No journalist ever wants to get scooped, but to get scooped up, as local news anchor and reporter Megan Shaw has been by Syntax Strategic, is a whole other story.
This Friday marks Shaw’s last day with CTV News Ottawa, where she’s been working for more than seven years, most recently as a reporter and late-night news anchor. She’s leaving to join the Ottawa-based, full-service firm specializing in media relations, strategic communications, marketing, design, policy and public affairs founded by CEO Jennifer Stewart, a former Forty Under 40 Award recipient and alumna of Carleton University’s journalism program.
Shaw, who’s bilingual, has been hired as the new director of brand marketing and media relations at Syntax Strategic. She’s also bringing to the job her past experience in event planning and promotions.
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“I’m excited,” Shaw said of her new role, while also expressing gratitude to everyone at CTV News.
“When I started at CTV I was pretty much as green as they come,” she said of the guidance she received over the years from the likes of executive producer Joanne Woo, six o’clock newscast anchor Graham Richardson, and former reporter Catherine Latham.
“I had a lot of really strong players helping me along the way, in my corner. I really had to up my game, to prove to them that I could do it, that I could go live (reporting) and I could cover the stories they needed me to cover in our community. While, yes, I worked hard, they gave me those opportunities and they mentored me.”
Shaw, 32, grew up in the southwestern Ontario town of Tecumseh, just east of Windsor. After university, she studied broadcast journalism at Seneca College in Toronto, where she also interned at CTV News and etalk.
Shaw was in her early 20s when she packed up and moved to Peace River in Northern Alberta for her first real job in broadcasting, followed by CityNews in Edmonton as a video journalist. Next, she came here to join 580 CFRA and CTV News Ottawa, both of which are owned by Bell Media.
She’s done it all, from writing to producing to reporting. “I’m so thankful and grateful that I tried all these different roles,” said Shaw, whose promotion to late-night news anchor at CTV was her “dream come true.”
There were a couple of factors influencing Shaw’s decision to join Syntax Strategic. In 2020, she started working on her master’s in journalism at Carleton University. That got her thinking about her career goals and what her next step might be. As well, things changed in her personal life. This past August, she married former hockey player-turned-CBRE employee Mike McMurtry. With kids possibly on their horizon, Shaw wanted a job with more flexibility and portability.
“I’ve been doing nights and weekends for about three years,” she pointed out. “I started to just really think about work-life balance and how to have my work more integrated with my life. It’s not that I don’t want to work hard. I do. I love being on the go, go, go. But, could I find something where I could be on the go from almost anywhere, versus being in the newsroom until midnight?”
Syntax runs a hybrid office model.
Shaw first reached out to Stewart at the suggestion of a friend. The women met, clicking right away. Not only do they share similar values, but Stewart supports and empowers women in the workplace and in business, said Shaw, who likes that she’ll still be doing interesting and challenging work that will allow her to grow and be creative.
“This seems like the perfect fit for me,” said Shaw of a company that’s expanding and has built a solid reputation in Ottawa (earlier this year, Syntax announced a five-year, $50,000 award in partnership with Algonquin College to encourage more students, particularly of diverse backgrounds, to enter the field of public relations).
“I looked at the people who already work there — these are strong people, these are people I can admire,” said Shaw. “It’s a team I really want to be part of.”
On the move across Ottawa
Syntax Strategic recently announced the launch of its new health practice led by Marjolaine Provost, former director of communications for Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, with strategic counsel and guidance from Dr. Katharine Smart, past president of the Canadian Medical Association. The practice is to support current and future clients as they navigate the complex healthcare system.
Former iPolitics publisher and long-time CBC journalist Heather Bakken has officially launched her own communications firm, Pendulum Group, with partners Yaroslav Baran and Ben Purkiss. Bakken just finished a stint working for the Ottawa Board of Trade as its director of strategic initiatives, and is also president of World Press Freedom Canada. Baran is well known as an expert in political analysis and communications. Baran was a principal at Earnscliffe Strategies for 16 years and the national strategic communications practice lead.
He’s also vice-chair of the Parliamentary Centre. Benjamin Purkiss is a multi-award winning creative director with more than 16 years of experience in the design field. With decades of experience on both sides of the divide – political/governmental communication, plus journalism – Pendulum Group offers a full range of services to position executive clients for success.
D-Squared Construction recently named industry leader Paul McCarney as its new CEO. McCarney has spent his career in Ottawa working in the infrastructure sector. Most recently, he was president and CEO of Clean Water Works, a full-service environment company servicing Ottawa and the surrounding area. McCarney is also a recognized community builder. In 2019, he was named Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Ottawa chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Rob Gottschalk is the new CEO of the Canadian Nurses Foundation, which works to advance nursing knowledge and improve healthcare by providing research grants, awards and scholarships to Canadian nurses and nursing students. Gottschalk spent nearly nine years with The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, most recently as associate vice-president. He’s also worked for the Sunnybrook Foundation and McMaster University.
Ottawa-based lawyer Megan Cornell recently became a new partner in the corporate and venture tech groups at Dentons Canada LLP. Cornell has 20 years of industry experience advising startups, founders, local businesses, large domestic and foreign-owned companies in the technology space. Cornell is a former member of the Kanata North BIA’s business and economic development committee. She ran Momentum Business Law from 2012 to 2021.
Former CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein was recently appointed a member of the Order of Canada. He was recognized for “his distinguished and multifaceted career in law and federal public service,” which includes being chair of the CRTC from 2007 to 2012. Von Finckenstein was commissioner of the Competition Bureau from 1997 to 2003 and was senior general counsel in the Trade Negotiations Office during the Canada-US free trade negotiations in the 1980s.