TORONTO, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - The mark of great communicators is their ability to shift perception and change minds, not only in boom times, but also when times are tough. Jim Grieve, IABC/Toronto's 2012 Communicator of the Year, exemplifies the power of strategic communications to build trust and unite audiences. Grieve is the Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Education, a role that affects more than two million students and their families across the province. IABC/Toronto presents the award annually to a GTA-based communicator who demonstrates exceptional leadership, management and communications skills. This year's awards ceremony will be held on March 7th.
"Jim possesses those special qualities we look for in our Communicator of the Year winners," says Janet Comeau, ABC, who chaired the judging panel. "He believes in the power of communication and works with his team to be as strategic as possible in delivering his message and achieving outcomes."
Among Grieve's communications successes is the successful, ongoing roll-out of full-day kindergarten programs across Ontario. He took on this assignment during a bleak, economic recession when many critics deemed the program too expensive. Using the power of face-to-face communication, Jim built the support, trust and relationships needed to convince stakeholders, parents and educators of the program's benefits. Over the past three years, Jim has communicated the same strong, consistent message citing a proven return on investment for every dollar spent on early learning. Despite severe fiscal pressure, the program was spared funding cuts in the 2012 budget and is one of the most popular government programs with enrolment remarkably higher than expected.
Not content to stay behind the scenes, Jim is in schools and child care centres speaking to educational partners and visiting communities across Ontario at least once a week and insists that all members of his staff do the same.
"Our judges were impressed by Jim's personal touch and passionate advocacy for the future of children," says Linda Andross, ABC, president, IABC/Toronto. "His commitment to gathering their input and delivering warm and authentic messaging in person, says a lot about his character in this age of electronic communication."
A leader in diversity, equity and inclusive communication, Jim is equally comfortable speaking to a three-year-old kindergarten student, the Premier or an audience of over 1,500. School boards, municipalities and governments often request Jim to present to senior leadership on the topic of diversity and inclusion, both in the communication and leadership contexts. Following each speaking engagement, audience surveys repeatedly reveal a dramatic increase in public confidence in public education - a key ministry goal.
While gaining public trust is a large part of his role, Jim understands the importance strategic internal communications. Under his leadership, The Ministry's Early Learning Division scored significantly high in a bi-annual employee engagement survey, with a response rate of 96 per cent. To promote productivity and increase motivation, Jim facilitated the development of staff-led action groups for employees to take leadership roles on issues that matter to them and created Starting Point, a quarterly videoconference to keep staff in various locations across the province connected.
Jim will formally receive the IABC/Toronto Communicator of the Year Award on March 7, 2013, from 8 to 10 a.m. at a breakfast event taking place at the Toronto Eaton Centre Marriott. For more information, visit http://toronto.iabc.com/.
About the Communicator of the Year Selection Process
Communications professionals from across the GTA were asked to nominate an industry leader they believed should be recognized for communications excellence. From there, a panel of four past IABC/Toronto presidents reviewed all of the nominations in detail. After close review, nominees who met certain criteria of the award were researched further through interviews between panel members and the nominee's communications team. The panel then discussed the interviews and selected a winner. This year, the panel agreed that Jim Grieve earned the prestigious designation of the 2012 IABC/Toronto Communicator of the Year.
With more than 1,800 members, IABC/Toronto is the largest IABC chapter in the world. The organization provides these members with multidisciplinary resources and a global network of close to 14,000 communicators in 80 countries, working in diverse industries and disciplines to identify, share and apply the world's most effective communications practices. For more information, please visit http://toronto.iabc.com/.
For further information:
Ashley Weinhandl, VP Marketing Communications IABC/Toronto