Megan Bierwagon has been an IABC member for 17 years. She joined IABC to connect with peers, explore possible career paths and for professional development opportunities. Being a part of a group of incredible professionals that have a shared passion for communications is what she likes most about her IABC membership. “I love seeing what others are working on and what direction their career has taken them,” she says.
Megan says she feels blessed to have incredible colleagues and parents who helped shape her values.
Her background includes over 20 years of experience in strategic communications including media relations, brand and reputation management, content marketing, issues management, employee communications, and stakeholder relations. Megan previously held communications and marketing roles at the University of Calgary, Boardwalk REIT, The City of Calgary and the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency. Megan is currently the Manager of Employee & Culture Communications at Suncor Energy. She has also been an active volunteer with the Calgary Stampede for 15 years and more recently the Images of Hope Fundraising Gala in support of the Generations of Hope Fertility Assistance Fund.
Megan obtained her Accredited Business Communicator status with IABC in 2009 and is a 2015 Gold Quill Merit Award Winner. While her accreditation with IABC stands out, she considers her work in response to the Fort McMurray wildfires the most meaningful and greatest professional accomplishment.
“I met some amazing people and I still reflect on the connections I made through that work,” she explains. “I have used my values as a compass throughout my career. They have influenced decisions about roles and organizations I want to work with and for, as well as my day-to-day interactions. My parents have given me advice that spans beyond our industry, and I find myself quoting them often,” she states.
Megan believes that “creating balance” is a challenge.
“I don’t have an ‘off switch’ and I’ve had to learn the art of prioritization and work-life balance. It’s an ongoing challenge for me and one that has more to do with mindset than anything else. Having friends, family and colleagues that remind you to slow down is helpful!” she explains.
Not being afraid to be authentic is the most important skill that Megan has developed in her career. “Early in my career I tried hard to act a certain way, not get emotional and to try to show up strong all of the time. I have learned that authenticity builds relationships and relationships are integral to success,” she says.
Megan admits that it was a mistake when she beat herself up over a blip on her resume. “I had one position not pan out how I thought it would. It wasn’t the right role or culture for me, and I tried to force it.” She continues that “success is about recognizing when things don’t feel right and being ok with it.”
Megan advises fellow communicators that being sensitive and aware of your feelings and others’ feelings is a superpower that allows you to show up with empathy. “Never underestimate the importance of building relationships. Take the time to find what connects you with others. It will make the work easier (and more fun),” she adds.
Megan recommends the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Here’s her favourite quote: “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality…”.
Did you know?? Megan can be found relaxing at the lake in her downtime and hanging out with her husband and their energetic dog, Breaker.