CPRS Digital writer Tanya Colledge caught up with Corry Anderson-Fennell, Manager, media and communications at Kwantlen Polytechnic University to chat about PR and her experience in the industry.
Here's what she has to share..
What made you decide to choose this career path? It was serendipitous. I had been a reporter and editor at various newspapers for 18 years when I happened on a job posting for a communications officer at the BC SPCA. I’m a huge animal lover, so it just seemed like fate. Going from media to PR was a steep learning curve, but that’s essentially the beauty of the field – PR practitioners are constantly growing their skills to match their ever-changing industry. I’ve been blessed to work in non-profit, the K-12 sector and now post-secondary, and each move has contributed significantly to my professional development.
Career aspirations: To always be getting better at what I do, to always believe in what I do and to never find myself stagnating.
Greatest career challenge: I think this one is just ahead, as I’m taking the MA in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University next September.
Greatest career success: When/if I graduate from the above program!
Favourite PR/communications campaign: Non-profit organizations don’t usually come to the table with bags of money to throw at an agency, so I’m always impressed by the creativity and the authenticity of the campaigns in this sector – the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for example. But my favourite non-profit campaign would have to be 2012’s In Jim’s Shoes by the Alzheimer Society of B.C. A fellow named Jim Mann, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years earlier, tweeted his day-to-day thoughts and activities during Alzheimer Disease Awareness Month. It was such a stunningly simple campaign, yet so impactful because I still remember Jim’s name three years later. Fittingly, Jim was also the spokesperson for the society’s See Me, Not My Disease campaign the following year, and he continues to be an advocate.
PR role model: I will always be grateful to Lorie Chortyk, the BC SPCA’s awesome general manager of community relations, for giving me that important first shot. I’ll admit it’s a cliché, but Lorie is indeed a consummate professional, and more than that she has a huge heart and is endlessly compassionate.
Best career advice: Take risks.
Best place to ‘do coffee’ in Vancouver: Do the suburbs count? Stir Coffee in Ladner is my absolute favourite.
Favourite journalist/blogger in the city: Just one? Impossible. We in Greater Vancouver are blessed to have some of the most talented, insightful and award-winning journalists in the country - and they exist in every medium. Regrettably, the marketplace is driving certain changes to the media landscape, and as a result journalists aren’t always permitted the time and resources they once had. This is where all those solid, longstanding relationships between media and PR professionals are so important. Our goals are complementary, after all.
Favourite website: The food section of www.canadianliving.com. I love the recipes.
Favourite social media site: Twitter.
Fun fact about you: I started reading Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen nine months ago, and I still haven’t finished it.