December 13, 2020
The upcoming Christmas holiday means that Brandie Howey and her communication team at the Salvation Army have started the launch of their annual charity drive events. Brandie is the divisional manager of marketing and communications at the Salvation Army headquarters in Edmonton for Alberta and the northern territories. She leads her team in creating media advisories, maintaining the website and social media pages, as well as creating graphic designs and promotional materials, such as brochures for the Salvation Army’s fundraising endeavors.
“We work hard, especially at this time of the year,” shares Brandie. “The biggest thing I do is forge relationships and keep our communication lines open.”
Brandie has dedicated herself to her work with the Salvation Army for over 15 years and is still going strong.
“I love that every day is different, and I never know what’s going to happen when I walk in the door,” says Brandie. “That is something I love about public relations.”
Brandie has experienced many highlights and accomplishments in her career with the Salvation Army. One particular highlight that stood out for her was the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016.
“The Salvation Army has an emergency disaster services department where we respond to disasters and emergencies,” says Brandie. “During the wildfire, there was a lot of information and things happened very quickly from the time where everything was okay to where the city had to evacuate. I was able to go up with the team to sort, document and bring the information from there to our office.”
It is important to maintain constant, timely communication during a crisis. As Brandie explains, “It helps efforts nationally because people don’t have pictures or information from right where it is happening. It makes it difficult for people to imagine really what’s happening there.”
Speaking about the crisis, the impact of COVID-19 has made 2020 a challenging year for everyone. During this economic downturn, Brandie and her team have been focused on finding safe, alternative solutions to keep serving people in need.
“Problem solving and navigating through the shutdown was the biggest hurdle to carry our organization through,” shares Brandie. “Being in public relations, we know how to pivot and come up with solutions quickly for problems that we didn’t have an hour ago.”
A quick visit to the Salvation Army Website reveals an impressive list of upcoming events. In November, the Salvation Army launched their annual Christmas Kettle, which will run through until Christmas Eve, with options to donate online or via text.
“Normally, we would have a luncheon in-person where we’ll sell tickets and have a speaker come to the event, but COVID-19 made that plan impossible,” explains Brandie. “Instead, we hosted our first virtual Kettle kickoff event this year, and we were able to invite Olympic medalist, Hayley Wickenheiser, to join us virtually as our guest speaker.”
Another upcoming event to look forward to is the annual Santa Shuffle event happening between December 5 to the 12. “This year is our 30th year launching the Santa Shuffle, and we encourage people to dress up and have fun,” shares Brandie. “Instead of running in Hawrelak Park, we will have this event virtually. Pledges will be done online instead of collecting cash, and people can choose to do either a five-kilometre run or a 1-kilometre elf walk.”
Brandie and her Salvation Army team have been immersed in planning the Christmas drive events since August, putting all efforts to ensure a safe but equally fun virtual event that families can enjoy during these unprecedented times. This year has been a valuable learning experience for Brandie, as she expresses, “I’m always happy for change because you never know where ideas are going to come from until you are made to think and plan that change.”
Thank you Brandie for being our December member spotlight!