This is a big week for communications professionals in Manitoba. On Wednesday, the provincial chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society will give out its inaugural Communicator of the Year award. This is the first time we’ve had an award to recognize our best talents in public relations and corporate communications… and it’s high time.
As President of the Manitoba Chapter of CPRS, I’m very proud to have played a part in creating the award. Communications is such a vital component of modern life it’s hard to see why it took us so long to create this award. Every business, government and non-profit organization today requires carefully thought out and well-executed communications strategies in order to be successful. Even the most insular organizations recognize the need to speak directly to their audiences – customers, investors or donors. When we communicate well, we reap the rewards. We win converts and supporters, generate better understanding of key concepts and, ultimately, reach business goals faster.
That is certainly the case with our winners – Gail Asper and Kim Jasper, who together created and managed the communications program for the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. They had the daunting task of taking a dream and making it real. In doing so, they needed to win public support for the concept of the museum, raise $300 million and persuade the federal government to place a national museum outside of Ottawa. Amazingly, they did all of that and more. In the process, they have generated an excitement about the project that has rippled across the continent.
As pleased as I am with such a high calibre inaugural recipient, I’m equally gratified with the enthusiasm that greeted the creation of the award. Our country’s top wire services stepped up without reservation to support the event. Marketwire took on the role of title sponsor and CNW Group will host a special VIP reception. We also had great support from Unigraphics as print sponsor and Deschenes Regnier as design sponsor. Helping us promote the award was the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. Hearty thanks go out to all of them for helping us stage an important event.
We had a terrific slate of nominees for our first year too. The nominees represented private, public and non-profit organizations and put forward a wide array of public relations campaigns for consideration. Â Interestingly, we’ve already heard from a major Winnipeg company asking how it can apply for the 2009 award.