Heather Young


Heather Young is a seasoned and purpose-driven communications professional. With 15 years of experience in the field, her expertise spans corporate communications, public relations (PR), media relations, marketing, public affairs, community relations, corporate social responsibility (CSR), crisis communications, internal engagement, and events. Prior to arriving at OIST, she drove innovation by advancing communications for academic-industry collaborations across Canada and with international partners. Before that, she held leadership positions at a Canadian health and safety agency and at the Special Olympics. 

Creating and implementing best-in-class communications requires a strong team working in alignment toward this goal. This principle is the foundation of Heather’s work, as evidenced by her professional career and supported with international recognition. But excellence does not “just happen.” Successful teams must connect strategy and operations with purpose and integrity. In pursuit of these aims, Heather’s teams have been recognized with awards and accolades from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), PR News, and the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).

Now at OIST, Heather leads an international and dynamic team who ensure the story of this pioneering graduate university—a catalyst for world-class research, education, and innovation located on the island of Okinawa—is known locally, nationally, and around the globe.

Director, Communications, Mitacs
Manager, Public Affairs, WorkSafeBC
Marketing-Communications Officer, WorkSafeBC
Manager, Communications, Special Olympics BC
Various roles, Feather Books and Granville Island Publishing
Lights On Fund, Co-Founder and Executive Director
International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Award Evaluator
Special Olympics, Swim Coach and Mission Staff
Heather Young
Heather Young
Vice President for Communication & Public Relations