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NATIONAL Vancouver and Public Affairs: a new chapter in a proud history

Jeff Ferrier from NATIONAL Vancouver

Jeff Ferrier joins NATIONAL's Public Affairs team in Vancouver.

Jeff Ferrier joins NATIONAL's Public Affairs team in Vancouver.

When I joined NATIONAL in 2017, I had spent most of my 25-year career doing integrated communications, working across the full MarCom spectrum to help clients tell their stories and connect with their audiences.

The one piece of that puzzle I didn’t spend a lot of time with was Public Affairs—and given NATIONAL’s business, it meant I had a lot to learn.

Thanks to my former partner in the Vancouver office Michael Goehring (now CEO with the Mining Association of British Columbia), Matt MacInnis and Nicole Paul, I was able to see Public Affairs work done well. We take a professional, ethical, and outcome-oriented approach to Public Affairs focused on:

  • Understanding our clients and how they contribute to the public interest
  • Understanding the public or social policy environment at play
  • Understanding legislative and regulatory process and mechanics
  • Understanding the role of the bureaucracy tasked with moving the legislation or regulation forward
  • Placing all of the above within the political dynamic of the day to get our clients (and governments) what’s most important for them—positive results

We have done and we continue to do that very well. And with Michael’s departure, we have the opportunity to evolve our Public Affairs practice further. I am pleased to welcome Jeff Ferrier to our team to lead our Public Affairs offering in the Vancouver office. Jeff brings experience in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, and familiarity with progressive politics and the governing party in B.C. to our clients and we are thrilled to have him. For the last six and a half years, he has been working here in B.C. on complex files in energy, mining, forestry, transportation, healthcare, financial services, tech and sustainability, and he’s excited to join the NATIONAL team to support our clients.

Jeff also shares my belief that public affairs need to look different than they have in the past. Government decision-makers care about the communities they serve, and now, more than ever, they need to see solid policy propositions plus broad-based constituency support for policy changes. That means taking an integrated approach. It means taking the traditional elements of public affairs like strategy, policy analysis, and government relations, and adding a political-campaign-style digital approach to public affairs engagement and advocacy work. Jillian Stead and Edward Leung lead that work on our Vancouver team (both having worked on numerous campaigns for all three levels of government), with the help of Erin Jacobson in our Toronto office (a veteran of progressive politics, working on numerous campaigns including Jack Layton’s leadership bid and subsequent federal campaigns).

This digital-first approach to building communities of support is at the heart of NATIONAL Vancouver’s Public Affairs offering—helping our clients position their interests within a broader community of support and communicating those interests to policy-makers in a compelling way.

I look forward to working with Jeff, Matt, Nicole, Jillian, Edward and team to bring this approach to life.

——— Paul Welsh is a former Managing Partne at NATIONAL Public Relations


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