Hill+Knowlton Canada (H+K), the top-ranked public relations and public affairs firm in Canada, is pleased to announce two new senior leaders in its corporate practice. Effective immediately, Jason MacDonald and Susan Schutta join as vice-presidents in the firm’s Ottawa and Toronto offices, respectively.

“Corporate communications work is one of H+K Canada’s cornerstones. We are delighted to be adding these talented practitioners to our already strong bench of counsellors,” says Jane Shapiro, senior vice-president and national practice leader, corporate and crisis communications. “Jason and Susan’s terrific experience in both the public and private sectors adds extraordinary value to the integrated solutions we provide clients facing increasingly complex and sensitive communications challenges.”

Jason joins H+K from the Prime Minister’s Office, where he was director of communications and chief spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Prior to that, he served as director of communications and deputy chief of staff for two federal ministers of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development providing strategic counsel on issues management and stakeholder relations. Jason was previously vice-president at a public relations agency, where he led the corporate and public affairs team and provided strategic communications and issues management counsel.

Susan was most recently a senior director at Walmart Canada where she helped lead media relations, social media strategy and policy, employee programs, private label brand launches and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Previously, Susan held communications positions at Nortel Networks and BMO Financial Group and brings deep internal communications, thought-leadership, financial communications and reputation management experience to the team.

In addition to his role in Ottawa, Jason will also serve as national deputy practice leader of corporate communications, while Sarah Andrewes—already an accomplished vice-president of corporate communications in the Toronto office—will become the national deputy practice leader of crisis communications.

“The creation of these deputy practice leader positions is in response to the ongoing growth of the practice and the opportunity for these experienced consultants to apply their expertise more nationally,” says Shapiro. “I am very pleased to recognize the exceptional work Sarah does leading crisis preparedness and crisis management files with the promotion to deputy practice leader crisis communications, and know that she and Jason will provide significant support to the practice.”

Other recent additions to H+K Toronto’s corporate team include Deborah Rowe who joined the firm as an account director and Emily Vear who joined as a senior consultant.

Deborah and Emily bring robust client and agency experience. Deborah began her career as a journalist and has strong writing, account management, strategic planning and media relations skills thanks to more than 10 years of agency experience, primarily in corporate communications. Emily joins H+K from Target Canada where she developed and led internal and external public relations strategies, and media relations campaigns.