Four IABC/BC members are among the winners of the Silver Leaf Awards 2014. Focused on recognizing outstanding work produced by communicators, the Silver Leaf had more than 140 entries from across Canada. Twenty entries—including the BC winners’ projects—were honoured with the Award of Excellence and 20, with the Award of Merit. The recognition from their peers is important, the BC winners agree. But there are many benefits of entering.
“From the writing of the work plan, to the detailed judging feedback, the process deepened my understanding of strategic communications and made me want to do it all over again,” says Cara McGregor, director of communications at the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C, one of the winners in the digital communication channels category.
Annually, the Office receives thousands of inquiries, but its website hadn’t been updated in eight years. “[It was an] opportunity to make the website more user-friendly and fine-tune our content based on audience research,” McGregor says. With the new website, she sought to empower citizens to exercise their information and privacy rights, and give public and private organizations the tools to better understand and follow the law.
The work developed by two communicators from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) addressed staff morale and engagement at Vancouver General Hospital’s emergency room, where staff felt overwhelmed and underappreciated. “We leveraged a first-in-Canada documentary series made in one of our busiest emergency departments,” said VCH director of public affairs, Gavin Wilson, referring to the project recognized in the employee engagement category. “The series helped engage staff in an interesting, interactive and unique way, and make them feel special.”
According to the communication leader Tiffany Akins, who co-developed the project at VCH, entering awards provides feedback that can be useful, either for validation or for providing helpful suggestions for improvement. “We both mostly focus on public affairs and communication to the public, so to be recognized for excellent staff/internal communications is something we’re really proud of,” says Akins.
With an entry in the government communication category, the consultant Therese Mickelson developed the Richmond Green Cart campaign, an essential component of the City’s commitment to support increased recycling. “[The program] was designed to increase understanding of why recycling is important, inform residents about how to use the Green Cart effectively and provide tips to reduce waste,” she says.
As Mickelson states, the award reaffirms that communication is integral to achieving the organization’s vision—within six months of the campaign, the City of Richmond had already reached its goal to reduce waste going to landfill by 70% in 2015. “It also gives the client bragging rights, as their commitment to communication and investing in their residents is the foundation of their success, which is what matters most.”
The Silver Leaf Awards program is managed jointly by the Canada East and Canada West Regions of the IABC. Canadian members represent 32% of the global membership. Congratulations to the winners!