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Looking for Cross-Wise Communications? You're in the right place. Learn more.

Who is Red Thread?

We are on a mission to help communicators do better and be better.


We are a consulting and management consulting company delivering strategic, innovative and comprehensive solutions to communications, leadership and planning issues. 


Specialties include communications functional reviews and audits; customized training in communications knowledge or skills; communications needs assessments; coaching and mentoring; meeting facilitation; strategic and organizational planning; service offer definition; strategic communications planning; policy development; and recruitment tools.


We focus on moving communicators and the communications functions towards strategic partnerships with internal clients to achieve organizational goals. 


We take our work seriously but don’t take ourselves too seriously. We do it all with huge smiles and a sense of humour. 

Julia Harvie-Shemko, APR, CEC

Let’s partner together

Functional Communications Audits and Reviews

A functional audit or review is a comprehensive review of the communications function, structure, resources, processes, organizational influence and impact. Feedback from internal and external stakeholders along with other primary and secondary research provides information the strengths and weaknesses of the current communications function and the degree to which the structure and service delivery model allows the communications function to meet the organization’s current and future needs. This process focuses on the overall effectiveness of the communications function and does not focus on individual tool efficacy.

Needs assessment

Through a needs assessment process that includes review of strategic plans, business plans and budget documents along with consultative meetings with internal clients, communications functions develop an understanding of the projects and initiatives that require communications expertise. This clarity ensures more purposeful strategic partnerships and a greater focus on proactive than reactive communications. A needs assessment is typically followed by the development of a business plan.

Business planning

We inspire teams to outline their goals and action plans to ensure the team is aligned and moving in the same direction together. This is a facilitated process that includes the development of a team mandate, guiding principles and time bound listing of projects, initiatives and priorities. In many organizations, a business plan also connects to the organizational strategic plan.

Service catalogue/offer identification 

Having a strong understanding of your services as core, secondary and not the role of communications is critical to ensuring focus is on the work that matters while ensuring clients are clear on the services provided by communications. This is a facilitated session to determine service categorization, which services need to be moved in or out of the department, where services need to be negotiated and how to communicate the service catalogue to clients.

Strategic communications planning

All our strategic communications plans follow the RACE formula of research, analysis, communications and evaluation. Each strategic communications plan is built for the client’s unique situation, issue or project. The scope and size of the plan is appropriate for the need and is always built on a strong strategic foundation that connects action (tactics) to purpose (goals and objectives). Strategic communications planning can be completed as a facilitated process with individual communicators, a team of communicators or project teams.


Recruiting communications professionals is challenging. Effective position descriptions, attention-grabbing ads and a strong interview package, including interview exercises, can make the difference between an successful hire and a transitional hire.

Coaching and mentoring 

Coaching or mentoring for communicators, leaders and teams can lead to real results. Coaching helps teams or individuals reach stretch goals that may include both personal and professional goals, as I believe in coaching the whole person. Through mentoring, we help professionals grow their skills, make better decisions and have a sounding board for communications and leadership challenges, situations and opportunities.

Other services

  • Strategic Planning

  • Meeting facilitation

  • Communications policy development


We are open to discussing other work and opportunities. If we are not the right professionals for the job, we may know someone else we can recommend. 

Skill development - our customizable training

Strategic Communications Planning

Originally developed by Glenna Cross, ABC, MC, of Cross Wise Communications Ltd., this training ensures communicators understand what strategic communications planning is and how to develop a strategic communications plan. This hands on training program provides practical application and skill development for teams and individuals. Learn about building a strong communications foundation, the connection between business and communications strategy, building strong client relationships and how to build a communications plan using the RACE formula. This training, delivered by Glenna Cross, ABC, MC, was key to The City of Red Deer’s Communications and Strategic Planning department being named the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) 2020 In House Team of the Year.

Crafting Crispy Goals and Objectives that Bring Real Results

Developing ‘crispy’ or strong goals and objectives ensures you are delivering a communications strategy that helps the organization or project manager meet their objectives. It helps focus your work, ensures that your energy during implementation is directed to the right tactics and allows you the flexibility to shift as needed. Learn why completing research (R) and the analysis (A) can help you develop crispy goals and objectives. Those goals and objectives connect to the development of the communications (C) and evaluation (E). This is a hands on training experience that results in a greater understanding of the role of goals and objectives in your communications plan and how to develop them - the toughest part of a communications plan for many.

Think, do, believe or understand: An audience analysis tool

Identifying your audiences is only one step in the audience analysis process. Determining what you need your audiences to think, do, believe or understand related to your project helps ensure you understand your audiences at a deeper level and that the rest of your communications plan is geared in the right direction. In this session, learn what think, do, believe and understand mean, how to apply them and how they are influenced by and influence the rest of your communications plan. Get ready to

Additional topics

  • Don’t have a seat at the table? Bring your own lawnchair

  • Kick ass key messages

  • The path to better relationships with internal clients

What’s in a name? The meaning of Red Thread


“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance.

The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.”

~ Chinese Proverb ~


Connections. The meaning of Red Thread is connections.


Connecting actions to strategy.

Connecting dots across organizations.

Connecting team members to each other. 

Connecting communicators to their truth, passion and purpose.

Connecting needs to service delivery. 

Connecting communicators to each other. 


The name also has a personal connection. When we adopted our daughter, we received a book called The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairytale from a friend. In the book, a king and queen suffer mysterious chest pains that nothing can heal or explain. Magic spectacles eventually allow them to see a red thread bonded tightly to their hearts. They follow the loose end for days with the pain continuously easing until they reach a small village. A smiling happy baby is pulling on the end of the thread. A connection is made and the pain disappears when a villager tells them that this baby belongs to them.

Red Thread Connections can help alleviate your pain by building connections.

Our Values

Relationships. Our relationships are invaluable. We invest in them for client and agency success. We are in it for the long term. 


Strategy. We are idea makers and strategic thinkers. We create effective strategies, find solutions and think strategically to solve client issues by listening openly to each other while using our various skills and expertise. 


Service. Striving for the highest level of service at all times is our jam. We always bring the right people together at the right time for the right project/issue. 


Diversity. To be engaged, you must feel heard and included. This incudes embracing everyone. We are dedicated to continued learning to advance diversity, equality, inclusion and belonging; we’re committed to learning, growing and listening. 


Talent. We partner with only the highest talented individuals who deliver superior service and award winning service delivery.  


Honesty. We are truthtellers. We always champion for the truth to be told in an ethical, forthright and compelling way on behalf or our clients. Honesty and fairness are the guides against which all our actions must be evaluated. 


Partnerships. We promote a collaborative partnership with our clients and consistently support them to maximize value for themselves and their organizations. 


Continuous improvement. We work hard at being the best. We continually work to learn and grow and we love feedback to help us improve. 


Code of Ethics

As a member of the Canadian Society of Public Relations (CPRS), their Code of Professional Standards is always at the forefront of what I do.

Meet our founder

Julia Harvie-Shemko, APR, CEC

More than 20 years in communications and 30 years in leadership have engrained strategy into Julia Harvie-Shemko, APR, CEC. Julia founded Red Thread Connections Inc. in 2021 and has held senior executive roles at The City of Red Deer, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the 2004 Arctic Winter Games.


Accredited by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) since 2007 and a Certified Executive Coach (CEC), Julia has overseen the development and rollout of several large strategic initiatives including The City of Red Deer’s role in the 2019 Canada Winter Games, implementation of the emergency notification system “Notify Red Deer” and four City of Red Deer Strategic Plans. 

Julia works collaboratively with municipalities, non-profits and post-secondary institutions to mitigate issues that may affect public image, meet organizational goals, and create sound communications strategies. 

Over the course of her career at The City of Red Deer, Julia led the transition from strictly tactical communications and marketing activities to a focus on strategic communications and marketing planning and delivery. This helped in creating the crowning moment of Julia’s career, thus far, in leading this team to being named the 2020 In House Communications Team by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).


Julia is a collector of shoes and a frequent visitor to Alberta’s ski slopes who, since the pandemic, now believes that leggings are pants.

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