InsightsPOSTED April 27, 2018

Changing the Culture of an Organization with Communicator of the Year Masai Ujiri

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Marc, Masai, Kevin and Kristina

On Monday April 9, IABC Toronto held an event to celebrate the recipient of the 2017 Communicator of the Year Award, Masai Ujiri, president of the Toronto Raptors. Since 1997, the IABC/Toronto Communicator of the Year award has been given annually to inspiring leaders in the Greater Toronto Area. These individuals demonstrate excellence in leadership, management and communication skills.

Our APEXers had the chance to attend the event and have given thoughts to some of their takeaways from Masai’s speech. Here’s what they had to say:

Linda Andross, managing partner at APEX PR/ruckus Digital

“My favourite part of the speech? Masai’s emphasis on listening. We do a lot of talking in our business and sometimes the best course of action is to be in the moment and actually listen. Show the person that you respect them and want to be there for them and supporting them by hearing them out. Then take a minute and reflect on what you’ve heard before responding. Put yourself in their shoes.”


Diane Bégin, vice president at APEX PR/ruckus Digital


“For me it was the 3 lessons: transparency and honesty trump everything, trust the people you hire for their expertise and always, always know your audience.”


Marc Dodsworth, consultant at APEX PR


“I think the best part about his speech was his honesty. It was clear it wasn’t rehearsed but it didn’t need to be. Since he was speaking earnestly and from the heart, he immediately won the trust of everyone in the room and had some great stories to share.”


Kristina Mikhalkova, coordinator at APEX PR


“Masai’s advice that stuck with me the most was to be authentic. Being authentic is key in our industry. People are exceptional communicators and can sense when one is being inauthentic and that just doesn’t sit right! When you’re authentically yourself you are being honest to all those around you, creating a trusting nature with every interaction you have. It’s important to be true to yourself in an industry surrounded by people.”


Kevin Behar, coordinator at APEX PR

To begin, I am a huge fan of the Toronto Raptors, and to meet the man who is behind the major turn around of the organization was a huge honour for me. But in regards to Masai and what I learned, the biggest takeaway from the event was the fact that he surrounds himself with people that are smarter than himself, and this helps push himself to succeed. He is not intimidated by the fact that people are smarter then him, it helps him make the “team” or business better, and ultimately the team is a business. Also, another thing I really appreciated about him is the trust he puts in his team. He trusts his team to put out the best product available. By trusting those people he works with, he empowers them to be better and do greater things.”

Kristina Mikhalkova is an account coordinator at APEX PR. You can follow her on Twitter. Does your organization need help communicating your story? Drop us a line.


In picture from left to right: Marc Dodsworth, Masai Ujiri, Kevin Behar, Kristina Mikhalkova

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