Communicator, accredited IABC professional…extreme IRONMAN athlete?

It’s an exceptional combination.

But there are few other ways that adequately sum up Basia Vanderveen’s unique contribution in the workplace.

“I love what endurance sports have brought to my life for me, for my family, and for my employers,” says Vanderveen. “I have to stay organized and efficient or else things won’t work at all.”

A passion for communications

Vanderveen is the principal of Strategink Consulting, her independent communications firm. For the past few years in that position, she’s mostly worked with government clients.

Prior to that, she held a varied list of roles in the private (Corel Corporation, Ekos Research), public (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada) and not-for-profit (Canadian Dental Association) sectors.

What she loves most about her current role is strategy development.

“I have always enjoyed the research and analysis phase of communications strategy because it requires problem solving skills and knowledge of the subject you’re working on,” she says. “Putting a strategy together can be like solving a puzzle, when you are done, you see the big masterpiece and it all makes sense.”

An accredited communicator

Completing an IRONMAN is enough to make Vanderveen a unique member of the Ottawa communications community.

But there’s something else as well.

Vanderveen is the only person based in Ottawa  – and one of the few in the country – who holds both an MBA and IABC’s Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation.

The certification designates an internationally-agreed upon standard for key principles and job competencies within the communications community.

For Vanderveen, it’s helped further a lifelong love of learning and allowed her to stand out compared to other communications professionals.

“The IABC accreditation offers us a chance to validate our knowledge and experience,” says Vanderveen. “It also boosts our value in the market, which is important when we compete against so many other professionals.”

IRONMAN in the workplace

There are no shortages of lessons for professional life from the sports world, says Vanderveen.

“IRONMAN and Extreme IRONMAN give me a chance to pursue goals that may appear out of bounds for a middle-aged working mom, but aren’t at all,” she says. “I wish more women would undertake health-related goals outside of work.”

But it’s benefitted more than just in her personal life.

An ability to juggle work and a commitment to exercise demonstrates an attitude that will be irreplaceable in the workplace.

“I recently heard from a headhunter that some organizations specifically ask to find future employees who are marathon runners, for example,” she says. “They know that these athletes who juggle work and life with passion will get things done efficiently. We do!”

A commitment to IABC

Vanderveen is more than just an IABC Ottawa member.

She literally wrote the book on IABC.

As part of her Masters of Business Administration, Vanderveen had to complete a thesis.

She decided to write it on IABC – the association, its membership, value and services.

Since then, it’s helped to inform the growth of the local chapter.

“It didn’t sit on a shelf. Some of the local IABC smarts took the recommendations and ran with them,” she says. “I’m very happy to say that I see the results of the seeds planted back then and that the Ottawa chapter continues to thrive.”

Helping others

Vanderveen says she’s now at a point in her career where helping others is paramount.

That’s where IABC will continue to play a role in her professional and personal life.

“I’ve always enjoyed mentoring others and I want to keep doing that when opportunities arise,” says Vanderveen. “Networking and nurturing the network are part of my DNA, too, and connecting people is something I enjoy. It is very much a part of the IABC philosophy, I think.”

Connect with Basia: