Earning a longer leash: Building your credibility with leadership

As communicators, we long for the creative freedom to execute the brilliant ideas we have—and even some of the half-baked ones too.

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is a small nonprofit, operating in the association industry, which isn’t an industry known for its creative risk taking. Yet, the CSMLS has garnered seven Gold Quill Awards in recent years, executing creative ideas from an animated web series to sending custom designed pocket protectors to Canadian celebrities. The freedom to take on such projects didn’t come over night, and earning the trust and respect from senior leadership and even the board of directors has been a process. Learn how the communication team has carved out their creative freedom and earned the right to take calculated risks, using their Gold Quill Award-winning projects as case studies.

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • How to effectively prepare for controversy in a risk-adverse culture.
  • Examine how to increase your influence within the organization by demonstrating success.
  • Learn why the language you use with leadership is important to building credibility.
  • Discuss how to gain leadership’s trust and maintain that key relationship.

TrackLeadership and Strategy
Career level: Strategic Adviser

Presenter / Michael Grant / Canada is the director of marketing and communications at the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Sciences in Hamilton, Ontario. He has worked in marketing and communications in the healthcare and education industries for the past 14 years. Having spent his career in the not-for-profit sector, Grant excels at developing creative solutions to real business challenges regardless of budget. He and his team have developed and executed multiple Gold Quill Award-winning projects.


Presenter / Cathy Bouwers / Canada is the communications manager at the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science. She has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 10 years. Cathy has worked on several Gold Quill Award-winning projects, and enjoys finding unique solutions to everyday challenges.