Congratulations to all of the nominees for this year’s President’s Award for New Volunteer of the Year! This award is for volunteers typically in their first or second year of volunteering who have gone above and beyond expectations on a particular task, project or event.
2015 New Volunteer of the Year
Glauce is one of two editors for the IABC/BC Connect newsletter. She enjoys a collaborative approach and is dedicated to crafting submissions into copy that easily “connects” with our audience.
She learned about the editorial role through IABC/BC President, Catherine Ducharme, when she expressed an interest in writing for the association. Catherine quickly put her in touch with Brice Dare in the internal communications committee, and so her experience grew!
Glauce joined in 2013, after working in journalism and public relations abroad. She enrolled in Print Futures: Professional Writing with Douglas College and applied for the Student Communicator of the Year award, which she has won twice—in 2013 and 2014.
Volunteering with IABC gives her a chance to meet other talented communicators, make friends, and gain new skills. She credits the professional development events and mentorship program as being essential to her growth as a communicator in Vancouver.
The warmth of the IABC/BC community has empowered Glauce to adapt quickly to the communications industry in this country. “I came from Brazil only three years ago,” she said. “Volunteering has helped me learn about the industry in Canada and how to apply my degree in journalism and work experience here.”
When Glauce isn’t volunteering for IABC/BC, she works as the Communications and Publications Specialist in the Centre for Educational and Information Technology at Douglas College, and freelances as a writer and editor.
Marie Bartlett, a former member, rejoined IABC in early 2015. After working as a producer at CBC for six years, she was seeking to reconnect with new trends and people in the communications field.
Marie immediately took on organizing the Content Management event, making waves with her thorough planning of what turned out to be one of the year’s most successful events. “I thought the best way to get something out of the organization was to volunteer, so I jumped right in.”
Even though she has organized events before, from large social events to concerts, and has helped produce CBC’s annual Food Bank Drive, she confesses that it was a bit nerve-wracking to talk to a room full of communications professionals. She credits the PD team with being supportive and answering all her questions.
She then helped assist with the event Speak Up!, again impressing everyone with the incisive questions. “In my profession, detail is what matters. You need to be precise about your words and meanings and how they come across to your audience. And how things are all pulled together. That’s just my training and my personality.”
Her future plans include growing in her volunteer role at IABC/BC. “There’s always new innovations in the field of communications, all these things you can learn more about. That’s why I volunteer.”
As the Content Strategist for Student Services, Kelly has brought her own creative flair to design this year’s look and feel of the Student Services newsletter, while keeping the integrity of IABC/BC’s brand.
Kelly credits volunteering with the IABC/BC to help her develop skills in various areas such as event management and content creation. “These are skills that I do not necessarily experience in my own workplace, but is applicable to my career growth. Also, IABC/BC provides valuable networking opportunities and I have the pleasure of meeting many people and gaining valuable insight from their experiences.”
Because of Kelly’s creative skill with graphics and social content she was able to demonstrate these qualities in the Student Services newsletter and social media content drafted for event publicity. She is proactive in bringing original and thoughtful design and content ideas to life.
Kelly encourages all communications students to volunteer with IABC/BC. “Had I known about the association as a student, I would have applied then. IABC consists of a wonderful network of communicators that can help your professional and personal growth.”
Alicia was looking to add to her business communication skill set and she took on the challenge of Event Management with Student Services. Being mindful of event planning, Alicia is diligent in managing all the moving parts to help make events happen on time and on budget.
“I spend most of my day with words and ideas, so managing budgets was completely new to me. Given that I work in change management, it’s important to understand the financial argument for change, how that translates, and impacts people. I now understand the pressure put on those who manage cash flow, and have more confidence to continue developing my knowledge in that area.”
She is mindful of creating a great first impression for all student looking to become an IABC/BC member, participate in events, and volunteer.
Alicia’s favourite part of volunteering is hearing stories from students who attend their events. “Most recently we ran Spring Into Speed Mentoring, a spin on speed dating with one-time IABC/BC mentors for students and recent grads. Hearing first hand from the mentees about how the event impacted their perspective, inspired them, and made them excited for their career futures was so rewarding. All I had to do was get 24 people in a room together and then they made their own magic!”
Marina is the Coordinator of the Mentorship Program. She was attracted to this program, because it gave her an opportunity to connect with the communications community in the Lower Mainland. It also gave her a chance to use her “matchmaking skills” which she had honed through her day job as Communications Recruitment Consultant at Smart, Savvy + Associates. At work, Marina paired junior communicators with senior ones, and used the same skills for the speed mentorship event.
Marina joined IABC/BC when she was attending the post-graduate PR certificate program at Humber College in 2006, and volunteered in IABC/BC previously as the VP Membership and co-founder of the Toastmasters Headliners Club.
When asked for her advice for future volunteers, she says, “Give it a try! You will be surprised what you will be able to accomplish, learn and the great people you will meet.”
Aside from IABC/BC and her work at Smart, Savvy + Associates, Marina is also a Board Member for the Trans-Himalayan Aid Society, which supports the health and education of children and youth in northern India, Nepal, and Tibet.
Phoenix joined IABC/BC early on in her career as a way to connect with other communicators. She volunteered previously in a community engagement role to promote IABC/BC into the community, and this year, she transferred her engagement efforts into the digital world for her role as Social Media Manager.
“I really enjoy the communicators that I have met through IABC/BC so I wanted to give back,” she said, when asked why she volunteered with social media this year. “With my background in digital communications it was a natural fit.”
Phoenix manages the IABC/BC Twitter account and juggles the many social media requests, which are often given to her in short notice. Her digital communications expertise is best demonstrated when she takes rough copies and translates them into polished pieces for social media.
Volunteering with IABC/BC has allowed Phoenix to meet many people, and fellow communicators. “I’ve met some pretty amazing people on the communications committee!” she exclaims.
When asked if she has any advice for future volunteers, she says, “Don’t be scared, just jump in and get your feet wet. Everyone on the board, and all the volunteers are friendly and got your back when you have questions!”
Outside of IABC/BC, Phoenix works for CBC/Radio-Canada in Vancouver as their Senior Communications Officer, and volunteers with VOKRA and Five Hole for Food.
Just three years into her career, this fearless young communicator is using her IABC/BC experience to explore and develop new skills as an adjunct to her job as Public Relations and Communications Specialist at Clearly.ca. “Being in IABC has definitely helped me see the big picture. I work in a small department and I wouldn’t have realized what’s outside my role at work, and all the things you can do in the communications field, had I not joined.”
Jumping directly into volunteering, she acted on her interest in event management and compiled a comprehensive list of event facilities for the chapter’s first Langley-based event. She followed this up by taking on the role of Event Manager for the Managing Change PD event. “I really didn’t know what to expect, doing my first event from start to finish. But I have really good mentors with IABC/BC, in terms of supporting me with the events. Watching them do it, and learning from them really helps.”
As for the future, she wants to continue doing event work. “I don’t get to do a ton of it at work, but we’re planning a bunch of summer events, this year, and I’m more involved in it. And my experience with IABC/BC and planning will definitely help me.”
Julia Ren joined IABC/BC in early 2015, to develop a local network. Having completed her graduate studies in Australia, “I didn’t know any communicators in Vancouver and was attracted to the range of industries represented by IABC/BC members. They’re more than just PR practitioners.”
After volunteering to help organize Speak Up!, she quickly had need of her growing network, securing two additional speakers for the event. “I reached out to two people I personally respect. Because I see myself in a lot of other young communicators and I wanted them to learn from the best, from people who have a career based on integrity and authenticity.” This meticulous Strategic Communications Advisor at Port Metro Vancouver also brought her eye for detail to the editing of event-related promotional materials.
Ren plans to continue volunteering as an Event Manager, with a view to eventually studying project management at Langara. “The instructor suggested I test my skills with a big event and IABC/BC is a perfect opportunity. I was managing a crisis at work, the week of the Speak Up! event, but still delivered. So I think I might be a good candidate.”