National Board of Directors 2016-2017

National Board President
Kim Blanchette, APR

Kim has experience in communications and public affairs at the provincial, federal, and international level and has held positions with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice as well as the Nova Scotia Department of Energy. Kim joined the Government of Canada in 2000 performing a variety of communications roles with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, including Ministerial support, regional office liaison, Director of Corporate Advocacy Communications, senior official speech coordination and multidepartment Pan-Atlantic and International events.

Kim has served as Consul (Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs) at the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle from 2006-2008, representing Canada in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. She then moved to Veterans Affairs Canada as Acting Associate Director General of Communications where she worked the 90th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, and new legislation for Allied Veterans. Kim has also served as Regional Director, Issues Management and Communications (Atlantic Region) with the Canada Revenue Agency and as the Communications Manager for the Energy Resources Conservation Board, since 2011.

A past alumnus of the United States International Visiting Leaders Program, Kim was named one of the 50 Global Women in Energy in 2005 and has received awards for her work in media relations during the Swissair Flight 111 tragedy and for energy education in Nova Scotia. Kim is currently Vice President, Public Affairs for the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta’s single regulator for oil, oil sands, natural gas and coal development in the province.


Vice-President / Treasurer
Sarah Hanel, APR

Sarah Hanel is the Public Relations Manager for eSignLive by VASCO, a Montreal-based pioneer of electronic signature technology. Working primarily with stakeholders in banking, insurance and government throughout North America, Sarah helps these mid-to-top tier organizations show their industries and customers why e-signature technology is pivotal for completing transactions in a digital age. 
Prior to her current role, Sarah’s nearly 15 years in public relations have spanned the gamut of agency, corporate, not-for-profit, government and consulting work in education, health, technology, transportation and tourism. She is also an active CPRS volunteer, having sat on the Vancouver Island Chapter’s Board of Directors from 2009-2015, holding the roles of President, Vice President and Director of Communications. Sarah has her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Canadian Public Relations Society, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with a specialty in Leadership from Royal Roads University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Public Relations Certificate (PR Cert.) both from the University of Victoria. Sarah is originally from Toronto, currently lives in Victoria and can often be found working in Montreal.

Jane Adams, APR


Jane Adams is the President of Brainstorm Communications + Creations. She provides specialized communications services and counsel exclusively to health care facilities and organizations. Prior to starting her own company in 2000, Jane was Director of Public Relations and Fundraising at The Salvation Army Grace Hospital in Ottawa for seven years, and at The Grace in Winnipeg for four years before that. She has also held communications positions in Regina and at two Toronto hospitals.

Jane received her accredited status with the Canadian Public Relations Society in 1998. She has a degree in Journalism from Carleton University and a Public Relations certificate from the University of Toronto. Jane has been a CPRS member since 1988 and has been both a Board Member and the Executive Director of the Ottawa-Gatineau Society. She has volunteered with the awards and accreditation programs. Most recently, in her role as National Coordinator of the Health Care Public Relations Association (HCPRA), Jane has supported the integration of HCPRA and CPRS, and the creation of the new CPRS Health Care Academy.

Dana Dean, APR, FCPRS

Dana Dean, APR, is a certified change management and accomplished communications professional with a proven track record of designing, implementing and managing all aspects of outstanding public affairs, corporate and sales communications programs that drive business results. At RBC, Dana develops strategic change communications strategies to ensure employees understand and deliver on RBC’s value proposition and brand. She also creates innovative communications strategies that drive revenue growth for RBC shareholders. Her areas of expertise include: organizational change communications, employee communications, crisis and issues management and social media.

Prior to joining RBC, Dana worked for leading international communications agencies providing strategic communications counsel to a wide variety of clients including: Proctor & Gamble, IBM, Mattel, California Wine Institute, Hong Kong Economic & Trade and Japanese External Trade Organizations. She has won numerous communications awards and is an active member of both the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). She holds an APR accreditation, is a past-president of the CPRS Toronto chapter and also serves as a member of the CPRS National board.

Wayne Knorr


Wayne Knorr is the communications manager for the City of Fredericton. He has over 25 years of experience in municipal government, having worked in the tourism and corporate communications sectors. In his current position, Wayne has broad responsibility for external and internal communications, including media relations, as well as event management and protocol.
He has participated in CPRS activities since university. Wayne joined CPRS in 2000 and served as VP (Fredericton) for CPRS-NB for several years. He is currently interim president for CPRS-NB working to revive the chapter. Wayne has participated in CPRS President’s Council sessions and acted as a judge for the national awards on several occasions.
Over the years, Wayne has served on numerous committees, both as member and as chair. He is past president of Meeting New Brunswick and has served on several other work related committees, as well as volunteer committees related to school, church and community events.Wayne holds a B.A. (Honours) in English from St. Thomas University and a Certificate in Business Administration (Level I) from the University of New Brunswick. He has also taken some French Language Training.

Everett Martin

Everett Martin is a passionate ambassador for ethical public relations, and the principal strategist at his own PR practice. He brings with him over 10 years of exuberant experience, spanning a variety of sectors in a number of provinces. Everett recently lent his expertise to Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin by enhancing the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts, including conducting a complete overhaul of the global donations, sponsorship and employee volunteering policy. Previously, he managed RBC Royal Bank’s community investment program in Saskatchewan, Manitoba & Northern Ontario, including leverage of the bank’s signature 2010 Olympics Winter Games sponsorship.

Everett has also worked in more traditional roles, including strategic communications with McGill University, media and public affairs with WCB of Manitoba, and various roles with HP Store Vancouver, the Winnipeg Humane Society, and Convergys. Everett has been highly involved in CPRS since joining in 2005. He has overseen the programming, membership and communications portfolios for the Manitoba local society, and eventually served as vice-president and president. He is always keen to assist with national initiatives, and is currently working on both the Membership and PR/Social Media committees. Outside of CPRS, Everett has been an active member of IABC in Vancouver and Montreal. Originally from Saskatchewan, Everett studied at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba (but never stopped cheering for the Roughriders) and spent a summer as a TV news reporter prior to embarking in PR. He also holds a Certificate in Public Relations & Communications Management from McGill University.

Angela Murray

Angela Murray has over 20 years experience as a public relations practitioner. Since 2000 she has provided her expertise for the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU), developing, managing and implementing public relations programs for 10,000 member professional association that represents public school and Community College teachers in Nova Scotia.

Her work with the NSTU has been recognized by the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education and the Canadian Educational Press Association. She has extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector having worked for organizations that include Neptune Theatre, Clean Nova Scotia, and Discovery Centre. Angela is a recent graduate of Mount Saint Vincent University's Master of Public Relations program, where she received her Bachelor of Public Relations in 1990. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Dalhousie University. As an active member of CPRS Nova Scotia, she was program co-chair for 2008 National CPRS conference held in Halifax, served as professional development chair, vice-president, president and past president.

Carol Panasiuk APR, FCPRS LM

Carol was a Principal at The Communications Department, a strategic communications consulting firm she founded in 2011. The company provided businesses with a senior level sounding board, advice and counsel plus a full range of communications activities. Carol also founded the first Canadian office of Cohn & Wolfe, an international marketing communications firm. Her communications experience covers the gamut of public relations having worked with leading corporations to develop creative, integrated programs that deliver strong, measurable results. Carol began her career at Burson-Marsteller, one of the world's leading public relations and public affairs firms. She has a B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto, an Advanced Diploma, Public Relations, Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

Carol was appointed to the CPRS Board of Directors in 2013 and has served as the Board Liaison for the National Awards of Excellence. She co-chaired the very successful 2016 World Public Relations Forum which CPRS hosted in May 2016. Carol is also an accredited member of CPRS and has won numerous awards from the Society for outstanding work on behalf of clients. She has served on the Toronto Chapter’s Board of Directors as a Vice President and Treasurer. In 2007 she was named PR Professional of the Year by CPRS Toronto. Carol was recognized as a Life Member of CPRS and inducted as a Fellow of the Society in 2012. She was a founding member of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms and served as that organization's Vice Chair and Treasurer.

Rashpal Rai, APR

Rashpal has over 15 years of experience in the public relations profession, primarily in the corporate sector and in public-private partnerships. As public relations manager for Envirotest Canada and the AirCare vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program in Metro Vancouver, he is responsible for media, government and corporate relations, and maintaining ongoing relationships with internal and external stakeholders both for the government-mandated program and the private company. He managed the program's communications strategies through two new program launches (2001 and 2007) successfully and seamlessly during a time of political and media scrutiny. Prior to joining Envirotest Canada, Rashpal worked at Langara College in Vancouver working with individual faculties and departments on a variety of communications initiatives.

Rashpal has a long history of service to CPRS. He became a member in 1999, and was a student member with CPRS Vancouver Island. He served on the Vancouver Island Chapter Board in 2008, before moving to Vancouver. He served as Secretary/Treasurer for CPRS Vancouver in 2007-2008 and in 2009-2011, and served as Conference Vice-Chair and Finance Chair for the CPRS 2009 National Conference in Vancouver. He has been a member of the National Board of Directors since 2011. A native of Victoria, B.C., Rashpal graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1997 with a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations. He received his APR in 2013.

Alex Sévigny, Ph.D., APR

A fluently bilingual Franco-Ontarian, Dr. Alex Sévigny, APR, has been a passionate advocate for professional communication for his entire academic and professional career. He pioneered a professional focus to the communication studies program at McMaster University from his hiring in 2001 and more recently in the growing number of college programs in Ontario, where he has served as an official program reviewer for three college programs. In 2011, as Professional Development Chair of the Hamilton chapter, he started the successful Pint-Sized Social Media discussion series, which has brought renewed interest in CPRS among practitioners, particularly junior and mid-career practitioners of whom at least five have become members after attending a few pint-sized events. In 2012, he was Accredited in Public Relations and has since become a constant advocate of the APR designation.
During the first year of his co-presidency of CPRS Hamilton (2014-15), he has built upon the excellent work of past presidents and energized his board to increase Hamilton membership by 10%. He has also spearheaded a program to increase CPRS Hamilton’s value proposition to the business community by leading the creation of, StartUP with CPRS Hamilton, a new strategic initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the power of public relations for startups and small business, which involves a speed dating 90-minute format and was organized jointly with local innovation centres (so far: Hamilton Innovation Factory, Milton Innovation Centre). During the event, CPRS Hamilton members offer free public relations consulting to leaders of startups and small businesses. The first event attracted 21 organizations.

 Natalie Tomczak Director

Natalie Tomczak’s extensive communications experience has been keeping her busy in a field she is passionate about for the last 15 years. She recently transitioned into the role of Director of Communications at the Law Society of Saskatchewan where she is responsible for stakeholder engagement, issues management, risk assessment and identification, crisis communications, media relations and writing strategies to align, enhance and build the Law Society’s reputation. Prior to joining the Law Society, Natalie worked at the University of Regina in a variety of communications and public relations positions and at Farm Credit Canada.

Natalie has been a CPRS member and has concurrently served on the CPRS Regina Board of Directors since 2007 in various roles, starting as a Student Representative, moving into to the position of Director (communications portfolio), Vice-President and President (2011-15). After completing a five-year term as President, she continues to serve on her Local Board back in the role as Vice-President. At the CPRS National level, Natalie leads the Membership Task Force Committee and has volunteered on the Job Task Force Committee, later leading it soon thereafter. In 2014, she was Chair of the CPRS Regina Prairie Mini-Conference and served on the Saskatchewan Awards for Communications Excellence (ACE) committee in a variety of roles, including Co-Chair in 2010. Natalie also mentors and collaborates with other communications and public relations professionals at all career path levels. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), a Certificate in Public Relations, and a Certificate in Marketing and Advertising from the University of Regina.

Victor Vrsnik, MCM, APR, FCPRS

A champion of the professionalization of Canada’s PR and communications management industry, Victor has taken on many posts with the CPRS. He’s been an APR and PRK grader, an Awards of Excellence judge, a CPRS mentor, and a CPRS-Vancouver Society Board member. He currently sits on the CPRS Public Relations and Communications Committee. As an accredited and award-winning communicator, Victor was inducted into the College of Fellows in 2015. He holds a Master of Communications Management degree, and is published in both academia and most Canadian dailies.

Crisscrossing the country from legislature to legislature, Victor oversees stakeholder engagement, policy development, issues management and reputation management for 7-Eleven Canada. He led the development of 7-Eleven’s nutrient-disclosure and calorie labeling programs nation-wide to inform customer-purchasing decisions and build stakeholder trust.
Off-duty, Victor moonlights as a teaching assistant.