I’ve held numerous positions in the communications and marketing field since I was 19 years old. Aside from my part-time job at Safeway (right here in Spruce), my first paid job was at CISN Country 102.3 as their summer marketing assistant.
I drove around the grand prize truck all summer to places like Big Valley Jamboree and had you do crazy tasks to get your sticker and into a draw to win the truck. I also did voiceover work and covered shifts during the summer on-air. Broadcasting is a tough gig and while I enjoyed my time on the radio, I knew it wasn’t for me.
Elected and Political Life
My next few jobs were all political- elected and hired. From 1997 to 2003, my life was all politics and post-secondary education. I discussed this at length two weeks ago so I’ll spare you the details again.
Marketing and Communications
Life post student politics has seen me take on positions ranging from a Communications Coordinator at non-profit organizations, the Government of Alberta (AGLC and Apprenticeship) and positions with local construction and mining companies. I earned my Communications degree while I worked.
I’ve also been an Office Manager and been the sole Canadian employee of a Scotland based organization as it expanded into Canada. I did everything from sales to finance to film production, to administration to government lobbying and more.
I’ve also owned my own Marketing and Communications company (EMS Creative) and saw just how hard being an entrepreneur works everyday to keep a business alive. I unfortunately had a very serious accident that prevented me for working for 6 months. I did everything I could to keep my business going and my employee paid, but it got to be impossible without an income coming in.
My current position is with Athabasca University as their Manager of Marketing and Social Media. I’m a team of two for the university so we are busy group. I love my job and the opportunities it affords me (including my ability to take my master’s degree and a lot of professional development).
So how does my area of expertise lend itself to city council? First and foremost, with a career in broadcasting and communications, the key to all of it is to listen. A good communicator listens before they speak. We need to engage with our residents a lot more, and that means giving them more opportunities to speak their mind, provide their input and offer guidance for ideas and issues at hand.
Communication is Everything
As a communicator, I know that it is a two-way street, that if you’re asked, you have to respond. I’ve heard too often that residents have called council or the city and they’ve had no response back or it takes too long. This can’t be. We have to be active and engaged communicators, even if the first response is the honest one “I don’t know. But let me find out and get back to you.”
Marketing is Connecting
As a marketer for the university, my goal is to connect with those that are wishing to go back to school, but the traditional pathway isn’t for them. Our university seeks to reduce and eliminate barriers for those wishing to go to university- if you want to attend, you can!
I want to break down the barriers between council and its residents. That means more open communication and providing all the data and info necessary that everyone can make informed decisions and opinions on matters. It means regularly meeting with residents- with public forums, monthly get togethers, website update and reports and however else we find ways to connect with the very people that live here.
I have heard time and time again that lack of communication is a problem. The great part? We can fix that and it can be done rather quickly. My expertise will allow me to have an immediate effect on how we as a council can better communicate with residents. I do it everyday in my job and I promise that it will carry over in as my method of operation as a city councillor.
And as a marketer, my job is to sell. I can sell this city. We need council with energy and excitement that will boost our presence and sell what our city has to offer- to new businesses, expanding businesses, post-secondary institutions, regional partners, new residents, current residents and more. We have to be more than cliche statements that are empty of meaning. We can show what Spruce Grove is and what we’re made of and be proud of who are as a city and find that identity that we all connect with.
That requires energy and effort (of which I seem to have a lot apparently. Yes, phrases used by others to describe me include passionate and enough-energy-we-should-bottle-it-and-sell-it) and every position I’ve held has required high energy and huge effort.
I can’t do a cartwheel very well anymore nor have I ever been able to do the splits, but I can be one heck of a cheerleader for this city and that’s what we need now!
Expertise that will make a Difference
I have no doubt that my expertise will be an asset and be put to good use. I can’t wait to join the team and be that team player council members all need to be. This isn’t an “I will do this…” position but a “We can do this” opportunity.