Consuelo Bernardi: The B Sides


2011 CWC Awards

The 2011 Recipients

On Monday, April 4, 2011 the CWC Annual Awards Gala Dinner will take place at the Fairmont Château Laurier hotel in Ottawa.

Canadian Women In Communications is a national, bilingual organization dedicated to the career advancement of women in the communications and technology sectors through strategic networking, targeted professional development and meaningful recognition.

Two local Ottawa women are recipients of the CWC Leadership Excellence Awards, in the Leader category. Janice McDonald, President, and Mary Jelley, Ottawa Regional Manager, Warner Music Canada.

Both Mary and Janice have been setting the Capital Region on fire for women in the communication sector there. They have organized programs for professionals, novices and the aspiring alike, helping to encourage mentoring, networking, and a commitment to ongoing education and career development.

Both are successful and seasoned business women, so they know what women need to progress professionally in the industry. They want to see more women in senior and decision-making positions in the many communications-related businesses and government offices in the Ottawa area. They’re making sure CWC is one of the places that’s helping them get there.

I had an opportunity to ask Janice McDonald about her involvement with CWC, social media and advice for upcoming graduates entering the Communication sector.

1. What is it about the CWC that you find so important?

CWC is a national organization that is dedicated to the advancement of women in the communications industry in canada. It is celebrating 20 years in this role and offers women networking opportunities, career advancement and meaningful recognition. I am personally dedicated to CWC because I think it is an outstanding organization and Stephanie Mackendrick is a great leader.

2. Why was it so important for you to revitalize the CWC in the Ottawa-Gatineau region?

I have been involved with CWC for over 5 years. I was Vice-Chair and stepped into the Chair role three years ago when Kath Thompson (former Music Director and Assistant Program Director for CKQB in Ottawa), who got me involved, moved to Calgary.

I recruited Mary Jelley from Warner Music to join and we built a strong team of leading industry professionals for our regional board. Convergence in the industry makes Ottawa-Gatineau even more important as a region with government, high tech and media presence all strongly represented in Ottawa.

I have just joined the Executive Committee and the National Board for CWC and I am excited with the opportunity to increase my participation in this organization.

3. Over the years the business of communications has changed dramatically, especially with the introduction of social media - how important is it for women entering the communications/business field to embrace social media and make it a part of their daily environment?

Social media as a whole continues to grow in importance and impact in business. Particularly for those in communications, it is very essential to be well versed in the various aspects of social media. CWC offers career advancement scholarships in areas like social media...another benefit of joining.

I was one of the lucky recipients of a scholarship in digital new media several years ago at the Banff New Media Institute with 20 other women from across the country. We got an inside scoop on the future from experts and it has been very helpful.

4. How important is the networking aspect between women in helping develop and further their careers?

Personally I find that networking can be very beneficial when you focus on relationships, developing them in person and online. Particularly if you take a collaborative in, "how can we help each other?". That is the best starting point.

5. For women graduating from college/university and entering the work environment and looking at the communications/business field - any pieces of advice on embarking in their careers?

For new graduates, my suggestion would be to get involved in your industry...volunteer...join CWC! It's a great way to meet different people in various positions in your industry. Volunteering also offers you the chance to expand your network, increase your skills, try new things and in my experience, is very rewarding!

6. Within your own industry that you work in - what has been the biggest change you've seen in the last five years?

A big change in communications and in business is the impact of the increased speed of information. The good news and bad news travels fast and you need to be ready. First by listening and monitoring, and then by having a plan for what you hear online. Customers, colleagues, stakeholders...everyone wants answers fast. The demand for information, the volume of information and speed by which we receive it...all of it puts additional pressure on those involved.