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On the other hand, one of the challenges we face is our sport's status in the Canadian landscape; it remains a niche sport, and it is sometimes difficult to get visibility

Mylène Turcotte-Fitzgerald

Communications & Marketing Manager

Water Polo Canada

× The interview with Mylène Turcotte-Fitzgerald was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

1Tell us about your role as Communications & Marketing Manager for Water Polo Canada. What does a typical day look like for you?

There are many aspects to my role as Communications & Marketing Manager, and I would say that not a day or week is the same.

I am responsible for internal & external communication with the organization’s stakeholders. On the marketing side, with the help of colleagues, I make sure we honour our side of partnership agreements, such as National Team sponsors or our partnerships with the cities and tourism organizations when we host events.

Pandemic aside, my tasks and a typical day will depend on the time of the year. Water Polo Canada (WPC) is responsible for the National Championship League, which runs from December to May, depending on the age categories. The playoffs and finals are hosted in April and May.

At events, we all have our specific roles and mine includes everything related to communications, marketing, and the awards ceremony. The National Teams’ competition calendar usually starts late March and goes all the way through mid-September.

During that time, my focus is on relaying the information, sharing results, writing game recaps and handling media requests.

Some of my day-to-day tasks include writing press releases, managing the WPC website, creating and posting content on social media, translating documents, etc.

2What is the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of your role?

I enjoy working with athletes both at the national and international levels.

I would say the most rewarding aspect of my role is getting to meet all these incredible athletes and individuals and sharing their stories with the water polo community and the rest of the world.

On the other hand, one of the challenges we face is our sport's status in the Canadian landscape; it remains a niche sport, and it is sometimes difficult to get visibility.

We have great ambassadors of water polo in our athletes and coaches, and I'm looking forward to the next few years.

3You take a lot of questions from the media as part of your job. What skills are important to have when dealing with the public and other professionals?

In today's reality and environment, I believe it is essential to be proactive, listen, and have a good sense of adaptability.

When addressing the media or other professionals, I would say that it's important to have a clear message to avoid any speculations and to make yourself available for follow-ups. It is a collaborative effort and, like in most jobs, a great sense of awareness and the capacity to see the bigger picture are two valuable skills.

It's a work in progress, so you have to be open to learning on the spot and sometimes making mistakes that help you grow and improve in your position.

4How has your job evolved during COVID-19? How has your communication and marketing strategy changed?

The most important impact of the pandemic for me, as the Communications & Marketing Manager, is the cancellation or postponement of events.

Typically, from March to September, my focus would have been on the national events and the international events, most notably the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Our communication and marketing strategy had been built around the competition calendar, and we had to make some significant adjustments following the cancellation or postponement of events due to COVID-19.

In the first weeks and months of the pandemic, my job was to work on updates and releases to keep our community informed, even though it was difficult to predict (and it still is) how everything would unfold.

After that, we developed different “at-home” initiatives with the national team athletes and staff to keep our water polo community engaged. We invited clubs to join on some of the National Team virtual workouts.

We also created new social media segments to stay connected with our followers and bring a little positivity during these difficult times.

5How do you ensure that the information provided to the media is consistent with the missions and visions of the organization?

As I mentioned earlier, the key is to make sure the information is as clear as possible.

You have to be proactive in releasing information.

Ideally, there is perfect alignment between the different stakeholders within the organization, but sometimes it is easier said than done.

At WPC, we have developed a communications protocol to ensure that the message reflects the organization's vision and values. The key is to be available and to have good communication and collaboration within the organization.

Hayley Michie Hayley's Final Thoughts

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