Meghan Kilty, the newly hired communication director for the Anglican Church of Canada, has been researching ways that communications can support community resiliency.
“I think that’s very apt, considering a lot of the changes and ways in which the church is really going to be pushed and pulled and stretched to grow” in both the short and long term, she said in an interview. “Through struggle and difficulties, I really believe there’s an opportunity for growth and that communications is a really critical component for that.”
Kilty is completing her master’s degree in a joint communications management program from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., and Syracuse University in New York. Her research examines “the impacts of crisis, communications strategies and tactics in times of public tragedy.”
“Ms. Kilty brings strong strategic skills and a passionate sense of engagement to this work,” Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, said of her appointment. “That combination will serve our church well, not only in the communication capacity of the national office but across the range of communication challenges and opportunities in front of our church at every level.”
Kilty begins her work for the Anglican church in the year leading up to General Synod 2016, where members will be facing contentious issues, including a resolution to amend the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriages.
When asked about what experiences best prepared her for her duties with the Anglican church, she said it is a combination of her work experience and her “strategic mindset.” She said that she has “vast experience both in strategy and tactics” and that she pairs the practical with “the academic way of approaching communications.”
Until recently she was content specialist at York University, where she supported communications for the vice-provost of students, working on “everything from social media strategy to event management and communications for student life at the university,” she said. Her work included co-authoring a social media protocol for the division of students and acting as an expert social media adviser for more than 350 employees. Kilty said she developed and led the communications strategies for a key York recruitment event, which brought more than 4,300 visitors on campus in November 2014.
In 2013, Kilty co-led a conference workshop at the university on how content strategy could help communicate messages to a variety of audiences in a short time frame.
Kilty is currently a committee member of METRAC’s Toronto Safe City committee, which aims to “identify safety changes and initiatives to prevent and reduce violence against women and vulnerable populations at high risk of physical and sexual violence in the city.” (METRAC was founded in 1984 by the Metropolitan Toronto Council at the height of brutal sexual assaults and murders of women in the city.)
A member of the Canadian Public Relations Society, Kilty said her experience in team building and leadership will be an asset. “I really believe in collaboration, and I’m looking forward to supporting and working with the team and helping us all grow as we move forward through a challenging few years.”
Kilty said her experience with the Anglican church has been both “a personal and professional journey.” She was raised in the Roman Catholic Church but was received into the Anglican church in 2005. In 2006, she began work as a communications co-ordinator for the prominent parish of St. Paul’s Bloor Street in Toronto. That experience introduced her to “what it’s like to support ministry and a ministry team,” she said, and gave her a view of the landscape of the church and relationships between local churches, dioceses, the national church and the global Anglican Communion.
When asked about her vision for enhancing the church’s communications, Kilty said initially she is looking forward to “listening and learning a lot. I come in with a certain understanding, but I want to really take a step back and move forward being well-informed.” She added that she hopes to work with the communications team and senior leadership to “collaboratively create the strategy to best serve the needs of the ministry and the church moving forward. ”
Kilty, 37, was raised in North Bay, Ont. The mother of Madeleine, 7, says she loves being a parent, and true to her northern Ontario roots, enjoys hiking and paddling.