Mathieu Larocque believes relationships are at the heart of great communication. As the spokesperson for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), the Crown corporation responsible for screening air travellers and their baggage, Mathieu says building connections with other people can make all the difference.

“I have a large network of contacts across the country in our regional offices, with media, industry partners, law enforcement agencies, etc.,” says Mathieu. “When an incident happens, as it’s often the case in our industry, being able to pick up the phone and get the information you need quickly is invaluable.”

Building relationships is also one of the main reasons why Mathieu decided to join IABC in 2013. He wanted to network with other communications professionals, stay current on industry trends and have greater access to professional development (PD) opportunities. Since then he’s remained a member, finding benefit in the ability to stay current and on top of best practices from around the world of communications.

“The PD opportunities evolve and are quite relevant to my work,” Mathieu says. “The newsletters and other resources available to members are great sources of inspiration.” Such resources help keep him on top of an ever-shifting work environment, Mathieu explains. CATSA screens more than 150,000 passengers every day at major Canadian airports, meaning there are many opportunities to communicate “proactively or reactively” with passengers and stakeholders.

Mathieu is responsible for all of CATSA’s media relations, which includes media monitoring, interviews and announcements, as well as its social media. He also liaises with other entities in CATSA’s world: airlines, airport associations, law enforcement and government departments. To do this he has to be good at public speaking in front of large audiences with a microphone or in front of a camera. Being fully bilingual in French and English is an added bonus.

But what really gets Mathieu excited about his job? “I love to manage issues,” he says. “When I receive a media request or when an incident happens, I get really excited. I love chasing information down and passing it on as we try to find the best way possible to address the issue.”

Given the success Mathieu has had with CATSA, his advice to young communicators is unsurprising: “It’s never too early to start building your network and your writing skills are never good enough. You can’t go wrong with joining IABC, either— it’s a great way to have access to resources that will help you in your career.”

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Learn more about the benefits of joining IABC, click here.