Fueled by a passion for the arts and her desire to showcase Canadian talent, Laura Hughes is a seasoned communicator with fifteen years of professional experience in media relations, public relations and issues management. Currently the Senior Manager of Communications with the Shaw Festival, Laura has held positions with numerous premiere Canadian entertainment companies, including CTV/Bell Media, Shaw Media, TVO, Harper CollinsCanada and Luminato.
A strategic-minded professional with a creative flare, Laura’s diverse portfolio reflects expertise working in both the non-profit and private sectors, along with non-unionized and unionized environments. Her career highlights include: spearheading the international publicity campaign for an Oscar®-nominated short film; more than doubling Luminato’s media impressions after taking the reins in 2009; executing national tours for bestselling authors including Arlene Dickinson, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, and Ron MacLean; launching TVO’s first commissioned drama series, Hard Rock Medical; and overseeing communications campaigns for high-profile brands such as HGTV, HISTORY, and Food Network. Aligning her strategies with the overarching corporate objectives, Laura’s campaigns are designed to achieve audience and revenue targets, while delivering the brand message to a wide audience.
In her current position, Laura oversees media relations, social media, photography and public relations for the Shaw Festival, an internationally renowned, world-class repertory theatre company. She serves as an official spokesperson for the Festival; provides communications counsel to the leadership team; and enhances the company’s success by designing and executing proactive communications strategies, including transforming the Festival’s approach to organic social media content and introducing a multi-year social influencer strategy. Laura employs traditional and contemporary communications practices to reinforce both the visitor experience and the company’s reputation locally, nationally and internationally.
A graduate of Queen’s University, Laura believes in the value of education, actively working to collaborate with and mentor budding practitioners. She teaches Social Media Strategies in the Public Relations Program at Niagara College and previously taught Media Relations at Seneca College