Blog Post

Q&A with Heather Ennis, Director of Communications

What excited you most about the position of Director of Communications?

I’ve been a researcher, a journalist, a communicator and a knowledge mobilizer for 15 years, and this role combines elements of all of those things. I couldn’t be more excited to learn from my new colleagues and put my diverse experience to work to help the CCA build on 15 years of success.

How would you describe knowledge mobilization?

In the broadest sense, knowledge mobilization is putting research into action. It goes beyond traditional dissemination strategies, but exactly how you do it depends on the knowledge, the users and your goals. It is both systematic and creative ― with an increasing body of evidence documenting what works, what doesn’t, and why. I am energized by the CCA’s commitment to knowledge mobilization as a way to provide greater value to policymakers in Ottawa and beyond. I’m looking forward to working with the team and collaborating with other organizations to deepen the real-life impact of our collective knowledge and expertise.

One thing I think people often don’t realize about knowledge mobilization is that it is naturally a team sport. Collecting the evidence is important, but that knowledge is activated through relationships and the connections that can be made among different approaches and perspectives on the complex issues of today’s world.

What do you wish more people knew about the CCA?

How amazing the people who work here are! This is an incredible organization fueled by some of the smartest, funniest, and most hard-working folks I’ve ever met. Their tireless commitment to delivering high-quality evidence that can inform effective policy and practice is truly inspiring.

It may sound simple, but I also wish that more people were just aware of the CCA, what we do and how we connect decision makers with the best evidence and expertise available to shape strong policy in Canada. I’m interested in expanding awareness of the CCA beyond our existing ecosystem to policy and practice leaders in diverse sectors across the country.

What are you reading or watching for fun right now?

I have two boys, ages 3 and 9 years, who have an insatiable appetite for books. So reading for fun often consists of our daily pre-bedtime storytime ritual. I have to admit, though, that I’m really glad my 9 year old is obsessed with the various Percy Jackson books, because they are definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. Sometimes it’s hard for me not to read ahead after he falls asleep.

In my personal reading, I tend to gravitate toward non-fiction ― particularly memoirs ― and period fiction. A couple recent favourites are The Notorious RBG and All the Light we Cannot See.