For much of March and April, I planned my schedule around the daily COVID-19 briefings provided by Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Their clear, reassuring and informative briefings continue to provide a masterclass in public communications during a crisis. But it didn’t take long for my eyes to change their focus. While I was still listening to Minister Dix and Dr. Henry, I found myself watching someone else entirely—Nigel Howard.
If you’ve seen any of the daily briefings over the past couple of months, you’ve almost certainly noticed Nigel, an incredibly expressive American Sign Language interpreter. After seeing the passion that Nigel brings to his work, I read everything I could about his career and accomplishments. He’s an instructor at three BC institutions, a deaf translator for the UN, and is sought after around the globe. He’s also very humble about the spotlight he finds himself in.
I think it’s great that he’s getting lots of public love for doing what he clearly does very well, and that many more people (me included) are gaining an appreciation of just how important his work—and those of his counterparts across the country—is in ensuring accessible communication of not only critical public health information, but all information. You can count me as a member of the Nigel Howard Fan Club.
So, when Kirk & Co. started thinking about reopening our office, I knew there would be no better way to remind our team about maintaining appropriate physical distance and other important personal health measures than by showing, rather than telling. We’ll have Listen to Nigel posters up around our office, and I encourage you to think about doing the same in your workplaces.
Not only are these Geoff Coates posters works of art, but if you buy some, you’ll also be supporting some very worthwhile causes: the Deaf Children’s Society of BC (Nigel’s choice), the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (which is understandably seeing more need during this time), and Vancouver Is Awesome (because local news is more important than ever right now).
Stay safe, and continue to do your part to protect those around you from COVID-19. Not sure what that is? Just Listen to Nigel.
- Chris Chok
Chris Chok is the Chief Operating Officer of Kirk & Co., a Vancouver-based communications and engagement firm
You can purchase "Listen to Nigel" posters and t-shirts HERE