Talk Shop Media was established by Beth Boyle, Sara Padidar, and Katie Reiach in 2007. Their goal was to deviate from formality and tradition to make an impact on people using a three-pronged approach: traditional media relations, online PR, and direct to public and experiential marketing. This approach is one of the reasons why Talk Shop Media was recently announced as one of the Top 10 Best PR Firms in Business in Vancouver 2013. Their hard work has also yielded to client front-page features and interviews on Oprah and the CNN. Some of their projects include the Vancouver Whitecaps, Live at Squamish 2011, Mini Cooper, TEDx, and Toyota.

This afternoon I met with Tara Padidar, their General Manager. I asked her how to get involved with PRIME (Public Relations Innovators and Media Experts) because it is a great opportunity for public relations professionals to share knowledge with each other. The group, that is primarily organized by Talk Shop, has a mission statement of “we share more, we achieve more.” I believe this will be a great chance for me to gain more exposure to the industry during the summer months because Tara mentioned that there will be a meeting scheduled soon.

Another thing we talked about was the importance of keeping up with the news and media. Prior to meeting with Tara, I only followed between five to ten news outlets on Twitter and kept up with their updates on a daily basis. One of the things that I will work on this summer is to follow more news outlets on Twitter to get coverage on a broad range of topics and different interpretations on the news. This evening I now follow 32 local and international news outlets, as well as a few public relations trending topic outlets. However, online news is only one dimension of media, so I will start consulting TV and radio outlets as well. I always look for ways to learn and improve myself, so thank you Tara for helping me do so.    

In January, Yulu Communications and SIP Publicity merged to become Yulu Public Relations. I was interested in learning more about Yulu because I was aware of one of their programs called Yulu Cares. The company offers its public relations services to charities and non-profit organizations at 50% of the original cost. In addition, each year Yulu selects one organization that has made a positive impact on society and donates their services for three months. I believe that a company that invests its time and money on a philanthropic cause is what makes Yulu unique. Yulu means the journey of words and telling stories that matter. The company prides itself for serving businesses and organizations that strive to make a positive impact on the people, the planet, and the economy. Some of the projects that Yulu has worked on are Artist for Conservation Festival on Grouse Mountain, Vancouver Aquarium Great Shoreline Cleanup, Okanagan Springs Brewery launches Winter Ale, Red Mountain Resort, ClearlyContacts.ca, Vancouver’s Farmers Market, and the BC Cancer Society. By sticking to their company values, Yulu received an award for Best PR Campaign of the year in 2012 at the International Stevie Awards.

Today I spoke with Nadia Gillies, the Account Manager at Yulu. She has had a great deal of PR experience, working at SIP Publicity, TalkShop Media, Spark PR and now Yulu. She used her expertise in the industry to secure client media features in Entertainment Tonight, Elle, HELLO, Globe and Mail, USA Today, and FASHION magazine. Nadia was aware that I was new to the industry, and she reassured me that it is okay that I don’t know everything about the industry right now because she said I would develop these skills later on through work experience. She said that being genuine, honest, eager, and resourceful would go a long way in their company. I am glad to have met Nadia and am thrilled to have met people that hold different positions within the public relations industry these past few days. It gives me a better understanding of the structure of the different agencies. 

Last week I had called the Peak Communicators office, asking if anyone was interested in meeting with me so I can learn more about the industry. The receptionist was very friendly and did not hesitate to transfer me to someone else in the office. I briefly spoke to Charlotte Sherry the Account Director, and although she said she would be quite busy in the next few weeks, she grabbed my contact information and said she would find someone else to meet with me. Later on in the day, I was contacted by Vice President Clare Hamilton-Eddy to arrange a meeting. I spent all of last week looking forward to this meeting because I had good vibes about the company that was very helpful and friendly.

From my first encounter, I can confirm that the Peak does focus on its clients to provide the best service possible. It is evident why the Peak is considered the largest Vancouver-based public relations agency and ranked 4th in Business in Vancouver’s list of top public relation firms. They respond to clients needs quickly, and with honesty and integrity. What makes this agency different from the others is that the company allows its employees to be well rounded and knowledgeable about all aspects of public relations. Instead of hosting departmental meetings, the employees share knowledge with each other on a regular basis. Clare says that it is one of the benefits of being a local company. The Peak partners have strong media experience, and the team has international public relations experience. Some of their clients include 7-Eleven, Coast Capital, Pacific Blue Cross, Science World, Simon Fraser University, Sprott Shaw, TELUS, and the Vancouver Giants. 

Clare has had news, radio, magazine and PR experience in the UK, but she said she decided to continue with public relations when she moved to Vancouver because the industry requires a wide range of skills, instead of just specializing in one. It is the same reason I am interested in the industry. She gave me the names of a few organizations that host networking events or need volunteers. She also gave me a very detailed outline of the skills and qualifications they look for in their applicants. Clare was so friendly and an absolute delight to speak to. She even encouraged me to keep in touch with her and to never hesitate to contact her if I had any more questions. I was truly honoured by the fact that the Vice President made time to meet with me, even though she did have meetings almost every hour that day. 

My co-op work term may be over, but my interest in public relations is here to stay. I still have much to learn about the industry, so I have decided to spend my free time networking. I have been in contact with a few public relations agencies that are willing to meet with me, and the first one is Allison Arnould, the Human Resources representative at Edelman.

Edelman has been ranked as the #1 public relations agency in Business in Vancouver, and has been awarded titles like 50 Most Engaged Workplaces 2011/2012 and Best Workplace 2012/2013 Canada. Allison says that their success can be attributed with the fact that they use social media and digital tools to be the leading independent global public relations firm. The company applies honesty, integrity, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit on all of their projects. Some of the projects that Edelman has worked on include Live@YVR, where a contest was conducted for someone to live at YVR airport for 80 days and share his or her experience; the 2010 Canadian Olympic Team Apparel Campaign for HBC; LiveCity Vancouver, a celebration site for the 2010 Winter Olympics; and Resort Municipality of Whistler, the branding for the Olympics. A quote I found on their website by John Edelman states that it is important to be a “responsible global citizen of the world we live in and give back to communities we operate.”

From Allison’s experience in the Human Resources field in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, she advised me to be more involved in community events and stay updated within the industry that is constantly changing due to technological advancements. She also mentioned one of the great things about working for their company is Edelman’s fellowship. She says that because Edelman has offices around the world, their employees have the opportunity to work at the other offices. I appreciate Allison spending some time to speak with me in Edelman’s new office, despite her busy schedule. She was a pleasure to meet with and I learned so much from her.    

My first day of work is in two days, and I would just like to share my knowledge on the company that I will be working with for the next few months. Pace Group Communications Inc. has been helping clients tell their story for almost 20 years. Their “creative, concise, and connected” communications gets the story out and the community involved. This greatly appealed to me because I enjoy interacting with a diverse group of people as a Residence Orientation Leader on campus and as an Event Ambassador for Volunteer Richmond. Both share a common goal of building a stronger sense of community. Pace Group is responsible for organizing the annual Santa Clause Parade, which attract people from all parts of the Lower Mainland. They truly do get the community involved because I can admit to attending the parade and seeing many of the streets in downtown packed with spectators. The company interacts with stakeholders, the government and media to produce some of their other notable projects, which include the Gastown Bike Tour, Vancouver Aquarium Expansion, the revitalization of BC Place and the Canada Line Opening. After speaking with Jordan, Kristina, and Jocelyn at my interview, I learned that their company also organized the Robson Square festivities during the 2010 Winter Olympics. I remember skating at Robson Square during the Olympics and am fascinated that after attending such events, I am fortunate enough to work with Pace Group on the BC Jobs Plan project that will again get the community and province involved.


Stephanie Munez