14th Annual Municipal Communications Conference

Toronto, ON

Nov
25 - 27
2019
About

14th Annual Municipal Communications Conference

For over a decade, SummersDirect Conference & Events have been bringing together municipal communications professionals from across Canada. The agenda consists of two days of sessions where award-winning experts share case studies from municipalities across the country with a third day of two optional  intensive workshops. There is also an exhibition, reception and optional evening delegate dinner.

Venue

Courtyard Marriot Downtown
475 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON

Reservation

Conference rate of $249 plus application taxes. For reservations please call 1.800.847.5075 or 1-416-924-0611 or click here to book online. Please identify yourself as being with the Municipal Communications Conference (CVG) group when making or amending the reservation. Prices are guaranteed until Thursday October 24, 2019 for November 24-27, 2019 within our room block. However, please note that the room block has sold out in the past, so don’t delay.

Day 1

Register now

Monday, Nov. 25, 2019 

8:00- 8:45 a.m. 
Registration and continental breakfast

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks from The Chair
Brian Lambie, Redbrick Communications &
Media Contact, Association of Ontario Municipalities (AMO)

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
SMART CITIES CHALLENGE..AND THE WINNER IS…
Tara Sprigg, General Manager of Corporate Communications and Customer Service , City of Guelph
Kayla-Wray Amy, Social Media Specialist, County of Wellington, Ontario
Doug MacMillan, President, The Letter M

In May 2019, the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington’s Our Food Futureproject won $10 million from Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge. The Our Food Futureproject is designed to tackle complex food challenges and use data and technology to develop Canada’s first circular food economy.

Since re-imagining our food system has the potential to impact all residents in our communities, public input and community engagement were crucial to the success of Guelph-Wellington’s proposal. Join the Our Food FutureCommunication’s team as we discuss the strategies that were used to help us engage and gain valuable feedback from residents across eight different urban-rural municipalities.

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.
NETWORKING REFRESHMENT BREAK

10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
SURVIVING A RANSOMWARE ATTACK
Brian Lambie, President, Redbrick Communications
Mike Beitz, Corporate Communications Lead, City of Stratford

Dozens of North American cities will be hit by ransomware attacks in 2019, where criminals use software to lock municipalities out of their own data and demand ransoms to regain control. Learn what to expect if it happens to you, and how to navigate your recovery.

11:15 – 12:15 a.m.
DECODING THE METHOD TO THE MAGIC – STREAMLINING THE OFFICIAL EVENT PLANNING PROCESS
Lindsay Francini, Supervisor, Employee Communications and Events
Lindsay Noronha, Senior Communications Advisor
City of Mississauga

Who determines what constitutes an ‘official event’? How is it ensured that one event doesn’t get more resources, budget or focus than another? Through the creation of our innovative framework and policy, we have thoroughly reviewed and thoughtfully resolved these concerns and many others. With this presentation we will explain how it’s possible to take the official event planning process from scattered to streamlined.

  • Learn how the City of Mississauga streamlined their official events planning process to ensure all City events are managed in a consistent and fair way.
  • Should official events be categorized? Should all events be declared at the beginning of the year? Should a standard budget be assigned to all events? YES. Learn why and how the City of Mississauga made it happen.

If you find the official event planning process stressful, you won’t want to miss this. Learn how the City of Mississauga Communications team streamlined their procedures to make the planning process easier for all.

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
NETWORKING LUNCHEON

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
PLAIN IS THE NEW COOL: HOW TO MAKE YOUR MUNICIPAL WEBSITE EASIER TO USE
Brandon Currie, Supervisor, Community Connections, Corporate Communications
Adrienne Gumz, Digital Communications Coordinator
City of Waterloo, Ontario
 

In this session, the team behind the new Waterloo.ca will take you on their ongoing journey to put users at the centre of their digital services.

Session attendees will take away a playbook for how to move toward a municipal website that helps people with what they really want – to get things done simply and easily with government. In the process we’ll talk about strategies to bring skeptical colleagues along, kill the almighty PDF and reorient your website away from PR and toward usability.

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
The Five Critical Components That Drive a City’s Social Media Success
Cyrus Mavalwala, ABC, MC, Founding Partner
Advantis Communications (Toronto)

You’re resourcing social media, but are your team’s actions supporting your communication objectives? Based on social media engagements with multiple municipalities, we’ve uncovered five critical components which are at the heart of every city’s successful social media strategy. Learn from Advantis Communications (who delivered award-winning social media related work for municipalities including City of Brampton, City of Markham, City of Mississauga), the key digital strategies, tactics and best practices that make the difference and yield tangible results.

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
REFRESHMENT BREAK

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
TACKLING AN ISSUE THAT’S NOT AN ISSUE: MANAGING TRANSITION AND DISPELLING MYTHS
Isabelle LeBlanc, Director, Corporate Communications
City of Moncton, New Brunswick

Moving Moncton’s events centre from an easy-access, parking-plentiful location to the downtown core came with expectations, perceptions, and strong opinions from residents. While the focus should have been on the positive revitalization that the events centre brought to the downtown, it all became about parking. Residents’ perception that parking would be too difficult in the downtown location, and their threats to boycott the facility, created an issue out of what was, in effect, a non-issue. In a city where active transportation and transit is not a given, Moncton got down to basics to manage the transition successfully, while converting naysayers, dispelling myths, and garnering support.

Participants will learn:

  • to consider the basics when trying to change the conversation
  • not to overthink it in your communications strategy
  • to rely on data and let the numbers speak for themselves
  • to address the reality not the perception

4:30 p.m.
CONFERENCE CONCLUDES FOR THE DAY

4:30 – 6:00 p.m. 
Wine and Cheese Reception (cash bar)

6:00 p.m.  
Delegate dine-out (optional)

Day 2

Register Now

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Registration and continental breakfast

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
HELP! WE’VE CREATED A VIRAL MONSTER
Nikki Booth, Manager, Communications and Marketing
Lauren Wozny, Lead, Communications
City of Leduc, Alberta

With cannabis legalization looming, the City of Leduc created a character to educate the public on new regulations. Buddy the Spokesbud personified a contentious issue, polarized a community and quickly went viral across Alberta and Canada. Is he a neighbourhood villain or pop-culture phenomenon? This is the story behind Buddy’s circumstances, the City’s response and how a well-intended campaign gained overnight notoriety – both positive and negative. Lessons you can expect to learn from this presentation:

  • The power of going viral and social media’s influence
  • Campaign approach, design and launch with controversial topics
  • Internal process and client involvement in issues management
  • Use of mascots in campaigns

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.  
NETWORKING REFRESHMENT BREAK

10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
2018 MARKHAM MUNICIPAL ELECTION CASE STUDY: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY OF ONLINE VOTING
Michael Blackburn,Senior Advisor, Marketing & Communications
City of Markham, Ontario

The City has been a leader in digital democracy (online voting) in North America since 2003. Through a case study, attendees will learn how Markham achieved its highest overall voter turnout in decades, the highest early voter turnout on record and the highest online voter turnout in Markham’s history. It will also explore the challenges, trials and tribulations of the hot topic of online voting.

Winner of IABC/Toronto OVATION Award of Merit and IABC/Toronto OVATION Award of Excellence.

11:15 – 12:15 p.m.
Prove it!
Glenna Cross, ABC, MC
President, Cross Wise Communications Ltd.
Kelowna, BC

Like many other cities and towns across Canada and beyond, Kelowna, BC is experiencing an increase in homelessness (up 20% in the last two years.) Although homelessness is not a new phenomenon in Kelowna, it has grown and become much more visible in the last few years. Citizen satisfaction surveys over that time have shown a significant increase in concern about a variety of social issues, including homelessness and its perceived related impact on community safety.

The City of Kelowna put together a collaborative group of the main players (enforcement, homelessness services coordinating body, health, housing, and a variety of City departments) to tackle a coordinated community-wide communications strategy. They knew that this was an emotional issue, but they also needed to rely on facts and evidence to help build understanding.

In this session, Glenna will beat down the idea that key messages are slogans or talking points and celebrate the power of the proof! She will discuss the value of having key message themes, but the need to articulate the ideas through proof points. A full key messages deck (including the juicy proof points) for this project will be provided as a takeaway.

Glenna Cross, ABC, MC was the facilitator of the collaborative group.

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.   
NETWORKING LUNCHEON
 

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
RAISE THE BAR, NOT THE BUDGET – ADDRESSING CHALLENGES THROUGH INNOVATIVE AND INEXPENSIVE SOLUTIONS
Jessica Linthorne, Manager, Strategic Initiatives
Town of Saugeen Shores, Ontario

The Council approved (an award winning!) Corporate Communication Strategy that was a first step in the right direction for the Town of Saugeen Shores. This community of 14,000 people, located on the coast of Lake Huron in Bruce County, Ontario, leveraged their learning through strategy development, and set out to blaze a new trail. When it comes to innovative communication tactics, planning, and process improvement, Saugeen Shores is leading the way.  As the fastest growing community in Bruce County, and ranked as one of the best places to live in Canada, Saugeen Shores is raising the bar through story telling and key message delivery, while opening doors for two way communication for internal and external stakeholders. Join the communications team from the Town of Saugeen Shores to learn about their inexpensive, yet innovative approach to corporate communications.

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
THE COMMUNITY CONNECTOR PROGRAM: A ‘MADE IN HAMILTON’ STRATEGY TO INFORM, EDUCATE AND ENGAGE THOSE LIVING AND WORKING ALONG HAMILTON’S LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT LINE.
Kelly Anderson, Manager of Communications & Engagement – LRT Project, City of Hamilton David Derbyshire, Corridor Engagement Coordinator – LRT Project,
City of Hamilton

Together with Metrolinx, the City of Hamilton is building a 14-km light rail transit (LRT) line that will service 17 stops.  There are approximately 1,400 properties located along the LRT corridor that will be directly affected by the project.

Learn about Hamilton’s asset-based engagement strategy to inform, educate and engage the businesses, residents and property owners who are most directly affected by this controversial project. We will start with ‘the why’ and then cover the approach taken, political buy-in, training, resources, challenges and lessons learned.

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
NETWORKING REFRESHMENT BREAK

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
PEOPLE OF PEEL
Renee Wilson, Communications Specialist, Human Services
Region of Peel, Ontario

A personal approach to the Region of Peel’s 2018 Annual Report, themed the “People of Peel” used emotional storytelling, videography and photography to capture the impact of Regional services from the perspective of the residents.

Attendees will learn:

  • how the  preliminary plans were developed
  • the challenge of gaining direct access to residents
  • the importance of photography
  • the impact of video in telling these stories
  • how all communication areas (manager, specialists across various divisions, web, design) worked together to create an impactful end product

4:30 p.m.
CHAIR’S CLOSING REMARKS AND CONFERENCE CONCLUDES

Workshops

Register Now

Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 

8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
WORKSHOP A: BUILDING A COLLABORATIVE COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY: THE KELOWNA STORY
Glenna Cross, ABC, MC
President, Cross Wise Communications Ltd.
Kelowna, BC 

Like many other cities and towns across Canada and beyond, Kelowna, BC is experiencing an increase in homelessness (up 20% in the last two years.) Although homelessness is not a new phenomenon in Kelowna, it has grown and become much more visible in the last few years. Citizen satisfaction surveys over that time have shown a significant increase in concern about a variety of social issues, including homelessness and its perceived related impact on community safety.

As a result of this citizen pressure, input from the downtown business community and the obvious impact on the community, City Council invested in research and development of a programmatic response to homelessness based on the Housing First model used by many other Canadian (and beyond) municipalities. That work resulted in the creation of a new agency (Journey Home) to provide the coordination of services and projects in this area.

The new City Council, elected in late 2018, choose two of their six priorities related to social issues. They were:

  • Community safety goal: Crime is reduced & residents feel safe
  • Social and inclusive goal:Fewer people will experience homelessness & inclusion and diversity are increasing

In addition, a third priority area included affordable housing in its mandate.

In early 2019, the City of Kelowna put together a collaborative group of the main players (enforcement, Journey Home, health, housing, and a variety of City departments) to tackle a coordinated community-wide communications strategy. The group was a mix of operational leaders and communicators. 

Building a collaborative communications strategy about homelessness and community safety was an enormous challenge, but a mission critical one for the City of Kelowna. This workshop will use the development of that strategy to explore the challenges, opportunities and outcomes of a truly collaborative process. The good, the bad and the never-got-ugly!

The resulting strategy will be a takeaway from this workshop.

Glenna Cross, ABC, MC was the facilitator of the collaborative group and wrote the strategy that resulted.

About the Presenter
Cross Wise Communications, now based in beautiful Kelowna BC, focuses on building capacity for communicators through teaching communications planning, communications organizational design and structure, recruitment of communicators, definition of appropriate service offers, and communications audits. Her consulting work includes significant experience in municipal government (Cities of Red Deer, Calgary, Kelowna, Sudbury, Edmonton, Chestermere, Regional District of Central Okanagan and Rocky View County) as well as post-secondary education, the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Glenna’s credentials include a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing, the first-ever Master of Communications Studies from the University of Calgary, professional accreditation (Accredited Business Communicator) and the honorary Master Communicator designation. She is the proud winner of two IABC Gold Quill Awards of Excellence and the IABC Business Issue Award.

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
WORKSHOP B: FACILITATION SKILLS: RUNNING EFFECTIVE MEETINGS WHEN THE STAKES ARE HIGH


Dr. Rebecca Sutherns, CPF
Sage Solutions
Guelph, Ontario

You spend a lot of time getting people’s attention and hoping they’ll engage. But getting the right people together is not enough to ensure effective collaboration and meaningful input – you need to know what to do with them once they get there. Running Effective Meetings will equip you with practical facilitation skills and tools to design and lead meetings that are purposeful and engaging. Leave with confidence that you can facilitate outstanding collaboration, especially when the stakes are high. Become known for using people’s time exceptionally well.

Participants will:

  1. Learn to create the conditions in meetings that can transform time wasted into time well spent;
  2. Discover tools, techniques, skills and networks to help you design and run engaging and productive meetings;
  3. Leave with tips for facilitating skillfully, especially when the stakes are high.

About the Presenter

Dr. Rebecca Sutherns is an insightful and high energy collaborative strategist and world class Certified Professional Facilitator with 20+ years of experience supporting community leaders to make wiser decisions faster. She is the author of “Nimble: Off Script but Still On Track – a coaching guide for responsive facilitation.”

 

Pricing

Register Now

Early bird (Until Oct.4, 2019)* Regular
(Oct. 5, 2019 & later)*
Best Value! Conference +2 Workshops (Nov.25, 26 & 27, 2019)   $1499 $1699
Conference + 1 Workshop (Nov. 25, 26  & half day on the 27th, 2019)   $1,299 $1399
Conference – Both Days (Nov. 25 & 26, 2019)    $999 $1099
Conference – One Day Only (Nov. 25 or Nov. 26, 2019)   $499 $599
One Workshop only (Nov. 27, 2019)   $349  $399
*Prices do not include taxes

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 $26 for HST. 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. SummersDirect Inc. reserves the right to change program date, meeting place or content without further notice and assumes no liability for these changes.

SummersDirect is a conference planning company that sets itself apart from the rest with a focus on customer service and value. We are fresh and we’re creative. We have the expertise and knowhow but most importantly,we offer you a quality product for a cost that fits within your budget.

We listen to you. You want quality speakers. You want tools and techniques that you can take away and use. You want case studies that you can relate to and learn from. You want engaging speakers and topics to motivate you! You want value. And that’s what we give you!

You are important to us. We don’t want you as a one-time delegate. We want to build a relationship. We want you to come back again next year. Let us know what you think. We want to hear from you. Contact us today!