As firm believers in authenticity and transparency, B&A’s Communications and Engagement (C&E) team thrives on developing programs that drive business objectives and engage key stakeholders for client projects throughout Canada. Within B&A’s team of skilled professionals and subject matter experts, the C&E group ensures client work is communicated effectively with communities, landowners, and other stakeholders.
The C&E team is International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)-trained and approaches every project with the objective to guide inclusive and accessible public participation programs. This designation supports the team as they navigate every project, from simple land use amendments to complex stakeholder issues, adapting their engagement approach to ensure clients receive the most tailored and efficient engagement strategy, while also finding ways to build capacity and authentic connection among various audiences.
The C&E team is responsible for effectively communicating client and project narratives using various platforms and techniques and determining the appropriate engagement strategies for each project’s distinct list of stakeholders. The energetic and passionate team of four specialists bring diverse backgrounds to support B&A’s client roster with everything from developer and project visioning and branding to integrated and customized communications and engagement strategies.
“Since integrating communications and engagement into our service offering, we have developed this area of expertise into a true value-add for our clients,” says Kathy Oberg, Managing Partner. “The growing team continually demonstrates their ability to offer diverse and effective solutions to support clients at every step of the planning process.”
Having worked with organizations throughout Canada, the team shares their professional backgrounds and their most notable experiences to provide insight into the exciting – and sometimes hectic – world of communication and engagement.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science
Certifications: IAP2-Foundations of Public Participation, Aboriginal Relations Leadership Certificate, Corporate Community Involvement Certificate.
My background lies in stakeholder engagement with over 10 years of hands-on experience working with stakeholders across Western Canada. I have developed and implemented engagement plans with First Nations and Métis communities, landowners, NGO’s and rural and urban municipalities. I started my career in the energy sector, which provided me with a strong foundation in community relations. I have developed a broad range of public affairs skills through previous roles, including media relations, project communications, community investment, corporate responsibility, and Indigenous relations.
Since joining B&A in the spring of 2017, I have built on this experience working with communities across Western Canada. I have coordinated engagement activities and communication programs supporting a wide range of projects for municipalities, developers, and the energy, aggregate and agriculture sectors, including numerous land use projects with varying complexities. Through my work, I have demonstrated expertise in translating stakeholder perspectives into meaningful project outcomes.
My grassroots community approach is built on a deep respect for the community and has supported my strong reputation as a relationship builder and communicator. My appreciation for community extends to my personal time dedicated to my family, friends, neighbours and community. My volunteer time has focused on supporting local youth organizations and committees with the Calgary Stampede. While I am an armchair Urbanist, my weekends are often spent on the highway visiting my family farm and enjoying the beauty of Western Canada with my partner and young children.
Education: Bachelor of Communications, Journalism
Certifications: IAP2- Foundations of Public Participation, Alberta Energy Regulations Certification
I’ve spent the last ten years in consulting roles providing communications and public and Indigenous engagement support to clients. From natural resource extraction and energy to transportation and land use development, I have led the design and implementation of programs that include media relations, event planning and facilitation, advocacy and reputation management, and client training to prepare conflict scenarios.
I started my career in the energy sector, which formed the base of my skill set. Every project requires a distinct narrative and engagement approach tailored to the communities we work in. Careful attention should be spent pairing down technical details into tangible information and facilitating and documenting a range of conversations while also maintaining client goals. I have recently been embedded in several sand and gravel projects, which has required thoughtful public education and communication programs to ensure collective understanding before asking for input. Preparing approachable, easy to understand, and accessible information is an essential aspect of any engagement program.
The most enjoyable aspect of my job is connecting with people, providing context, and working through their thoughts together. While I spend most of my time planning engagement initiatives, facilitation is where connections, ideas and solutions come together – this can be very rewarding.
Outside of work, I spend a lot of time with my partner (and pooch) fixing up our first home. I am a music lover and look forward to Calgary’s Folk Music Festival every summer. One of my proudest achievements was collaborating with Calgary’s first Poet Laureate to develop The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual. I’m innately interested in human behaviour and enjoy learning about and brushing up my conflict resolution skills.
Education: Bachelor of Communications, Public Relations
Certifications: IAP2-Foundations of Public Participation
My passion for writing and communications began in middle school. I would notoriously take time away from my math homework to edit, refine and attempt to perfect my English writing assignments. After high school, I discovered the profession of public relations, where I realized the possibility of combining my passion for written communications, along with my desire to explore the world of stakeholder engagement to create a customized career for myself. During my Public Relations degree, I began working as a Communications Coordinator for many organizations, including a start-up IT company, a non-profit organization and a PR consulting firm, eventually landing my current role as a Senior Communications and Engagement Specialist at B&A.
Over the last eight years, I have supported and managed communications and engagement strategies on diverse and complex projects, ranging from transportation planning projects for the City of Calgary to land development projects for various clients across western Canada. While each project, client, strategy, and desired outcome are unique to each project, my approach remains consistent. Through clear communications, active listening, consistent documentation, and transparent reporting, I have successfully helped clients meet their desired objectives while developing and enhancing relationships with project stakeholders, project teams and communities.
This November will mark my third anniversary with B&A Planning Group. Over the last three years, I have had the opportunity to work on many complex, multi-phased, and at times, contentious projects, which have expanded my knowledge of planning and development and have provided me with the opportunity to build and diversify my communications and engagement toolkit. I am most proud of our C&E team’s work over the last several months through the challenging and ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. With standardized in-person engagement techniques no longer relevant, our team stepped up to the plate to deliver innovative, adaptable engagement and communications strategies and techniques that allowed our projects to press forward while providing meaningful and accessible engagement opportunities to project stakeholders.
In my free time, you will find me at the river with my rescue pup, or my family farm outside of Cochrane, enjoying the fresh air and spending time with my adorable nieces.
Education: Bachelor of Communications, Public Relations
Having started my career at a public relations agency, my expertise lies in communications. Specifically, I have worked with clients to further their brand narrative with target audiences through media and influencer relations, corporate communications, event management, digital communications and more.
Among the most memorable campaigns I have worked on is a new market introduction with Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC). Launching four new network connections from Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG), the campaign included multi-faceted communication and engagement approach to facilitate an in-terminal press event with representatives from Swoop, YWG, and Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.
At B&A, I draw on my experience to strategically convey messages to key stakeholders through comprehensive engagement strategies and reports – and I look forward to developing my engagement experience further with the C&E Team.
When I’m not working, you will likely find me in the mountains (at least during the summer months!) or tracking down the best cup of tea in Calgary – as a quintessential Brit, I make it my mission. I enjoy learning, which drives my love for podcasts and biographies – ultimately understanding our world from different perspectives.
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