The Word

about Centennial’s Corporate Communications + PR program

Archive for January, 2008

Paul Keable: one step ahead of the crowd

Posted by Natasha C. on January 28, 2008

by Natasha Carr, Corporate Communications & PR ’08

Paul Keable, Vice President of Consumers Wellness Division, Manning Selvage & Lee, built his career on standing out from the competition by going the extra mile.

Keable, who graduated from the Corporate Communications and Public Relations program in 2000, says he has set himself apart from the crowd to gain a competitive advantage.

“How can I differentiate myself from everyone? What else can I do? What extra value to the equation can I add? asks Keable. Agencies are always looking for help so why not volunteer?”

Throughout his career he has operated on looking outside the box in search of job opportunities to help him grow as a communications professional and as an individual eager to learn new things.

paulkeable.jpg“I didn’t put a set career path in place in terms of job title. Learning and working with really great clients – that’s what I always strive to do. I want to work with clients who challenge me to do better,” he says.

He finds his job more than gratifying working for an agency.

“There’s a great myth about agency life that it’s about working you to the bone from dawn to dusk. I don’t believe that’s true in my career. There’s a lot to learn in the beginning of your career and I am now seven years out from graduation and still learn every day,” says Keable.

But the opportunity to learn new things is just the beginning for Keable.

“I see our industry growing in terms of responsibility and impact on the bottom line for a lot of our clients.”

Although Keable loves his job, he says there are days when things can be challenging.

“Not everything is a home run – you’re spending a lot of your day ensuring you’re reaching the right people with your message. What people expect and what they ask for are sometimes not the necessarily the same thing,” says Keable.

But he says the future is bright for new communicators prepared to work hard, volunteer and network in the field.

“Keep your eyes and ears open. Opportunity is everywhere, but it doesn’t always have a sign on the door saying ‘knock here.’ You have to sort of shake the tree and see what falls down,” says Keable.

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Mills joins Bev Oda’s team

Posted by Gary Schlee on January 21, 2008

The Hill Times, the “insider” newspaper read by all the movers and shakers on Parliament Hill, included a brief story about Amy Mills, the new policy adviser to International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda. The Dec. 3 edition noted that Amy, 28, graduated from Centennial’s Corporate Communications program and arrived in Ottawa in early 2003 to work for Joe Clark, Peter MacKay and eventually Stephen Harper. As policy adviser, Amy will be liaising closely with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which distributes money to worthy aid projects overseas.

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Health Communications: A grad’s perspective

Posted by Rhonda Bowen on January 18, 2008

nadiaradovini.jpg

by Rhonda Bowen, Corporate Communications & PR ’08

For many, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) represents one of Canada’s most significant documented health crises. For Nadia Radovini, Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, it was a career experience like no other.

“SARS was one of the most intense crisis communications situations anyone could go through,” she says of the respiratory illness which was first reported in Canada in March 2003 and which, worldwide, killed 800 people. “It was overwhelming for even the most seasoned professional.”

Radovini’s up-close view of this particular crisis is due to the fact that Sunnybrook was the main hospital handling the outbreak. She notes that, during the emergency period, there was pressure not only on the doctors and hospital medical staff, but also on the communications staff.

“We handled the media relations and internal communications around SARS and that was quite the process,” she says. “We helped coordinate rallies to support staff and organized forums to communicate what was happening. Things could have gone either way with the rumour mill. People needed to be informed.”

Media Relations in particular was an area which became increasingly complex. “When we were quarantined we weren’t allowed to let any media inside the hospital,” she says. “Until that point we had tons of media coming in. Now we had to think about how we could proactively help the media report on things.”

This need led them to find creative ways to communicate with the media, such as producing their own B-roll hospital footage. It ensured that media received current information on what was happening.

As a graduate of Centennial’s Corporate Communication and Public Relations program, Radovini notes that the skills she acquired have been a significant aid in her career. “The writing and analytical skills, trying to figure out what your audience needs to know, as well as knowing what to ask the specialists – I find that everything I learned at Centennial makes up my hands-on public relations skills.”

Despite the SARS health crisis and the looming possibilities of future health emergencies, she has not wavered in her enthusiasm towards health communications. She maintains that she has always felt pulled in this direction. Her volunteer and work experience at Credit Valley Hospital, as well as her internship at the Canadian Hearing Society, all attest to this.

“I always knew I wanted to do something that had meaning to it,” she explains. “I wanted to do something I felt good about at the end of the day.”

She encourages current students to use the program to their advantage. “It’s one of the best intensive programs there is in public relations in Toronto.”

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Recent grad already sounds like a pro

Posted by Karin Archer on January 9, 2008

by Karin Archer, Corporate Communications & PR ’08

cpatterson.jpgCatherine Patterson is walking the walk just shy of six months after completing Centennial’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program.

The 24-year-old proves that students shouldn’t be worried about getting a job.

“There are so many jobs and so much room for growth,” says Patterson. “Do not worry, just be confident.”

Patterson has been the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada since the summer. The organization is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer.

“I feel like I am making a difference. I like the fact that it’s a not-for-profit. I like that we’re not putting money in our own pocket.”

Patterson originally thought that she would end up in a corporate setting.

“Corporate tends to be stable and there is a lot of opportunity to rise within a company. It can turn into a really great career, not just a job. But not-for-profit turned out to be what I thought corporate would be – room to grow. It is everything I was looking for and I like the aspect of giving back.”

Patterson is responsible for a wide range of duties, from fielding calls to organizing the bi-monthly e-newsletter to creating promotional material. She touches upon every skill she obtained at Centennial, but says the writing classes prepared her the most.

“They taught me how to have a really good eye for detail. It’s important when you hand something to the media that they pay attention to the message rather than the mistakes.”

Patterson, a history and art history major from the University of Toronto, did her internship at the Bata Shoe Museum. She was able to combine her communications training from Centennial with her degree, giving her an appreciation for the historical and artistic elements at the museum. She published articles in the newsletter and pitched a new exhibit to Breakfast Television that was picked up.

“The Bata Shoe Museum ended up being a really good fit. I had a real internship that gave me real, hands-on experience; something I believe was a major factor in helping me land a job.”

Patterson hopes she is always satisfied with her career and is building up her little black book of media contacts. She eventually wants to be in a managerial role and would be pleased if it was at the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada.

“You have to be great with people and you have to be willing to budge in your thoughts,” Patterson advises Corporate Communications students. “Don’t get discouraged because it will work out in the end. If it doesn’t, it’s a lesson learned.”

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