Speakers Revealed What’s Next for Women in PR Across Canada to Over 100 Industry Leaders
The Organization of Canadian Women in Public Relations (CWPR) officially launched on May 11, 2016 with a networking event that brought together a diverse group of women and men working in the public relations field.
CWPR was unveiled by President & Chairwoman Talia Beckett-Davis, who along with a team of advisors hosted a group of over 100 PR practitioners and media professionals at a private sold out function at the University Women’s Club of Vancouver at Hycroft.
“We are leading women in public relations who have come together to connect, motivate and inspire. Our organization was formed to enable women to establish credibility as PR industry experts and become united in our PR careers,” Beckett-Davis said during her speech welcoming those in attendance.
“Our organization has big plans ahead and we’re working to contribute to Canada’s reputation as a PR industry leader.”
The organization is introducing innovative new initiatives to enable groups of PR practitioners across Canada to advocate for major issues directly affecting women working in the PR industry today.
One of the keynote speakers at the event, Christie Smith, Director of Corporate Relations at Partnerships BC, said it’s the PR industry that made her strong.
“I’ve never wondered how I’ve gotten to where I am today. It’s been a lot of hard work; being a woman in this industry is not a cakewalk. Studies show that women still aren’t earning their worth despite it being such a feminized field,” said Smith.
“It’s not the strong that survive; it’s the ones most resilient to change.”
Another speaker, Bridgitte Anderson, General Manager at Edelman Vancouver, noted the importance of fostering and mentoring the women around you in order to provide opportunities for one another. She also highlighted a successful women’s initiative that Edelman started in 2011.
“Edelman has a group called GWEN (Global Women’s Executive Network) and the goal is to have 50 percent of senior leadership positions filled by women,” Anderson explained at the CWPR launch event. “I’m thrilled to say that in Canada we have overachieved. Globally, we have more work to do but we are very close to that mark.”
There was also a keynote presentation, which outlined the importance of cultivating a healthy lifestyle in the PR industry. Natalie Langston, Fitness and Health Reporter for BC Living at Canada Wide Media, stressed that “we as women need to share a sense of belonging to achieve work life balance.” She emphasized the need to “be in tune with your values and align your goals to get a good idea of what is important to you, and use that to cultivate your balance.”
Keynote speaker Erin Dermer, Director of Media Relations and Social Media at TELUS, outlined future PR industry trends. She explained that YouTube is breeding a new online celebrity culture. “We need to find other ways to leverage media outreach using new technology. PR professionals need to make working with bloggers or video bloggers through YouTube a priority.”
Event emcee Stuart Chase, Director of Marketing and Communications at Make-A-Wish Foundation of BC and Yukon, closed the evening with a wish that more men would attend future CWPR events to hear and be part of these conversations.
“I hope the next time we have an event there are more guys around because they need to hear: although this is a female-dominated industry, there aren’t many women in leadership positions; what do we do about sexual harassment in the workplace; and how does a woman find the right work-life balance?”
CWPR will be proactively reaching out to event partners, sponsors and PR industry leaders over the coming months to seek input into future activities. The CWPR team is committed to maintaining a high calibre of programs for members and aims to become a thought leader and influencer in the field of public relations.
The development of CWPR is fully supported by Global Women in Public Relations, based in London, U.K. Through student, individual and corporate subscriptions, CWPR members have access to online courses, resources, case studies and networking opportunities.
Photos by Tiffany Cooper Photography.