“All of my working life (that’s 20+ years) I’ve been in communications in various shapes and forms, from helping deaf kids communicate, to creating and executing communications strategies for swanky clients in my homeland, South Africa, like Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen and many others like banks, industrial and retail companies.
As my career evolved I developed a passion for brand – particularly following my move to Canada 16+ years ago. This is where I’ve worked in various industries and sectors to successfully bring clarity and momentum to brands. So it’s no surprise that when Catherine and I started Outsidein, our primary focus areas have been the two strengths in my career: brand and communication.
Fun facts: I’m learning Funky West Coast Swing dancing (and am a long, long way from giving you a demo…). I’m jazzed by the arts, interesting conversations, and am passionate about the environment.”
Catherine Ducharme, Partner + Brand Strategist
“ As a newly minted journalism graduate in the early 80’s, I launched my communications career by taking an admin job at a high-tech company. I liked it so much that I stayed in the tech sector for 18+ years working with brainiacs and taking on a great variety of branding, communications, marketing, public relations and employee communications projects. I also had the good fortune to lead teams, participate at the senior executive and build programs from the ground up.
I discovered the entrepreneurial Catherine in 2000 when I started my own communications consulting practice. Co-founding Outsidein in 2007 with Sharon was a great way to expand the business, my brainpower and my experience in new industries. I’m particularly passionate about the employee experience and internal communications because both are critical to business success.
What else? I believe in investing in my profession so I’m currently serving on the executive of the International Association of Business Communications BC Chapter. I think its important to pay it forward, so I’ve led mentoring programs and am a mentor. I love public speaking (okay, I like an audience!). I speak on networking, effective communications and internal and personal branding. I also like initiating and bringing people together. In 2001 I created the High Tech Communications Exchange which grew to a 550 person network.
Fun facts: Originally from Wales but I can’t sing or play rugby. I have three young adults (who I’m asking to lie about their ages). Every year I make a point of seeing all the ‘best movie’ Oscar nominations.”
Christian De Pape, Communications Specialist
“I like helping people be understood—through how they communicate. While I’ve always been sort of natural at it, I didn’t take a direct path to my stand-up desk at Outsidein: First I studied design at Ryerson University (where I learned creative problem solving), then urban planning at the University of Winnipeg (where I learned about strategy and planning) and finally bookkeeping at Douglas College (Where I learned about business).
That last one got me into working as a freelance jack-of-all-trades, which is how I came to work at Outsidein. It didn’t take long, working with these two very savvy and encouraging ladies, for me to find my interest in writing and start putting it to use for clients.
Our office is small and nimble, so I get to practice all my old know-hows, too—from managing projects, handling finances, and making sure there is plenty of instant coffee and arrowroot biscuits in the cupboard. I keep the operational gears grinding so the ladies can focus on helping clients.
Fun fact: I spent the summer after my first year in university doing maintenance work in a maximum security prison. The experience makes any communications problem seem like a cakewalk.”