Announcing Cultivate: The CPRS 2021 Conference in Whistler, B.C.

I was honoured last year to be approached by CPRS with an invitation to chair the Local Advisory Committee for the 2021 CPRS National conference, being held in Whistler, B.C. Of course, I immediately said yes—my experiences working with CPRS and my colleagues have been a highlight of my professional career, and I know this will be no different.

This year’s conference—Transformation 2020—took place over two days last week, July 9-10. I want pass along my thanks and congratulations to the amazing team behind this conference. I know that I and many of my CPRS colleagues across the country were so looking forward to gathering in Québec City at the end of May to celebrate our profession. I can only imagine how challenging it must have been to have to change gears so quickly, and turn an in-person conference into a virtual event. I tip my hat to the entire team for the grace and agility they showed in moving the conference online, and delivering such an amazing experience for all involved. They have set a high standard that we’ll be aiming for next year. Félicitations et merci à tous!

As we look to 2021, it’s hard to know what the future holds. As the conference was originally scheduled for early June, we’re working with the Fairmont Chateau Whistler to reschedule the event to sometime in the fall. This gives us more time to ensure that attendees from across the country are able to and feel comfortable traveling to Vancouver and gives us more opportunity to put on a conference that is—at least in part—delivered in person. That being said, given the success of this year’s virtual conference, we will be looking at how we can deliver a hybrid model for the 2021 event—with online options as well as (hopefully) an in-person event. 

The theme for Whistler 2021 is cultivate 

To cultivate is to nurture and help grow.

When you cultivate something, you work to make it better. To cultivate anything requires an attention to detail, an understanding of what is being cultivated, and a lot of patience.

Whistler 2021 will be a chance to cultivate the learning our industry has undergone—and will continue to experience—as we deal with a global pandemic and the impact it’s had on how we do our jobs, interact with others, and live our lives. I’ve watched in admiration as my colleagues working in myriad industries like health care, crisis communications, science communicators, government PR staff, regulation—you name it—have risen to the challenge of delivering clear, concise communications that are so vital during a crisis like this one. 

It will be a chance to cultivate the new relationships we’ve built and the new ways we’ve found to do our work.

To cultivate the innovation we’ve seen and the peace we’ve found in the in-between spaces.

We have a great group of people on the Local Advisory Committee, and of course we have the expertise and leadership of the CPRS national team guiding our way. I see so many opportunities for success here and I’m really excited to see how we progress.

We’ll be reaching out to the CPRS community over the coming weeks and months as we start to plan for 2021. If you’re interested in being involved in the conference—from sponsorship to event volunteers—please get in touch with me directly. 

The CPRS community has been active and supportive during this pandemic. I’m glad once again for our strong professional association, the advocacy and leadership my colleagues have shown, and the solidarity I’ve felt. I look forward to gathering with you next fall to talk all about it in beautiful Whistler, B.C. 

About the Author

Johanna Ward is a past CPRS Vancouver President and Chair of the Local Advisory Committee for the CPRS 2021 Conference in Whistler, B.C. Follow her @johannaward.