Julie Duncan

Julie Duncan

Communications Consultant, Self Employed (currently at one of Canada's largest integrated energy companies)
Describe a typical day
Each and every day is focused on delivering great customer service to my clients in a way that helps them understand how communications can support their business objectives. I believe in building strong working relationships that start with individual connections.

From there, I become a combination of strategist and tactician. Most days will have a mixture of:
• Planning and implementing communication strategies.
• Developing various communication tactics including speeches, news articles, presentations, posters, and website content.
• Managing client expectations and deliverables.
• Working with a variety of stakeholders.
• Providing strategic communications advice.

Perks of your job and things you like about your current company.
As a consultant, you have the opportunity to bring fresh perspective and energy to a company. In my experience, I was exposed to a wider range of projects, people and leadership levels than if I was brought in for a specific role. There is also a level of expertise and value delivery demanded from consultants. You need to perform and be able to achieve the deliverables that you were brought on for. This creates a dynamic and fast-paced environment that can be both challenging and rewarding.

Running a company-of-one has also exposed me to a lot of areas that I wasn’t familiar with such as, tax, accounting, or government regulations. It has made me more business-minded and entrepreneurial. It has also dared me to think outside of the conventional and take an active role in managing my own career path and personal brand from a strategic perspective.

Proudest accomplishments both in and outside of work.
From a career perspective:
• Last year I was able to plan and execute a communications plan that targeted over 20,000 stakeholders – with short turnarounds. I am happy to say that things went smoothly. I am also proud that I supplemented my degree with a public relations certificate, while working full time, and that I opened my own company.

From a personal perspective:
• A few years ago, I challenged myself to compete in a women’s only snowboard contest. It was hard, I did terrible but I had a lot of fun. You learn a lot about yourself when you don’t do well and have to pick yourself back up (literally in this case when I hit a jump that was way beyond my skill level).

Thoughts on the future of the industry as it relates to your field.
Energy is in a very interesting place given current market conditions. Now, more than ever, communications can play a critical role in supporting an organization’s goal. Downturns can provide opportunity for innovation as many of us need to do more with less. And, communications is a dynamic field to begin with so we have a lot of trends and technologies that we can leverage. It is important for communicators to stay current, however, it’s equally as important to know your industry and your client and know what will work and what wont for them.
Current community involvement efforts.
I am on the 2015/2016 International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) board. I co-direct the professional development portfolio.

I’ve also been involved with the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta for over five years. They support Alberta families fighting childhood cancer by providing funding and programs in four key areas: Camp, Outreach, Research, Hospital Programs & Scholarships.

Why YWE?
I like being part of a community of strong and passionate women. We all come from different back grounds and experiences and YWE provides a platform where we can connect and learn from a lot of great people. It has also opened my eyes to the amount of women working in energy and the amounts of different fields were women are represented.
What are you reading?
I am in a book club that reads but doesn’t talk about books. We just started The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.