8th Annual BC Communications Forum


Jun 13

Presented by Swansea Communications + SummersDirect!

The BC Communications Forum is a one day event that brings together communication professionals from across the province to learn from experts in the communication field, as well as learning from each other and having the opportunity to network with your peers.

We aim to bring you professional development that is  high quality, usable, scale-able and relate-able.

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Monday, June 13, 2022

8:00 a.m.

8:30 a.m.


8:45 – 9:45 a.m.

A Facebook Faux Pas – City of Red Deer
Julia Harvie Shemko, Founder/CEO, Red Thread Connections
Former Communications & Strategic Planning Director, City of Red Deer

Sometimes we learn more from our failures than our successes as was the case when one of our team members accidentally posted a passionate personal comment about the LGBTQ+ community on The City’s Facebook page instead of her own. We acted fast, owned the mistake and put ourselves in the press on our own terms resulting in media coverage that was 90 per cent consistent with our stated key messages, triggering online community support and minimal community backlash.

In this session, learn how we quickly managed this issue and processes we changed as a result. Attendees will:

  • Understand how to manage mishaps, mistakes and muck ups in an online world
  • Get comfortable with “I’m Sorry”
  • Learn how to build trust, even when we mess up.

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.


10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Is Augmented Reality the future of Communications?
Paige Strand, Communications & Copywriting Consultant
Communications Manager at Central 1

With increased popularity in concepts like Pokémon Go, Facebook’s transition to “Metaverse” or even seeing how Wayfair art virtually looks on your walls, Augmented Reality (AR) is inarguably becoming a concept hard to ignore for communicators. Shopify confirmed recently that interactions with products involving 3D/AR showed a 94% conversion rate compared to products without. Being nimble can have major advantages in getting a leg up on your competitors. How can you leverage augmented reality to enhance storytelling, transparency and customer relationships?

In this session, attendees will learn:

  • Possibilities of how messaging and storytelling could be leveraged with Augmented Reality as a medium, especially given Facebook’s influential transition to ‘Metaverse’
  • Statistics that pose AR as the new “essential” that social media became for communicators in 2005-2007.
  • Considerations for communicators looking to introduce an AR program as part of their strategy

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Effective use of media relations to help combat the gender wage gap and support equitable employment opportunities: A Moms at Work Case Study

Theodora Jean, Founder & Simi Kaila, Account Manager, Coldwater Communications

Colette Abbott, Director, Partnerships and Programming at Moms at Work

Moms at Work (MAW) launched a job board supporting Canada’s post-pandemic “she-covery” by helping women, especially mothers, return to the workforce in a more equitable way. Moms at Work, Canada’s largest and most trusted community of working moms, started as a Facebook group in 2016 with the aim of supporting working mothers in Canada. Today, Moms at Work has developed into a 10,000+-member organization providing working mothers with training, advocacy, career opportunities, networking, and community.

Working together with Coldwater Communications, MAW was able to effectively use media relations to promote the job board, garnering both national and international media attention.

In this session, the team at Coldwater Communications  will share with you how they not only secured interviews in radio, print, digital and live television with top-tiered outlets, but also how their work helped to drive positive change and outcomes for women across Canada.

In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Have an engaging, timely news hook (despite what’s going on in the news);
  • Build meaningful long standing relationships with reporters; and
  • Create and execute a media strategy – but also be able to restrategize effectively to accommodate for changes in the news cycle.

12:00  – 1:00 p.m.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

TechTalks: An app a day keeps the doctor away
Gunjan Kafil, Senior Communications Specialist, SAP

With thousands of technology solutions to choose from, how can communicators keep our toolbox updated and efficient? In this session, attendees will learn about a range of  Marketing Technology toolkit to manage operations, dissemination and evaluation of their communication programs.

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

BC Flood Crisis Communications
Cynthia Lockrey, Change maker, communications expert

As BC experienced its worst flooding event in history, communicators across the province rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Hear about how pre-planning played an important role in responding to a local flooding emergency and how COVID communications best practices were implemented. The result – clear and coordinated communications to a variety of audiences.

3:00 – 3:15 p.m.


3:15 – 4:00 p.m.

How to get everyone on the rocket – how internal stakeholder engagement can make or break your corporate project launch

Heather Escaravage, Visual Communications Supervisor, City of Coquitlam

While building or refreshing a corporate website is not a new concept, focusing on the internal stakeholder aspect is something that is not often talked about in depth. From RFP to launch date, the City of Coquitlam structured our 2020 website update with a dedicated Project Team Lead to focus on internal and external stakeholder engagement throughout the process. This session will focus on the process of how we engaged stakeholders, what we did for them and with them and why our post-launch internal stakeholder survey got such high marks in the areas of communication and engagement, during a pandemic no less!

It’s not your typical cookie cutter approach to a major project such as a website design and we look at how all the different areas of a municipality utilize a corporate website and why internal stakeholder engagement is just as important as external when undertaking a project like these.

4:00 – 5:00 pm    

Strategic considerations for an anniversary campaign during adverse times

Case Study: 20th anniversary campaign for Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

Mahafrine Petigara, Manager, Corporate Communications
Michael Smith Health Research BC

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) entered its 20th anniversary amid increased interest in and public scrutiny on the priorities of health research, the need for evidence-based decision making due to the worldwide pandemic and newly introduced vaccines, and a growing need for a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive health research system.

Recognizing this “new normal” of life in a worldwide pandemic, it was important to develop an innovative virtual campaign with a confident, yet inclusive and respectful tone. During this time, the organization was also working towards a potential merger. Despite challenging times, there were strategic opportunities for an anniversary campaign to highlight 20 years of successes and outcomes, re-engage with stakeholders, build momentum for a merger, showcase a diverse and inclusive portfolio, and demonstrate the power of health research to broader audiences.

In this session, attendees will learn about:

  • The strategic business opportunity for an anniversary campaign
  • Implementation challenges of a celebratory campaign during adverse/inopportune times
  • Positively positioning a merger through existing campaigns
  • Developing an anniversary campaign informed by research and evaluated by measurable goals



Tuesday June 14, 2022

Workshops are in person attendance only.

8:30 a.m. – Registration

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Workshop A: Crafting crispy goals and objectives that bring real results

Julia Harvie-Shemko, APR, CEC, Founder and CEO, Red Thread Connections

Developing ‘crispy’ or strong goals and objectives ensures you are delivering a communications strategy that helps the organization or project manager meet their objectives. It helps focus your work, ensures that your energy during implementation is directed to the right tactics and allows you the flexibility to shift as needed. In this workshop, you will develop goals and objectives for real life communications projects and issues (make sure to come prepared with your own communications issues). At the end of this workshop, you will feel more confident in developing goals and objectives, the toughest part of a communications plan for many.


  • Create goals that connect to business goals, address issues from research and are future focused.
  • Create measureable objectives by starting with what you want your audiences to think, do, believe or understand.
  • Learn how goals and objectives drive the rest of your communications plan development.

Julia is on a mission to help communicators do better and be better. With her company Red Thread Connections, she focuses on moving the communications function towards strategic partnership with clients. With her more than 20 years in communication and 30 in leadership, she knows how to bring clarity, focus and strategy to the communications function.

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Workshop B: How to Conduct a Communications Audit
Cynthia Lockrey, Change maker, communications expert

A communications audit is used to take the pulse of an organization’s formal and informal communications processes, while measuring their effectiveness and identifying gaps. In this workshop we will look at the steps to prepare for an audit, the various audit tools available and how to create an audit report that will be read. You will leave this interactive workshop feeling better prepared and more confident so you can figure out what is working, what’s not working and where you can make meaningful improvements to communications processes in your organization. 

 Presenter Details: Cynthia Lockrey, Change maker, communications expert

I shift people, teams, organizations and cultures to go from overwhelmed to clear and activated. I do this through my writing, speaking, training and coaching. Having worked as a communications manager for 3 local governments, in 2 provinces, I understand the unique challenges and opportunities for municipalities. Drawing upon my 20+ years of working in public relations, I’m able to break down communications skills and techniques into bite size and easy to understand pieces.




Registration Types 


Early Bird

Until May 6

In Person

Early Bird

Until May 6


Regular Rate

In Person

Regular Rate

BEST VALUE! Forum + Two Workshops (June 13-14)  n/a   $949  n/a   $1,099
Forum + 1 Workshop (Monday, June 13 & half day on 14th)  n/a   $799  n/a   $999
Forum Only (June 13)  $375   $559  $470   $699
One Workshop only (June 14)  n/a   $379  n/a   $499
Two Workshops only (June 14) n/a   $549  n/a   $649

CPRS Member Registration Types Online 

Early Bird

Until May 6

In Person

Early Bird

Until May 6


Regular Rate

In Person

Regular Rate

BEST VALUE! Forum + Two Workshops (June 13-14)  n/a $899 n/a $999
Forum + 1 Workshop (Monday, June 13 & half day on 14th) n/a $749 n/a $899
Forum Only (June 13)  $335 $499  $405 $599
One Workshop only (June 14) n/a $329 n/a $399
Two Workshops only (June 14) n/a $509 n/a $599

Cancellation & Refund Policy
Substitution of delegates is permissible without prior notification. Refunds will be given for cancellations received in writing no later than 10 days prior to the conference date subject to an administration fee of $200 plus $10 for GST. After this time, you are liable for the full registration fee even if you do not attend the conference. If you register during this 10 day period, you are also liable for the full fee. Swansea Communications reserves the right to change program date, meeting place or content without further notice and assumes no liability for these changes.