Break Through Conference

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***SOLD OUT***

Break Through with IABC Waterloo on March 29, 2017

The Walper Hotel, Kitchener, Ontario

Looking to break through the noise on oversaturated communication channels? Ready to break through in your communications or marketing career?

On March 29th, you can Break Through with IABC Waterloo. IABC Waterloo’s first annual Break Through Conference is a must-attend event for communicators. Hosted in partnership with the Conestoga College School of Media & Design, this one-day event will provide you with the skills you need to effectively engage your audience in today’s rapid-fire communication landscape.

Renowned speakers and actionable sessions will prepare you to increase your communications ROI.

Why should I attend Break Through?

  • Sharpen your skills and mindset to ensure your current communication and marketing investment provides a rich return
  • Enhance your understanding of the latest must-have tools for your toolkit, including interactive video and animation
  • Stand out in a crowded, noisy marketplace with messaging that creates genuine connection and inspires authentic action
  • Expand your online influence with effective blogger relations and digital PR
  • Hear how your peers broke through barriers at all levels of their careers
  • Network with top communicators from Waterloo Region and beyond
  • Enjoy delicious food and access to an exclusive cocktail party at the charming and historic Walper Hotel in downtown Kitchener

Keynote Speaker, Cyrus Mavalwala: Breaking Through with Compelling Content

An injured Olympic sprinter helped up by a rival runner. A supermoon rising over earth, a stunning spectacle not seen since 1948. Hundreds of thousands of women spilling through the streets of Washington. We see these vivid pictures in our minds long after the news stories fade.

When we understand what makes compelling content, we can unravel – and build – an engaging narrative based on millions of years of human evolution. And words play only a small part in this equation.

Today’s communication professional needs content that cuts through the noise to reach their target demographic. IABC All-Star Speaker Cyrus Mavalwala, ABC, will share communication best practices to help you take a fresh approach to creating compelling digital content.

You’ll leave this session knowing:

  • Which content trends MUST be on your radar for 2017 and beyond
  • How to bake fresh thinking into your content approach
  • How brain science plays a part in effective communication
  • How to leverage the persuasive power of imagery

About Cyrus:

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Cyrus Mavalwala is the founder of Advantis Communication, a digital PR and content marketing agency that delivers measurable value by integrating traditional, video, and social strategies. He has also co-founded Act Like an Agency, a global training and development organization geared towards teaching communicators to make the move from tacticians to strategists.


8:30 am

Arrival and registration

9:20 am

Welcoming remarks

9:30 am

Keynote with Cyrus Mavalwala: Breaking Through with Compelling Content

10:30 am


10:45 am

Session one with Caitlin MacGregor: Employee Engagement and Culture

11:30 am

Session two with Caralee Ayora: Core Elements of Effective Communication

12:15 pm


1:05 pm

Break Through Career Panel with Moderator Ellyn Winters-Robinson

1:50 pm

Session three with Sam Trieu: How to Become a Marketing Octopus

2:35 pm


2:50 pm

Session four with Lanny Cardow: Opinion Polling and Message Positioning

3:35 pm

Closing Keynote with Dr. Terry Flynn: The Transforming Role of the Chief Communications Officer

4:40 pm

Closing remarks

4:45 pm

Cocktail hour

Additional Session Descriptions:

Employee Engagement and Culture with Caitlin MacGregor
Many organizations understand the benefits of having engaged employees but few understand how to accurately measure it. Despite the fact that many studies have shown that engaged employees care more, are more productive, give better service, and stay in their jobs longer, this gap in employee engagement has remained consistent. Is it safe to say then that engagement and culture are aligned, and if so, do we measure engagement in the absence of being able to measure culture? Caitlin MacGregor, CEO of Plum, will go over how there has been a shift in the industry around measuring not only engagement but culture as well. Organizations can now quantify actionable items as it relates to culture and engagement and that means, better plans, better internal responses, data driven decisions and ultimately, getting the best ROI.

Core Elements of Effective Communication with Caralee Ayora
Caralee Ayora, Assistant Vice-President of Communications at Manulife, will help us focus on the core elements of effective communication: strategic thinking, relationship-building, research and writing. Only with this skillset and mindset are we able to make good decisions and create excellent deliverables. Caralee will discuss how we can evolve and expand our skills to remain relevant while also remaining true to our communications core.

Career Panel
Our career panel will be moderated by Ellyn Winters-Robinson, President of boutique PR agency Ignition Communications. Panelists to be announced.

How to be a marketing octopus with Sam Trieu
In a tech startup, resources are limited and time to ramp up can mean survival and success. Sam Trieu is a Community Marketer at Sortable, one of Canada's fastest growing companies (PROFIT500, Deloitte Fast50/Fast500). She'll share how you can stretch your skills and knowledge to succeed and win in a tech landscape that offers opportunities--but no longer provides a traditional career path. 

Developing your message with Lanny Cardow
How do you develop strong messages? How do you test those messages to see if they are effective? Lanny Cardow, a principal at Navigator Limited, will walk us through the process of developing and testing compelling messages. We will explore a step-by-step process of message development, starting from the very beginning. This session will examine qualitative and quantitative research methods, and strategic positioning tools. We will also look at new ways to test messages digitally. Lanny will draw from examples in politics and the corporate world to illustrate the process of how to sharpen your messaging.

Closing Keynote
In our Closing Keynote, we’ll hear from Dr. Terry Flynn, Lead Professor and Founding Director of McMaster University’s Master of Communications Management (MCM) program. Dr. Flynn is one of Canada’s leading public relations and communications management scholars. He will speak about the role of the CCO, the Chief Communications Officer, helping attendees ask and answer two critical questions:

  • What value do we create as communicators? Increasingly, stakeholders agree: Enterprises should create not just customer and shareholder value, but social or societal value, as well.
  • How do we create it? The same stakeholders say: Your values must honour your employees, communities and the environment, and your actions must be consistent with those values.​

Speaker Bios:

sam speaker.jpgSam Trieu, Community Marketer for Sortable, one of Canada’s fastest growing companies, recently ranked #8 on the Deloitte Fast 50. 

Caralee2.JPGCaralee Ayora, Assistant Vice-President of Communications at Manulife, a leading Canadian insurance company and financial services provider. 

Ellyn Headshot.jpgEllyn Winters-Robinson, President of boutique PR agency Ignition Communications and in-house PR mentor at Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre, a world renowned incubator for tech startups. 

Caitlin MacGregor Headshot.jpgCaitlin MacGregor, CEO of Plum, a rapidly growing startup that uses cloud software, modern behavioural science and predictive analytics to pinpoint the best applicants for jobs. 

Lanny Bio Photo.jpgLanny Cardow, a Principal at Navigator Limited, Canada’s leading high-stakes public strategy and communications firm. Lanny is an alumnus of the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University, where he completed his Masters of Arts with a concentration in polling. 
Terry1 copy.jpgDr. Terry Flynn, Lead Professor and Founding Director of McMaster University’s Master of Communications Management (MCM) program and one of Canada’s leading public relations and communications management scholars. 

Sponsorship support


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