On February 15, Tewanee Joseph, renowned leader and communicator, spoke to the Vancouver chapter of CPRS—discussing communicating with diverse groups and creating inclusive communications.
From a young age, Tewanee Joseph promised himself he was going to change the world around him for the better. Joseph moved from one school to the next during his younger years, which kept him from finding stability and consistency in his youth. Despite facing these challenges, he never lost his positive outlook on life and on the future. When he was just 21 years old, he was put in charge of the cigarette file for the Squamish Nation, and, after proving his capability and talent for making connections both inside and outside the community, went on to handle the gasoline file.
Joseph would later start his own business in 2000, Tewanee Consulting Group Inc., allowing him to simultaneously make a name for himself in the public relations industry and to unite his local community.
In his presentation, Joseph discussed how he’s continued to foster strong and positive relationships throughout his career by building on mutual trust and understanding with others.
During the 2010 Winter Olympics, Joseph used his past experience to help assemble and organize the Four Host First Nations Secretariat for participation in the Games’ ceremonies and events, as well as the symbolic torch relay. Through this event, he was able to showcase the rich culture of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples and unite all Canadians in the celebration of their country.
“Focusing on what we have in common brings us together and inspires creative solutions,” says Joseph, “But it can take a long time because we're so used to focusing on what makes us different.”
He considers respect and consideration for the ideas and identities of others to be integral factors in building any solid personal or professional relationship, and he knows that a strong partnership has the potential to lead to amazing things.
“Building relationships takes time, but once you've built them, they will be able to carry you through your project,” says Joseph.
While he undoubtedly believes in the importance of respect when building immediate relations, Joseph also acknowledges that perception is an equally valuable tool. He recommends that all organizations assemble and maintain a media library of current videos and still images for themselves, in order to ensure that the best and most accurate information is consistently presented to the media and the public.
“Never let rumour become reality” is his public relations mantra, to remind himself and his associates to be proactive with their communications practices and to maximize positive engagement with their audience.
Through these practices, Tewanee Joseph has seen his dream of improving his world a reality. “Leadership starts with innovation, and it requires the imagination and courage to dream big.”