For Member of the Month, we asked Glenn Hildebrand, President, G R Hildebrand Consulting Group Inc., a series of quick questions. Here are his answers:
Q: What’s your name?
A: Glenn Hildebrand
Q: What are your go-to websites or blogs?
Q: Who’s your comms hero or mentor?
A: Barb Biggar – she taught me a lot
Q: What is your area(s) of expertise?
A: external communications, issue management, media relations, government relations, board governance
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in communications?
A: Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask advice from your colleagues. We all have to learn as we go to some extent. Lifelong learning through educational programs and professional development is a must and pays huge dividends.
Q: What comms or marketing campaign are you most proud of? Tell us a bit about it.
A: As a consultant, I will never take credit for many of my greatest successes publicly. As a staff member, I was proud of the campaign I lead at the College of Registered Nurses about hand washing. I still see the posters years later all over the province. The campaign enhanced the image of the College and the important work of registered nurses in our health system.
Q: What quality do you admire the most in other comms people?
A: I admire calmness in the face of crisis. I admire the ability to work the problem by pealing back the layers and getting to the nub of the issue so that we can recommend a solution that has value and will work. I admire our ability to influence decision makers to action, even when others do not support our recommendations.
Q: What’s your worst comms nightmare and has it ever come true?
A: My worst nightmare is not being listened to. It has happened a few times and I refer to them as former clients. It is especially disappointing when you tell someone what will happen if they don’t listen and it comes true, and they didn’t listen. At the same time, I consider it a failure that I was not successful in convincing them to take my advice.
Q: What are your top 3 all-time favorite brands/org for communications?
A: IABC, CPRS, Royal Roads University (MBA – Public Relations & Communications Management Major)
Q: If you could have 1, single-use mulligan (a do-over) for anything in your comms career what would you redo and make it better?
A: I would have gone back to school and obtained my Masters earlier in my career. I was afraid I wasn’t up to it. It turned out I was and excelled at school and it paid great dividends.
Q: What qualities do you think are essential to be a successful communicator?
A: Curiosity, determination, fearlessness and honesty. One who is not afraid of ambiguity.
Q: Which direction do you see communications heading towards in the near future?
A: Anyone can publish very quickly which means we will be forced to get in front of issues quicker or be prepared to always be reacting. We need to be aware of what others are saying about our company, organization or client and know when to get into the fray and when to wait and watch. Communicators need to earn their place of influence and once earned, maintain and protect it by continuing to deliver the goods. If you can’t influence – you don’t matter.
Q: If you could pick 3 comms people from around Manitoba to be on your comm dream team, who would they be? Why?
A: Barb Biggar – smart as a whip, great instincts and tremendous courage; Susan Olynik – a great communicator with huge corporate experience and success; and Linda Lee – she had a world of experience and worked well with others.
Q: If you weren’t communications, what would you be doing?
A: I’d likely have retired by now and occupy myself with my volunteer activities.
Q: What do you value the most while at work as a communicator?
A: You never really know what the day will bring. You can plan your day and circumstances can totally alter it. It can be quite exciting! No week is the same and I like that.
Q: How do you keep up with the changing trends and technology?
A: Read, read, read. If it is an area I need and I don’t feel competent, I am not afraid to buy it from the experts.
Q: Which PR/Comms-related book would you recommend?
A: Building the High-Trust Organization: Shockley-Zalabak, Morreale, Hackman