Catherine Megelas was born and raised in Quebec but has spent the past six years living in Marseille. She had no qualms trading our cold winters for the warm climate and chirping cicadas of southern France. On April 14, she took the Communicating Effectively in a Crisis course led by HEC Montréal’s own Sylvain Lafrance.
But how exactly did she hear about the course all the way in Provence? “I studied PR at Concordia and I spent 10 years at CBC/Radio-Canada,” she explained. “I worked with Sylvain back when he was a senior VP. I’ve stayed in contact with him on LinkedIn. When he mentioned the course, I signed up!”
Catherine is the head of marketing communications at Marseille Gyptis International, a firm specializing in IT and logistics. They develop innovative freight management solutions for the transportation industry. She knew it was high time to fine-tune her crisis communication plan.
What did she get out of the experience? “It was at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, and everyone was on lockdown. So, the online environment was definitely unique,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to share ideas and information within a small group. Sylvain is an excellent communicator, and he has an incomparable level of expertise. He took a very structured approach, providing us with tools to guide us every step of the way and a number of examples that really resonated with me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”
This is Catherine’s first course with Executive Education HEC Montréal. “There’s a silver lining to this pandemic,” she pointed out. “Courses that never used to be available to you because of distance are now being given remotely. So, you can explore different viewpoints and experiences in other countries.” She recommends this course for anyone who wants to learn more about managing a crisis, especially in the current environment. “You might think communication comes to us as second nature, but it really doesn’t. It’s a skill that has to be developed.”
To learn more about Sylvain Lafrance and the courses he gives: