BC Communications Forum


About the Forum

February 27 + 28, 2017


We are a dynamic marketing and communications firm with a myriad of experience and skills which combine to provide clients unparalleled service. Communication is at the root of who we are as a species; it is what sets us apart from all other creatures in this world and is the force that carries us from moment to moment.

Our goal is to offer a conference experience that will educate, inspire and enable professional communicators from various industries through an environment of professional networking to benefit both delegates and speakers alike.

We are excited to have you join us and hope you return year after year. Questions? please call 1.855.688.0189 or email forums@swanseacommunications.com. You can also find out more about us at www.swanseacommunications.com.

Since 2014 SummersDirect and Swansea Communications have joined forces to present the BC Communications Forum. Through SummersDirect’s past experience in creating relevant and engaging conferences and Swansea Communications’ current involvement in the communications field you’re sure to love the end product; an event with quality speakers, tools and techniques you can take away and use, case studies you can relate to and most of all VALUE.

Together we want to build a long-lasting relationship with you!


Founded in 1959, CPRS Vancouver is a networking and professional development organization serving public relations and communications practitioners in British Columbia. Our members belong to corporations, government, not-for-profit organizations, associations, health care, education, public relations agencies and independent consultancies.

CPRS Vancouver offers regular professional development and social events for our members to network and discuss issues touching on public relations. We promote high professional standards and encourage our members to earn APR accreditation. Our chapter society is a member of the national Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).

Venue and Reservations

Marriott Downtown Hotel 1128 West Hastings St, Vancouver, BC

Reservations will be made by individual attendees directly by calling Toll Free Room Reservations: 1.604.684.1128
Parking: Underground parking is available at the hotel at a cost of $7 CAD hourly or $36 CAD per day. Valet parking is available for $43 CAD daily. Parking garage height is 6’8”. All parking rates are subject to taxes. Transit: nearest station is Waterfront station

February 27: FORUM Program

2017 VANCOUVER COMMUNICATIONS FORUM + Workshops • Feb 27 + 28, 2017

  • 8:00 AM: Registration

  • 8:45 AM: Welcome & Opening Remarks from the Chair

  • 9:00 AM : Fort McMurray Wild Fires - Stories from the Trenches

    Canada and the rest of the world watched as wildfire threatened the northern city of Fort McMurray, the largest community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, in the biggest natural disaster in Canadian history. A community of almost 90,000 people were evacuated to safety as they feared for their lives, their community and their homes. Fortunately, not one life was lost as a direct result of the fire and citizens began the return to their homes and lives five weeks later.

    Hear from Robin Smith, who communicated the evacuation of 88,000 residents and coordinated a national media strategy during the wildfire response and recovery. You’ll hear what happened behind the scenes to keep the community and the world informed of what was happening during the crisis.

    Robin Smith<br />

    Robin Smith

    Press Secretary Communications and Stakeholder Relations Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
    With a background in agency PR, at NATIONAL Public Relations and Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Robin Smith took on the role of Press Secretary in August 2015. During the wildfire response, Robin played an important role in the evacuation and re-entry of Fort McMurray’s residents, guiding social media efforts and developing the municipal media relations strategy.

  • 10:00 AM : Networking & Refreshment Break

  • 10:15 AM: Communications: The Key Ingredient to Employee Engagement

    Connecting employees to purpose and meaning in their work through effective communications is fundamental to an organization’s business success. What keeps most employees engaged is a feeling that they are part of a team and their contributions are helping to achieve a higher purpose. This session showcases how communications can play an instrumental role in creating an engaged and trusting corporate culture where employees embrace an organization’s vision, successfully transition through corporate changes, and are inspired to take leadership in driving bottom line results.
    Sheira Hallam

    Sheira Hallam

    Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Coast Capital Savings
    Known to many as an open book, Sheira’s expressive; “tell it like it is” attitude has propelled her through a successful 25-year communications and public relations career. From high profile organizations in the federal and provincial governments and now as, Director, Public Affairs and Communications at Coast Capital Savings, one of Canada’s largest credit unions, Sheira has experience in all areas of corporate communications from internal and external communications to media relations to issues and reputation management. Her contribution to helping shape and support the organization’s corporate culture through effective employee communication earned her the distinction of Coast Capital’s Leader of the Year in 2013.

  • 11:15 AM : Respect Starts Here Campaign: Innovating for Change

    How do you influence behavioural change through the power of strategic communication? Learn how the award winning Anti-bullying campaign (2016 Gold Quill Award Winner) has successfully changed the culture around bullying in the healthcare workplace by building awareness and increasing reporting of bullying.

    In this session, you will learn how to:

    • Empower employees to participate in organizational change initiatives
    • Engage local champions to spread campaign awareness
    • Integrate change management best practices into your communication plan
    • Demonstrate success through HR metrics

    Nina Paauwe<br />

    Nina Paauwe

    Communications Leader, Employee Engagement, Vancouver Coastal Health
    Nina Paauwe has over 10 years’ experience in the communication industry and is currently communications leader of employee engagement for Vancouver Coastal Health where she leads regional employee engagement initiatives, strategic planning, and internal communication change initiatives. Nina recently won an IABC Gold Quill Award in 2016 for implementing an innovative internal communication campaign that increased reporting of bullying by 130%. Nina has a bachelors degree in Communications and is certified in Prosci change management methodology.

  • 12:15 PM : Networking Lunch Break

  • 1:15 PM : Harbour Centre: Using Communications To Lift Traffic

    Harbour Centre is one of Vancouver’s most iconic buildings. The complex houses a 28-story office tower, SFU’s downtown campus, a food court, shops and services, and The Vancouver Lookout Observation Deck. Its owners had recently invested in renovations and were looking to drive traffic. Gwen will share the case study of the Urban Grind, an event series designed to do just that. With a lean communications budget, the team focused on generating earned media and social media traction to achieve business results well beyond expectations.

    • Learn ways to track the impact of communications efforts on the business
    • Learn how to stretch a communications budget to achieve success
    • Learn the importance of a simple message and strong visuals in today’s media landscape

    Gwen Hardy

    Gwen Hardy

    APR Managing Partner, Elettra Communications
    Gwen loves what she does, and it shows. Through a career spanning 15 years she has worked with clients large and small; public, private, and non-profit; on projects raging from Agriculture subsidies to Zombie dating apps (and everything in between).   As a graduate of the University of Victoria’s school of Business, she approaches all projects seeking to generate not only communications results, but organizational ones as well. Gwen is a Trustee of the Vancouver Police Foundation, a member of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association’s (DVBIA) Advocacy Committee, and is accredited by the Canadian Public Relations Society (APR).

  • 2:15 PM : Canada’s Leading Community – Engaged University Turns 50

     Gold Quill Award Winner
    Sometimes, age is more than just a number. For Simon Fraser University – a mid-sized university with 35,000 students anually – turning 50 presented an opportunity to reinforce its evolution from radical startup campus to community-engaged research university. However, as you can imagine, uniting a complex, decentralized organization around singular messaging and purpose would present a significant challenge. Behind the fireworks, the galas, the performances, the star-studded video messages and student engagement, there was a concerted effort to build overall communications capacity within the organization, while breaking down the silos that form in a multi-campus university. All this while solidifying our internal operations as a communications team. Learn from our successes and lessons learned, and discover how you can align your organization’s internal identity and external image with its corporate mission and values.
    Fiona Burrows + Adam Brayford

    Fiona Burrows + Adam Brayford

    Fiona Burrows is SFU’s Assistant Director of Community Relations. She is involved in university-wide strategic communications planning, with a particular focus on high-profile campaigns that engage the campus community. Ever tweeted SFU? She’s likely the person who responded to you!  Adam Brayford is SFU’s Assistant Director of Digital Strategy. Formerly the Director of SFU’s 50th anniversary project, he now works on integrated content strategy that engages students in telling the story of their university. Together, they earned a Gold Quill Award of Excellence for communication management during SFU’s 50th anniversary project.

  • 3:15 PM : Networking & Refreshment Break

  • 3:30 PM : Brand Reputation—Are you a 10?

    Steve Mossop from Insights West–Western Canada’s fastest growing research firm–will share with you the latest research results from Brand Reputation Insights—a study of corporate reputation and what drives it based on 180,000 interviews with consumers across Canada on brand reputation of 400+ brands in the marketplace. Steve will talk about what drives ratings, which companies rank highest/lowest, and look at some interesting differences by various demographic groups. He will also share a random assortment of interesting other topics from 150+ press releases his firm as done in the past four years, including political numbers and what else weighs on the minds of British Columbians.
    Steve Mossop

    Steve Mossop

    President, Insights West
    Steve Mossop is President of Insights West, a progressive, full-service marketing research company that offers insights-driven solutions via leading-edge tools and normative databases to public and private sector clients in Western Canada. Insights West has about 20 employees and one of the largest, most engaged online consumer panels (25,000 people) in Western Canada.  Insights West has publicly released over 150+ different opinion polls on topics diverse as municipal and provincial elections, bridge tolls, charitable giving, gas-fracking, road safety, cyber-bullying, employee satisfaction, and many other topics. Steve was previously President of Market Research Canada West within Ipsos-Reid for 17 years.

  • 4:30 PM : Closing Remarks

February 28: FORUM Workshops

2017 VANCOUVER COMMUNICATIONS FORUM + Workshops • Feb 27 + 28, 2017

  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Strategic Public Relations

    Managing your organization’s relationship with the public is one of the most important things you can do to maintain long-term sustainability. How you tell your story is critical in developing a good reputation yet many organizations are reactive instead of proactive when it comes to dealing with media. Looking for opportunities is central to good PR and having a risk management plan for when crisis hits, which it will at some point, is a key component of strategic public relations. Having a PR strategy could mean the difference between a damaging headline and a compelling story about your work. And then there are the leverage opportunities! Digital content strategy has changed the way organizations market to stakeholders, providing new and innovative ways to reach target audiences. This three hour workshop will offer attendees the chance to learn about how to be proactive when it comes to PR and what it takes to develop a solid digital content strategy.

    Chantelle Krish

    Chantelle Krish

    Associate Director, Communications - YWCA Metro Vancouver
    Chantelle Krish is seasoned public relations professional with a keen understanding of the power of storytelling. After spending the first half of her career in the agency world, she moved towards work that aligned her strategic communications skills with her passion for social change. Today, she oversees communications for YWCA Metro Vancouver, one the largest charities in British Columbia. Krish is a sought after media spokesperson and has been a returning guest on CBC, CTV, Global, and featured in the Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star and Huffington Post. Krish collaborates with public and private sector partners to identify opportunities that strengthen the non-profit sector’s influence in civil society.

    Amy Juschka

    Amy Juschka

    Digital Communications Specialist, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
    Amy Juschka is a communications professional who specializes in digital communications and content strategy. Amy’s passion for solutions-based communications and social justice has taken her from South Africa to Toronto, where she has worked for a variety of causes, including higher education, social housing, family services, and the environment. Most recently, Amy managed communications for the David Suzuki Foundation’s Right to a Healthy Environment project, the Foundation’s first national digital organizing campaign. Amy has a master’s degree from the UBC School of Journalism, and worked as a journalist and editor before entering the non-profit communications field. She currently lives in Toronto, where she works as a freelance communications specialist.

  • 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM: How to Run when you Can’t Hide: communicating in chaos & crisis

    In the 3-hour workshop we begin with the 5 golden rules of media management during a crisis, we illustrate the news cycle in emergencies, as well as the changing landscape of news reporting and communicating in disaster, and the friction that results. We pull back the curtain of how to craft memorable messages that resonate, breaking it down into the frameworks for priming spokespeople to answer the questions we wish wouldn’t be asked, and specific tools like bridging techniques that help us deliver the messages to questions we wish would be asked. We delve into aspects of controlling the interview, common mistakes made with reporters and how to handle press conferences. The workshop also touches on the importance of both crisis communication planning and social media use in emergencies.
    Participants leave the workshop with an understanding of the importance of communicating quickly and the principles for communicating effectively in an emergency.

    Julianne McCaffrey

    Julianne McCaffrey

    Director of Communications, Emergency Management B.C.
    Julianne McCaffrey is considered a ‘Master of Disaster’ in the province’s world of crisis communications. In her role at the lead organization for responding to provincial-scale disasters, she and her team are responsible for planning the communications strategy, as well as managing the issues and media relations that result from wildfires, floods, earthquakes, landslides and severe storms. Julianne has combined a career as an award-winning journalist, professor of communications and senior speechwriter to former Premier Gordon Campbell, to become a compelling storyteller that allows, with humour and real-life examples, the audience to leave the workshop with tangible learning from the lessons she has garnered from the trenches of a decade-long tenure in the field of emergency management communications.

Non Member Rates

Package Early Bird Regular
Communications Forum Only $499 $599
Communications Forum & 2 Workshops $899 $999
Communications Forum & 1 Workshop $749 $849
1 Workshop Only $299 $349
2 Workshops Only $499 $599

IABC/CPRS Member Rates

Package Early Bird Regular
IABC/CPRS Member Forum Only $449 $549
IABC/CPRS Member Forum & 2 Workshops $849 $949
IABC/CPRS Member Forum & 1 Workshop $699 $799
IABC/CPRS Member 1 Workshop Only $249 $299
IABC/CPRS Member 2 Workshops Only $449 $499

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Substitution of delegates is permissible without prior notification. Refunds will be given for cancellations received in writing no later than 10 days prior to the conference date subject to an administration fee of $200 plus $10 for GST. After this time, you are liable for the full registration fee even if you do not attend the conference. If you register during this 10 day period, you are also liable for the full fee. Swansea Communications reserves the right to change program date, meeting place or content without further notice and assumes no liability for these changes.