An IABC member since 2011, Matthew McWhirter, currently works as the director of marketing and communications at the Dexterra Group. He joined IABC to gain access to resources and benefit from networking opportunities with his fellow communicators in the Calgary area. He believes that he has not taken advantage of this as much as he should, and it is something he wants to commit to when things return to normal.
Like most professional communicators, the last nine months have been the biggest challenge Matthew has ever experienced in his professional life. “I had the additional challenge of navigating a company merger and all of the communications that go along with it, as well as participating in a large-scale rebranding effort for our publicly traded company and several of our operating brands,” he said.
Despite all the uncertainties and restrictions due to COVID such as travel restrictions and virtual meetings instead of in-person ones, Matthew and his team got everything done, which is a tremendous accomplishment.
Although a ‘yes’ person by nature, Matthew has developed the skill of saying no. He wants to make sure everyone is happy with the work they do and feel that they are getting enough attention; however, whether it is time constraints, resource constraints or changing priorities, it is not always possible. He says, “It has been important for me to learn to say no and that ‘no’ is ok. I still struggle with it but I’m learning and getting better.”
For Matthew, it is impossible to choose just one person as the most influential person in his career. Since 2006 when he started his career in communications, he has worked with and for a lot of great people, and they all have had a profound influence on him. Some helped him develop his communications and management skills and from some he learned more intangible skills like tenacity, teamwork and how to have some fun while getting work done.
Matthew’s advice to fellow communicators? “Whether you are one year into your career or 15 like me, I think the best piece of advice anyone can follow is to just be yourself. I have made it a long way in my career without trying to change who I am as a person and it keeps me comfortable in my own skin,” he says.
Matthew is currently reading How to Lead by David Rubenstein, and suggests it would be a great read for anyone in a leadership position or who aspires to be a leader.
Did you know?? Matthew loves to golf and is a lifelong (and long-suffering) Calgary Flames fan.