By Masoumeh Zafarmand
Wendy Thatcher joined the IABC in 2000 to network, deepen her understanding of communications best practices and find her people. She has been on the IABC boards and organized a few Dare to Lead conferences. Now she serves as the director, leadership development with the IABC Canada West Region, which helps satisfy her passion for mentoring and influencing others’ professional growth.
Wendy graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BBA degree and a joint major in marketing and communications. She has worked in her main fields of study for most of her career. Her interests and passions have guided the industries in which she has worked, largely in the public and non-profit areas: education, conservation, economic and community development and now health. She says, “One of my primary drivers has always been to leave work at the end of the day knowing, at least in some small part, the work that I do is contributing to some larger, more important purpose. Sounds cheesy but for me it is easier to fall asleep at night knowing what I am doing is valued and important. Money is important, for sure, but self-worth and contribution to a bigger picture mean so much more, particularly now as I am more choosey about the roles that I tackle.”
Wendy has dabbled in almost all areas of communications at some level. She says, “I thought my passion was event planning, until I had the opportunity to start working more in community and employee engagement. Building culture, recruiting ambassadors, building momentum and support are my current areas of interest.”
Late last year, Wendy started working with Stoney Health Services as their sole communicator. She believes that her SCMP degree, which she earned two years ago, played a role in securing her current job, and ultimately gave her the confidence to claim her seat at the table. She states that working with Indigenous Peoples on health care issues in ‘normal times’ has so much potential for growth and exploration. “Now during a pandemic and at a time COVID numbers are rapidly increasing on the reserve is challenging, a bit intimidating, but incredibly rewarding as we try to engage the Nation members, educate them and hopefully encourage a healthier lifestyle.”
Here is the best piece of advice Wendy has ever received: Be true to yourself. No one is going to look out for you. You have to be willing to take chances, get out of your comfort zone to really find out who you are and realize your potential.
And Wendy’s advice to fellow communicators? “Volunteer and push your boundaries, reach out to a few members. Most people are encouraging and welcome the opportunity to open doors, make introductions and help you build your local professional circle and foundation. I always love helping out someone new to the community. I have been new as well and understand the challenges of finding your groove. Happy to help others find their groove.”
As the mother of a three-year-old, Wendy has read the children’s book Monkey Puzzle, and found it illuminating as the book offers lots of life lessons through a simple story.