IABC Member since: June 2009
Number of years in current position: 2 years
LinkedIn Handle: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliaperkins678/
Please share an interesting fact or hobby of yours!: I love yoga and taught part-time for nearly a decade. It’s hard to find time to practice or teach nowadays, but both fulfill me so much when I do. Yoga is like a reset button for me!
Q: Why are you an IABC member? What value or benefits do you see in the membership?
A: I first joined IABC very early in my career as a way to network and learn best practices in communications, and I still value it for that. The last few years I have been involved in specific initiatives such as the mentorship program and serving as an evaluator for the Gold Quill awards. Those have been amazing ways to continue my own learning but also give back to the communications community in a meaningful way.
I think an IABC membership helps us stay connected to our craft outside our own organizations and teams, there is always something we can do differently or better we might not be able to see in front of us.
Q: Can you briefly tell us about how you got into the communications profession, where your career has taken you, and what your best piece of advice is for others in the profession?
A: I always loved writing and English in school but I was somehow also really good at math. Without intending to, I ended up in the investor relations field as one of my first jobs out of university, which was actually a good fit for those aptitudes. From there, I moved on to opportunities more in the corporate communications area, but I also did a sidestep into freelance writing while I was in the height of my yoga teaching time.
Freelancing is great but you’re always hustling and looking for the next gig. Someone told me about change management and how it was a good fit for folks with communications experience. I took a certification and managed to get a contract job working as a change management and communications consultant for major IT projects. It’s funny how things worked out because that experience actually stood out and helped me get hired at ENMAX, where I’m lucky to still be today and have had many opportunities to wear different hats on the communications team.
I love the Steve Jobs quote, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
It’s so true because it can be discouraging in a field like ours where there isn’t a linear path to success. My advice is to take the opportunities that come and don’t be afraid to try something new or unexpected—you never know how it may connect in your future.
Q: What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
A: We’re lucky to live in a time where there are so many resources on how to promote inclusion and respect for diversity in our work. I think it’s vital for communicators to understand the importance of things like pronouns and land acknowledgements, and to stay curious and committed to learning about the lived experiences of others. It helps us connect with our audiences, makes our work better, and ensures we are thinking critically about our own biases.
Q: What is the best part of having a career in communications?
A: The best part is the variety. I don’t think I’ve ever had the same day twice in my career. As communicators we also tend to have a seat at the table with leaders and decision makers and get brought into projects across all departments of the business. You get to learn so much about an industry and company, and people, just by having that exposure.
Q: Any last words? Or something you want to share with the IABC Calgary membership base?
A: Nothing further – thanks for this opportunity!
We thank Julia for taking the time to share her unique story with us. If you would like to be featured in Member Spotlight, please fill out this form here.