Our Initiatives

While we strive daily to make our clients better, we place just as much emphasis on making ourselves better, too. And, the better we make ourselves, the better work we do for our clients.

 

Bold Thinking Speaker Series

In keeping with our tagline Trusted Partner. Bold Thinking.TM, our Toronto office hosts quarterly talks with high profile people who’ve demonstrated creativity and innovative thinking over the course of their careers.

The talks are designed to inspire our employees and expand their thinking by showcasing leaders who’ve taken risks and really excelled professionally and personally. We’ve been lucky to have a number of incredibly impressive people participate in these talks, including fashion industry icon Jeanne Beker, media visionary Moses Znaimer, photographer and storyteller Ed Burtynsky and Olympic medalist Curt Harnett, among others.

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NATIONAL Business Forum

The NATIONAL Business Forum brings together some of Canada’s foremost experts from the public and private sector to discuss issues and trends impacting Canadian business and share insider knowledge and industry expertise. From election results to energy policy, from the social media revolution to trade relations, the NATIONAL Business Forum explores a range of trends and issues of interest to corporate and institutional executives and communications practitioners.

These ‘off the record’ sessions demonstrate NATIONAL’s dedication to thought leadership. Most recently, NATIONAL’s Ottawa office hosted a panel with some of Canada's leading experts on LNG; NATIONAL's Toronto office has also had the honour of hosting U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson and Lieutenant-General The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire.

The NATIONAL Business Forum stems from our Montreal-based Ghislain Dufour Business ForumTM, which has been inspiring guests for the last 15 years.

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NATIONAL Institute

NATIONAL’s strong emphasis on the value of professional development sets it apart from other public relations firms. Our NATIONAL Institute (iNi) offers training programs to all employees on an ongoing basis.


NATIONAL 101

NATIONAL 101 provides professional development for new employees during their first year of employment with the Firm.

Objectives
The program reflects NATIONAL’s commitment to:

  • integrate new employees by providing them with a training program serving primarily to communicate the Firm’s values;
  • offer clients top-quality service by training employees in key topics so that they acquire a common body of knowledge; and
  • encourage collaboration among colleagues across Canada.

Faculty
The faculty consists of NATIONAL’s partners and senior staff as well as guests.

Content
During this three-day session, training focuses on business management and core communications skills. Participants learn a great deal about NATIONAL, its values and history, as well as the strength of its network of professionals and services. Participants have access to state-of-the-art research on the management of professional service firms and on subjects of interest to all public relations practitioners, such as managing client expectations, project management and business development. The session also provides an excellent opportunity to get to know and work with colleagues from across the network.


NATIONAL 201

NATIONAL 201 is our professional development session for the Firm’s senior consultants; participants are selected by managing partners.

Objectives
The program reflects NATIONAL’s commitment to:

  • realize the professional development expectations of senior consultants by enhancing their ability to provide superior service to existing and potential clients;
  • increase participants’ effectiveness in business problem-solving, client development, team leadership and self-management with clients and internal teams;
  • develop skills needed to overcome the challenge of being commoditized by clients/procurement;
  • enhance the quality and depth of the relationship with clients;
  • develop participants into becoming trusted advisors rather than transactional vendors;
  • complement our successful Visionary Leadership Model (VLM) training;
  • encourage advancement within the Firm and facilitate succession planning;
  • stimulate in-depth discussions on public relations; and
  • promote interoffice collaboration and networking.

Faculty
The faculty consists of partners and staff.

Content
NATIONAL 201 is founded upon what we call the “Trusted Advisor Workshop”. It is an intensive program that develops high-calibre senior client-facing leaders. It involves a combination of main room plenums and demonstration; intensive practice in team break-outs; critical thinking around a case or real-time client scenarios and coaching.

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Visionary Leadership Model

A cornerstone of our commitment to professionalism is our Visionary Leadership Model (VLM), a comprehensive methodology that defines our shared approach to delivering the highest standards of service through our relationships with our clients, our teams and our network.

VLM combines our distinctive service philosophy with a host of analytical tools and practical approaches to build enduring client relationships and rewarding careers at our Firm. The concepts and approaches of this powerful model are part of our culture and define our way of doing business.

All of our staff members receive comprehensive VLM training. VLM is supported by a series of worksheets and guides specifically developed to assist NATIONAL’s consultants, creative teams and support staff with account management and business development strategies.

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Public Relations Without Borders

Public Relations Without Borders (PRWB) - a non-profit organization recognized by Revenue Canada- was founded in 2007 by a group of senior public relations professionals including NATIONAL’s founding chairman, Luc Beauregard.

NATIONAL has maintained a close relationship with PRWB since its inception; Luc Beauregard served as chairman of the board from 2007 to 2013, followed by Francine La Haye, Senior Vice President at our Montreal office. Francine continues to serve on the board as retiring chair.

Through its initiatives in a growing number of countries, PRWB has demonstrated that public relations can provide powerful leverage for social and economic progress. Together with several partner organizations, PRWB contributes to making sustainable improvements to living conditions among populations dealing with development challenges.

To accomplish this, PRWB carries out its missions in cooperation with NGOs, non-profit organizations and public institutions. Its volunteer deployments—professional counsel, training, coaching— are aimed at helping local organizations become more efficient, finding solutions to their problems and achieving their objectives, for the benefit of local populations.

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The Directors College

NATIONAL firmly believes in the importance of effective governance practices. We are a founding sponsor of The Directors College, Canada’s gold standard in corporate director accreditation.

A joint venture of the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada, The Directors College offers the only English-language university accredited designation - Chartered Director (C.Dir.) in Canada.

NATIONAL’s experts serve on the faculty of the program, teaching modules on Corporate Reputation and Issues and Crisis Management. We also contribute to a specialized program on Executive Compensation.

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PORTAGE

We believe more can be done to assist small or remote communities and not-for-profit organizations that do not typically have significant corporate or individual public relations support. That’s why we created PORTAGE.

PORTAGE reflects our Firm’s effort to support the communications needs of remote Canadian communities. In turn, it provides an opportunity for our employees to gain a unique experience and a new perspective on Canada and the world.

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