From agency to healthcare: How one communications pro makes her mark in the city

megan bieksaHamilton native Megan Bieksa, has led an exciting career in communications and wouldn’t change a thing.

Megan grew up in the east end of Hamilton, and once she graduated from Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School she began her undergrad in cultural studies and english at McMaster University. Afterwards, she continued her studies in corporate communications at Sheridan College.

After Megan finished her education she began an internship with DDB, which is an advertising agency in Toronto. While working there, Megan realized that there were many people with many years of experience ahead of her. If she wanted to be a part of something big, she was going to have to make a big move.

Luckily for Megan, that big move brought her back to Hamilton.

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Megan was Kitestring’s first hire. Kitestring was a small start-up branding agency in Hamilton at the time. During the four years that she worked with the agency as a Communications Specialist, the company grew exponentially. Their main clientele consisted of healthcare, government, food and wine, construction, and retail. Her time with the company consisted of campaign work, communications strategies and plans, consulting and hosting social media workshops. The social media workshops were launched right around the same time that Twitter was becoming a more and more popular tool for companies and businesses marketing and advertising strategies.

While Megan was with Kitestring they developed a philosophy, which was later turned into a storybook called “Make Lemonade.” The philosophy is based around the notion that everything you need to know as a business or organization in social media, you learned while you were in kindergarten.

“For example, be polite, respond to people in a timely manner, listen when someone is talking to you, and share,” Megan explained.

“Twitter was so new, I don’t think that the ground rules and etiquette were really well understood at first.”

One of Kitestring’s biggest clients was a part of the healthcare industry. While working so closely with them, Megan fell in love with the atmosphere and the people. So when St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton had an opening in their communications department for the role of senior specialist – media and strategic issues, Megan applied for it.

“I wouldn’t have the career I have today without the opportunities I had there. The owners of Kitestring are fearless, and that is something that makes their work so exciting.”

unnamed-1Megan has been with St. Joseph’s Healthcare for two years now and says it has been an exciting and rewarding experience.

“At St. Joseph’s I feel like when I am doing my best work that I am helping the patients that come to the hospital, which is helping the health of Hamilton.”

Megan has many responsibilities, mainly including but not limited to issues management, media relations, and campaign planning. She handles issues ranging from flooding in the hospitals to ensuring a positive patient experience for those visiting the hospitals. She also ensures that the internal stakeholders are aware of what’s going on, and have all of the information to do their jobs the best that they can.

Megan now lives in Ancaster with her daughter, Alice. When she isn’t working or having fun with baby Alice, you can find her practicing Russian Ballet.

Carlyn McGill

Carlyn is a 21-year old journalist from Hamilton, Ontario. She is a recent graduate of Mohawk College’s Journalism program and is currently a Public Relations intern for Hamilton Health Sciences. In her past she has worked as the Newsroom Assistant for Mohawk College’s journalism program, where among many tasks she produced, edited, and occasionally hosted a weekly newscast for Cable 14. In her spare time she enjoys being outdoors, learning how to play guitar, trying new food, and being active.

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