• All Day
  • Calgary Downtown Marriott - 110 9th Ave SE
  • 4 - 5 March 2019

Forum schedule on Monday, March 4

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.

8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Enhancing Citizen Engagement With Powerful Social Digital Communications
Shiva Kumar Shunmugam, Manager, Media and Communications, Beaumount

The way local governments communicate with constituents has changed dramatically over the years. Before, all towns or cities needed to do was create a website and post upcoming events and information there for citizens; whereas now these same citizens demand to be communicated with on a more personal level, through targeted communications containing only the information that is relevant to them. This means websites are no longer sufficient when it comes to comprehensive citizen engagement.

Local governments are beginning to realize the need to better engage their citizens. We at Beaumont, Alberta have identified the need for serving the online appetite of our citizens for consuming news. We have invested in creating smart communication platforms that not only suit their needs but in doing so enhance citizen trust and transparency.

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Strategic Consulting Essentials for the Communications Professional
Anne Marie Downey, Downey Norris & Associates Inc.
Colleen Foster, ABC, Foster Communications

Having your communications expertise used and valued in your organization and with your clients requires you to be a strategic partner.  This presentation will explore three strategic consulting essentials that you, as a professional communicator, can apply to elevate your influence and position you and your function as critical strategic business resources.

The session will cover the power of demonstrating business acumen, coaching and being coachable, and leading by influence to achieve success in business and in your career.   It also includes a series of proven strategies that you can immediately use and apply in your role as a communicator.

The presentation approach includes a discussion of widely used and accepted business concepts combined with plenty of real-life, practical examples to charge your thinking and get you on the path to strategic partner.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Operation ATB Mobile 3.0: Harnessing the power of the workforce to drive customer adoption
Nekolina Lau, CMP, Internal Communications, ATB Financial                  

The year was 2016, and ATB Financial was rolling out a new version of their mobile banking app, with big expectations for customer adoption. As internal communicator Nekolina Lau assessed the situation she realized the success of the mission depended on harnessing the power of the workforce to drive customer adoption. It was concluded that strong internal communication is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It’s business critical for the success of change and adoption of new technologies.

Join us to learn more about the approach and tactics of Operation ATB Mobile 3.0, and how you can employ the lesson learned for your next mission.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Crisis negotiations – lessons that can help you communicate better during a crisis
Mike Shute, Detective, Calgary Police Service

In this session, hear from an experienced crisis negotiator from the Calgary Police Service essential skills on how to negotiate during a crisis using real life examples. Learn how to identify when someone is in crisis, and the communication skills you can use to improve the situation. You can even use these skills to improve relationships with co-workers and staff and maybe even your spouse! Specifically, you will learn about the following, their importance and how to action :

  • What is crisis negotiations?
  • How to prepare
  • What is the power of authority vs. power of influence and how it can help
  • Power of persuasion
  • Active listening skills
  • Behavioral staircase
  • Interview and interrogation
  • Team work

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Everyone loves a winner – 5 nuggets to seed change and collect more wins 
Anne-Marie Bruzga-Luchak, MFA, Communications Manager, Calgary Real Estate Board
Jason Yule, Supervisor of Communications, Calgary Real Estate Board

Against all odds, including some deeply entrenched historical norms that favoured tactics over strategy, a new communications model emerged at the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®). The key to making it happen? Knowing the value of incremental progress and small wins, which prompt new opportunities for bigger wins with a wider audience. Join CREB®’s communication leadership duo Anne-Marie-Bruzga-Luchak and Jason Yule for a conversation about their Gold Quill Award winning campaign. Walk away with five things you can do to shift from tactical order-takers to strategic thought partners and collect more wins.

3:30 – 3:45 p.m.

3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
Performance, Partnerships and Public Trust – turning data into stories that resonate
Kim Blanchette, Vice President, Communications & International Relations & Monica Hermary, Team Lead, External Communications, Alberta Energy Regulator

Amidst a national debate on pipelines, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) set out to do more than tell Albertans that pipelines are safe by ranking operator performance and making that information public in a way that was easy to understand. Rooted in decades of opinion research, the Communications team built a communications strategy that did more than ‘make the data available’ by working with our subject matter experts to use the data to tell a clear, compelling story about pipeline safety in Alberta and how operators compare when lined up with their peers. Using storytelling, digital and visual tactics, traditional and social media, the Pipeline Performance Report met key organizational objectives, led to additional performance reports and recent testing has demonstrated that it supports increased confidence in the AER—a major goal for the organization.

Attendees will learn more about how the AER:

  • Became a partner in the project rather than an ‘order taker’ through research and analysis
  • Turned data into visuals and stories to improve understanding
  • Supported AER employees with tools to share messaging
  • Put a priority on evaluation to demonstrate the success of the program with real metrics





Optional post-conference workshops on Tuesday, March 5


9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Workshop A: Strategic Consulting Skills for the Communications Professional
Anne Marie Downey, Downey Norris & Associates Inc. 
Colleen Foster, ABC, Foster Communications

Being a recognized strategic partner in your organization and with your clients, requires more than strategic thinking and communications competence. It requires the ability to explore business needs, to sort multifaceted issues, to recommend change, to influence perspectives, and to plan for and manage resistance. This workshop will focus on strategic and practical skills for communications professionals to succeed as expert consultants inside their organizations or when providing services to businesses and organizations.

A range of successful consulting skills will be explored, with a particular emphasis on asking powerful questions, which are core to how effectively we influence and lead. For the professional communicator, questioning is a fundamental skill that determines if we are invited to the executive table as a strategic resource, expert and leader. In this workshop questioning is discussed as strategic and practical tool that when used well can make important differences to the outcome of any number of business situations. Knowing how and when to ask the bold, thoughtful and key questions can expose your expertise and insight, and lead to innovative solutions and new directions in thinking.

Workshop participants will walk away with effective tools to confidently and comfortably demonstrate their respective abilities to lead and facilitate the development of communication strategies and plans that align with and support the business/organization goals and directions.

Specifically, workshop participants will better understand:

  • The fundamentals of working successfully with clients to negotiate priorities and get your expertise used
  • How to participate successfully in exploring and identifying business needs
  • How to work with clients and leaders to sort multifaceted issues/challenges
  • How to prepare for, identify and manage resistance to ideas and recommendations

Anne Marie Downey works with organizations to sort complex issues and tackle communications challenges. For 30 years she has led, facilitated, counseled, coached and educated communicators and organization leaders in a wide range of sectors. Before starting Downey Norris & Associates in 1998, she was the Vice President of Corporate Communications and Organizational Performance for the Workers’ Compensation Board Alberta, and Director of Communications for the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Executive Director of its Foundation. Anne Marie has designed and facilitated hundreds of workshops and meetings on a variety of subjects for private, government and not-for-profit organizations, and taught Media Relations and Mass Communications at Grant MacEwan College for seven years.

Colleen Foster, ABC is a strategic, results-oriented senior professional with more than 20 years of experience in communications and change management, including 11-years in senior leadership roles supporting executive teams to deliver business results. She is passionate about change management and change leadership. Prior to starting her own consulting practice in 2015, Colleen was Director of Communications and Change Management at ATCO Electric and Senior Manager Communications and Change Management at ATCO I-Tek. She has developed and delivered successful change management strategies for several major transformation initiatives that included significant organization and business change.

1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

WORKSHOP B: Crisis Communications Planning 
Benjamin Morgan, Principle, diedouCOMMUNICATIONS

Benjamin has held communication leadership roles during the response to Canada’s two costliest natural disasters: the 2013 Calgary Floods and the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires. In addition to consulting with a variety of organizations, he teaches risk and crisis communications at Calgary’s Mount Royal University and BC’s Royal Roads University at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In the session, Benjamin shares with you critical elements of crisis communication planning and walks participants through a crisis communications plan outline. This session will help you:

  • Understand some of the key elements required for a comprehensive crisis communication plan
  • Manage communications during crisis and issues response better
  • Prepare well ahead of any crisis event
  • Understand the importance of strong key messages
  • Prepare yourself, and others, to be ready to respond

Practical information combined with group discussion will help set your organization up for communication success during a crisis. This session will leave you with a foundation to build and grow your crisis communication plan.

Benjamin has had a dynamic career. During his 16 years of service as a Paramedic, he served as the designated spokesperson – speaking to crisis events. Inspired by his interactions and relationships with the media, Benjamin returned to school and completed his Masters Degree in Professional Communications. Returning to The City of Calgary in March of 2013 in a newly created role, the Supervisor of Crisis Communications, he quickly found his background and educations tested as the mighty Bow and Elbow rivers spilled their banks. His crisis communications was again tested during the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires. He was called as a crisis communications expert by the Province of Ontario during the Elliott Lake disaster Public Inquiry hearing. Benjamin also participated in a Department of National Defence research project, Social Media Expert in Emergency Management ‘round Table. He now shares his knowledge and experience with undergraduate and graduate level students at two Canadian Universities.

He is the founder of deidouCommunications which supports organizations in their crisis communication planning, communication strategies, media relations training and coaching.  He is a sought-after consultant, trainer and conference speaker.




Pricing and registration

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More information can be found on the event website.

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