When Karen Laing and Rick Rake are at the national Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) immigration conference in Ottawa in late November, they will not only be attending but leading a special workshop on behalf of Mission Community Services Society (MCSS).
“We’re pretty excited about this,” said Laing. “It was new for us to provide an abstract of our proposed workshop, and to later be accepted among potential workshops offered by organizations throughout Canada is very special.”
Under the P2P heading of Political and Civic Integration of Immigrants, Rake and Laing proposed a workshop entitled Making the News, Connecting with Government.
“Together Karen and I will explore promoting settlement services and needs in the community through media in the best possible way, from writing the press release, determining audiences and connecting with media in ways that are built on the foundation of relationships,” said Rake.
“In much the same way we offer advice on how to connect with those in the political realm to help settlement organizations build strong and meaningful bonds with politicians, not only when they need support, but before that when mutual trust and respect can be developed,” said Laing.
Both MCSS employees are no strangers to the topics.
Laing is Mission Community Services manager, governance and resource development; manager of MCSS New to Canada programming. a former newspaper reporter and former civic politician. She serves on the board of Prospera Credit Union.
Rake is Mission’s Local Immigration Partnership coordinator based at MCSS and is former managing editor of the Abbotsford News with a 35-year career in journalism. He supports communication streams at MCSS and is currently leading the organizing committee for Festival of Light: Diwali in Mission.
Both have served in various capacities with volunteer groups and have developed a keen sense of community and communication.
Content of the workshop abstract presented to Victoria Esses and Jean McRae, co-chairs of the P2P Partnership, included this description:
To connect and inform is critical in the political and civic integration of immigrants. Our workshop will focus on how to make the crucial connections with politicians and media to ensure the messaging of welcoming communities and immigrant support is delivered efficiently. We will inform on how to engage the ear of politicos, to become known to key decision-makers and highlight the process of good public relations, from writing the press release to knocking at the back door of major media. The session will be delivered by professionals with extensive media and political experience and who are now working in settlement.
MCSS is proud to have Laing and Rake representing Mission in Ottawa.