Communications Expert Shares Olympic Lessons

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In October 2008, the RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series featured media strategist Jaime Rupert. Currently senior counsel for Vancouver-based Reputations Corporation, in 2002 Rupert directed media and public relations for the Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games.

She shared how BC communities and businesses can maximize media opportunities leading up to and beyond the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. She presented in Abbotsford, Kelowna and Vancouver, as part of the speaker series.

Approximately 3,000 national and international sports and other journalists will arrive in BC to cover the Games, representing a big demand for stories. Rupert emphasized that it is important for businesses and communities to contact media months before the Games begin so journalists can learn about BC's culture, attractions and spirit to give context for the event.

She encouraged organizations throughout BC to take their local story and make it global – to look for greater meaning in their work that might relate to Olympic ideals of perseverance and excellence. Olympics move the world forward, she said, and companies seeking media stories need to ask how their organization is advancing the community, the country or the world. She offered an example of an Okanagan wooden cutlery manufacturer whose Olympic story is to urge the world to become "green spectators" by using biodegradable utensils at sports events.

"The Olympics is a triumph of human spirit through sport. You need to ask what is your story, what is your heart," said Rupert.
Rupert reminded individuals to give journalists sufficient lead time to accommodate deadlines and to offer what media needs, for example, a sound-bite, TV visuals, access to the CEO, or a photo opportunity.

The Torch Relay is a key story-telling vehicle, she said. Media travel with the Relay and will be looking for compelling human interest stories and may also showcase unique aspects of communities along the route. The Relay is an important part of the country's engagement with the Olympics, said Rupert.

"Nothing inspires like interacting with the flame, especially when an entire nation has carried it," she said.

The RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series hosted ten internationally-acclaimed speakers who shared their Olympic and Paralympic expertise with businesses and communities throughout BC. From 2006-2008, these speakers visited several communities to share their knowledge and experience. They also participated in an interview which was webcast live and archived online at The program was sponsored by RBC, CTV, the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Sun.