2011’s EMErald Winners – Tracey Mythen

IABC’s annual Gold Quill Awards recognize excellence in business communication across the whole spectrum of the profession at the international level. The EMErald Awards are the regional distinction for Gold Quill entrants from Europe and the Middle East and celebrate the best work from the region. For all IABC members, the Gold Quill Awards offer a framework to structure communications projects and demonstrate the importance of setting measurable objectives, analyzing audiences and choosing appropriate tactics and evaluation methods. This can be for projects of all sizes and budget, and is a chance for all of us to show our strategic value to the organisations we work for.

Q&A with Tracey Mythen

Tracey Mythen

Tracey won not one but two EMEralds, in the Employee Communications and Multi-Lingual Communication categories. “Picture This” was the first global digital photo competition for Roche. The project encouraged employees to show their understanding of the recently launched Roche Strategic Framework in a creative and engaging way. Her second entry outlined the wider approach taken for the entire project. Find out more about her entries.

I joined the IABC because…

It’s a credible and proactive professional organisation that offers an excellent range of services to its members.

Here’s what I get out of being a member…

Two of the most important things for a communicator: building professional networks and best-practice learning. Being able to connect with communication colleagues around the world, who are doing similar things – and different things, is simply fantastic.

One thing I learned from Eurocomm 2011…

The presentations from Eurocomm 2011 showed an impressive number of communication approaches to a broad range of business challenges. For me, many of the discussions, presentations and Q&As sparked different ways of thinking and new ideas. Thank you to everyone I spoke to!

Winning an EMErald meant…

That the many hours of hard work and dedicated efforts from the Roche Global Communication Network and Roche Strategic Framework Project Team, on top of their normal job, was acknowledged as best practice by external assessment. The scope, creative efforts and the sheer commitment from everyone was staggering.

Why would you recommend entering Gold Quill?

I had two main reasons for entering the Gold Quill. The first reason was recognition; showing that we valued the efforts from our communication colleagues. They were so willing to go the extra distance. For example, we requested activity summaries from each communicator for management reporting and mentioned that we might use the information to enter the project for an external award. We received more than 110 emails detailing local communication activities which, once summarised, was included in our Gold Quill entries.

The Gold Quill panel also provides detailed feedback on your submission. This was my second reason for entering. ‘Courage’ is one of the Roche Corporate Values, so I thought it more than appropriate for us to be brave enough – and proud enough – to submit our work for independent evaluation from external judges. We had never entered the Gold Quill Awards. The feedback was very helpful, from a project assessment perspective and as a guide for future communication efforts (and perhaps even for our next Gold Quill submission!)

What advice would you give to people who are considering submitting their work?

Read the entry requirements – carefully! (And then read it again, because you may have missed something!) Overlooking one tiny detail can disqualify your entry, which almost happened to us! Evaluate and make every word count; check against the assessment criteria. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to bring together your work sample. Expect late nights and weekends. I need to thank my colleague, Brenda Tilke, for her sense of humour and willingness to write award applications with me at 1am!

My biggest communication challenge right now is…

Evaluating and focusing our communication efforts in the business areas where there’s the greatest need and impact. And making sure we are consistently delivering effective communication as a team. There are so many exciting projects happening, another huge challenge is making sure everyone takes some time out to relax and enjoy. (I made a promise to my team that I have to get back to my Zumba class!)

My IABC moment is/was…

Whenever I read an article in CW magazine. It’s great when I can reference best practice communication in my daily stakeholder discussions. Not only does it demonstrate that you know what’s going on in the industry, but you can adapt different models to work for your organisation.

Right now I am reading…

“Resonate” by Nancy Duarte. This is a must read as it combines many of the things I have researched and love most about communication: storytelling, how to deliver presentations with impact, thought-provoking ideas that bridge to new ways of thinking. I’m keeping it on my desk for easy reference.

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