OTTAWA (April 22, 2014) — Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K)—Canada’s top-ranked public relations and public affairs firm—is pleased to announce it has promoted Mary Pat MacKinnon and Manon Abud, two seasoned public engagement experts, to vice-presidents in its Ottawa office.

“Mary Pat and Manon are both proven leaders in their field, respected by peers and colleagues alike and in constant client demand. Each embodies the qualities we value most in our senior staff, and they represent cutting-edge thinking in the public engagement space,” says Jackie King, general manager at H+K Ottawa. “Promotions like these help us recognize our best talent and support professional development, which grows unparalleled leaders resulting in the best client work.”

Mary Pat, who joined H+K in 2012, has been involved in citizen and stakeholder engagement for almost two decades, dealing with some of the most pressing public policy issues in the country. She has led community engagement across Canada, facilitating dialogue both at home and abroad for projects in the public, private and non-profit sectors—engaging citizens and stakeholders in collective problem solving. She also has extensive government affairs and policy experience as a former director with the Canadian Policy Research Networks and Credit Union Central of Canada.

Prior to joining H+K, Manon was a managing partner with Ascentum, where her contributions helped build a fledging small business into Canada’s leading public engagement consultancy. Since the firm was acquired by H+K in 2012, Manon has continued to explore the various facets of public engagement, both online and in person. She has applied her creative thinking and expertise to projects in Canada and around the world, spearheading a variety of public engagement initiatives with government and non-governmental clients.

“Issues today are too complex to rely on top-of-mind opinion. Engaged participation provides a baseline to capture strategic insights that enable informed decision-making,” explains King. “We are fortunate to have Mary Pat’s and Manon’s hands-on approaches to client work and their depth of understanding in public engagement. They’re a core part of a team that creates powerful programs that meet client challenges head on and help them make sustainable decisions.”

Mary Pat continues to learn and contribute to the theory and practice of dialogue deliberation through her position as a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Manon’s work rests on a solid foundation in communications, commerce and public engagement, with a decorated résumé of academic achievements and ongoing community contributions.