Professional Independent Communicators (PIC) Executive 2017-18
Sharon Aschaiek is a higher education communicator who provides writing, editing and content consulting services to universities and colleges. Her core service is conceptualizing and developing clear, concise and compelling content that informs, engages and inspires post-secondary schools’ stakeholders. Whether it’s for newsletter stories, annual reports or web copy, she uses her conversational writing style to present ideas in interesting and meaningful ways.
Also an accomplished journalist, Sharon writes for consumer and trade publications about trends, issues, research breakthroughs and innovators in the education sphere. She has written about advances in digital teaching tools, cultural inclusiveness practices in public education and high-achieving alumni. Her stories have appeared in various post-secondary school publications as well as the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, CBC.ca, University Affairs, Education Today and Our Kids Go To School.
As IABC/Toronto’s vice-president of special interest groups, Sharon oversees and represents the interests of the chapter’s Professional Independent Communicators (PIC) and Westend groups. Sharon has been volunteering for PIC since 2012. She formerly served on the board of the Professional Writers Association of Canada — Toronto Chapter as vice-president of professional development, blog editor and treasurer.
Sharon completed an honours bachelor’s degree in communication and sociology at York University, participated in post-graduate journalism studies at Humber College, and took strategic marketing courses at Ryerson University.
PIC Chair responsibilities:
- Lead a team that meets the professional development, networking and marketing needs of local independent communicators
- Liaise between PIC, the Westend group and the IABC/Toronto board of directors
- Lead PIC executive meetings
- Assist with executing PIC events
- Represent PIC to the public
John K. Bromley is a senior-level accredited communications strategist with more than 18 years of experience within the not-for-profit and health-care sector. John’s key strengths lie in the ability to pull together multiple components of public affairs (media relations, government relations and stakeholder engagement) towards an integrated and comprehensive strategy. By collaborating with experts within each of these disciplines, John is able to develop a clear line of sight towards establishing seamless engagement.
John also recognizes the importance of digital strategic knowledge when crafting integrated communications. To meet this need, John attained an honours certificate in Digital Strategy and Communications Management at the University of Toronto. Fluency in digital media management has provided John with a nimble approach to managing issues and crises — a proof-point when building sustainable public advocacy through times of change. John’s most prestigious accomplishments was creating a national editorial board strategy for launching Canada’s first umbilical cord blood network while at Canadian Blood Services. John is currently working as an independent contractor in the 416 and 905 regions.
PIC Director of Programming responsibilities:
- Create and manage professional development and social events across the PIC calendar
- Attract new members and existing members to re-engage with the group
- Position PIC as the go-to group for independents when learning new trends as a professional communicator
- Encourage continued conversation and resource sharing outside PIC events
Sue Horner is the professional writer she would have liked to have on call when she worked in employee communications!
Sue launched Get It Write in 1991 and has used her experience as a corporate communicator to help companies like Suncor Energy, Johnson & Johnson, HP Canada and IBM connect with their employees through digital and print communications.
Clients appreciate Sue’s ability to find the human angle in any story, capture the essence of a discussion and turn the complex into the readable. She writes newsletters, feature articles, case studies, web and social media content and other material in a warm, conversational style.
Sue is an active member of PIC, and was on the executive from 2004 to 2006 as well as since 2013 as director, communications. She introduced the PIC newsletter to improve communication and connection between members. She is also one of the founders and long-time leaders of IABC/Toronto’s Westend special interest group.
Sue has a BA in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University.
PIC Director of Communications responsibilities:
- Plan, develop and maintain communication with PIC members so they receive high quality, timely information about the programs, services and benefits of PIC
- Write (or assign) copy for the monthly PIC e-newsletter
- Generate PIC-related content for IABC/Toronto e-Lerts
Melika Ramkissoon’s communications experience has provided her with exposure to the non-profit/public sectors. She has interned at Visual Arts Mississauga and at the Art Gallery of Ontario in a communications capacity. In addition, Melika assisted the Mississauga Arts Council with its social media efforts for the MARTY Awards in 2013. An active member of IABC/Toronto, she has held volunteer writing roles on the OVATION Awards team for four years. Within the last few years, she completed communications consulting projects that inspired her to start her own business — Down 2 Earth PR — and to join PIC.
Her educational training includes an undergraduate degree in International Studies, and two postgraduate certificates — one in corporate communications, and the other in public administration. Melika can also communicate in French (spoken and written), and has two DELF (Diplôme d’Enseignement de Langue Française) diplomas.
Her areas of expertise are writing, communications planning and issues analysis.
PIC Director of Membership responsibilities:
- Foster PIC membership within and outside of IABC/Toronto
- Communicate IABC/Toronto chapter benefits to non-members
- Liaise with PIC members
- Promote networking connections at PIC events
Bill Smith is an integrated communications strategist offering writing focusing on web and social media content, social strategy, community management along with marketing and branding services. Focusing on small- to medium-sized businesses and non-profits, Bill delivers tight concise copy and strategic counsel that help clients meet their business objectives.
Prior to being an indie, Bill worked on the Be Tire Smart Community Relations campaign with the Rubber Association of Canada, in loyalty marketing at what is now Aimia (formerly Carlson Marketing Group) and worked in retail both at the store level and corporate at Home Depot Canada and HBC.
Bill graduated from University of Toronto in 1991 with a BA in political science and history, and again in 2014 with a post-degree certificate in digital strategy and communications management along with a post-degree certificate in public relations from the G. Raymond Chang School at Ryerson University in 2009.
Being a long time IABC/Toronto member, Bill volunteered in a variety of portfolios, including professional development, marketing communications, and social media for the chapter.
PIC Director of Social Media responsibilities:
- Live tweet professional development events
- Take photos at professional development and networking events
- Promote PIC Toronto events via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
Donna Papacosta, principal of Toronto-based Trafalgar Communications, is a writer, speaker, podcaster and consultant, helping clients communicate better with employees, customers and prospects.
In 2005, Donna started producing the Trafcom News Podcast, one of the first business podcasts in Canada. Author of The Podcast Scripting Book and co-author of The Business of Podcasting, she is recognized as a leader in the global podcasting community.
Today, Donna consults with organizations on their internal and external podcasting projects and advises on their social media and content marketing strategies. She also speaks at conferences across North America, leads workshops on social media topics, and teaches Digital Communications Strategy/Social Media at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.
An active member of IABC, Donna is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, and holds a master’s degree in public administration from New York University and a certificate in magazine journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her online at http://trafcom.com.
PIC Past Chair responsibilities:
- Stand in for PIC chair when she cannot attend a PIC function
- Participate in PIC executive meetings
- Provide input on PIC events and activities
- Contribute to conversations on PIC’s LinkedIn group
- Share news about PIC events and activities on Twitter