Juli LeClair joined IABC in 2006. She volunteered on the Canada Western Region Board in 2006 and 2007 and was able to attend Leadership Institute in Saskatoon, where she met some “fantastic communicators” whom she is still in contact with. She says, “IABC has been fundamental to my career growth and provided me with educational and networking opportunities.” 

Juli believes that as a communicator, lifelong learning and skills development are critical to advance your career and stay on top of the latest issues and trends. In 2020, she received her CMP designation to add a “level of credibility” to her profession. She says, “IABC has always been my go-to for information.”

Juli feels that communications is not just a mere career for her, but her passion.

Spending most of her career in the energy industry, Juli has worked for various organizations including CCS (now Tervita), Shell, Enbridge, Husky and now Cenovus. She says, “There are two skills that have really helped me progress throughout my career. The first is being prepared. I try to do my homework before going into a meeting. I use my networking skills to figure out what some of the pain points or challenges are for the team or leader. It helps establish credibility to be prepared to ask the right questions. The other skill is to listen. Actively listen. The most common mistake that we can make as communicators is to make assumptions. Listening and understanding helps build trust.”

She adds, “I’ve been very fortunate in my career to have some really great mentors and also some amazing colleagues that have helped me learn and grow. I’ve also worked with some fantastic senior leaders that have been open and supportive to trying new ways of communicating. It’s been fun to see their growth. At Husky in particular, I worked with a leadership team that really saw the value of communications and embraced the strategies and tactics we developed together. We were able to increase employee engagement and deliver a step change that the organization really needed.” 

The best piece of advice Juli has ever been given is that as communicators, ethics and values always come first. She continues, “If something doesn’t feel right, stop and ask questions. We all have Spidey senses, and we need to use them.”

Like many other communicators, Juli also has faced challenges over her career. To overcome challenges, building a strong network of people both inside and outside of communications is critical for her. “Those people can be your sounding board for finding solutions to your challenges. Also, if something feels overwhelming, like you need to deliver a huge project that feels intimidating, break it down to one step at a time. Build a good strategy as your foundation and continuously ask yourself if you understand what’s being asked of you, and ensure you understand the ‘why’ behind it.”

The most recent challenge Juli has experienced at work is due to COVID. She says, “COVID-19 has changed the way we collaborate at work. My current team is spread across Canada and the US, and I look forward to seeing them in person soon.”

Juli advises people that are new to communications, or even new to Canada, to learn as much as they can. “Seek out mentors and volunteer; there is no better way to gain experience than volunteering, take courses and never stop asking questions. Don’t be afraid to take risks.”

Juli’s last words: “This profile has helped me reflect on the fact that being a communicator isn’t just a career for me; it’s my passion.”

Did you know?? Juli and her family like to hike, bike and camp together. They are also having fun with two gerbils they just welcomed into the family. 

Leave a Reply

Our Sponsors