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The Backstory

Simon Couper
VW yellow van

Yes, we visited the Big Merino. And yes, the van had curtains.

Big Merino photo: By Moondyne – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Let’s go way back

When I was a kid growing up in Australia in the 1980s, we had two types of road trips. Every time mum (that’s Aussie for mom) was in the driver’s seat, we definitely knew what to expect. A teacher-librarian by training and temperament, she would have us pack the van the night before and then wake us before sunrise to set out, blinking and bleary, on a pre-planned route complete with snacks, song books and scheduled stops for McDonald’s.

But when dad was driving, things were different. We called his road trips “mystery tours” because they happened at mysterious intervals and also because we usually had no idea where he was taking us. Rickety railway? Botanical gardens? Historic site? Destination unknown, the only thing we could be sure of was that it was likely to be pouring when we got there. Yet every time we somehow failed to bring our raincoats.

Growing up with this ying and yang of organization and odyssey, I learned the value of being strategic, doing things with purpose and always carrying snacks. I also learned the thrill of discovery and the comradery that comes from overcoming shared challenges along the way. I’ve taken these lessons to heart and drawn on them through my life and career journey – including moving with my family from down under to Atlantic Canada in 2010.

Fast forward to now

I’m a seasoned communications leader with more than 20 years’ experience across multiple sectors including energy, higher education, retail and the media. As the Owner and Principal of Thataway Communications, I strive to bring strategic thinking, purpose-led storytelling, impactful writing and editing, and ESG savvy to every project.

Prior to launching Thataway, I was a stakeholder communications leader at Emera Inc., an international energy company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia with $40B in assets, 2.5 million customers, 7.1k employees and a strong track record of driving the transformation to cleaner energy. I played a key role in launching Emera’s first sustainability report and shaping its evolution into an ESG-focused update over several years, as well as helping to deliver major corporate initiatives including strategy, purpose and M&A communications. 

Earlier in my working life, I honed my communications skills as a reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and as a corporate communications leader at the Australian National University.

The road ahead

As a communications consultant, I’ve been fortunate to work with a diverse range of clients including international corporations, national retailers, respected universities and public commissions. I’ve helped them articulate strategy, drive organizational change, mark important milestones and share progress on ESG and other key initiatives with leaders, customers, investors, team members and communities.

I’d love to learn more about you and where your team is headed. You name the time, I’ll bring the car snacks.