Welcome to CIPR Communications ‘Masters in Comms’ blog series.
Every week we will feature a new professional that has proven to be a true Master of Communications in their respective field.
Our goal? To learn from one another! There are valuable lessons to learned from fellow communicators – from risks they took to words of advice that motivate them to ensuring life is full of balance.
“anytime you have an idea, get the idea to 80 per cent, and then get feedback”
- Darcie Todd
Q: What is the best piece of professional advice you ever received? Who provided it?
A: When I used to work at Encana, I reported to a woman named Darci-Jane. The advice she gave me was “anytime you have an idea, get the idea to 80 per cent, and then get feedback.” It is as much about being open to feedback before it’s presented as final, as it is about being collaborative. It’s always served me well.
Q: What is the biggest challenge and opportunity for communicators today?
A: I’d say being relevant and in the know. The only way to do that is by being engaged and understanding the business that you’re in.
Q: What project would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?
A: Most recently UFA came on with the Calgary Stampede as the official fuel supplier and that felt like a big accomplishment for me. It was great to see the UFA logo all over the place during Stampede. It was a way community investment and public relations connected and wound up driving home one of our most important proof points - to be a trusted and reliable supplier.
Q: What do you read to keep your brain sharp?
A: I am in a book club – not only for the books but for the face-to-face connections. Relationships are so important, and you must foster them. By coming together, you get a real sense of what’s happening in the lives of your network - the same thing is true in business.
Relationships are so important, and you must foster them.
Q: Choose just one for the rest of your life while letting go of the others forever: Beer, wine, cannabis, coffee, chocolate.
A: Wine! I could care less about the other things - stick to what you like.
Q: Where do you see communications in five years from now?
A: I have a running joke for this one: we’ve given up on being proactive and we’re just going to be awesome at being reactive. It’s a joke because that is not the direction I want things to go but technology certainly pulls our attention that way. Planning and process is the direction we need to strive for in the future - a back-to-basics method that respects relationships and strategy.
Q: What advice would you give to someone that’s just entering the field of communications?
A: I would say that there’s no bad experience; the path clarifies itself from the experiences that you have.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to Mount Royal and studied Public Relations. I come from a family that’s academically inclined and oriented. Before retiring, my dad was a family doctor, my mom was a research nurse and my sister is a dentist. I honoured my personal inclinations and things I like to do. You have to trust your path.
Q: What do you know today you wish you had known when you first started your career?
A: I definitely wish somebody had said, “just relax.” I learned to manage anxiety by what mom and dad taught me: being polite, listening, being kind and respectful. At the end of the day, you take what you take from it. Trust the process.
Q: Who is the smartest person you know and why?
A: My best friend, Amanda. She’s one of the most relaxed, kind, warm people I know. She does a great job of naturally fostering relationships and makes time for people.
The way I see her approach her work is strategic, and she does such a great job of making connections within the business.