As we work to build a more diverse, inclusive and innovative environment within the public relations industry, the critical first step is to identify and interrupt biases—in particular, unconscious biases. When we know how to interrupt and address biases, our workplaces are more inclusive, and our teams are happier, more engaged, and are better positioned to target diverse markets.
In this highly practical session, Ritu Bhasin will draw on the latest neuroscience and leadership research to explore how discomfort with differences manifests within the public relations industry. Ritu will identify how to address challenges that arise when working across cultural differences with team members and clients, and provide strategies for becoming more inclusive and culturally competent when working across cultural differences.
Ritu Bhasin,, LLB, MBA, President of bhasin consulting inc., is an award-winning speaker, author, and globally recognized expert in diversity and inclusion, women’s advancement, and authentic leadership.
Since 2010, Ritu has delivered leadership training, coaching, and advisory services across sectors, working with top organizations and senior leadership teams around the world to develop inclusive cultures. Ritu is known for her expertise in cultural competence, unconscious bias, and neuroscience strategies, and has coached hundreds of professionals, leaders, and executives to be more inclusive. A passionate advocate for authenticity, inclusion, and empowerment, Ritu has won numerous awards for her work, including the City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations in 2014.
Ritu’s Amazon-bestselling book, The Authenticity Principle: Resist Conformity, Embrace Differences, and Transform How You Live, Work, and Lead, was released in the fall of 2017. In the same year, Ritu also co-authored a ground-breaking research study, called Sponsor Effect: Canada, with the Center for Talent Innovation, which examines the experiences that people of colour, Indigenous peoples, and women have with advocacy and sponsorship in the workplace.
Celebrities are everywhere! And this matters. Seriously. Research shows that popular culture has a profound influence people’s health and that our ideals of beauty and success are framed by a celebrity-dominated worldview. In this fun and provocative presentation, Timothy Caulfield will examine what science tells us about the influence of popular culture. He will also debunk common health myths and provide practical, evidence-based, recommendations relevant to both healthcare professionals and to individuals seeking to live a healthy lifestyle.
Michelle James, MA
Business Manager, Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan
Michelle works primarily in health care in stakeholder engagement, reputation management, digital content from social media to website and stakeholder communications. She is the Business Manager for the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan.
She recently completed her Master in Professional Communications from Royal Roads University. Her research and professional interests include Twitter, social and digital identity, stakeholder relations, trust and communications in a digital space.
Neil Levine, MBA
Director of Communications, Government of Alberta - Service Alberta
Neil is a communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience in business strategy, public, media and government relations. He is currently the director of communications for the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Service Alberta, where he leads communications and public engagement.
Neil has been a consultant as well as working in communications and public affairs roles at Suncor Energy, EPCOR, and Capital Power, and has taught public relations at MacEwan University, Red Deer College, and Humber College.
Director, Account Services - Edmonton, ZGM Modern Marketing Partners
Cheryl is a marketing professional with 10 years of experience at an Alberta-based advertising agency. In her role, she leads the strategic development and execution of integrated campaigns across a broad range of clients and industries. Her portfolio and passion leans to social issues, behaviour change and not-for-profit organizations. Her experience has included working with charitable lotteries and hospital foundations, opportunities for women in the trades, safety, prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, homophobia in sports, the opioid crisis and harm reduction.
In this important discussion, Patricia Makokis, Ed.D, will pull no punches by delivering an academically based presentation on the importance of allies in the reconciliation process. Grounded in personal stories, she will articulately, and with humour, address the challenges facing First Nations, in hopes of helping us create a better future and fate for Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. Above all else, this will be a positive presentation in which she conveys the important message that even against all odds, you too can succeed at whatever to set out to accomplish.
Patricia Makokis, Ed.D. is acclaimed as one of Canada’s most outstanding Aboriginal leaders. She is an author, speaker and a pioneer for Aboriginal education, health and values. Patricia is the recipient of innumerable awards for her exceptional work in advancing opportunities for her people. She was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of San Diego amongst others. Patricia has a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.), with a major in leadership, from the University of San Diego.
Traditional methods of producing and publishing ads, newsletters, email, posts, and online content is missing the vital other half of the opportunity that comes from communication: the listening. With technological advances, it is easier than ever to communicate with customers and stakeholders and engage in a meaningful dialogue.
In this interview-style discussion, Jeff Silvester of AggregateIQ sits down with Evolving Expectations program committee chair Scott Francis Winder to share stories and insights from his experiences working on some of the biggest issues and campaigns in recent memory and talk about some of the lessons learned along the way - including from Brexit. He will also show how organizations can make listening and learning central to their operation, all while inviting participation and questions from attendees.
Strategic communicators play an important role in the information environment, which is currently being faced with several systemic challenges. The most troubling of these being, perhaps, the increased use of information warfare and digital propaganda.
Many ethically questionable methods are being used to carry out such campaigns, ranging from using big data and targeted marketing tactics, i.e. behavioural advertising, to falsely creating an appearance of a groundswell of support through digital means. What makes these most effective, and consequently most dangerous, is that these not only capitalize on a climate of reactive fear from both policy makers and society, but they also reinforce it.
There’s no question the tools available have made large-scale persuasion more possible. However, even as tech companies begin enforcing appropriate use of their platforms more and more, the line between what is and isn’t acceptable continues to blur. As a result, now more than ever, there is greater scrutiny on those who aim to persuade.
This is a perfect storm for practitioners, and public relations now stands at a crossroads.
Fortunately, while there are indeed choices that need to be weighed carefully by today’s communicators, there are also many opportunities to do good.
Weaving together anecdotal evidence with her own research and modelling, in this presentation, Alicia Wanless will not only paint a realistic picture of the current state of affairs, but also provide practical advice on how to continue practicing according to a strong code of professional ethics to win the war against fake news.