Welcome to the Catalyst Member Spotlight series. Catalyst prioritizes sharing members’ stories to showcase the breadth of the IABC community, connect communicators across the globe and elevate personal stories to inspire fellow members. If you’d like to nominate yourself or a standout colleague to be featured in a spotlight, email the Catalyst editors at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Meet IABC member Paige Strand! With over a decade in the field, Paige is the communications manager for Central 1 and a member of the IABC British Columbia chapter. Here, Paige shares what excites her about communications, a time she successfully collaborated across corporate silos and the best career advice she’s ever received. Read more and connect with Paige on LinkedIn.
What is the most exciting aspect of your role as a communicator?
Having worked in several industries for over a decade, I’ve constantly been excited by collaborating with so many diverse minds, teams and talents. I’ve supported and led communications within community initiatives, the publishing, automotive, real estate, restaurant, hotel and financial tech industries. Each industry was very different and yet similar in how they required significant focus on change and strategy, whether that be in resolving a major industry challenge or supporting the organization to adapt through intense transformation. As a communications leader, I value learning from the executives and experts around me so I can more effectively support our organizational objectives.
Tell us about a situation or project that made you feel valued as a communicator.
I relish in large projects that bring our initiatives to life, but the moments that have me feeling most valued are those where I’m consulted on projects that aren’t typically within my scope or business line. Most have been confidential and crisis-driven, although other notable favorites have been projects where I’m able to wear another department’s hat and consult on their processes and response. This makes me feel very trusted and excited, as I like a challenge and having to learn and move quickly to handle it. I also enjoy collaborative work and take this as an opportunity to advise and share my expertise while learning from others and winning together.
Think back on a time when you, as a communicator, collaborated with another department to bring a project to life. What made this process successful?
One of my favorite projects was a collaboration between the product teams I’d been working with at the time and HR. I was seeing certain anonymous comments within the internal town halls that didn’t make sense and were clearly from the product teams. I created “focus groups” in certain divisions to try to better grasp the “why” of these comments in a supportive, safe environment. The feedback I received from participants pointed to a few innocent misinterpretations between a few specific leaders and teams. This enabled me to strengthen our internal communications approach with their needs in mind, while bringing this to HR to easily work through and address the misunderstandings.
What made this project so successful was each participant’s ability to listen with empathy and be vulnerable, especially in stepping back from some of the corporate silos that had been in place at the time, to enhance understanding of each other.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it?
I received this a few years ago from Amanda Lang’s “The Beauty of Discomfort” and have seen its concepts reflected constantly across my personal and professional experiences. When you sense discomfort, consider leaning into it.
We often have the urge to steer away from discomfort as though it’s going to harm us. However, this can be an opportunity to learn more deeply about ourselves, grow into stronger leaders and embrace change as a constant through our lives. How we react in those moments of fear or discomfort can be the difference between just tolerating change or moving with it and fine tuning it into innovative new strategies.
Tell us about a favorite resource that helps you stay connected and informed in the industry.
As a data lover, I have really enjoyed Harvard Business Review for the case studies and articles. As an extrovert, I really enjoy LinkedIn engagement or webinars within IABC’s Special Interest Groups or Vancouver’s Women in Male Dominated Industries (WIMDI) group.
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IABC Staff, Featuring Paige Strand