Conference Focuses on ‘Agents for Change’ Within Organizations

MARCOM Professional Development forum set to help marketers and communicators ‘inspire, influence, and act’
By Rahul Vaidyanath, Epoch Times
May 15, 2013 Last Updated: May 18, 2013

OTTAWA—Marketers and communicators can enhance their strategic approach and increase their effectiveness by finding ways to become better “agents for change,” and MARCOM Professional Development’s 15th annual forum is set to offer the tools and insights they need.

MARCOM is a “targeted educational opportunity” for managers and service delivery professionals working at all levels of government and non-profit organizations who are responsible for marketing and communications initiatives. Some of the functional areas the forum touches on include social media marketing, community outreach, Web development, and fund development.

The forum’s theme this year is “Mission Possible: Change Agent – Inspire, Influence, Act,” focusing on marketers and communicators as agents for change in a forward-thinking organization. They need to blaze their own new trails instead of following what trails have been laid in the past.

Presenting the opening keynote will be Julien Smith, who has travelled all over the world not only to talk about adaptation to change, but also to motivate it to actually happen. He is the co-author, along with Chris Brogan, of “Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust,” a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. 

Smith’s work focuses on adaptation and change. He has a blog that receives over half a million unique visitors a month and has over 42,000 followers on Twitter. 

Communicating through email about older managers and executives dealing with a younger generation that is more adept at information gathering, Smith responded with a quote from martial artist Bruce Lee: “Your prison is your own ideas.”

He explained, “The patterns you follow are themselves the largest obstacle. When they cease to be useful, you should be able to eliminate them. But that takes practice.”

He also suggested that middle management should “start something that matters.”

“We have lots of people talking but very few people actually starting things,” Smith said. “Yes, this is risky, but that is what distinguishes you from others and makes people want to work with you.”

The closing keynote will be given by Stuart Hickox, founder and president of One Change, a charitable foundation with a unique and empowering message: Simple Actions Matter. 

Hickox is a prolific writer, marketer, and award-winning social entrepreneur with over 15 years’ experience in strategic communications management.

His company, One Change, has enlisted over 14,000 volunteers in over 1,200 communities across North America to distribute simple tools to neighbours and friends—such as energy-efficient CFL bulbs, fuel-saving digital tire gauges, and water-saving conservation kits.

While MARCOM targets the public and non-profit sectors, the themes discussed apply as well to the private sector. At a broader level, the message applies to any employee seeking to gain practical tools and tips from industry experts on enacting change in today’s business world.

The conference involves several peer-to-peer roundtable topics as well, which offer informal opportunities to gain marketing and communication skills to help organizations increase their competitiveness, such as the use of research, evidence-based approaches, creative tools such as “gamification,” and public relations strategies to advance marketing goals. 

For details about the presentations, speakers, and registration, go to www.marcom.ca. MARCOM takes place May 28–29 at the Ottawa Convention Centre. 

The Epoch Times is a supporting sponsor of MARCOM 2013.