Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday, May 31, 2009

First visit to Huntsville

Had my first visit to Huntsville ... site of next year's G8 Summit ... a townhall was put together by the federal Summits Management Office with key participation from the Integrated Security Unit ... (my new employer through the OPP )

As expected, most questions dealt with security issues: impact on traffic, local commerce and residents ...

the event went well ... the presenters were solid and well briefed and questions and concerns raised by audience members were relevant and illustrative ...

But I found my visits to the shops of downtowm Huntsville the next day as illuminating ... talking to commerce owners and shop workers, waiters and young people ... there a lots of misconceptions about the security impacts for the Summit ...

We have our work cut out for us in stemming the tide of false rumours ...

Having had a first-hand look and many discussions with the locals ... I'll have a better understanding of what's needed and how to go about it ...

Any other communicator having had to spend a lot of time controlling/dispelling rumours ...your input is welcome !

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Start of a new adventure

It had to happen ... I'm taking on a new challenge ... and it's a big one ... I'm going to help coordinate the communications activities around the security arrangements for next year's G8 Summit in Huntsville ...

Sounds like fascinating work ... team approach ... joint operation between the OPP, RCMP and the Canadian Forces ... lots of people on the ground ... and more importantly for us communicators ... lots of issues and public concerns to deal with ...

I'll be able to bring together my experience in project and issues management, strategic and crisis comms planning into a community outreach approach ... the main thing will be to learn how to manage different organizational styles (OPP, RCMP, DND) and how to help a team of communicators mesh together ... so far so good in that regard ... we all value each other's experiences and expertise ...

I'll keep posting tidbits about the work ... without going into too many details related to actual security measures ....

a question though for all of you out there ... how have been your experiences working with many partners and joint forces ops for big projects ?

let me know !

Friday, May 22, 2009

let's get started

Okay ... we can't escape it ... H1N1 ... the swine flu ... how do you think it's been handled so far from a crisis or risk communications perspective ...

DISCLOSURE: I work for the Ontario government ... however, I want to indicate that my views and opinions do NOT reflect official edicts or positions of my ministry (Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services) or EMO (Emergency Management Ontario) or any other provincial ministry or agency ...

Having said that ... what's my take on how the government has dealt with the H1N1 issue?

Let's just say: mixed results ... Lessons from SARS have been learned the hard way ... but still not completely ...

The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care did a good job communicating with the public and stakeholder in the health sectors ... a good job ... not fabulous ... certainly not very inventive and with very little attention to new media ... Now, that might have been enough a few years back when SARS hit ... but can't we do better now ... 6 years later ? with all the tools and social media platforms we have at our disposal ... Still ... they get a passing grade for me ... they did what they had to do ...

Now, the other shoe drops (and I might get some push back on this from people inside the Ontario Public Service ... some highly-placed people !!!) ... we did a DISMAL job on internat comms ...

it took us days ... a week even ... to get the most basic info to our most valuable group of stakeholders ... our own employees across the Ontario Public Service ... things bogged down ...

Question: what's the point of having plans of all sorts to deal with a pandemic, including plans to communicate with every group of stakeholders ... if those plan go out the window at the onset of an emergency ?

There has to be enough trust and buy in into the solidity of our planning for professionals to be able to do their job ... without levels of scrutiny and infighting that slow things down to a crawl ...

Opinions out there ?

Now, there's a way to get started ... I'll let you know next week if I still have a job !!!
OK ... after many months of "mooching" other people's blogs and web work ... I've decided to finally join the fray ...

My blog will focus on best practices on crisis communications, emergency information (EI) and emergency management (EM) in general.

I will also pay close attention to leaders in the field of social media integration into EI and EM. I particularly look forward to hearing from anyone with sensible comments and suggestion ( an open exchange of ideas ) on crisis communications, especially within governmental organizations.