Meghan Warby is the first community manager working within a provincial government. In the province of Ontario‘s Cabinet Office she guides Ministries in their digital communications, online outreach and social media strategies.
Previously, Meghan has been an agency-side communications consultant in government relations, corporate communications and digital strategies, at Hill & Knowlton & Argyle Communications. A social media enthusiast, Meghan spent the winter of 2008 traveling across the United States to interview ‘pioneers’ in eAdvocacy to gauge the significant changes in communications between the 2004 and 2008 American federal elections. Blogging and tweeting as @withoutayard combines her love of music (nurtured at the Austin Music Foundation) & politics (expressed on two Election Predictor Blogs & as Vice Chair of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy).
What motivates you to do what you do on a daily basis?
I’ve always been passionate about civic engagement and studied political science, public policy, specifically cultural policy, for years. After working in the non-profit sector, Heritage Canada, and the consulting world, I knew that my work needed to include civic-minded values, technology and communications. Acting as Community Manager for the Province is a great balance of these three areas. As naive as it may sound, I strongly believe that citizens will become far more engaged with government if they have clear, updated, easy-to-access information online.
If you had 30 seconds to impart your wisdom on a classroom of soon-to-be graduates, what would you say?
Be humble, yet shameless. Take the opportunity of being labelled a ‘student’ to interview people you admire for your final dissertation. Glean invaluable information on their career path, habits, inspiration and experience. Make writing (real-life paper-version) thank-you notes part of your weekly routine.
In your opinion, what has been one of the most important technological developments over the past 12 months?
It’s certainly not Quora or Paper.li or any of the other tack-ons to existing systems or sites. Honestly, I think that the massive political and social chance brought by the media’s use of WikiLeaks over the past year will prove to be the most important.
If you had a crystal ball, what would you say will be the most important technological development over the next 12 months?
Hopefully in the next 12 months we crack the mobile currency ‘nut’ to develop a comprehensive/centralized network that delivers international aid, encourages donors’ to offer micro-loans & tracks behaviour (health, lifestyle, spending, etc.) in developing countries.
Who is one of Canada’s tech stars and why?
Too many to name and the field is growing! Likely the biggest and best tech star of 2011 is plugging away right now in Ryerson’s DMZ lab. If I had to pick one, my Toronto-centric lefty-pinko paradigm would note the creator of Rocket Radar, Adam Schwabe.