Member spotlight: Heather Massel

Heather Mah
April 28, 2021

Heather Massel became a CPRS member last year in 2020 and she said it has been an invaluable decision because it gives her an opportunity to stay connected with our local public relations community. Since then, Heather has been actively engaged in many CPRS events and learning opportunities, such as attending virtual mixers and webinars.

“After becoming a member, I can see all the value I’ve been missing,” relates Heather. “I realized it’s not just the networking, although that is important during the pandemic, but it’s also the knowledge, the learning, and all this information we have at our disposal. It’s the constant professional development to improve our skills.”

After spending last year getting acquainted with CPRS, this year Heather took the leap and registered to earn her APR accreditation after working in communications for over 15 years.

“My CPRS membership has great value because it enables me to pursue my APR,” Heather shares. “Going through the accreditation process, I am learning how important the RACE formula is and it’s helping me be a better communicator.”

As communicators, any opportunity to refresh and update oneself on current communications practices is always beneficial for one’s career. For Heather, the whole process to prepare for the APR accreditation has really opened her eyes to what she needs in her professional development to be an even better communicator.

“When I did my work sample overview, it reinforced the importance of the four RACE formula elements,” says Heather. “You have to do the research; you have to know who your audiences are. The more research you do, the better your process will be, and the more successful your communications plan will be.”

Heather finds that the more immersed she is in the preparation process for her APR accreditation, the more efficient methods and good habits she develops, and she can apply these to her work with her team at GEF Seniors Housing.

Since the summer of 2019, Heather has been working as the director of marketing and community engagement with GEF Seniors Housing. She and her team are in charge of all internal and external communications, such as communicating with stakeholders and, recently, keeping their residents informed about COVID-19 procedures and vaccine rollout. Last year, they revamped the website to better market their housing offerings to seniors and their families. They also launched the new housing section not long after in-person tours were suspended in their seniors’ lodges in spring 2020. 

“It’s been instrumental in helping us keep our key audiences informed and achieve our business goals despite the pandemic,” shares Heather. “We had to work to keep our communications clear and simple, and be judicious in our use of paper, because we know seniors like printed, rather than digital materials. Knowing our audiences and how they wanted to be communicated with really made a difference.”

Heather credits preparing her work sample overview — the first component of the APR accreditation — for giving her the practice opportunities to identify these values and to write and refine her words using real life examples from her team projects. This also helped her communicate more effectively with the people she works with.

“It is essential that our organization see the strategic value of what we have to offer as communicators.” says Heather. “To be able to show them the importance of research and identifying who our audiences are, in order to determine how we should communicate with them, will show our strategic value to our organization.”

She shares that the more information collected, the more precise the messages can be targeted, and the more effective the organization can be to reach their objectives and achieve their goal. Heather is excited to apply all that she has learned to further take her work to the next level. 

“The learning is so valuable that I would resubmit and do it again because I will learn new things every single time that I do a project. This is the value of CPRS membership,” says Heather. “If you’re serious about your profession, be a lifetime student, become a CPRS member and take the APR accreditation if you already have five or more years of work experience as a communications professional. This is absolutely worthwhile.”

You can find Heather on LinkedIn.

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