National Council on Education 2014-2015

Presiding Officer
Heather Pullen APR, MCM
Manager, Public Relations and Communications
Hamilton Health Sciences


Heather Pullen is Manager of the Public Relations & Communications Department at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). In that capacity, she plays a key role in developing and executing multi-faceted communication programs related to activities and services at six hospitals and a cancer centre, all located in Hamilton, Ontario. Heather joined HHS in 2002 after working for 10 years as a public relations consultant specializing in health care communications. Prior to that she was a member of the public relations department at The Toronto Hospital (Toronto General and Toronto Western) and, before that, a producer, editor and reporter at CBC Radio (Ottawa and Toronto).

Heather has a degree in journalism and political science from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and recently completed the Master of Communications Management program in the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.  Over the years Heather has won numerous awards from public relations associations. In 2009, she was the grand prize winner of an international case study competition sponsored by the Arthur W. Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations (the first Canadian to earn this honour.) She also placed first in the 2011 Public Relations Society of America/Institute for Public Relations Health Academy Paper Competition.

Heather teaches crisis communications in the post graduate public relations diploma/certificate program at McMaster University. She has also mentored public relations students and new PR practitioners for many years and received the 2009 Mentorship Award presented by the Hamilton Chapter of CPRS.

Co-Deputy Presiding Officer Academic
Fran Gregory APR, MSc
Professor and Co-ordinator, Public Relations Programs
Conestoga College

Fran Gregory has accumulated more than 30 years of global professional experience in the practice of public relations and communications working in the manufacturing, financial and service sectors. She is also a communications consultant to organizations as diverse as General Motors, the United Way, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club.

Fran is now putting her passion for communication to work at Conestoga College where she is co-ordinator and professor of both the Public Relations diploma program and the first Bachelor of Public Relations program in Ontario.  She continues her professional development by working on various committees: co-author of CPRS Pathways to the Profession (a primer and benchmark for Canadian PR education); a regular contributor to the Accreditation Exam; and co-author of the Canadian definition of PR adopted by the CPRS in 2008. Fran holds her M.Sc. degree in Communications Management from Syracuse University, and earned her APR (accreditation) from CPRS in 2007.

Co-Deputy Presiding Officer Academic
Joan Yates APR, M.Ed
Dean, School of Business
Camosun College

Joan joined Camosun College in 1991 as Executive Director of the Foundation & College Relations until 1999 when she left to pursue a career in the private sector. She returned in 2003 after accepting a continuing instructional appointment with the School of Business.  As a faculty member Joan served as Program Leader for Public Administration, Local Government and Marketing degree programs, as well as committee service and projects external to the School. Since 2005, Joan's service has included work with the Program Review & Renewal team (Educational Research & Development), member and Chair of the Education Council, Chair of provincial and national conferences such as ACCC, assisting senior management with recruitment selection committees and as a member of the Camosun College Board of Governors.

Appointed as Dean of the School of Business in August of 2009, Joan provided leadership to 100 faculty and staff administering over 50 programs to 2,500 students. She was also instrumental in developing western Canada's first undergraduate degree in marketing and communications management. In August of 2011, Joan was selected as the Executive Director of Communications & Advancement where, as part of the Executive Team, she provides direction and management of internal and external communications, issues management, institutional branding, public relations and other matters related to institutional image and communications. She is also integral in the creation, implementation and management of a fully integrated fund development program including donor relations, alumni relations, and oversight of the development and implementation of fundraising initiatives to support the College's mandate, mission and education plans.

Joan holds a Master's of Education from the University of Calgary in Adult and Workplace Learning as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Regina.

Public Relations Knowledge (PRK)® Exam Committee, Chief Grader
Kim Blanchette APR
Vice President Public Affairs
Alberta Energy Regulator

Kim has experience in communications and public affairs at the provincial, federal, and international level and has held positions with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice as well as the Nova Scotia Department of Energy.

Kim joined the Government of Canada in 2000 performing a variety of communications roles  with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, including Ministerial support, regional office liaison, Director of Corporate Advocacy Communications, senior official speech coordination and multidepartment Pan-Atlantic and International events.

Kim has served as Consul (Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs) at the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle from 2006-2008, representing Canada in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. She then moved to Veterans Affairs Canada as Acting Associate Director General of Communications where she worked the 90th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, and new legislation for Allied Veterans.
Kim has also served as Regional Director, Issues Management and Communications (Atlantic Region) with the Canada Revenue Agency and as the Communications Manager for the Energy Resources Conservation Board, since 2011. A past alumnus of the United States International Visiting Leaders Program, Kim was named one of the 50 Global Women in Energy in 2005 and has received awards for her work in media relations during the Swissair Flight 111 and for energy education in Nova Scotia. Kim and her husband, Greg, have two children, Andrew and Maggie. 

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Kathleen Garrett APR
Senior Communications Officer
Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)

Kathleen Garrett is an accredited public relations professional with 10 years of experience spanning the not-for-profit, public and private sectors. She is currently the Senior Communications Officer for the Education Quality and Accountability Office, where she has leadership for the agency's inaugural stakeholder engagement strategy for parents, as well as for research communications. She plays a fundamental role in strategic communications planning, issues management and day-to-day operations. Prior to joining EQAO, Kathleen was the Senior Communications Officer for Toronto Rehab, where she managed communications strategies to support corporate milestones and advances in patient care and education and to address issues and crises. In this role, Kathleen developed a corporate communications plan that helped the hospital secure full accreditation, a feat less than 10 per cent of hospitals achieve. Kathleen has a Master of Arts degree in strategic communication from the University of Central Lancashire and a post-graduate certificate in corporate communications from Seneca College.

Patrice Leroux, M.A., ARP
Director, Certificate Applied Communications
and Certificate Public Relations
Université de Montréal  

Patrice Leroux is currently the director of two undergraduate programs at Université de Montréal : the Certificate in Applied Communications and the Certificate in Public Relations. Prior to teaching, Patrice worked in public relations for 12 years.  In 1999, he created and taught an undergraduate course called Internet and Public Relations, one of the first courses of this kind in Canada. This course has evolved over the years in order to integrate the evolution of the Internet, social media and its impacts on public relations. Since 2011, he has been an associate researcher at the Observatoire des médias sociaux en relations publiques at Université Laval in Québec City.
Patrice also teaches a Web Writing Workshop for Technologia, a private training company with offices in Montreal and Quebec City. He has given this workshop for numerous public and private organizations such as the Canadian Space Agency, Desjardins Group, Hydro-Québec and Canam Group. Patrice has a B.A. in French Studies from Université de Montréal and a Master’s degree in Media Studies from Concordia University. He is an accredited member of the Canadian Public Relations Society since 1996 and a regional grader since 2010.

Jane McNichol
Chair - Public Relations
Mount Royal University

Jane Stoneman McNichol is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Faculty of Communication Studies at Mount Royal University. Her professional background as a speaker, author and communication strategist spans a career in journalism and consulting in the corporate and government sectors. As an educator, her academic interests include research in scholarship of teaching and learning; transformational change; and issues and ethics in academic leadership. Jane received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, an MBA specializing in Public Relations & Communication Management from Royal Roads University and is currently a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University.

Accreditation Liaison
Derrick Pieters APR, FCPRS
Director of Communications
Department of Justice Canada

Co-Chair, Accreditation subcommittee

Derrick Pieters APR, FCPRS, is Director of Communications, Department of Justice Canada, Prairie Region, based in Edmonton, Alberta and is a Past President of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS). He has over 35 years of extensive experience as a communications and media relations strategist, editor, government information administrator and public relations consultant.

He is an accredited, award-winning member of the CPRS having received his APR in 1982 and in 2008 an Award of Excellence for the use of Social Media. In 2000, Derrick received the Alberta Premier's Award of Excellence for his contribution to Capital Health’s Y2K communications. In 2008, he received a Team Achievement Award from the Deputy Minister of Justice Canada for his communications contribution to a high impact litigation case.

He has held several positions of increasing responsibility within the CPRS. Derrick was elected to the National Board of Directors in 2005 and served two three-year terms. During his time on the Board he served two terms as National President from 2007 to 2009.  He is also a former President of the CPRS Edmonton in which capacity he served as an appointed National Board Member. Derrick is the former vice-president of the CPRS National Education Committee, and is a Past Presiding Officer of the CPRS National Council on Accreditation on which he served for approximately 15 years. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Alberta, Grant MacEwan College and Mount Royal College (Grant MacEwan and Mount Royal have since become universities).


Alex Sévigny Ph.D., APR
Associate Professor & Program Director
Master of Communications Management
Honours Bachelor of Professional Communication
McMaster University

Alex Sévigny is Director of the Master of Communications Management and Honours Bachelor of Professional Communication program, and an associate professor of communication studies and communication management at McMaster University. He co-founded the communication studies program in 2001. He is co-founder and executive director of the COMM-LAB: McMaster Communication Metrics Lab. He is also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Professional Communication, and the co-founder of the international graduate journal, The McMaster Journal of Communication, of which he has been faculty editor for eight years. His specialties are media and communication measurement, social media strategy and management, community building & fundraising, communications management and political communication. He maintains an active consulting practice outside the university alongside his academic work and is an experienced and frequent public speaker.

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Public Relations Knowledge (PRK)® Exam Subcommittee
PRK Exam Development Lead
Christine Smith, B.ED
Corporate Communications and Public Relations

Educator and communicator, Christine Smith has been an active member of CPRS Toronto for more than 25 years. A former CPRS Toronto board member and editor of PR Perspective, she recently retired after 21 years as a professor of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Centennial College. She has a Bachelor of Education in Adult Education from Brock University and a Diploma of Journalism from Centennial College. She is currently heads up the CPRS Public Relations Knowledge (PRK) exam development team. Prior to teaching, Christine headed up communications for the Scarborough Board of Education, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. She’s also worked as a communicator with Union Gas, RBC and Canadian Tire. Today, as a PR sole practitioner, she specializes in writing for clients in the educational sector.

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Chair, National Conference Educator Stream Subcommittee
Amy Thurlow APR, PhD

Chair, Department of Communication Studies
Mount Saint Vincent University

Amy Thurlow is Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University where she has taught for the past eight years. Before joining the Mount's faculty in 2005, she taught communications at the Fred C. Manning School of Business at Acadia University. Prior to that, she was the program co-ordinator for the Advanced Diploma in Public Relations at the Nova Scotia Community College where she was responsible for program delivery and development.

Amy has a PhD in management. Her research is in the area of organizational communication and change. She holds an MA in International Development Studies from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, and a Bachelor of Public Relations degree from Mount Saint Vincent University. She is an accredited public relations practitioner (APR) and a member of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

List of Education Chairs 2013-14