Follow Octane’s team members as they join NATIONAL

All of our team’s members have found a new place in NATIONAL’s offices in Montreal or Ottawa. Check out their new roles and note their new contact information.

In Ottawa

Jean Michel Laurin
613-233-1699, ext. 6232, [email protected]

Vice-President and director of Ottawa’s office at Octane, Jean Michel is now Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs for NATIONAL, in Ottawa.

 

In Montreal

Daniel Charron
514-843-2367, [email protected]

Successively Vice-President and Partner, and later Managing Partner at Octane, Daniel is now Senior Vice-President at NATIONAL. In addition to his role as strategic advisor to the clients he has been serving, he is taking on new mandates and leading the Corporate Communications team.

 

Pierre Guillot-Hurtubise
514-843-2314, [email protected]

After more than 15 years at Octane, where he moved from Advisor to Senior Partner, Pierre is now a Senior Vice-President at NATIONAL. He has taken on the leadership of the company’s Social Acceptability offering within its Public Affairs team.

 

Edith Rochette
514-843-2365, [email protected]

A Partner at Octane, where she worked for nearly 10 years, Edith Rochette has joined NATIONAL’s Corporate Communications team as Vice-President and Leader of the Transportation and Urban Mobility sector.

 

Leslie Molko
514-843-2337, [email protected]

Former Director of Advisory Services and Corporate Communications at Octane, where she was initially Advisor and subsequently Senior Advisor, Leslie has been appointed Director of the Arts, Culture, and Entertainment sector of NATIONAL’s Corporate Communications team.

 

Hugo Morissette
514-843-2359, [email protected]

Director of Analysis and Public Affairs at Octane for more than two years, Hugo’s position and expertise have been transferred to NATIONAL where he will be able to serve a broader client base.

 

 

Vanessa Lyssan
514-843-2396, [email protected]

First Advisor and then Account Manager at Octane, Vanessa has been named Senior Advisor on the Marketing team at NATIONAL as of this coming October (upon her return from maternity leave).

 

 

Arielle Mathieu
514-843-2370, [email protected]

Initially a Project Lead, then promoted to Advisor at Octane, Arielle is pursuing her career as an Advisor on the Public Affairs team at NATIONAL, contributing her experience in government relations, public affairs, and media relations.

 

Muriel Dérogis
514-843-2322, [email protected]

A writer and an editor at Octane for almost 20 years, Muriel will be devoting her talents to NATIONAL’s team and its clients.

 

 

Isabel Girard
514-843-2309, [email protected]

Office Coordinator at Octane, Isabel is following us and assuming the same functions for NATIONAL’s Marketing team.

 

NATIONAL Public Relations acquires Octane Strategies

NATIONAL Public Relations has acquired Octane Strategies, a firm specializing in public relations and public affairs. As part of the transaction, 11 employees will join NATIONAL’s Montreal office and two will join NATIONAL’s Ottawa office.

 

Recognized complementary expertise

Octane holds recognized expertise in the areas of social acceptability, transportation and urban mobility, which will strengthen NATIONAL’s existing expertise in its Montreal and Ottawa offices and reinforce its leadership in these markets.

“We extend an enthusiastic welcome all members of the Octane team. As we are now in an extended growth phase, their arrival corresponds to a real need for additional, highly experienced professionals.  This transaction will clearly benefit the clients of both firms, who will have access to a deeper pool of talent,” said Serge Paquette, managing partner of NATIONAL Montreal.

 

A smooth integration

Octane Strategies’ managing partner, Daniel Charron, is appointed senior vice-president and leader of NATIONAL’s Corporate Communications practice in Montreal. The team serves a broad range of clients from among Quebec’s largest companies. Edith Rochette, a partner at Octane, also joins the Corporate Communications team as vice-president and leader of the Transportation and Urban Mobility sector.

Pierre Guillot-Hurtubise, a senior partner at Octane, is now a senior vice-president of NATIONAL Montreal’s Public Affairs practice, where he will be responsible for its social acceptability offering.

“We are delighted with this transaction, which allows the Octane team to join a highly reputable firm that has, for so many years, been a leader in public relations in Quebec and in Canada, with a successful track record in international growth,” said Daniel Charron.

 

Sustained growth in Canada and internationally

This transaction is part of the Firm’s long-term growth strategy, which aims to maintain and diversify its talent and capacity for the benefit of its clients.  In Canada, the 2015 acquisition of Equicom, a financial communications and investor relations practice is an example of this.  Internationally, in 2013 and 2016 respectively, Madano Partnership and SHIFT Communications joined the Firm, which restructured its corporate platform under the AVENIR GLOBAL brand in 2017 due to its expanding international business.

 

About NATIONAL Public Relations

NATIONAL Public Relations connects clients to the people who matter most; delivering the right message, at the right time. Grounded in research, insight and deep sector understanding, we bring together teams of discipline experts from across our network to provide creative communications solutions that move people in thought and actions. For over 40 years, NATIONAL has been at the centre of issues and industries that matter, leading change for today and tomorrow.

NATIONAL is Canada’s leading public relations firm, servicing clients across a wide range of sectors, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Saint John, Halifax and St. John’s. NATIONAL’s service offering also includes NATIONAL Equicom, the industry’s foremost investor relations and financial services communications practice. NATIONAL Public Relations is an AVENIR GLOBAL company, the 26th most important public relations firm in the world with 17 offices across Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and part of RES PUBLICA Consulting Group. For more information about NATIONAL, please visit our website or you can follow us on Twitter.

 

Information:

Marc Poisson

NATIONAL Public Relations

[email protected]

514-616-7691

Government relations: promoting your interests in the lead up to electoral campaigns

The next general election in Quebec will be held no later than October 1st of this year. For the first time ever, Quebeckers will be privy to a fixed election date. This allows political parties, the chief electoral officer and of course, organizations, to prepare for the election in advance.

For political parties, this preparation mainly involves consolidating their teams (who’s in, who’s out?), finding good candidates who are likely to win new ridings, setting priorities and a political agenda, and drafting their electoral platforms and budgets. Then, the action behind the scenes gets underway! Strategists select their teams for the election: Who will go national? Who will work the ridings? Which teams will be in charge of media, touring, liaising with candidates, etc.

Outside of political parties, fixed elections also bring their share of benefits to organizations. Planning for elections is perhaps most importantly also about preparing for a potential change of guard.

Here is some of Octane’s advice on how to get your organization ready for an election campaign:

1. Make your list

An electoral campaign involves adopting a political agenda. Try to leave room for new ideas to satisfy potential voters or to calm public discontent. Organizations must seize this opportunity and make a list of commitments, reforms and investments that they want the future government to consider as part of its campaign promises. You must also reassert your priorities as an organization in terms of how the government should work. After setting your policies, you should then promote them in the public space and especially with political parties, elected officials and candidates.

2. Meeting elected officials and candidates

When it comes to government relations, it is essential to maintain strong ties with all political parties. You never know who the next leader may be! Organizing government-relations tours with all political parties helps organizations raise awareness about their work, assert their positions and protect their interests in anticipation of the formation of the new government.

3. Be proactive 

Take advantage of all opportunities to occupy public space and attract the attention of elected officials from all political parties. Be sure to keep up with political news and to react accordingly. In the next few days, the government will unveil its new budget: what better opportunity to position your organization for the political debate.

 The next provincial elections will be underway in less than seven months and the current parliamentary session is set to end on June 15. In the Salon bleu, the debate is sure to heat up and new topics will be on the agenda. As an organization, you officially have until June 15 to sign up to attend parliamentary debates in the National Assembly. Then, you will need to continue to occupy public space to reach MNAs and candidates. 

Pssst! Did you know ?

The French version of this text was published using the “neutral feminine” instead of the usual masculine. As part of the ongoing national conversation on gender equality and parity, the Office québécois de la langue française has suggested developing the habit of using more equality in the use of masculine and feminine forms in writing. This practice has not yet been widely adopted in the public space, but the debate is being had and some new formulations are appearing in our daily publications.

Since all organizations should be questioning how they are making their writing more inclusive, and considering how underrepresented women are in politics, we chose this political piece to conduct an experiment and participate in progressive practices.

Don’t hesitate to question yours and adapt them to our changing social standards!

 

Stakeholder Relations, Consultation and “social acceptability”: Challenges Developing our Neighborhoods

An interview with Pierre Guillot-Hurtubise by Hugo Morissette

Fallow land and vacant lots have become harder to come by in municipalities around Quebec in recent years, as they have witnessed a gradual change in their industrial landscapes. New residential neighborhoods have emerged in areas that were previously industrial, while commercial areas have encroached on residential zones, giving rise to challenges with cohabitation in mixed-use areas. As a result, relations between stakeholders have become a major factor in the success of real estate and commercial developments. This sensitivity to social acceptability has become increasingly important and critical to the success of new projects.

We are lucky enough to have one of Quebec’s top social-acceptability experts on our team, and we sat down with Pierre Guillot-Hurtubise to discuss the challenges that investors, promoters and the general public have been facing in this current climate.

What are some of the main aspects to consider when designing a development?

When planning a development, one must consider not only human factors, but the project site as well. Every site has a history, an impact on local populations and needs to adhere to specific zoning rules and building restrictions, etc. All of these factors are governed by a specific policy structure for each environment. As such, understanding the environment in which a development is being planned is a cornerstone of success. It is the basis on which we prepare our entire strategy.

What is the biggest issue that you face when considering social acceptability?

The biggest challenge undoubtedly remains establishing a relationship of trust between clients and the public. Trust is a key to success throughout the process and requires a great deal of diplomacy. I always try to establish a relationship of trust with all parties, which creates a solid foundation on which to launch discussions and pursue the process of gaining social acceptability. In the absence of trust, the journey can be arduous and filled with obstacles! Joining projects in which the relationship of trust has been broken and needs to be re-established can also be a real challenge! Planning is also absolutely critical to success

What is the first thing that you do when you are asked to prepare a social-acceptability strategy? Is there a basic formula or process that you follow?

In terms of social acceptability, no one formula can be applied to all projects. Each one is unique and should be designed as such. However, planning ahead is very important. For our clients, we always design a strategy that includes the main duties and activities to carry out before a project goes public. A regulatory timeframe for the development therefore needs to be established since it may become public, especially if a notice of motion is passed by a borough council or municipal board. The administrative and political process around integration must also be considered. This is what sets apart strategies that focus on consultation and community from those that end up in crisis management mode due to poor planning.

And if everyone sticks to their guns and there seems to be no way out, what can be done?

In social acceptability nothing comes easy and it often involves intangible perceptions, emotions, and interests. Instead of giving up at the first hiccup, we must continue to draw from comments, suggestions, concerns and criticisms in order to understand the positions of all parties involved. That being said, it is not uncommon to encounter seemingly unresolvable situations, and as a result, we must try to gain the support of the majority, which is often achieved by highlighting beneficial compromises and making improvements to projects. Of course, these improvements need to be financially and technically feasible. This is when a conventional communications strategy becomes necessary.

Do you take the same approach with small-scale local projects as you do with large redevelopment projects for entire boroughs or neighborhoods? 

Yes and no. Yes, since the basic principles remain the same. But no, since we do not have a ready-made approach that applies to all projects. Whether or not our projects are local, regional, big or small, we apply the same principles of listening, respect and open-mindedness to all of our developments. We don’t adjust our approach based on the size of projects, since small, local projects may require completely opposing strategies. Two large-scale redevelopment projects may also require completely different strategies. Every case is unique, and we believe that it is important to understand the environment and the interests at stake to ensure success.

Our Commitment – The Passion we Share at Octane

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At Octane, our team engages in social project. Congratulations to Pierre Guillot-Hurtubise, Caroline Lavoie, Edith Rochette, Arielle Mathieu and Hugo Morissette for their recent appointments to their respective boards!

Pierre Guillot-Hurtubise   Chairman of the Board, Ligue nationale d’improvisation

Pierre has served on the LNI’s Board of Directors since 2007 and is now taking over as Chairman in 2018. His involvement will ensure the future of the organization, promote the reach and influence of improvisation around the world, and formalize its recognition in Quebec’s cultural policy. To make a donation, please visit http://www.lni.ca/appuyez-nous

Caroline Lavoie – Trustee, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 

Caroline has been involved in the world of museums and governance for several years and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. It is this federal cultural institution’s mission to help acquaint Canadians with the various migrations that have come through Halifax’s Pier 21 and to extend the conversation to the national scale. To learn more or to make a donation, please visit https://www.pier21.ca/support/donations 

Edith Rochette – Administrator, Traffic Club of Montreal

Edith Rochette has been an expert in the field of transportation for over 20 years and recently joined the Board of Directors for the Traffic Club of Montreal. The organization’s mission is to bolster connections and cooperation among the main actors in the transportation-sector supply chain. To learn more, please visit: http://www.tcmtl.com/

Arielle Mathieu – Treasurer, Montreal coalition of LGBT youth groups

The Montreal coalition of LGBT youth groups is a non-profit organization borne of a need to consolidate the work of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans organizations that offer services to youth in Montreal. Its mission is to assist lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) youth with their social integration and to create environments in which they can flourish, regardless of sexual orientation or identity. Its goal is to drive social development and to bolster the overall health of the population. Arielle has served as Treasurer for the organization since 2017. To make a donation, please visit https://coalitionjeunesse.org/faire-un-don/

Hugo Morissette – Administrator, Information and Referral Centre of Greater Montreal

Hugo recently joined the Board of Directors for the Information and Referral Centre of Greater Montrealan independent, bilingual non-profit organization that provides free information on social and community-based resources in Greater Montreal. When individuals are seeking guidance on issues including social security, health, work, well-being and leisure, the Centre promptly refers them to the best organization to meet their needs. To make a donation, please visit http://www.info-reference.qc.ca/www/Article.php?locale=fr-CA&Type=5&O_ID=10&M_ID=Fondation

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We would also like to commend our colleagues Daniel Charron, Jean Michel Laurin and Leslie Molko who also volunteer for various organizations.

Please consult our professional profiles under Our Team to find out more.