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Industry Spotlight On: Christi Millar, Osum Oil Sands

Christi Millar is a communications advisor at Osum Oil Sands, a private energy company in Calgary. At Osum, Christi’s role is a blend of internal communications, traditional and digital media, and stakeholder relations. She’s also a valued client of ours. Christi kindly allowed us to shine the spotlight on her today:

Why did you choose your career and how did you break into the industry or land your current job?

I’m not sure if I chose it or it chose me!  I’ve had a varied career path, but no matter what role I’m in, I’ve found a way to integrate an event into my plans. I love creating experiences for people–whether it’s for the purpose of experiential learning, designing an environment that inspires meaningful conversations, or building a brand.

What is your best advice for others in similar careers, based on your professional experience so far?

Build relationships. The successful execution of an event is a team effort, and–whenever possible–I will work with the same vendors and colleagues over and over again.  There’s a bond that forms over time and–when you find yourself in a pinch–they are the people that will help you.

Oh, and have good spreadsheet templates!

What advice do you have for speakers? 

Do your homework on the client.  Unless I have a specific speaker in mind, I always go with the speaker that comes highly recommended for customizing their presentations to meet what the client needs.

What themes do you see arising in your industry when you book speakers today?

In my current role, I am typically looking for speakers that fit with Osum’s desire to foster student interest in science and innovation.  So, speakers that can ignite a student’s creative spirit, and help them realize that they are in the position to bring unique perspectives to today’s challenges.  Those are the speakers I’m looking for. Personally, I love experts on entrepreneurship and organizational culture.

Do you have a favourite event that you can tell us about?

Well, on the topic of fostering student interest in science and innovation–we’ve done a series of really awesome events with high school students.  Probably the one that we still hear the most about was with Mayim Bialik, PhD in Neuroscience (AKA Amy Farrah Folwer on The Big Bang Theory).  Her notoriety as an actress plus her academic career in science had the students buzzing.

Did you ever have a crazy challenge come up while planning an event? 

I think every event brings a unique challenge: I’ve had a speaker with laryngitis, travel delays, power issues, etc.  I don’t really remember them after an event is said and done because I’m usually riding on the high of an amazing event!

After one of your big events is done, what do you do? Celebrate in style? Take a break to relax? Go straight to the next project?

Typically, I record any notes required for the debrief immediately after the event while they’re fresh in my mind and then have a couple of glasses of wine followed by a good night’s sleep!

Is there a charitable cause that you feel passionate about? Why? 

Yes, I recently joined the board of the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. With the greatest risk factor being age–and an aging population in Canada–it is  very important that we come together to focus on finding a cure and removing the stigma associated with the disease.

Best subject in school? 

History (or really anything that involved writing essays).

Desert island album? 

That’s a hard one.  I love music!  Maybe a “Music from the 90’s” playlist?!

Last book you read? 

Right now I’m reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  I’m enjoying the combination of research, data, and personal stories.

Last film you saw? 

Dallas Buyers Club. 

Celebrity crush?

George Clooney.  I’ve had a crush on him ever since he was on The Facts of Life!