Written by Scott Sargent
IABC Calgary’s chapter has had plenty of success over the years thanks to the many, many volunteers who keep the wheels turning.
It also means a lot of stories are waiting to be told.
I thought it would be important to get to know some of the people who’ve helped lead the Calgary chapter of IABC. So, I present to you the very first “Director Connector”–a new way to learn about IABC Calgary, our board members and leaders, both past and present.
One of the first individuals that came to mind was the always positive and energetic Will Tigley.
For over 20 years, Will has been involved with IABC in multiple roles as a member, leader and mentor. In fact, Will started off as a student and was introduced to the organization via a classmate, while thinking about resume building.
If you name it, he’s probably done it with IABC. Pre-COVID, I’d only met Will once or twice, so I was ecstatic when we were able to meet virtually for a question-and-answer session.
IABC Calgary: Tell me a bit about your background and history with IABC.
Will Tigley: In my last year at the University of Calgary…I knew I needed to get some ‘real’ experience in the workforce, so volunteering was a great way to do that. Volunteering and connecting with some really knowledgeable communicators and IABC was a great channel to do that. I joined, enjoyed my time there and it just gradually progressed.
I volunteered with the board just to see where I could help out, eventually going into a position on the board which I enjoyed. I’d make such great connections in my first round on the board, some of my former colleagues and people I consider mentors came back to me around 2012 asking me if I’d be willing to join the board again. Within months they’d tapped me to do the executive route and become President for a specific year, which I believe was about five years ago leading into the IABC 50th anniversary which was a great opportunity.
I thought I’d take a break after being on the executive for three years but then some friends and colleagues asked me to be on the regional board, so I joined that board. Now I am the Past Chair for the IABC Canada West region.
IABC: Wow 20 years! I can’t believe that. That’s commitment!
WT: Yes, it’s kinda tough to look back and think “Wow, you’ve come a long way. You’ve met a lot of people and you’ve seen different generations of communicators come by.”
There are some really good ones that I’ve respected and enjoyed watching work while developing my own skills under their wing. Hopefully, now, I’m providing the same thing to the next generation of communicators. I’m watching how the industry is changing and what skills new communicators have coming out of university (which I never had). Now, as a manager and someone who leads teams, I think “Yes, I need these new types of skills”.
IABC: What types of skills might an employer look for from modern communicators?
WT: Fundamentally, learn how to do writing. If you can write well, you can get anywhere in communications. Now, when I’m looking for someone, it’s “Can you develop content? Can you write, tell a story and how can you channel that in a creative way to get people’s attention?”
IABC: That leads me to my next question. Can you tell me about what you’ve been up to for employment and any recent accomplishments?
WT: As a communicator, I consider myself a generalist…a strategist and a leader in communications, so a lot of management leading teams. As a consultant and independent contractor, I have a number of clients that I work with on and off. I have a good network of other consulting communication agencies and groups in the city that will often get me onboard projects. It’s nice to have that opportunity to choose what I work on and get involved with.
Right now, I’m consulting with Immigrant Services Calgary on a really cool inclusion project with them. They’re focused on a new program called ‘Gateway’ which fundamentally introduces a new way with how we interact with immigrants.
The other side of where I’m working is in a leadership capacity with CBC Calgary. I’m helping them out with some strategies this year, how they can get involved and engage with the community. I’ve had a great relationship with CBC and I had an opportunity to do a passion project which, again involves a lot of diversity and inclusion. They asked me because they want (as an organization) to grow their audience and tell stories from all areas within our community. One of those is the Filipino community, which is the third largest ethnic community within Calgary.
IABC: It sounds like really a great initiative and one I think we definitely need more of.
WT: Yes, and it’s one of those things where it’s nice to kind of get to know what other perspectives are because I think that’s where we’re coming from as a society. It’s where communications are going too. There are a lot of organizations that are looking at Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and how to best implement them. I know a lot of companies are trying to figure out how to effectively engage all of their employees and stakeholders.
IABC: Is there anything you want people to know about the board or IABC?
WT: My career has been strongly defined by IABC, good or bad. Having a good network of other communicators in the city has helped me keep my finger on the pulse of new jobs that are coming up. It’s also given me opportunities where if colleagues need some help, they throw work my way.
I think a lot of people struggle to figure out whether they want to volunteer–if it’s worth their time. From my perspective, it’s absolutely been a blessing for me, but it’s also been something I’m passionate about. Everything that you give to an organization I feel you get a lot back.
IABC: Finally, do you have any advice for someone new to the industry or someone really looking to build their career?
WT: Get your hands dirty. Just get in there. Find a good role that you like whether it’s paid or not. Just build your experiences. Right now, if I was hiring for someone, I want someone who can tell a story in an interesting way. Someone who can also guide me through content creation that resonates with our target markets. Can you write for the web or create a video that’s good for YouTube or even TikTok?
On top of that, one of the biggest things is can you show me it worked. What’s the measurement on this?
Continuing the Conversation
There were many more anecdotes that Will generously shared, and he’s also busy recruiting for the new IABC Canada West Region board, but I just couldn’t fit everything into a single blog article. However, if you get a chance, I highly encourage our members to meet Will and our other board members who set a great example as leaders, as members of our city and the IABC community.
Speaking of great members, on Wednesday, April 6, I encourage you to get out to our first in-person open board meeting in two years held at Last Best Brewing & Distilling from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. MDT.
Members can register online to attend this event.