So far, Amanda Riva’s career path has been… absolutely delicious. As CEO of THP (The Hot Plate), she has launched a one-stop shop for brands that offers an affordable and on-demand solution for content creation and social media marketing. Emma Bullen caught up with her to talk about her career path, company culture, and what it meant to win the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
EB: How did you get to where you are today?
AR: I come from a very entrepreneurial family. My Dad is a successful tech entrepreneur, and I worked at his company underneath his VP of sales when I was 17 to help make some beer money for school. It gave me a work ethic and an understanding of how to pitch an idea and to get people to buy in and not being afraid of rejection.
I started The Hot Plate as an online cooking show in university. I had moved into my first apartment, and I loved to cook. One of my girlfriends suggested I record myself and put it on TV McGill at McGill University. At the time we were the first people speaking to Millennials about food. We went on to win the Dobson cup at Miguel for Entrepreneurship.
Darian Kovacs’ work in PR, digital advertising, and social media has taken him from organizing events as a teenager to founding his agency, Jelly Marketing. Emma Bullen caught up with him to talk about his career path, company culture, and what marketers should learn in 2018.
EB: Tell me about how you got to where you are today.
DK: When I was 14 years old, Almira Bardai who owns Jive PR was doing a project with her twin sister for ICBC. They got a group of students to help organize and put on a conference about road sense and leadership. I learned about what it looked like to market, promote, and get press about an event. I watched as Almira hustled the media: she got the newspapers, the TV, and the radio out to cover this event. As I gained experience, I became drawn to the way that we can tell a story in a way that the press would want to cover it.
When you think of a PR job, think of a dating agency. Our job is to get information about a brand and make sure we know it well. This way, we can set interviews with either a reporter, a news outlet or even an influencer for the brand we are representing. When it’s that good of a fit, they make beautiful story babies. It’s a fantastic thing.
The thrill of setting up your friend with another person and it works is that same thrill we get every day. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called The Tipping Point, and he talks about three different archetypes of people: including the connector. That’s the definition of the job of a PR person.
Antoine Bonicalzi’s career path has taken him from swimming pool salesman to Director of Marketing at an influential Canadian email marketing company, Cyberimpact. Emma Bullen caught up with him to talk about how he got to where he is today, tips for eye-catching emails, and what marketers should learn in 2018.
Emma Bullen: Tell me about yourself. How did you get to where you are today?
Antoine Bonicalzi: I was born and raised in Montreal, and I’ve worked in Marketing for almost ten years now. I was attracted to business and marketing in my early 20s. I went to college, but I never studied marketing formally; in fact, my degree is in kinesiology. Although I had a genuine interest in it, I knew when I finished university that I wasn’t going to pursue a career in that field.
In our Creative Cultures series, correspondent Crystal Henrickson spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From startups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today she meets with the energetic team behind Merchant Advance Capital.
With a beautiful open office overlooking scenic Stanley Park, Merchant Advance Capital is the definition of a homegrown success story.
Since launching out of Founder & CEO David Gens’s apartment in 2010, the fintech company has found its niche using innovative technology and big data to help small businesses in Canada access financing and grow their business.
Today, the company operates two offices in Vancouver and Toronto, and manages more than 50 employees, with roles ranging from portfolio managers to marketers to software engineers.
In our Creative Cultures series, writer Isabel Chalmers spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From start-ups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today, Isabel is at Uberflip in Toronto.
Uberflip helps businesses create remarkable content experiences, and to no surprise, hires remarkable people to do the work. Walking up to Uberflip’s vibrant open-concept office, located in the heart of Liberty Village, I can hear laughter from the hallway, and as I wait for my interview, I’m greeted by everyone who walks by (and even offered candy). One thing is clear, Uberflip is anything but a boring place to work.
Deborah Hall’s work in advertising, media, and software development has taken her from the world of mobile development to her current role as co-founder and CEO of Dive Networks. Emma Bullen caught up with her to talk about her career path, company culture, and the future of marketing.
Emma Bullen: How did you get to where you are today?
Deborah Hall: My profession is mechanical engineering, but I’ve spent the majority of my career problem-solving in the digital marketing space. Throughout the course of my career, I’ve built engines and plane parts and I’ve worked in advertising, media, and software. I guess you could say that I’ve come full circle. I still work in technology, but now I make software.
Katelyn Crawford’s work in advertising, sponsorship marketing, and brand development has taken her from the world of advertising to corporate, building and growing brands for Scotiabank and Cineplex Entertainment LP. Emma Bullen caught up with her to talk about her career path, tips for busy marketers, and how to build and maintain a strong brand voice.
Emma Bullen: Tell me about your career path. How have you got to where you are today?
Katelyn Crawford: I started working for advertising agencies so I could truly understand all the components that go into making an advertising campaign. Everything from briefing, the creative process, campaign execution and client management, I wanted to get exposed to (and learn) it all. That being said, I knew I wanted to transition to the client side of brand management, which is where I am now. I really enjoy being involved in all aspects of building a brand including strategic development, the customer journey and now that I’m on the other side, when I work with agencies, and I understand the process of how they produce work and where they’re coming from.
In our Creative Cultures series, correspondent Crystal Henrickson spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From startups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today she’s with the talented folks at A Thinking Ape.
Ask anyone who works at the near-decade-old game studio, and they’ll tell you that A Thinking Ape doesn’t build games. In fact, their much grander mission is to build vibrant communities, by strategically fostering strong connections with and between their users. This unrelenting focus on long-term engagement has led their team to produce several successful social and mobile games, including the top-grossing Kingdoms at War and the upcoming Kingdoms of Heckfire.
When I interviewed leadership at their Vancouver office about how this community-focused philosophy translates to their internal culture, it became clear that A Thinking Ape practices what they preach. Using the same philosophies that they use to build player communities, they’ve been nurturing a collaborative and supportive environment for their growing team.
In our Creative Cultures series, writer Isabel Chambers spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From start-ups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today, Isabel is at Rangle.io in Toronto.
Put simply, Rangle.io makes apps, but in reality, they’re a leading force in Canada’s tech industry for a lot more than that. Leaders of diversity and advocates for education, Rangle is building a new future for Canadian workplaces where inclusion and learning reign. When it comes to Rangle’s employees, they’re a passionate and educated bunch, and not just about technology. They’re well-versed in global issues and are together taking steps to break through barriers one hire at a time.
Meagan Tanner is passionate about facilitating excellence in the digital space. A Strategic Partner Manager at Google, Meagan is responsible for working with some of Canada’s largest media companies to help them navigate through digital transformation, and empower local SMBs with the right digital solutions to grow their business. Meagan loves to travel and connect with people, and has worked in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Canada, and is a regular speaker at industry events across North America. Emma Bullen caught up with her to talk about local business and career advice for women.
EB: Tell me about how you came to be Strategic Partner Manager at Google
Meagan Tanner: My career path was not one that was necessarily marked with intention. I started out in a very different field; I did a BA in International Development Studies.
I started working in a consulting firm that created and ran entrepreneurship education programs in developing countries to alleviate poverty. I spent my time on the business development side, pitching programs to international financial institutions. I was also helping to launch these programs in the countries where they would be run by local stakeholders.
I moved to the Cayman Islands for personal reasons, and there was really no work in that field there. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do and I met someone who was as living in my Condo complex. She was a Canadian lawyer who had moved to the Cayman Islands and was selling advertising for Yellow Pages. She was leaving her role to go and live in Paris, and she said, “you should take my role.” I thought, “I’m not so sure I want to do that!”, but she ensured me that it was a great way to meet people on the island – I met 200 local business owners in my first year. So I went in, and I interviewed, and I got hired that day. That was my jumping off point into the advertising industry. I got really good at selling digital because I realized that’s where the future of the industry was going.