Exploring a brave new world in communications

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About IABC CommuniCon

IABC Saskatoon, through IABC International's purpose, aims to advance the profession, create connection and develop strategic communicators.

To support this purpose, IABC Saskatoon is hosting IABC CommuniCon, a conference with top-notch keynote speakers and breakout sessions exploring a range of current communications challenges. IABC CommuniCon will be a valuable forum for learning, knowledge-sharing, networking and brain-picking. So join us as we converge, connect, communicate, create, and explore a brave new world of communications!

Join us on October 25, 2018 for IABC CommuniCon!




Thought Leaders




Cups of coffee

Event Schedule

25 Oct, 2018

8 : 00 AM - 9 : 00 AM

Registration & Networking

Take this time to connect with fellow attendees and to set your email autoresponder to out of office!

9 : 00 AM - 10 : 15 AM

Keynote: Walking on eggshells while I attempt to not break the egg (the relationship)!

What does Indigenous history, colonization, and truth before reconciliation have to do with me in my day to day, business communicator, community engagement role? In this session, Dr. Makokis will share her frontline, industry – government – Nation experience, and why we all must know a little Indigenous – western history. We work (and benefit) from lands that are traditional territories to someone and we are called to consult. How do we engage in ways that keep us intact, build open, trusting relationships, while learning how to engage and communicate effectively with those we engage?

Ever feel like you are walking on eggshells and not wanting to break the egg? Come learn a few things that just might help you in your day to day work. Pat lives and breaths this community engagement stuff, having worked with engaging those living on the streets, the homeless, to those in the corporate board rooms. The message remains the same: don't break the egg and embrace life-long learning to improve your communications and engagement skills. Come with an open mind and open heart, as Elders say, the hardest journey is from our head to our heart!

By Pat Makokis, Director of Indigenous Programs, University of Alberta

10 : 45 AM - 12 : 00 PM

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Introduction to Conversational Intelligence™ – Having the right conversations in high trust organizations

Participants will:

  • -Find out why 9 out of 10 conversations miss the mark
  • -Discover what Conversational Intelligence is and why it's important
  • -Discover the neurochemistry of conversations that 'open up' or 'close down' people
  • -Explore the three levels of conversations and how they impact trust
  • -Get tips on how to improve conversations

By Marielle Gauthier, Owner/Principal, Redworks Communications

Building Better Campaigns with Methodologically Sound Research

In this session, Roland Pajares will discuss some of the most popular market research techniques used to design, test, and evaluate the effectiveness of digital and traditional communications campaigns. With references to previous research studies as well as a general methodological discussion, Roland will outline options for companies to successfully design a research project to better understand the credibility and effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Using methodologically sound research, Roland will discuss how a company’s energies can be focused in order to design the most captivating and appropriate messages to a targeted audience, whether it’s to advocate or increase the awareness of a particular issue, cause, or product.

By Roland Pajares, Research Assistant, NRG Research Group

12 : 00 PM - 12 : 45 PM


Time to refuel the rockets for our next orbit.

12 : 45 PM - 2 : 00 PM

Case Study

“Everyone stepped up”: key lessons for professional communicators in the wake of the Humboldt tragedy

Heather Miazga was the clinical director on-call at Royal University Hospital the night of the tragic bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos. Her assessment of the health system response? “Everyone stepped up”.

The Humboldt accident shone an unprecedented international media spotlight on Saskatchewan’s health system. During this session, you will learn how the communications unit from the newly formed Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) responded, including key lessons for professional communicators about putting the people you serve first and never forgetting that communications is a critical front-line activity. You will also learn how the people who “stepped up” in SHA communications helped move the SHA from feeling like 12 former regions to a single, province-wide team in the wake of the tragedy.

By Kim McKechney, Executive Director, Community Engagement and Communications, Saskatchewan Health Authority

2 : 15 PM - 3 : 15 PM

Indigenous Relations Panel

Featuring local experts from multiple sectors, will pull threads from the opening keynote by Dr. Patricia Makokis, for further discussion on how business communicators can better engage, communicate effectively and build trust with Indigenous communities. Panelists will provide insights from their own unique experience and backgrounds, and also provide practical tips for addressing challenges specific to communicating with our First Nation communities.

- Betty Ann Adam, Writer and Journalist
- Ken Smith, Manager Corporate Affairs, BHP
- Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, Director, Indigenous Initiatives, University of Saskatchewan
- Gilles Dorval, Aboriginal Relations Director, City of Saskatoon

Panel Moderator: Priscilla Wolf, Media Relations and Communications, Saskatoon Tribal Council

3 : 15 PM - 4 : 30 PM

Closing Keynote: Reputation Management

In this keynote presentation, John will focus on how professional communicators can advise leaders on the best use of digital strategies for managing volatile or breaking crises. When an organization’s reputation is at risk, the effective use of social media and digital tools is core to success. But, many executives occupying C-Suites are not digital natives, and need support decoding the options open to an organization during times of trouble. Thus the ability to clearly counsel executives on what tools should be used when, how and to what effect, is a top priority. This session will probe the strategies to (better) advise executives on how digital tools can be leveraged to safeguard organizational legitimacy.

By John Larsen, GM and Executive VP, Edelman Canada

Our Speakers

John Larsen

Keynote Speaker
GM and Executive VP,
Edelman Canada

Marielle Gauthier

Breakout Session
Owner/Principal, Redworks Communications

Roland Pajares

Breakout Session
Research Assistant
NRG Research Group

Kim McKechney

Case Study
Executive Director, Community Engagement and Communications, SK Health Authority

Pat Makokis

Keynote Speaker
Director of Indigenous Programs, University of Alberta

Betty Ann Adam

Writer and Journalist

Ken Smith

Manager, Corporate Affairs, BHP

Candace Wasacase-Lafferty

Director, Indigenous Initiatives, University of Saskatchewan

Gilles Dorval

Aboriginal Relations Director, City of Saskatoon

Priscilla Wolf

Panel Moderator
Media Relations and Communications, Saskatoon Tribal Council

Our Sponsors

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Explore a brave new world in communications

Event Info


October 25, 2018


Radisson Hotel, Saskatoon, SK