CWC Event Gathers B.C.’s Big-Name PR Professionals

Meredith Powell, CEO of UCantBuyCool | BCBusiness
Meredith Powell, CEO of UCantBuyCool, was one of six panel speakers appearing at the Canadian Women in Communications “Power Networking” event.

Canadian Women in Communications put on a “Power Networking” event featuring a panel of six communications pros 

“Know what you want and ask for it” was the main message from a panel of communications experts at the Canadian Women in Communications networking event on Wednesday.
The panel consisted of six women from the communication industry and was emceed by Sonia Sunger, news anchor at Global BC1. The event was held at sponsor Glowbal Collection’s Society Dining Lounge in Yaletown.
Juggy Sihota-Chahil, vice-president of customer experience strategy and execution at Telus Health, acted as the keynote speaker and started off the night by sharing 10 bits of advice she’s learned throughout her career. She also encouraged attendees to “be bold” and “tell people what you want to do in your career and why you want to do it,” explaining that building strong relationships and expressing career goals helped her to eventually land her position at Telus Health.
“If I had have known these things, I probably would have had an easier ride,” she said.
Fellow panelists echoed the importance of mentorships, including Meredith Powell, CEO of UCantBuyCool, who advised “let it be organic.” Powell attributes having a lack of role models when starting out as a film director in Los Angeles as the reason she left the film industry and got into fashion, where she looked up to female designers like Diane von Fürstenberg. She is now the executive director of The Next Big Thing Foundation and started Founders Collective, which gathers Vancouver-based female entrepreneurs.
Sandy Pell, communications manager at Hootsuite, also discussed the importance of mentorships and the benefits of meeting with industry colleagues.
“Social media is great, but you need face time with these people,” she said.
Moving from Ontario, Pell made connections to the Vancouver public relations industry by asking professionals she respected to go for coffee. She stressed the importance of making it easy for them, adding that she would ask to meet at coffee shops close to the office of her coffee date. The panelists also recommended having personal goals and questions in mind for these meetings.
Shachi Kurl, vice-president of communications and citizen engagement at Vision Critical, discussed how she relied on trusted colleagues outside her circle of family and friends to help her make the decision to jump from journalism to public relations. She said that transitioning between jobs was a huge challenge, in part because her job had become a part of her identity.
Rounding out the panel was Catherine Ducharme, principal at Outsidein Communications, who further emphasized the importance of asking for what you want and going after it. She also talked about knowing the importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
“If you are playing to your strengths, you will be successful,” she said.
Canadian Women in Communications is a national not-for-profit organization that puts on events and provides information and services for women in the communications field.