Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada (H+K), the country’s top-rated public relations and public affairs firm, is known for its “boomerang employees” – those who leave the firm and return months or years later. The appointment of Michelle McLean to vice-president and group leader of Ottawa’s communications unit, effective February 1, 2013, is one such case.
An experienced lawyer, public affairs and communications professional in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, Michelle will lead the communications team after spending almost three years as vice-president of public affairs at the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). During her time there, Michelle established and built a strong public affairs team and successfully integrated it with the communications team to form one cohesive unit. Michelle also played a leading role in developing corporate communications, stakeholder engagement and government relations strategies and campaigns, as well as rebranding MHCC.
“She's enjoyed tremendous success at MHCC and could go anywhere, yet she chose to come back to us because she knows what to expect here: an incredibly talented team, challenging files and a sky’s-the-limit future,” says Jackie King, senior vice-president and general manager of H+K Ottawa. “Her sought-after skills – which include deep health and stakeholder expertise with a profound understanding of the corporate and public sector – will ensure integration continues to be an H+K priority that is supported and advanced at the leadership level.”
Prior to originally joining H+K in 2008, where until 2010 she worked in the Ottawa public affairs group as a health-stakeholder specialist, Michelle held significant senior-level project and public issues management positions. This included a role as campaign lead to fund a national cancer strategy, to which the federal government committed $260 million in 2006 – a record at the time. Michelle also spent four years as a litigation associate at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, LLP.