Name: Rena Kendall-Craden
Job title: Director, Corporate Communications, City of Vancouver
Over the last twenty years, you've worked for a variety of different clients in a variety of different industries. What's the common thread of your impressive career trajectory?
What trajectory? I am an accidental PR person. I started out as a social worker, and quickly realized that telling stories was what I loved. Narrative and understanding what people care about is key. Eventually that led me to journalism and then I bumped into PR/Marketing.
Why the City of Vancouver?
This is the best job ever! In the last six months we have put on an election, created pop-up city hall, mounted a transit referendum, responded to a chemical fire at the port and an oil spill in English Bay, and now we're hosting the FIFA Women's World Cup Soccer.
What do you find most appealing or engaging about your position as Director, Corporate Communications?
The stakes are high, it matters and you are so close to the residents. They keep us honest, on task and constantly aware of how proud they are of their city.
What are your professional goals for the next 1, 5, and 10 years?
Dazzle those I report to, work on high stakes, big thinking, complex projects with a super, high-performing team.
Was there a particular event, meeting, or project that marked a turning point--for better or worse--in your career?
I have had a number of careers and at some point in each there was a moment when I understood that my work was going to change and in that was moment that taking control and defining the next steps, was always the best path.
What do you find most difficult about your work? Most satisfying?
Each year, each day I want to prove myself worthy of this role. There are things I can do better and I want to understand what those are.
Of all the PR projects you've worked on in your career, which are you most proud of? Why?
The City response to the Oil spill was extraordinary. The communications team leapt into action, did exactly what they were trained to do and exceeded all expectations.
To a young professional starting off in PR, what one piece of career advice would you offer?
Dazzle. Set the bar high. Expect a lot of yourself and others. Ask for more and more.