It Takes Passion & Dedication
Interview with Darcy Boucher of Bowda PR, Communications and Consulting

Passion is a boundless enthusiasm; it is what drives us to do our best. This leads us to beg the question: if you are not passionate, just how successful will you be? Hard work takes you far—all of those late night study sessions and early mornings will bare gifts, gifts that will come to you in the future. It just so happens that past uOttawa student Darcy Boucher’s gift came to her wrapped with a pretty little bow.

I had the great opportunity to speak with Darcy Boucher, founder of Bowda PR, Communications and Consulting, via Facebook. Throughout this interview, I found out quite a bit about this talented and successful young woman. Darcy studied Public Relations for two years at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, and finished up her degree at the University of Ottawa in Communications. Throughout that time, she gained experience through various positions. She was a PR intern for Ottawa Fashion Week, in addition to doing PR for various startups.

When asked about her favorite classes, she mentioned the Entrepreneurial Mind course (ADM 3313) with Professor Stephen Daze that helped a lot with the logistics of starting your own business. On the topic of professors at uOttawa, she said Professor Gordon Lucke (CMN 4128, CMN 3155, CMN 1111) and Pierre Belanger (CMN 3165, CMN 1160, CMN 3504) were amongst her favorites as they gave her real world situations and experience that is actually pertinent to students. With all of this said, it is important to know that in order to be successful, you’re going to have to work hard; whether that be going to university and/or college, interning for various companies, volunteering for events, and even enduring three hour lectures with some notable and maybe even boring professors. You never know, maybe one day you’ll want to start your own business!

So then, what makes one want to start a business? What inspired Darcy to start her own PR boutique? Her answer was selfless, “Honestly what inspired me most are the clients. I want to work with clients that I can really get behind and love what they do. I love working with entrepreneurs and startups because they are truly passionate and motivated about what they do. So honestly, it’s all about the clients”.

Once again, passion is a boundless enthusiasm, but in a profession where we’re all constantly trying to be the best or first at something, our passion becomes very competitive. What I wanted to know was if Darcy had found any support in her competitors or contacts. I asked, “To survive day to day issues did you ever enlist in the help of a mentor for problems you can’t solve on your own”? She responded with, “I definitely seek out the advice of my mentors. I have multiple mentors that are skilled in various industries and I think finding mentors that you really connect with and can learn from is essential to the success of a new business, or any business for that matter”. A business takes hard work, but luckily Darcy was not on her own – with the help of her mentors she found ways to solve problems to better her business.

Bowda PR offers a laundry list of services such as strategic public relations in media and press kits, media relations, social media management, and social media strategy. She also offers creative communications in communications planning, content creation, internal and organizational communication and crisis communication. Finally, she offers consulting in event planning, marketing, branding, promoting, and website creation. When asked about some of the challenges she had to overcome in starting Bowda PR and what her proudest achievement was with her company she answered with, “My proudest achievement is without a doubt the unbelievable support I have received. It’s heartwarming to know that my network believes not only in me, but also in what I’m doing. Also, I have had multiple people send me their resumes and inquire about working for Bowda so it’s amazing to hear that people actually get the vision and idea behind it all and want to join the team”.

Bowda is growing and becoming increasingly known. When asked about future aspirations in Bowda PR, Boucher responded with a five-year goal. She hopes that in five years, Bowda is a thriving, international business with a client roster that is not only lengthy, but each and every one of those projects is near and dear to the management team. She later added that she sees Bowda having long-term relationships with their clients and working with some exciting entrepreneurs.

Before ending my interview with Darcy Boucher, I asked her what kind of advice she could give to fellow PR students. Her response should resonate,
“My advice is to learn by doing. Only so much of PR can be taught by theory and the book. Get out there and gain some real world experience and find out what it actually is all about. Also, stay true to who you are and follow your heart and dreams. Don’t get into PR because you envision a glamorous, event attending lifestyle. Get into PR because you actually want to help people with their business and believe in their vision 100%. You want to be their biggest cheerleader and advocate and are honored to have a hand in what they are creating. Be genuine. In an industry that’s all about image and reputation being yourself can really go a long way”.

If you want more information on Bowda PR, Communications and Consulting, visit their website at and follow them on Twitter @bowdapr.
Looking to volunteer or intern?

Written by: Channelle Labelle-Viens
Edited by: Sharon Cheung


SPOTLIGHT: Dr. Nahon-Serfaty


Meet Dr. Isaac Nahon-Serfaty, an associate professor in the communications department at the University of Ottawa. He is a well spoken, and most certainly well educated man, passionate about public relations, and sharing both his knowledge and personal experiences with the communications students of uOttawa. Originating from Venezuela, he began his postsecondary studies at Communicación Social Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, where he received his Bachelors in communications. Furthering his studies, he continued on to the University of Montreal, Canada. It was in Montreal that he earned both his Masters in Communication Sciences, and his Ph.D. in Communications. Before his arrival at uOttawa, he had been working in Miami, Florida, as a Healthcare Practice Chair for Latin America, at the Public Relations agency BursonMarsteller.

Hoping to continue his career teaching in Canada, he found a position at the University of Ottawa, starting in 2007 and continuing to today. Expanding on his field of studies, professor Nahon-Serfaty’s fields of interest include health
communications, public relations, institutional communication and international
communication. The current focus in his research is in health communications, focusing on public discourse on health and illness, and how the discourses of some conditions are affecting the relationships between patients and providers. For his own research, professor Nahon-Serfaty stated that he works with the Nongovernment
and patient organizations he is researching directly. For students who don’t necessarily have this opportunity for their own research projects, he suggests following methods presented in lectures, as well as using the programs provided by the university.

To get to know more about Dr. Nahon-Serfaty’s other research (English-language pieces), I suggest reading:

* Multicultural, Multiethnic, and Multifaith Communication, an editorial in the Canadian edition of the Global Media Journal. Highlighting how communication can be found within culture, ethnicity and religion.,%20nahonserfaty,%20and%20ahmed.pdf
* Connecting the Micro and Macro Approaches: Cultural Stakes in Health Communication (2009), further examination of the role and importance of health communication.

If you yourself are in the Public Relations or Communications department at uOttawa, you might find yourself with Dr. Isaac Nahon-Serfaty as your professor in the courses CMN3144 Public Relations, CMN4144 Advanced Public Relations Seminar, or CMN4500 Thèmes choisis (média ou organisationnel).

* CMN3144 focuses on the use of public relations in society, examining both practical and theoretical aspects.
* CMN4144 develops on the practical application of public relations, using particular techniques and strategies.
* CMN4500 Thèmes choisis (média ou organisationnel); examines certain problems that occur within communications.

Within the past few years professor Nahon-Serfaty has noticed an increase in student interest within the Public Relations program at uOttawa. From his own perspective, he believes this increase is occurring due to the university’s enlarged emphasis on PR and the coordination between the French and English PR programs at the university. By continuing collaboration and other initiatives, he predicts expanded interest will continue. To add to the expansion and increase student interest himself, he invited a professor from Miami to come to uOttawa and collaborate with him during one of the courses he taught this summer. This change of pace, giving his students additional insight into the field from another professor, adding to what they were already gaining from the course.

In addition to the guest he brought in for his summer course, what you might find different in a class with Dr. Isaac Nahon-Serfaty, in comparison to your other communications courses, is his focus on real world case studies, and the personal experiences he uses and expands on during lectures. He also likes to keep his students interested by teaching them how to be critical, as well as showing them how public relations can be used both socially and ethically in the new and constantly changing challenges within the PR world. If he were to leave anything behind at uOttawa, it would be for his students to have grasped the critical
aspect of PR, seeing that it is a fascinating and constantly changing profession, different even from when he began himself.

For tips on how PR students can get involved outside of the classroom, Dr. Nahon-Serfaty suggests attending communications and public relations events, engage yourself with the community and become familiar with potential future employers. He began working within communications when he was 18 years old. Another way of getting involved, besides volunteering with uOPRA of course, is joining the Canadian Public Relations Society in Ottawa. Students can find out more about signing up with CPRSOttawa via the following link:

During our interview, professor Nahon-Serfaty also stressed the importance of social media within the PR world. Twitter, just being one example of a form of constant media and news updates, helps those within communications to stay connected and aware of changes. While he uses twitter for personal use, professor Nahon-Serfaty suggests that students follow french communications professor @LucDupont. Reminding students that the biggest challenge in PR is to stay up-to-date, therefore it is best to use the methods we have easily available to us to stay informed and updated. Finally, an excuse to check your twitter while
you’re studying!

For additional insight on how to be successful after graduation, Dr. Nahon-Serfaty
suggests that those who develop a certain expertise, whether by obtaining a masters or Ph.D in a particular area of communications, or only working in one field, usually do very well in Public Relations. Being “international” also helps. By “being international”, he means making yourself more diverse by learning other languages, becoming involved in international events and social issues (what a great “excuse” to travel!), and overall expanding your horizons. By doing so, you could open up a lot of opportunities for yourself postgraduation. A success story being seen in Isaac Nahon-Serfaty himself, being fluent in Spanish, English and French, and making his way from Venezuela to Canada. Overall, he emphasizes that Public Relations is an industry that is forever changing, and the best way
to stay on top is to keep up!

Written by: Jocelyn Courneya

OTTAWA STUDENT GUIDE: Your Key to the Nation’s Capital

Public Relations is all about trying and learning new things. uOPRA’s Bryant McNamara set out to create a list to highlight all things #OttCity and uOttawa based. Below you will find his picks of some great places to try out, make your own, and to decide for yourself if they are worthy to be on a student-friendly list for PR students. We’ve made sure that everything (except the beaches) is within a 5km radius of residence/Sandy Hill.



1. Cora’s – 179 Rideau St.
2. Father’s and Son’s (F&S) – 112 Osgoode St. This place will become your home after long nights out and saviour during exams.
3. Eggspectation – 171 Bank St. – Great food, great view upstairs.
4. The Draft Pub – Sports Complex (South End of Campus, 801 King Edward Ave.) – Low-key environment with great views of hockey rink to watch some games. Decent place to study during school hours as it gets quiet.
5. Royal Oak – 161 Laurier Ave. – Home to many, come patio season you’re bound to find yourself here at least once.


GOING OUT? (19+)

1. Mondays – Hooley’s for wing night $0.35 cent wings.
2. Tuesdays – Toonie Tuesday over at 1848 (19+), Junxion (19+).
3. Wednesdays – Patty Boland’s (19+), Heart and Crown (19+), Metal Night at Zaphod’s.
4. Thursdays – Pub 101 (19+), Rainbow Bistro (19+).
5. Fridays – Anywhere!
6. Saturdays – Anywhere!
7. Sundays – Greenroom (19+), Mod Night at Babylon (19+), Sexy Bingo Night at Zaphod’s (19+).

La Maison (19+) is the local bar, located at the edge of center campus, that is open every night. Cheap pitchers of beer, sangria, and great company make the best nights. Located on 191 Somerset Ave. E., it’s safe to say most uOttawans call this place home.


Late Night Grubs (Nom Nom Nom)…

1. Zak’s Diner – 14 ByWard Market – Open 24/7 with an all-day breakfast. Need we say more?
2. Elgin Street Diner (ESD) – 374 Elgin St. – Poutine heaven. Late night madness.
3. Smoke’s Poutinerie – 407 Dalhousie St. – We REALLY like Poutine.
4. Shawarma Byte – 124 Osgoode St. – You will undoubtedly end up here on one of your nights of exploring the city if you live near residence or Sandy Hill. It’s on the list but sometimes we regret that it’s even on our roster.
5. Castle Shawarma (178 Rideau St.) – Forget Shawarma Palace, Castle Shawarma has the best spicy garlic sauce you’ll ever encounter here in Ottawa.

LGBT Community (19+) – In terms of LGBT community-oriented bars, The Lookout is located in the Byward Market, as well as The Mercury Lounge, which is known for their extremely busy Wednesday nights. There’s also Club Edge at 212 Sparks St.


Surf’s Up: Beaches

Britannia is in the west end, and in my opinion is the nicest of the three. They have different Reggae-ton/dance nights as well as great food during the day. Nicest sand and overall nicest location in terms of scenery and people.

Westboro Beach is the smallest and by far most private. Located right along Sir John A. McDonald Parkway in Westboro you simply take a 94, 95, or 96 heading to the West end (15 min bus ride) and get off at Dominion walking on the right end of the Parkway.

Mooney’s Bay is the biggest, as well as the host of Ottawa’s HOPE Volleyball tournament which hosted 25,000 people in 2013 according to CTV news ( for more information) Aside from HOPE Volleyball there are occasional moonlight yoga events as well as just all round beach greatness.


Venues (Live Music)

As a drummer, I have a huge spot in my heart for live music. As biased as this is, these are the best places to go…hands down.

1. Cafe Nostalgica – 603 Cumberland St, – Just got rebuilt this year! Right outside the library towards the Perez Building. The food, the staff and the energy of the Café should be reason enough to check it out.
2. Rainbow Bistro – 76 Murray St. – Around since 1984, this venue is right across from “Pier 21”. Live music EVERY SINGLE DAY of the week. Schedules available at
3. Zaphod’s Beeblebrox – 27 York St. – Live music is happening here, but not every day. You’ll have to check their schedule at for their live shows.
4. Mavericks – 221 Rideau St. – This is where a lot of the bigger bands come to play in Ottawa. for info!
5. Cafe Dekcuf – 221 Rideau St. – Located right above Mavericks, you go into Mavericks and up the stairs on the left side. If you’re curious where they got their name, just read it backwards.

There are numerous more venues around the city. If you’d like to hear about more of them please feel free to email me at


If museums are your thing you should definitely check out the National Art museum, located right near the university off of Somerset drive. They let students in free on Thursday nights!

For other museum inquiries, check out this link!



Deja Vu is a little quiet zone on the second floor of the library. Go up the stairs at the front entrance to the library, and as you exit the door at the top of the stairs you will see a sign to your right that says “déjà vu”.

The Morisset Library is always a good place to go, depending on what you’re looking for. 3rd and 4th floors are silent, 5th is a talking floor, and 6th is graduating students only. If you decide to study in the library just make sure to keep your stuff close at hand. Thefts happened last year so take the extra couple minutes to pack your stuff up and bring it with you to get food or leave it with a friend.

Cafe Nostalgica is a great spot to go if you like a busy environment. It’s got coffee, people and live music most nights. Check em out!

Cafe Alt is a cafe in the bottom of the Arts building. This place is my personal haven for studying. Just the right atmosphere for being around people who are just as busy as you are. They have great food and great coffee…be careful, you might just never leave. I’ve found myself there until 6-7 am sometimes working on group projects.

The Education Centre located on the 3rd floor of LMX. It’s free space for everyone to use and very quiet.

Sites/Adventure Areas

Somerset Footbridge – Commonly called the Lockbridge, this is a pretty nice spot to take someone on a stroll if you’re just looking to talk and walk. It goes between both sides of the river, Queen Elizabeth and Colonel By Drive.

Parliament Locks – This is a great spot, and you can get here a few ways. First, you can take the stairs down from the east side of the parliament buildings. The stairs are right off of Wellington St between Parliament and the Chateau Laurier.

At the end of the day, we all enrolled into university to grow in our programs of interest and meet new friends. uOPRA has created this list to make your stay here in our beautiful city of Ottawa that much better. We love Ottawa and we want you to love it too! Some items on the list revolved around 19+ areas, uOPRA advises caution when going out in the city and never be alone especially at night. Always be safe and make the right decisions! “Stay alert, stay safe!”

Written by: Bryant McNamara
Edited by: Sharon Cheung