Dare to dream

CPRS' Steps to Success helps to pave the way for students and new grads

We were very lucky to have the following members of Avenue Magazine's "Top 40 Under 40" at Steps to Success. From left to right, Stewart McDonough, Shauna MacDonald, Colleen Pound, Hilary Johnson (CPRS volunteer/event organizer), Lauren Herschel and Tyler Chisholm
We were very lucky to have the following members of Avenue Magazine's "Top 40 Under 40" at Steps to Success. From left to right, Stewart McDonough, Shauna MacDonald, Colleen Pound, Hilary Johnson (CPRS volunteer/event organizer), Lauren Herschel and Tyler Chisholm

Where are you heading to? Success, of course!

It has often been said that it’s not results and victories that we hold closest to our hearts – it’s the journeys along the way that we cherish and remember the most. Hilary Johnston, a recent communications degree graduate from the University of Calgary, decided that she wanted to inspire Calgary post-secondary students and new grads with the personal stories of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40.

With the support of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS), including Calgary chapter president Janice Robertson, educational chair Michelle Crossland and numerous new grad and student volunteers, Hilary created the event, Steps To Success. This exciting event took place on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at Hotel Alma, located on the University of Calgary campus. Featuring five members of the Avenue Magazine's Top 40 Under 40, Steps To Success captured the imaginations and inspired the dreams of all who attended.

Who was there?

The following Avenue Magazine Top 40 Under 40 members were featured:

Lauren Herschel, Marketing and Communications Manager – Strategic Group

Tyler Chisholm, CEO – ClearMotive Marketing Group

Stewart McDonough, Director of Communications – Tourism Calgary

Colleen Pound, Executive Business Advisor - Colleen Pound International

Shauna MacDonald, Principal and Founder – Brookline Public Relations

What's your value proposition?

Tyler Chisholm, who led ClearMotive Marketing Group in victoriously landing the highly coveted Honda Canada marketing account, urged his audience to know what their own personal value propositions are, when applying for work. Value proposition is of the utmost importance to Tyler, who takes pride in ClearMotive’s successful and proven track record in listening to clients and responding with deliverables that simply gets the job done – whether it’s social media campaigns, print ads, television commercials, or other vehicles. ClearMotive empowers its clients by allowing them to communicate their stories and messages to their desired audiences – how’s that for a value proposition?

Heroic communicator

Another professional who prides herself in helping to deliver stories and messages, is Lauren Herschel. Lauren delightfully shared with us her personal journey to success - as well as her initial reluctance in pursuing a career in the business world. “In university, I got a degree is anthropology, because next to philosophy, anthropology was probably the least useful in business,” joked Lauren.

Despite her early resistance in pursuing her natural talents in marketing and communications, Lauren finally surrendered to what the world was trying to tell her – that she was a natural born communicator. Now a marketing and communications manager for Strategic Group, Lauren is also known for her heroic contributions to the National Kidney Foundation, which began with her personal kidney donation to a stranger. Lauren eventually won the National Kidney Foundation’s Stories of Hope campaign for her social media promotion of the Canadian Transplant Games.

 Visionary links

Stewart McDonough shared with us an analogy about glass tubes. What? Yes, that’s correct – glass tubes! Stewart explained that the original inventor of the television, Philo Farnsworth was unsuccessful in transforming his idea into reality. It was his brother, Cliff Gardiner, who realized that glass tubes – technically known as cathode receptors, were the essential and missing pieces of the puzzle that could finally bring moving pictures into our homes. Similar to Tyler's presentation, Stewart encouraged us to discover and acknowledge what we bring to the table as well as what others bring. Equally important, is to recognize what the missing links in our own personal puzzles are, as these links can hold the key to success.

 Do what you love and shine!

Colleen Pound let us in on what her daily game plan is – wake up, be amazing, go to bed. And no one doubted her – during her presentation she stressed how important it is to love what you do. One of Canada’s top communications consultants, Colleen inspired us with her encouragement for us to passionately march forward in our quests to make our dreams come true – whether these dreams entail helping others reach their corporate communications goals, or something else.

Boldly go where successful people go 

Shauna MacDonald closed the speaker presentations in spectacular style. She shared with us her early experiences with Brookline Public Relations, including the concerns many expressed to her when she was in the process of starting her agency. Determined and brave, Shauna listened to her heart, threw caution to the wind and charged forth – and the gamble paid off. Brookline is now one of the top Canadian communications agencies, boasting such clients as WestJet, The Calgary Stampede, ATB Investor Services and The Gas And Oil Expo/Global Petroleum Show.

Who does she look for when she hires? People who are bold. Even if they are not bold initially, Shauna seeks individuals who posses potential to grow and develop into strong, confident professionals that can walk into the workplace and be bold, just like herself and her fellow Brookline associates.

 Future Top 40 under 40 member...

Ryan Ferguson is the first-ever winner of CPRS' Legacy Award, which recognizes one outstanding PR student a year.
Ryan Ferguson is the first-ever winner of CPRS' Legacy Award, which recognizes one outstanding PR student a year.

Capping off the evening was the introduction of 2013 Legacy Award winner, Ryan Ferguson. Ryan, who recently completed his second year in the Mount Royal University communications program, was announced by CPRS Calgary president, Janice Robertson, as the first-ever winner of the highly coveted CPRS scholarship.

The Legacy Award will continue to recognize one outstanding public relations and communications post-secondary student on an annual basis. This summer, Ryan will be showcasing his leading edge communications ideas during his internship with renowned social media agency, Socialish.

How do you really feel? Tyler will listen! 

What is an event without an audience participation prize? Always keen to involve the public in online conversations, Tyler Chisholm held a Twitter contest, urging audience members to creatively share their thoughts on the event throughout the evening, by tweeting him @TylerChisholm.

Who emerged as the triumphant winner? The one and only Samantha Peck, account coordinator for Corpen Group, and the “queen of sarcasm” according to her Twitter profile. Amongst her numerous tweets throughout the evening, she tweeted the following quote from Tyler’s presentation, “"Never underestimate the power of who you meet and when you meet them,” which remarkably summed up the whole evening, given the wonderful networking that transpired and the inspirational stories that were communicated.

Samantha Peck won the evening's Tweet showdown and triumphantly celebrated by riding her prize, a longboard from ClearMotive Marketing Group, out of the building.
Samantha Peck won the evening's Tweet showdown and triumphantly celebrated by riding her prize, a longboard from ClearMotive Marketing Group, out of the building.

Proud and triumphant in her sensational victory, Samantha immediately rode her longboard out of Hotel Alma, despite the snowy Calgary winter conditions. You definitely display boldness, Sam!

That's a wrap, people!

Event organizer, Hilary Johnston, along with cheerful volunteer assistant - me!
Event organizer, Hilary Johnston, along with cheerful volunteer assistant - me!

With the 2012/2013 academic year now wrapped up, Steps to Success served as a grand finale that gloriously brought this school year to a wonderful close. Much thanks to fearless leader Hilary, the excellent CPRS volunteers and of course, the Top 40 Under 40 speakers who likely provided many students and new grads with wings that will help them make their dreams take flight.

Read more about Avenue Magazine's Top 40 Under 40 here! 

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