member only events that provide an informal opportunity to connect, learn and exchange knowledge with peers in an area of particular interest and relevance.SIGs are moderated by a subject matter expert, and are a great space to ask questions, or gain insights into a specific topic. Interested in suggesting a SIG topic or hosting one? Contact membership@ottawa.iabc.com.

Let’s talk money $$$

Post by Past-President Dominique Jolicoeur on her time as chapter Treasurer. 

Around this time last year, I recapped my term as President of IABC Ottawa. What a year!

I knew going into my final year on the Board that I had to continue to challenge myself in unexpected ways. But how?

I found my answer at 2017 Leadership Institute in Dallas. I was attending a session on financial management by Ginger Homan, who at the time was the Treasurer of the International Executive Board. Her passion for finances was contagious. I mean, her main key message:

“Finances are sexy.”


Following the session, I told my IABC Ottawa colleagues that I would be taking on the role of Treasurer for the Chapter. I already had an interest in personal finance. Why not apply this interest to a business context?

A year later, here are my biggest lessons to share with any communicator taking on a similar role:

Get a grip on internal controls

The first thing I did going into the season was develop a checklist of internal controls. Essentially, this is a set of guidelines that are followed to reduce the risk of misappropriation of funds – whether it is intentional or accidental. There are many times over the season that I went back to this checklist. Especially if there was any doubt on how to proceed with a financial related issue.

A few items on our checklist:

  • Require prior authorization for financial commitments over the amount budgeted.
  • Prepare a monthly financial statement and provide copies to all board members for review.
  • Produce a written copy of our financial policies and pass copies on to the next Board.
  • Set up our bank account so it requires two signatures on all cheques.

As Board members, we have the legal obligation to act in the best interest of our Chapter and these controls gave us peace of mind.

Develop a strategic budget

This was by far my favorite responsibility during my term as Treasurer. As a strategic communicator, I found that setting a strategic budget made a lot of sense. It’s all about looking beyond the numbers and digging into the organization’s strategic plan to align the budget with your objectives.

Our first step was to determine our objectives as a Chapter. Once each Vice President knew what they wanted to accomplish, it was time to sit down and determine how our budget would support them. Ginger’s session prepared me with the questions we needed to consider:

Are you budgeting to support the areas you want to grow?

Since leadership development was a priority again this year, we dedicated budget to the professional development of Board members.

Are you implementing programs that contribute substantially to the financial support of your chapter?

In an effort to retain our members, we dedicated budget to provide value add to our membership throughout the season.

Do you need to eliminate unprofitable activities?

We’re currently revising our awards program to create better ROI.

Share the knowledge

My main goal for the season was to share what I was learning with the rest of the Board. I did this in two ways:

Monthly reporting

Although I was sharing our financial reports with the team on a monthly basis, I noticed that there weren’t many questions being asked on our finances.

Perhaps I wasn’t tailoring the message to my audience?

Knowing that communicators are a visual bunch, I used the profit and loss report to create visual graphics of our revenue streams, expenses and actual vs. budgeted.

That did the trick! We started having more finance related discussions around the Board table. To take it a step further, our President added the update from finance at the top of the agenda so that we could take our finances into consideration during each portfolio update. Good call!

Bring in the advocates

The Board had identified finances as an area they wanted to develop. Upon hearing this feedback, I wanted the Board to experience Ginger’s passion for finances first hand since it was what got me there in the first place.

I invited Ginger Homan and Alain Legault to one of our board meetings to talk about financial management. Our Board appreciated the insight into IABC’s finances and I’m confident they find numbers a little more sexy after hearing from them.

I am by no means a financial expert. However, I’m no longer the communicator in the room saying:

“I don’t do numbers. It’s why I went into communications.”

Over the past year, I too have become an advocate for business and financial acumen within our profession. I look forward to continuing to build on this at the international level next season while serving on the International Investment Committee. My new role will become official at the AGM at World Conference on June 2.

Would you consider taking on a financial role on a Board?