MPR grad knows the value of academic research

Natalie Doyle Oldfield knows the value of research. This Master of Public Relations graduate and recipient of the Mount Saint Vincent University Senate Award of Distinction has built her career on showing businesses how important trust is; her research demonstrates the value of the service that she provides. Clear, relevant, reliable research is what has helped Natalie build a successful and innovative business, and recently, it’s also helped her to gain international attention among communications experts. (Pictured below, Natalie Doyle Oldfield, right, and Dr. Alla Kushniryk, Mount professor and co-presenter, left)

Alla and Natalie in Puerto Rico 2015 - website photoResearch to create trust
Natalie is the founder and President of Success Through Trust, a firm that helps companies grow by establishing and building their customers’ trust. While she was a graduate student at the Mount, she performed research that included interviewing and examining many of Canada’s most successful companies, including Four Season’s Hotels and Resorts, Maple Leaf Foods, Bell Canada, The Shaw Group, BDC, Irving and more. This research led her to develop a system that gives companies clear insights on how trust is built with customers and stakeholders – a system that she uses today to help her clients grow their businesses. “The system is rooted in the real word,” she says. “I applied the scientific method to identify the patterns, causes and effects of creating trust within the business world.”
And the academic research that Natalie performed as a graduate student continues to benefit her business today because, she says, it gives her clients an objective and accurate understanding of what drives customer behaviours. “The ultimate benefit of academic research is that it is objective. You get a clear unbiased understanding of an issue or topic that does not go through the prism of an organization’s agenda. From the research and findings, I developed a process and tools that help clients build a culture of trust, sell more, understand buying motives, engage more effectively, excel at customer service and get more business from existing clients.”
A constant student and teacher
But Natalie’s commitment to research didn’t end when she earned her degree; her work is ongoing, and it helps her to create new program offerings for clients. “I have been and will continue to be a constant student and teacher of what makes customers tick. I will continue to invest in the topic of what makes great companies grow.”
In May 2015, Natalie attended the 2015 International Communication Association (ICA) conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This conference is the world’s largest research and networking event for communications researchers and professionals and was this year attended by more than 2,700 participants, representing 61 countries. Experts in the field attend this event to hear top researchers present their latest research. And, this year, Natalie Doyle Oldfield was one of those researchers. She and Dr. Alla Kushniryk, a professor in the Mount’s Public Relations program, co-authored and presented a paper titled “It is all About Trust: A New Model for Building and Protecting Organizational Trust with External Publics.”
Keeping up on the latest findings
When Natalie was still a graduate student in the MPR program, Dr. Kushniryk, one of her professors, encouraged her to submit her new Building Trust Model to this conference. Natalie notes that she was honoured it was accepted. “Master’s students seldom present their research,” she explains. Presenters are almost exclusively PhDs and professors.
But this year, she was not only able to unveil her own research to the world’s leading experts, but also to get an up-close look at the latest research in the field. And this research will be important to Natalie’s business as she continues to develop her model, as well as the services that her clients have come to rely on to build their own companies. “Learning about relevant new scientific studies that can be applied to improve real world business issues is of critical importance to me,” she says.