Stories that Matter: Internal Communication Professionals in Canada Finally Get an Industry Conference in Toronto

 In Comms Heroes

Where can you go in Toronto to find the latest best practices for internal communicators? And where can you find like-minded comms people who love the art of creating communications and content? 

Up until 2018, IC professionals in Canada had to make those connections where they could—perhaps on LinkedIn, or traveling overseas or to the U.S. to find industry conferences devoted to topics IC professionals are passionate about. However, we’re pleased to report internal communicators in Canada now have their own annual, international conference: The Strategic Internal Communication Conference (SICC). 

Founded by Priya Bates of Inner Strength Communication, the event is produced in conjunction with SummersDirect Conference & Events. Last year, the SICC received excellent feedback, with 97% of attendees stating that the conference “very good” and that 87% saying they would come back again. 

The second installment of the conference is coming up on November 25 – 27 at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Toronto; sessions will feature award-winning experts sharing case studies and IC best practices. There will also be a third day of two optional half-day intensive workshops, making it an experience you don’t want to miss out on. 

Priya, ABC, MC, CMP, IABC Fellow is a globally and nationally-recognized communications professional who has spent 25 years working with organizations navigating transformational change with success from the inside out. Although she never thought she would be in the conference business, Priya saw a need, to bring together fellow IC professionals across Canada. She believes that the strategic objective of internal communications is to enable, empower, and deliver business results. We interviewed Priya and her about her motivations for creating the SICC. 

“Many [IC professionals] love writing the stories, and they love creating the speeches,” said Priya. “But, if the speeches and the stories and the work that we do don’t actually contribute to the organization, its culture, and its bottom line, then, essentially, what we do doesn’t matter. And, so, we want to make sure internal communication professionals are delivering what matters. They’re not just simply checking boxes.” 

 

Priya Bates

 

2nd Annual Strategic Internal Communication Conference 

What can you expect of the second annual Strategic Internal Communication Conference? Attendees will hear about case studies and best practices from global professionals at the forefront of internal communication conversation. You’ll get invaluable tips and resources from your peers and colleagues working all over Canada. 

Here are some highlights of the SICC agenda we’re most excited about. 

 

KEYNOTE: From Order-Taker to Oracle
SPEAKER: Sonia Fiorenze, VP Communications & Engagement Strategies at SocialChorus

In this session you will learn:

  • How you can move your organization through communications transformation
  • The areas you must focus on to transform your workforce communications and the skills required for a modern communications team
  • Why transforming will elevate your career and make communications a driver of the business

Sonia has more than 20 years of experience in Corporate Communications at Fortune 500 companies across the financial services, biotechnology, and retail industries. Sonia will be presenting SocialChorus’s research on the 2019 Internal Communicator Index and how to get ready for the future of comms. 

 

 

KEYNOTE: Integrating Ethics: Walking the Walk Makes it Easy to Talk the Talk

SPEAKER: Reid Blackman, Founder and CEO of Virtue

Corporate ethics, integrity, and trust must be at the core of your culture if you want to succeed. This session will outline a three-step process for creating and communicating the ethical standards of an organization. You’ll learn: 

  • How an organization should define its ethical values.
  • How an organization should communicate its ethical values
  • How an organization can integrate its ethical values into everyday operations

Reid has spent the last 20 years ruminating on questions of ethics; Virtue is a consultancy network that helps organizations mitigate ethical risk. 

 

WORKSHOP: What the C-Suite Wants from Internal Comms: Reduce Noise, Demonstrate Impact

SPEAKER: Mike Klein, Principal of Changing The Terms

Mike is a global thought leader in IC. As an author, consultant and one of the most prolific Internal Communications writers today, Mike Klein brings a real strategic edge and a deep professional passion to the field.  He is a twenty-year veteran who has worked with large organizations like Shell, Cargill, Maersk, Avery Dennison, the US Federal Government, and EasyJet Airlines. 

Don’t miss his two-part workshop that provides the insight and tools for internal comms pros to meet the needs of business leaders in an increasingly global and competitive environment.

  • Part 1: Looks at reducing noise by making sure communications engage the right people, the right way. Think “internal influence” and rethink “ambassadors, influencers, advocates, and followers.”
  • Part 2: Examines internal comms measurement—measuring impact, value, and engaging stakeholders to assign priorities and goals. 

Mike Klein

 

SESSION: How HR & Internal Comms Work Together to Drive Strategy and Culture

SPEAKERS: Jason Anthoine – Managing Founder of Audacity & Erika Migliaccio – Managing Founder, Upstream HR Strategies

Over the years, HR has only been transactional—not relational. There is tremendous potential for transforming HR through an HR and internal communications partnership. In this session you will learn how to: 

  • Redefine your definition of “customer”
  • Use both kinds of AI (artificial and actual) to achieve results
  • Set the right KPIs to prove your HR and comms ROI
  • Get a sample leadership comms plan 

For nearly 30 years, Jason’s helped global brands define and share their corporate stories and to transform their workplaces from tired and bored to inspired and onboard. Erika has 20 years of executive HR leadership experience guiding large, multinational teams through a variety of business cycles in both generalist and specialist roles. Erika and Jason will speak about the benefits of a partnership between HR  and internal communications.

In addition, SICC will feature: 

  • A Great mix of inside corporate speakers. For example, McDonald’s of Canada, PepsiCo Canada, City of Mississauga, and Capital One will all be in attendance. The mix of corporate, government and non-profit professionals will help give a variety of perspectives and insight to the conference. 
  • Lego for adults workshop! Lego ®️ Serious Play ®️ is an amazing sensory experience designed to teach design-thinking. 
    • Identify key aspects of your work – what you like and what challenges you
    • Explore your leadership superpower and what you bring to your organization
    • Share insights and commonalities with your peers while you start creating relationships with colleagues from other organizations
    • Experience the power of play, metaphors and flow in generating ideas and gaining new perspectives
    • Gain insight into how your approach to leadership influences how you work with others
    • Learn how effective workshops can be when everyone has a voice

 

Why Does Internal Communications Matter? 

When we talked to Priya, she said the second annual Strategic Internal Communication Conference is a wonderful opportunity for communicators to meet their peers and get inspired by leaders in the field. “We connect employees to their organization’s causes and the organization’s delivery, and the organization’s experience,” she said. “What we do truly matters. It’s hard work. Creating conversations and building relationships ultimately builds trust and helps organizations be successful.” 

If you’re on board with this vision, register now to attend the second annual Strategic Internal Communication Conference this November. Save with the code: Social19 and register now for the early bird special.

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