The Word

about Centennial’s Corporate Communications + PR program

Jacquie Fabro’s smart choice

Posted by bwaite on June 1, 2009

 By Natalia Dobrynina, Class of 2009

jacquie-fabro

Grad Jacquie Fabro

The questions that occupy most managers’ minds are:  how to improve relations between employer and employees, how to raise the company’s productivity and how to boost the overall morale of the organization.

Benefits are the one area where companies often need an outsider’s help to represent this information to their employees correctly so staff can understand and appreciate the value of the perks on offer.

Jacquie Fabro, a communication consultant with Morneau Sobeco and a graduate of Centennial’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program, provides managers and employees with advice and information support in a most important, but quite complicated area, pensions and benefits. “My challenge is to explain this complex subject to the employees that they can appreciate and value it.”

Centennial’s program caught Fabro’s attention from the first moment when she came to the college. And she has been building her career with employee communications since the graduation.

“The program was split evenly between corporate communications and public relations back in 2003,” recalls Fabro. “And I chose corporate communication to be my passion and professional interest.”

As a student, Fabro learned important skills that prepared for her future job. “Our teachers connected with us and tried to pull out things from us to help us succeed professionally and personally.”

One of the lessons that comes immediately to mind is writing for PR purposes. Loving writing and having a major in the professional writing from the University of Ottawa, she started to realize the difference between academic and PR writing styles. “Writing at the university was mostly wordy, indescribable, and completely opposite of PR writing. It took me some time to get accustomed to precise, concise PR writing.”

The tactics for PR writing she learned at Centennial align with her present-day reality. Her job, as for any other communicator, is to find the most effective ways to reach her audience.  “To get your information accepted by the audience, to make them want to do what you intend them to do means your message should be short and simple. This is what I learned and what happens every day in my job. Get to your point right away. You have only few minutes of the audience’s attention – you don’t want to miss it.”

Working as a communications consultant for Canada’s largest pension and benefits consulting and outsourcing firm, she provides communication services to a broad variety of clients – from small and middle-size companies to large corporations.

Fabro meets with clients, conducts focus groups, and prepares presentations, newsletters and print materials that make complicated information about the benefits and pension plans clear to employees.

“We usually start from the clients’ expectations and needs. It’s not so rare that they don’t know what they really want or need in terms of communications. We help them to determine the plan that suits their corporate culture and situation the best. To be close to employees does not necessarily guarantee understanding them better. We can communicate in a neutral way.”

Her position requires versatility, lots of patience, and hours of writing, some knowledge of social psychology and the ability to be “communications inventor.” Mix together but do not stir. That’s a recipe for the successful corporate communicator.

For PR tenderfoots she shares this advice:  “Keep your mind open! Everyone wants a glamorous PR job but it might not be as interesting and fascinating as you expect. So, be open for different opportunities and always speak up. Never be afraid to share your ideas.”

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