Skip to main content Skip to site utility navigation Skip to main site navigation Skip to site search Skip to footer

Employer spotlight: A Q&A with Iris Communications

A designed image with a teal block of colour and a blue block of colour and white and blue font that reads: Employer Spotlight, A Q&A with Iris Communications, and a round icon of a handshake.
Iris Communications co-owner and partner Sean Lewis’s connection to NSCC runs deep. He's a graduate of the Public Relations program and knows first-hand the impact an NSCC education can have on a career.

And, at Iris Communications, he’s an employer of NSCC grads.

Sean shares why:

Please share some details about your role/position.

I am a co-owner of Iris Communications, a leading, independent strategic communications, government relations and public advocacy firm in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In my role, I’m responsible for guiding a business's strategic direction and managing day-to-day activities while providing strategic communications counsel and support to our clients.

Are you an NSCC alum? If so, please share your program, campus and year of graduation.

Yes, Public Relations, Institute of Technology Campus, 2006.

Please share some of your student experience and how it might have played a role in where you are today.

I enrolled in NSCC’s Public Relations program after completing an undergraduate degree from St. Francis Xavier University. The Public Relations program provided me with practical experience and a solid foundation to enter the workforce.

The internship portion of the program led to the start of a successful career in public relations. I interned with a public relations agency and was hired full-time. After 9 years with the agency, I worked with Corporate Research Associates (now Narrative Research), led communications for Irving Shipbuilding Inc., and today, I’m a co-owner of Iris Communications.
A portrait of Sean Lewis
"NSCC built upon my experience and learning from university and provided me with the necessary skills to begin a career in public relations."
Sean Lewis
Iris Communications Co-owner and Partner

Please describe your business/industry and the areas you serve.

We help clients navigate complex environments by providing integrated communications and engagement solutions. We offer a full range of integrated strategic communications and public affairs counsel and services, including:

  • strategic communications
  • government relations and public affairs
  • community and stakeholder engagement
  • media relations and training
  • insights, analysis and reporting

Approximately how many NSCC graduates do you employ?

We have three NSCC graduates, including myself, working at Iris. Ben Wishart and I are graduates of the Public Relations program and Alyse Hand is a Radio Television Journalism graduate.

As an employer, what skills or qualities do you look for when hiring? 

As a strategic communications firm, we look for people who can add their unique perspectives to our team while building lasting connections with clients and providing strategic solutions with a practical and realistic approach. Our team members have varying backgrounds in communications and government relations.  

Our employees must be self-starters and proactive in tackling work and delivering client results. They are strong writers who can create engaging content through compelling storytelling. They must also be collaborative, detail-oriented and focused on elevating our clients and team.  

Why do you choose to hire NSCC graduates? What sets them apart from other applicants? 

Our team’s educational backgrounds are diverse and all contribute to providing strategic counsel and advice to our clients. Students in NSCC’s Public Relations program typically have a previous degree or work experience that can sometimes provide a different perspective and thinking than someone entering a program directly from high school.  

A group of Iris Communications employees stand together for a group photo. They are looking at the camera and smiling.
The Iris Communications team during a brand launch in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Is there anything you’d like to add? 

I grew up in a home where NSCC was a common theme. My father, Bert Lewis, followed in the footsteps of my grandfather, Raymond Lewis, and began his career as a plumber, then taught plumbing at NSCC.  

My father eventually moved into administration and retired as Principal of the Strait Area Campus. He often told me when I was in high school and then again university that when I was ready for an education tailored toward a career, I should go see the team at NSCC.  

Well, he was right. NSCC built upon my experience and learning from university and provided me with the necessary skills to begin a career in public relations. More importantly, while studying at NSCC I met my wife, Lindsay, who owns Lindsay Lewis Sleep Solutions and we’re the proud parents of our 3 children.