Corporate Communications (Sep 07-08)

Internal and external communication professionals in the utility industry face a variety of challenges in supporting their organizations’ strategic plans, particularly as the utility workforce undergoes significant transformation, communication channels multiply, and utilities face increasing competition. This semiannual forum provides a unique, collaborative space for leaders in corporate communications to discuss these challenges and communications best practices. Recent topics of discussion include executive communications strategy, communicating with employees in the field, stakeholder engagement, crisis communication and communicating strategic plans.

General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Cythia Dyson, Director of Marketing, Communications and Brand Strategy, BC Hydro

    • Program Location
    • BC Hydro
    • Vancouver, BC
    • Who Should Attend
    • Energy company senior leadership within the Corporate Communications function.  At most small and medium-sized utilities these will be Directors and Managers.  Large utilities may have executive positions.

  • Registration Options
  • Member: $349 USD

    Registration includes a networking dinner, catered breakfast, lunch and light snacks at the meeting, and all meeting materials.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • Due to contractual obligations, cancellations received 15 business days prior to the program will receive a full refund. Cancellations received 6 to 14 business days prior to the event will receive a refund, less a $100 administrative fee. No shows and last minute cancellations, 5 business days prior to the event or less, will be responsible for the full registration fee. Substitutions from your organization for the same event are always welcome.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public.
  • For more information contact Joshua Baker, Program Manager at (971) 255-4970.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Welcome and Introductions
Facilitator(s): Cynthia Dyson, Director, Corporate & Marketing Communications, BC Hydro

BC Hydro will provide a welcome followed by attendee introductions. Attendees are encouraged to share their name, company overview, general role within the organization and a recent win or current challenge.

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Networking Break


2:15 PM - 3:15 PM

Crisis Communications
Facilitator(s): Suzanne Hartman, Communications Manager, Chelan County PUD
Speaker(s): Melissa Moore, Corporate Communications Senior Manager, NW Natural, Cynthia Dyson, Director, Corporate & Marketing Communications, BC Hydro

NW Natural will share how they prepared for and responded to a gas explosion in Portland, Oregon in October of 2016 and BC Hydro will share lessons learned from an unexpected summer storm that resulted in 700,000 customers out of power and the utility’s outage website crashing. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the roundtable discussion by sharing either an unexpected or unusual crisis moment and being prepared for the unexpected. (For example, being prepared in the event the President tweets about an upcoming/significant decision your utility is making.)

3:15 PM - 3:45 PM

Hot Topic Roundtable (Part 1)

Attendees will have a chance to ask questions directly to their peers for feedback. Possible Topics include: Website Accessibility; Mutual Aid for Communications Professions; Communicating Cyber Security Threats; Brand Management; etc.

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Networking Break

4:00 PM - 5:10 PM

The Reporter’s Viewpoint: The Changing Nature of News
Facilitator(s): Mora Scott, Manager, Media Relations & Issues Management, BC Hydro

Hear from a media panel and gain greater insight on how the media works and how best to engage them to make sure you’re successfully telling and sharing your stories.  

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

WEI Hosted Networking Dinner

Join us for a hosted dinner at Brix & Mortar

1138 Homer St
Vancouver, BC V6B 2X6

Friday, September 8, 2017

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Networking Breakfast

Continental breakfast will be provided onsite at BC Hydro.

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Employee Communications for a Mobile Workforce: A View from Outside the Industry
Speaker(s): Jonathan Anthony, Global Head, Corporate Communications, Teekay Corporation

Reaching the Hard to Reach

Teekay has a distributed workforce in 14 countries around the world; onboard 200+ vessels across the seven seas; as well as thousands more at home, on leave, at any one time. How people stay connected to the company, and each other, is an ongoing challenge and conundrum. It is also an opportunity to engage people in a different way, as colleagues, as individuals.
Jonathan Anthony will share some Teekay experiences of the good, bad and ugly of community engagement in a complex world, using techniques and technology new and old. Spoiler alert: most of it is good.

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Networking Break

9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

Communications Channels + Tools: Spotlight on Hootsuite
Facilitator(s): Erica Erland, Corporate Communications Manager, Clark Public Utilities
Speaker(s): Duncan Acres, Senior Account Executive, Hootsuite Media Inc.

To start, Hootsuite will join us to share what’s new in the social & community management realm and demo features of the platform. Following Q&A, attendees are invited to share how they are integrating new technology solutions to reach audiences and track results on social platforms, pros and cons and other candid key learnings.

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Navigating a Changing Resource Mix: Case Studies from WEI Members
Facilitator(s): Julie Dixon, Senior Manager, Employee Communications, FortisBC
Speaker(s): Jason Wolfe, Director, Energy Solutions, FortisBC, Mike Stephens, Manager, Corporate & Internet Communications, Salt River Project

Gas and electric utilities share their communication strategies and challenges associated with the market and political and regulatory forces that affect their resource mix.

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Networking Break

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Hot Topic Roundtable (Part 2)

Attendees will have a chance to ask questions directly to their peers for feedback. Possible Topics include: Website Accessibility; Mutual Aid for Communications Professions; Communicating Cyber Security Threats; Brand Management; etc.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch and Planning for Spring Forum

Hotel + Travel

  • Reservation Instructions
  • Please contact the hotel directly at (604) 647-2554 to reserve your room, or complete your reservation online. Identify yourself as being with Western Energy Institute to receive a special rate of $335 CAD/night. This rate is guaranteed until August 14, 2017 or until the WEI room block is full.

Meet The Speakers

Melissa Moore

NW Natural

Corporate Communications Senior Manager
Learn More

Melissa is director of Corporate Communications at NW Natural where she oversees the company’s media relations and employee communications, and plays a lead role in issues management and executive communications.

She began her career as a TV reporter and anchor at stations around the Northwest, before transitioning into public relations where she worked at three agencies in Portland. Melissa is the co-founder of My Little Waiting Room, a nonprofit that provides free, drop-in childcare for families at the hospital. She also serves on the Community Advisory Board for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Cynthia Dyson

BC Hydro

Director, Corporate & Marketing Communications

Mike Stephens

Salt River Project

Manager, Corporate & Internet Communications

Jason Wolfe


Director, Energy Solutions
Learn More

Jason has been with FortisBC for 16 years, and is presently the Director of Energy Solutions responsible for the Marketing and Sales efforts of FortisBC including the residential sales team, commercial and industrial account management, the development of new energy products and services (including new energy technologies for customers), and renewable natural gas customer demand. In 2018 these efforts resulted in the largest number of annual new customer attachments to the FortisBC gas system in over two decades and the introduction of a commercial carbon capture pilot.

Previously, Jason oversaw the FortisBC Market Development team and was responsible for negotiating and working with the Province to develop the Orders in Council approving the Tilbury LNG facility upgrades and the pipeline to service the Woodfibre LNG. Jason also oversaw the forecasting and resource planning departments. Prior to that, Jason was responsible for launching the FortisBC thermal energy business efforts with large commercial and institutional customers including schools municipalities and health authorities. Jason also spent four years in the Regulatory Affairs Department. Jason holds a Masters of Business Administration from Royal Roads University, a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Calgary.

Jonathan Anthony

Teekay Corporation

Global Head, Corporate Communications
Learn More

Jonathan is a leader of People, Culture, Brand for Teekay Corporation, a $13b multinational in the marine energy industry, headquartered in Vancouver. There, he also sponsors organizational creative tension, specializing in innovative Future of Work technologies and practices that challenge and support every node in the network.

He also calls himself a Corporate Disorganizer, and is a Charter Member of Change Agents Worldwide, a global movement fighting the good fight for transparency, collaboration and trust in the workplace. He regularly blogs about his own journey of curiosity, learning and change at; and tweets @ThisMuchWeKnow.

Mora Scott

BC Hydro

Manager, Media Relations & Issues Management

Duncan Acres

Hootsuite Media Inc.

Senior Account Executive
Learn More

For the past 4 years Duncan has focused his efforts on digital transformation projects in the Utility and Energy space. During that time, Duncan and his team have helped more than 50+ brands in North America improve their crisis communications strategies, introduced cross-department collaboration and workflows, and aided in the development of social media program KPIs supported by digital reporting models that help track and optimize those key metrics.

Erica Erland

Clark Public Utilities

Corporate Communications Manager

Suzanne Hartman

Chelan County PUD

Communications Manager

Julie Dixon


Senior Manager, Employee Communications
Learn More

Julie is a strategist, a big-picture thinker and a creative mind. At FortisBC she leads the Employee Communications and Talent Development teams to deliver on the business’ communications, engagement and talent development needs. As a former athlete and swim coach, Julie’s passion to build strong teams begins with collaboration and team work.