Sometimes the interesting thing about being both a communications person and a digital person, is that there can tend to be an assumption that I lean heavily one way or another. The majority of my career has been in communications and worked my way up through the ranks starting out as an intern at a communication agency.
My interests slowly gravitated towards social and eventually digital, well because I just so happened to part of the era that launched yahoo chat rooms, ICQ, msn chat, the early stages of lavalife etc. etc. The move into the social space was interesting because it was happening to me and those in my generation and I also happened to be a communications person pondering what it would mean for my career and what it meant for communications as a whole.
Later on I became much more heavier in the technology aspect, and I saw this as a wonderful blend for a communications person. How useful would it be to really understand the intricacies of how the technology worked and what it could and couldn’t do, and be able to leverage this expertise from ac communications perspective.
The irony however, was that the transition back into communications and the few years in digital that I spent, has turned me into what communications people consider to be a highly technical person that more closely resembles someone from IT. IT teams relate well to me because they understand that I understand, and that I really get it. It is always a bonus for them to have someone from the client/business side that actually understands what they can and cannot do.
Understanding technology doesn’t limit or reduce the ability for anyone to perform as a communications person. To write, to lead strategy, to edit and/or approve. It is highly difficult to do that when you are relegated to a role understanding as the IT person. I would add to this that my communications background is what landed me the digital role in a media company famous for its content and published brands. It’s a very odd place to be – to not actually be the IT person or considered to be an IT person by IT people, nor the communications person considered to be a communications person by the people in communications. I think you can be both roles and really strategic in both of them – which to me is ultimately what makes the most sense since the world of communications is going digital!
As most of you are aware, I have proudly worked for Rogers Media in their Digital Client Solutions Team for the last 3 years. Unfortunately, and to my greatest shock – last Tuesday I was laid off as part of their restructuring process. (You can see the story here: Rogers Communications lays off 94 staff in media operations.) Myself and 1 additional team member also was let go after 8 years with the company and 5 years on my team.
I first and foremost want to say that working at Rogers in my role as a Digital Engagement Manager was really and truly my dream job. It really was everything that anyone that works in communications could dream of and ask for -not to mention that I worked on one of the most prestigious teams. I’m not shy to say – as I did at many of our morning department teams – it was the team that everyone within the organization was trying to be part of.
I considered my team members to be like family. My Director was outstanding as was my reporting manager – and I always think that these situations are the most difficult – because when you work with great people and great mentors, it is so sad to not be able to see them and interact with them everyday. As I said to them – I hope this is only just a temporary pause until we have an opportunity to work or collaborate together one day.
I shall not include names because I do respect people’s privacy and anonimity 🙂 But to all the sales reps, GMs, editors and publishers, producers, project managers, creative and also of course to my entire team – thank you all so much for the time I had to learn and grow and be part of the wonderful things that Rogers Media does 🙂