Throughout my career, I have been blessed to have a number of significant mentors who have helped influence my core professional values, and taught me much more than I could ever find in a text book.
They have taught me about media relations (thanks for forcing me to make those scary first few media calls, Andrea), public relations (Claudine, you are still the queen!), and how to operate in a government environment (Yves, thanks for the road map!).
At 46, with almost 30 years in the business, you would think I have "passed" my mentors now. Far from it. These few influential people continue to act as beacons to me when I am trying to figure out how to approach a difficult client situation, a sticky messaging problem, or a challenging communications requirement.
More to the point, they will be my role models, now that I have moved to a position of mentoring others. Here is what I have learned:
- there are no stupid questions. As a mentor, however, there can be stupid answers - feedback should always be constructive and positive.
- it's STILL ok to say "I don't know"! Even in a position of leadership, admitting what you don't know demonstrates that you, too, are human - and ready to learn something new each and every day. As a teacher, I know that I learn almost as much from my students as they do from me (thank goodness!).
- collaborate, collaborate, collaborate: we never work alone in PR. This is, as Martha would say, a GOOD thing - there is power in teamwork, and some of the wackiest ideas can spawn the best campaigns.
- and finally, as Yves said to me on my way out the door to come to my new position here at Hill and Knowlton: "never forget to listen".
So my door, and ears, are wide open - come on in!
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About Lea Werthman
Joining Hill & Knowlton in 2007, Lea brings a solid background of close to 30 years in public relations and communications. As a professor, coach and senior advisor, Lea is well-versed in effective strategic communications practices, specifically internal communications, strategic communications planning, key messaging, stakeholder management, issue management and change management communications.
Before joining Hill & Knowlton, Lea spent seven years in the federal government, most recently at Service Canada in the corporate communications group. Prior to that, Lea supported organizational change at Public Works and Government Services Canada, focusing on employee and industry communications, and client relationship management.
Previously, Lea was Director of Communications for Careerbridge Corporation, helping to launch a new online recruiting tool to the Ottawa market. At Ottawa Ballet, Lea led tour communications and fundraising, securing a corporate sponsorship to build a new street-level studio. Lea also has taught in Algonquin College’s Public Relations Program since 1991, with a specialization in public opinion research, writing for PR, and public relations theory.
Lea holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Carleton University, as well as a Diploma in Public Relations from Algonquin College. She has certificates in multimedia production, marketing, film and television scriptwriting.