January 19, 2015 ― The International Association of Business Communicators in Canada (IABC Canada) has announced that three of its accredited members – Lana Collins, ABC, Gary Schlee, ABC, and Ryan Williams, ABC – have been named Master Communicators for 2014. The Master Communicator designation is IABC Canada’s highest honour, and recognizes significant achievement in the communications field.
“The interesting thing about these three professionals is that they each bring something different to the master communicator designation,” said Eric Bergman, ABC, APR, MC, FCPRS, Chair of the 2014 Master Communicator Selection Committee. “Lana has had a rich career, both outside and inside IABC. Gary is a builder and an educator, who was there when IABC was formed in Canada. And Ryan brings a perspective on communication research and measurement that is second to none in the industry. Each of them has done outstanding work, made enormous contributions to our profession, and enriched the lives of their colleagues, clients and communities.”
Lana has held leadership positions within IABC at the chapter, national and international levels. And she has not been afraid to lead. Two eastern Canadian chapters exist today, in large part, because of Lana’s dedication and her willingness to work with others to support these chapters’ efforts to build local leadership teams and grow their membership.
In 2004, Lana was a driving force behind the Atlantic Prevention Initiative, which brought together the workers’ compensation boards of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia to launch a regional public education campaign. The initiative raised awareness about the prevention of workplace illnesses, injuries and deaths, and fostered an attitudinal shift towards a stronger culture of safety in Atlantic Canada.
Lana earned her ABC in 1999, and was a champion of accreditation until the program was discontinued. As a result of her energy, IABC Newfoundland and Labrador consistently ranked among the highest percentage of international accredited members per capita. In 2013, she was honoured with the international Rae Hamlin award in recognition of her contributions as a champion of accreditation.
Gary Schlee, ABC, MC
An IABC member for more than 40 years, Gary started his career as a journalist in the early 1970s, moving to corporate communications as an editor at Gulf Canada in 1974. That same year, Gary was the Toronto chapter president of Corporate Communicators Canada when the organization voted to join the International Association of Business Communicators, making him a pioneer of IABC/Toronto.
From 1978-80, Gary chaired an advisory committee at Centennial College that put together the framework for a new corporate communications program. In 1980, he launched Canada’s first post-secondary corporate communications program with a focus on internal communications. He was a professor at Centennial College until his retirement in 2008. During his tenure, the program graduated hundreds of corporate communicators who are working in public relations and communication roles across Canada and worldwide.
He was one of the first Canadian members to earn the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation, and served on IABC’s international accreditation committee. He helped create—and named—the Silver Leaf Awards program, which has recognized excellence in Canadian communication for more than 35 years, and recently spearheaded a committee that revamped IABC/Toronto’s prestigious Communicator of the Year program.
Ryan Williams, ABC, MC
Ryan Williams is passionate about communication measurement. His leadership has expanded technical knowledge of communication-related research for practitioners, and influenced the understanding of its importance by management and leaders.
Ryan has been an IABC volunteer at local, national and international levels. He was a trustee of the IABC Research Foundation, where he contributed to a refocusing of the foundation’s research initiatives. He chaired the research committee of the IABC International Executive Board.
He has been an evangelist for higher standards in communication, earning Gold Quill, Silver Leaf and other awards for employee engagement, sales communication, e- mail education, internal communication and social media strategy. As one of his supporters says: “Ryan’s commitment to research-based communication is influencing the way communicators everywhere determine how to approach communication challenges and then evaluate the effectiveness of their work.”
Ryan is a frequent speaker at IABC’s international conferences and at local chapters. He has also established a long list of organizations outside the communication profession to which he brings our message: Research-based communication strategy and the ability to effectively measure outcomes.
Ryan has been exceptionally active in his local community—acting as a youth director for a local church, participating in election campaigns at municipal, provincial and federal levels, and coaching high school football for 12 seasons. He is also one-half of the first father-son team to be named master communicators. His father, Tudor, was named a master communicator in 1989.
“I have known each of these three professionals for many years,” Bergman said. “I was delighted when the selection committee endorsed their nominations. They bring credit to our profession and serve as an inspiration to us all.”
The IABC Master Communicator designation is the association’s highest honour in Canada. It recognizes outstanding career achievements, contributions to the communications profession, thought leadership, teaching and writing in communications, service and leadership in IABC, and contributions to the community. Master Communicators are nominated and selected by their peers.
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For information about the IABC Canada Master Communicator designation, including a list of past recipients, go to the IABC Canada web site at www.canada.iabc.com