IABC Ottawa 2017-18 Season Opener

Climb that Comms Ladder! A Special Ask-Me-Anything Discussion with CEO Caitlin Kealey

Early bird ends Sept. 4!

When: September 13, 5:30-8:00 PM
Where: Sidedoor, 18 York Street, Ottawa

Join us at IABC Ottawa as we kick off a new season with a night of networking, food, drinks – and also some important conversation!

Catch up with old friends (or meet new ones!), snap a selfie, and settle in as IABC Ottawa’s President, Samantha Rae Ayoub, hosts an Ask-Me-Anything Discussion with MediaStyle CEO Caitlin Kealey.

Caitlin Kealey has more than a decade of experience in communications, journalism and media relations, and online social networking. As one of Ottawa’s Top 40 Under 40, MediaStyle’s first CEO, and a regular on Live 88.5’s Political Whirlpool, Caitlin will share her thoughts on climbing the ladder, being a woman at the top, balancing work and home life, and what it is like to be a professional communicator in today’s changing world.

Have a burning question for Caitlin? Get your ticket now and submit your question early!

Event Details:

5:30-6:15pm Registration, Networking & Photo Booth
6:15-6:20pm Welcoming Remarks by Samantha Rae Ayoub, President of IABC Ottawa
6:20-6:45pm Ask-Me-Anything Discussion with Caitlin Kealey, CEO Media Style
6:45-8:00pm Networking

Get your ticket!

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) provides a professional network of over 15,500 business communications and marketing professionals in over 80 countries. As a member of IABC Ottawa, you can tap into a wealth of resources and opportunities that will help increase your value as a communicator.

Become a Member!

IABC membership is more than discounts to events, it’s also an opportunity to add value to your career by joining a community of professionals that can help grow your career. We offer exclusive opportunities to our members including access to the latest trends and best practices through a global lens. If you’d like to become a member, visit our website or contact membership@ottawa.iabc.com today!

“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



Lessons from IRONMAN for the communications world: Basia Vanderveen profile

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:

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.