World Café

Dr. Laura Toogood
Managing Director, Digitalis Reputation
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What is the future of journalism and public relations in the new media age?

Laura Toogood is co-author of Journalism and PR: News Media and Public Relations in the Digital Age. On Sunday, May 31, Laura will be the guest speaker at the World Café on the opening day of the CPRS National Conference. A quick visit to Laura's website ( will allow you to discover the exceptional track record of this communications professional who takes a new and bold look at the transformation in interactions between social stakeholders caused by the major impact of new communication technologies. Laura agreed to be the agent provocateur in the lively discussion that you will take part in at the World Café. After a few introductory insights inspired by her recent book, she will let you debate and draw in small groups over a question touching each one of our four conference themes..

Sponsored by Citoyen Optimum

Keynote Speaker

Jamie Watt
Executive Chairman, Navigator Ltd.
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College of Fellows Luncheon Keynote Speaker

The state of PR and counselling leaders

Communications professionals work in a fast-paced and ever-changing industry. Drawing from years of experience in the industry as a trusted advisor to business and political leaders and as a public affairs commentator in the media on such programs as CBC's Power and Politics, Navigator Ltd's executive chairman Jaime Watt will share experiences and challenges he faced when advising leaders in a complex and inter-connected world. Jaime will offer his thoughts on the state of the public relations industry today, particularly how new technology has transformed almost everything communications professionals do. This keynote includes an interactive question-and-answer period with those in attendance.

Sponsored by CISION

Keynote Speaker

Stephanie Yates
Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
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Monday Morning Keynote Speaker

Large-Scale Projects and their Social Acceptability: Where Does PR Come into Play?

To be socially accepted, large infrastructure projects must be discussed ahead of their development. Not only is this likely to build acceptation for the project, but it can create ownership in the communities, and even make them carry the project.

Yet, in terms of a "participation industry" developing alongside the PR industry, one finds that PR professionals do not always get the credibility needed to implement working participation initiatives. Such PR professionals however, do have a paramount role to play in ensuring an open and authentic dialogue ahead of the project in order to demystify the most technical aspects of the project while listening to the needs and expectations of the stakeholders. In that sense, many a recent case has shown there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach capable of ensuring a project's acceptance.

Stéphanie Yates talks about how PR professionals can use their expertise to forecast the dynamics linked to the social acceptability of projects, in order to better anticipate and develop viable and feasible solutions. Many recent case studies from Quebec and Canada will be used to illustrate her point. Participants are also invited to take an active part in the discussion.

Luncheon – Live interview with Alexandre Bilodeau

Host: Stephanie Thornbury, ABC, Vice President, Communications, Community Investment, Heritage & Linguistics, Hudson's Bay Company

Alexandre Bilodeau
Olympian, Two-time Gold Medalist, Freestyle Skiing
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Managing a Brand – Personally and Corporately

Corporate reputations need to be carefully managed from the CEO office to the frontline staff. Many organizations are also engaging in cause-related marketing and sponsoring high profile athletes to garner positive public opinion about corporate values. Managing those relationships and the risks associated in a 24/7 social media world where every move and every comment is shared worldwide can be challenging. Two-time gold Olympic medalist in freestyle skiing and brand ambassador, Alexandre Bilodeau will sit down with Stephanie Thornbury, ABC of Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) for this interactive interview where they will discuss elements behind being a spokesperson for iconic Canadian brands and how Alex manages his relationships with sponsors and the media. Delegates will be able to participate in the conversation by submitting their questions through social media.

Keynote Speaker

Reuven Gorsht
Global Vice President, Customer Strategy, SAP
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Tuesday Morning Keynote Speaker

Revealing the New: Humanizing Innovation with Storytelling

We are witnessing the evolution of the customer right before our eyes. Coming off the industrial era where we produced more then we needed and sold into segments, today's economies are characterized by surplus and abundance. Both public and private organizations are adapting to the change from mass consumption to mass customization as sharp increases in higher education, standards of living, social complexity and longevity create desire for individual self-determination. Markets are moving from the traditional notion of creating demand to co-creation of experiences where people desire to be part of the process.

As organizations reinvent their business models and introduce innovative products and services, any new ideas will be accepted, rejected or ignored because of how they're understood. Since companies are pushing the boundaries of what customers know and understand, preparing markets for innovation requires unusual creativity to achieve clarity around the problem or the proposition. It requires us to create a fresh mindset and become part of the problem-solving process, so that the new proposition has focus, meaning, texture and accessibility and builds that all-important alignment.

In this keynote, Reuven will share techniques and examples that humanize the innovation by telling compelling stories. He will explore bringing the complex, unfamiliar and still-emerging innovations to life with artifacts, prototypes and demonstrations, taking customers on a journey of co-creating their future with our organizations.

Sponsored by The Canadian Press

Keynote Speaker

David McLean
Leadership Expert, McLean Group
Past Chairman of the Board, CN Railway
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Diana & Charles Tisdall Lecture Keynote Speaker

The Road Taken

David McLean will talk about his business life including how good communication and public affairs has made a difference. He will discuss examples of how to communicate issues in a manner that is creative, timely and successful. David is a great story teller and will illustrate his thoughts through examples. He will touch on crisis communication, dealing with complex public affairs issues around acquisitions in both Canada and the US. He has a strong sense of public service as well as business success. He believes to be truly successful you must balance your life. He will talk about how important having a strong personal set of values is imperative in living a successful life.

David served on the Board of Directors of CN for 28 years, and chaired the Board for 20 years. He was appointed by Prime Minister Chretien to privatize CN which was done in 11 months from his appointment. CN’s IPO was the largest in Canadian history at that time at 2.3 billion dollars. CN has over the past 20 years become the most efficient and profitable North American railway – the leader in the industry. Its market capitalization now exceeds $70 billion dollars.

His book A Road Taken will be available to those attending his speech. It was published in April 2014 when he stepped down from the Board of CN.

Sponsored by McMaster MCM Program

Educational Grant provided by:



Keynote Speaker

Donald Beauchamp
Senior Vice-President, Communications
Montreal Canadiens
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Tuesday afternoon Keynote Speaker

Canadien Communication

The National Hockey Leagues (NHL), Montreal Canadiens are second to none as far as receiving the most media coverage in North America. Donald Beauchamp, Senior Vice-President of Communications will provide an overview of the structure and insights into the importance of the Communications department in one of the most prestigious professional sports franchise in North America.

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