Each month we have been reaching out to notable communications professionals to ask them a few questions about their experiences and interests, with the goal of providing some insights to others in the industry. For the December edition of ‘Questions for the PR Industry’ we chatted with Will Tigley, Communications Specialist at Agrium and President of IABC Calgary. Will is an active member of the community, both within the communications industry and in Calgary. He is also the Senior Editor and News Director at Mabuhay Calgary, the monthly newsletter of the Filipino community in Calgary.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in communications?
I was bouncing around the University of Calgary in another degree that wasn’t working for me. In doing some soul searching on where I wanted my life to go, a friend in the Communications Studies faculty thought with my community work, volunteerism, and leadership roles I might want to consider communications. I switched from computer science to communications and found it was exactly what I needed to re-energize myself. Within weeks I moved from sitting in a lab late at night by myself struggling with code, to working directly with people and how to best engage them. Entering the student Co-op Program, I started doing work that I loved, getting roles that excited me and working with people who challenged me to become a great communicator. I was hooked.
What PR initiative that you’ve done are you most proud of?
For four years I worked on an internal employee engagement campaign for Agrium called Growing Together. I essentially took hold of this employee engagement program that I was hired to help develop. Leadership had introduced and knew a culture program was important, but needed a communicator to fully give it life. Over the next few years, I started developing a culture around Growing Together, connecting employees to the business and the company’s strategy. It was developing a community within a company centered around common experiences and celebrating stories across the various locations in the business. Employees became engaged, becoming champions for the company, telling stories and proudly sharing their company culture with internal and external communities. It was powerful to see the pride employees took in belonging to the company and it is now the benchmark for culture in the organization.
You are currently serving as the president of IABC Calgary. What skills would you say are most crucial for communicators regardless of the industry they work in?
Writing skills are fundamental for communicators regardless of industry. Writing skills will help you build other skills and open further opportunities. Relationship building is also important to ensure you’re connected to information and have the trust of your stakeholders to share knowledge. More recently I’ve found that communicators have become essential in change management. Working in some very dynamic industries it’s important to know how to introduce new ideas and approaches and get the acceptance of stakeholders to adopt change.
Have a story you would like to share? Let us know on Twitter at @PRTheAgency or in the comment section below!