Building Blocks – May 3, 2019

*** New half-day rate added! See the registration section below.

Join the CPRS Northern Lights chapter for a full day of professional development in Prince George on May 3. We have an exciting line-up of speakers for the day followed by an evening social at the Grand Trunk Tavern. Our Annual General Meeting will be held over lunch, with more info to follow. (Interested in joining the CPRSNL Board? Learn more!)

Conference: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George boardroom (155 George Street)
Social: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Grand Trunk Tavern (2005 Hwy 97 S)

Members and non-members are welcome. Help us spread the word and invite your public relations colleagues, or even those who do communications off the side of their desk.

Registration & Cost

Your registration fee covers coffee and lunch, appetizers at our evening social, and the cost of bringing in our excellent array of speakers. Travel bursaries are available for CPRSNL members, see below.

  • CPRS Members: $95
  • Non-Members: $114
  • Students: $50
  • Half-day rate (members only): $55 (morning or afternoon, includes lunch & AGM)


Pay at the event by cash or cheque (made out to Canadian Public Relations Society Northern Lights). If your organization requires an invoice, please request one as soon as possible, by emailing

Travel Bursaries Available

For the second year in a row, the CPRS Northern Lights are offering $200 travel bursaries for our members living more than 100 km from the event location.

Apply soon. The bursaries are available on a first come, first served basis. Fill out the APPLICATION FORM and email to apply.


Building Blocks & AGM
Friday, May 3, 8:00 – 4:00 pm

8:00 – 8:20 Registration
8:20 – 8:30 Welcome & Introductions
8:30 – 10:30 Stories, storytellers and misinformation: Using behavioural insights to shape your communications Dr. Terence (Terry) Flynn, APR, FCPRS
McMaster University
10:30 – 10:45 Coffee Break
10:45 – 12:00 Working with First Nations: A Settler’s Journey Sarah Artis
Sarah & Company Communications
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 1:00 Annual General Meeting
1:00 – 3:00 Staying Strong: Crisis management lessons learned in the midst of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy Grant Bastedo, APR
Takt Communications
3:00 – 3:15 Coffee Break
3:15 – 4:00 PR in Northern BC: Public Relations Research
Dr. Virginia McKendry
Royal Roads University

Evening Social – Pints and PR
Friday, May 3, 5:00 – 9:00 pm
Catch up with your colleagues for a night of fun, craft beer and light food at Great Trunk Tavern. Appetizers will be provided.

Session Details

Stories, storytellers and misinformation: Using behavioural insights to shape your communications
Dr. Terence (Terry) Flynn, APR, FCPRS — McMaster University

drTerryFlynnWhy do some narratives and spokespeople immediately connect with their stakeholders while other efforts fail? Why is it so hard to correct misinformation, once a community accepts it as fact?

In this engaging and interactive session, Dr. Terry Flynn will share the results of his recent research on behavioural insights, neuroscience and cognition, as it relates to the increasingly difficult job of ensuring that our public relations and communications management efforts connect with our stakeholders and achieve their desired outcomes. Terry will discuss the science of storytelling, what makes a communicator credible and how to combat misinformation and disinformation.

Read more about Dr. Terry Flynn.

Working with First Nations: A Settler’s Journey
Sarah Artis — Sarah & Company Communications

sarahartis3This workshop is a chance for ‘settlers’ who work with or hope to work with First Nations to self-reflect on our roles and responsibilities in those relationships. The topic is a tough one. The term ‘settler’ is controversial in itself. And Sarah Artis does not know all the answers. You will likely leave this workshop with more questions. But this is a topic and self-work that every Canadian PR professional must engage in if they truly wish to understand the Canadian and global context in which they live and work.

In this session, Sarah will speak of her own experiences working with different First Nations in Northern BC. She will explore some of the big questions she’s had to ask herself and encourage you to do the same. Please come ready for an honest and thought-provoking discussion.

Key Takeaways

  1. Better understand the term ‘settler’ and what that means for you personally and professionally
  2. Increase awareness of your role and responsibilities in the reconciliation process
  3. Self-reflect on how to be a better ally in your work and in all your relationships with Aboriginal people
  4. Be more comfortable being uncomfortable aka. ‘unsettled’
  5. Be more confident asking ‘dumb questions’ and speaking up on this topic

Learn more about Sarah Artis.

Staying Strong: Crisis management lessons learned in the midst of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy
Grant Bastedo, APR — Takt Communications

Grant Bastedo Colour small - 1920x1920Voted by Canadian newsrooms as the most important story of 2018, the Humboldt Broncos’ tragedy generated unprecedented international media attention and awe-inspiring world-wide support over the past year. At the time of the crash, the Broncos’ organization was caught off-guard and unprepared to handle a crisis of that magnitude – they called on Grant Bastedo and his team from Takt Communications to help manage the crisis response.

From the outset of the crisis, Bastedo and the Takt team had to overcome huge hurdles under incredibly tight time pressures. The Broncos’ communications efforts were severely hindered when it was discovered that passwords to their social media accounts and website were only known to those lost in the crash. With international media calling around-the-clock and the public clamouring for updates regarding the condition of survivors, information about memorial services, and locations where they could donate, Takt was forced to quickly improvise a crisis response while the world watched.

Bastedo, an award-winning public relations veteran with over 28-years of experience in crisis management, is doing a Canada-wide speaking tour with the Canadian Public Relations Society talking about the many lessons learned while managing the tragedy and the importance of advanced crisis preparation. His presentation, “Staying Strong: Crisis Management Lessons Learned in the Midst of the Humboldt Broncos’ Tragedy,” shares important information that will help others who unfortunately experience their own crisis situations.

Read Grant Bastedo’s bio.

PR in Northern BC: Public Relations Research
Dr. Virginia McKendry — Royal Roads University

Virginia Mckendry landscape

For the past couple of years, Virginia and her research partner, Julia Jahansoozi, have been working on a small pilot study about the public relations community in Victoria, BC. The focus of their work has been the pioneering role that senior women in PR in Victoria have played in “making” the unique public relations culture that has grown up in the provincial capital. They are working with a publisher and hope to have a short book about that research coming out soon.

They are also getting ready to expand their scope to learn about how regional difference shapes public relations practice, and find more of these incredible Canadian pioneering women who have stewarded development of the field in their specific region.

CPRSNL is welcoming Virginia so that she can tell us more about her research and gauge the interest of our members in participating in a case study of PR in northern BC, one that will give the world a picture of how real people have contributed to the making of this region’s unique PR culture.

The following are some of their focus points:

a) continuing with the focus on pioneering women in public relations (first and second generation, but also junior female practitioners who are just now entering the field),
b) understanding how male practitioners understand their own career journeys, with a focus on the difference gender makes to how PR is seen and how they are seen in PR, and
c) how gender and practice inform each other depending on the situation, and
d) how regional differences shape PR practice, local PR cultures, and practitioners’ self-concept.

Read more about Dr. Virginia McKendry.

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