Kayla Tishcoff-35 Under 35

35 Under 35 Class of 2018-19
Kayla is one of 35 professionals, age 35 and under, who make up the Class of 2018-19. These 35 individuals are emerging leaders who are making a difference in school public relations.

Kayla Tishcoff
Peel District School Board
Mississauga, Ont.

What does leadership mean to you? 
The leaders I admire tend to be transformational leaders — they motivate those around them to move forward together, as a united team. It takes a mix of trust (in yourself and others), compassion, inspiration and hard work—being action-oriented in the moment, while having the patience, perseverance and vision for the long haul. 

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced? 
Each year in school PR has been filled with unforgettable, life changing moments — both personally and professionally. Most recently, it was seeing the Pride flag raised at our central board office for the first time, and knowing the impact that this important district decision had on staff, students and their families.

What are the most challenging and/or rewarding part about working in school PR? 
Without a doubt, my most rewarding moments have been supporting schools and the district during crises. It’s strategic, fast-paced and impactful work that has helped me grow as a communications professional. More importantly, it allows principals and superintendents focus on what matters most — student safety and well-being. 

What’s your favorite work app and personal app?
I’m really into Trello right now, as a work and personal app. I’ve used it as an editorial calendar for our newly launched Share the Smile website, to keep track of groceries, and even to help plan a friend’s wedding!

What book has inspired you professionally? 
Lately, I’ve been inspired by Deep Diversity by Shakil Choudhury and An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield — both are Canadian, of course!
How has NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way? 
Joining NSPRA has been a great way to connect with other school PR professionals who just “get it.” Their passion and dedication to student success is infectious and inspiring.

What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?
A favorite campaign of mine comes from a Toronto-based hospital for children, Sick Kids. Their “Sick Kids vs. Limits” campaign has been running for a couple years now, and each new chapter challenges assumptions by showing the strength of their young patients as superheroes. It’s unexpected, touching, and inspiring.

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited? 
I’m excited to see that equity and inclusion work is becoming more embedded in school PR — though I’m hopeful that this isn’t just a trend. This important work gives us, as communicators, an opportunity to drive positive change. I’m especially looking forward to seeing our storytelling evolve to include the voices of marginalized communities, particularly when we can do so in a way that amplifies their authentic voices.