Julia Oosterman is an award-winning, communications practitioner who genuinely loves her work. Julia’s calling has taken her from Bay Street to the shores of Lake Huron in industries such as healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, and public sector agencies
And, at every step of her career, Julia has been adamant that membership in the IABC added credibility and access to a professional framework in an otherwise unregulated industry. Julia received a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Radio & Television from Toronto Metropolitan University (formally Ryerson University). Currently Julia is pursuing a Master of Public Relations degree from Mount Saint Vincent University.
Julia describes herself as generalist; a practitioner with transferable skills that allows her to move smoothly cross industry sectors.
Julia defines career progression as strategy, luck and a lot of hard work. She encourages early careerists to pursue jobs that interest them and believes that moving from a good post to a more challenging one provides the practitioner with the incentive needed to set stretch goals that build new skills and diversifies one’s experience and knowledge.
As a junior practitioner, Julia pursued IABC membership to build a network of communication practitioners who challenged, supported, cheered and bolstered each other.
As a mid-career professional, IABC membership offers a pathway to staying relevant and current with communication trends and fads. Access to professional development initiatives allow members to hone their skills and to pursue opportunities that contribute and spread the IABC brand nationally and globally.
As an executive, IABC affords access to external industry benchmarks and opportunities to apply for awards that recognizes and supports professional accomplishments. Moreover, IABC membership grants access to diverse audiences and speaking engagements where accomplishments are celebrated and messages amplified.
Julia is the Executive Director, University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus: a dynamic and exciting job that contains an incredible amount of diversity. Julia’s favourite part of the job is creating and empowering a network of 80-plus communicators across the institution to use communication to empower, engage and motivate people.
Julia chuckles when she describes the surprise of colleagues when they learn that transitioning to senior leadership positions requires a shift from writer, strategist, and media consultant to diplomat. Diplomacy allows Julia to build bridges, leverage relationships, and design strategic teams driven by passion to reach organizational goals.
As for the future of communications, Julia’s crystal ball predicts the profession will need to continue to grow and evolve as the lines between communications and marketing blur. Communication metrics and ROI will require further standardization and specialized oversight. With the rise of “fake news” and paid media channels, the ethical standards of professional communicators will continue to be doubted and tested.
Julia considers herself fortunate. Being a communication professional speaks to the core of who she is and her strengths – a problem solver, influencer, and educator. Crisis communication is Julia’s first passion and that’s where she started her career. At her core, Julia is a people person and a relationship builder.