I’ve always been fascinated by the way information can influence people’s beliefs and behaviours. This curiosity led me to study Communications in my undergrad and seek marketing and communications roles after graduation. After taking on increasingly senior positions, I struck out on my own and launched Compass Content Marketing. Around the same time, I began teaching digital marketing courses at the college and university level. Now, I am affiliated with Humber College and McMaster University, and I regularly speak at marketing and business-related events across Ontario. I’ve delivered social media training workshops for a range of amazing organizations including GlaxoSmithKline, CampTech, Huron County Economic Development, Toronto Travel Massive and many more. In my business, I also provide social media strategy development services to various Canadian brands.
I received my Chartered Marketer designation in 2018 and I now teach in the CMA’s innovative Chartered Marketer program. I am also a Global Ambassador for Hootsuite. I am very happy with how my career has progressed.
In my early 20s, I was reluctant to network with others in the industry because I was introverted. I felt intimidated by the prospect of attending networking events with senior marketers. I’ve come a long way since then!
Now I value human relationships more than anything and I tell my students that, like it or not, authentic networking - along with continuous professional development - is an essential part of any successful career in marketing.
When I became a professor about 5 years ago, I faced another learning curve. I knew my subject matter inside and out, but I quickly learned that teaching effectively required me to develop a new skill set. That’s because teaching is not about lecturing. Instead, it is all about facilitating and collaborating with students. This is a huge shift from when I was a student.
Since becoming a part-time professor, I’ve had a lot of marketing professionals approach me wanting to also get into teaching. When I talk with some of them it becomes clear to me that they expect to stand up in front of an attentive audience and share their hard-earned wisdom. I always come away from those conversations a bit dismayed.
Marketing is an exciting discipline for someone like myself who thrives on constantly learning. I have a natural curiosity about the way things work in society and business, and marketing allows me to continuously discover and innovate. In my business I get to work with small business owners, C-suite execs, side hustlers, creative entrepreneurs and others from all walks of life. For a time, I get to play a small part in helping them chase their dream and grow their brand or business. That, to me, is very fulfilling.
Based on my observations from 5 years of teaching and 15 years in the industry I truly believe these values are most important for a marketer to have:
- Positive Attitude & Growth Mindset
I work hard to maintain a positive attitude because I feel it is important to the success of my career but also because I believe that it makes life a much richer experience.
It’s not always easy, but if marketers can approach their work with a “can-do” attitude, stay open to constructive feedback, show respect to their colleagues and ignore the naysayers, they’re halfway there. Adopting a growth mindset, which is essentially the self-belief that one’s most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, is essential for great accomplishment.
I think the saying “there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs” is very true. When building your career, you have to follow the process and put in the work. Doing it with a smile on your face is not only going to make it more enjoyable, it may also help you to reach your goals faster. Try it!
- Problem Solving
Snags and hitches are bound to arise when marketers are busy innovating and incorporating new technologies. The industry is in a constant state of flux - that’s what makes it exciting! Taking the initiative to try to find solutions, rather than shutting down and waiting for someone else to come fix things for you, is very important in the workplace.
When you are starting out, you must remember that most people who work in marketing are quite busy. Try to be a help to those around you, not a hindrance.
- Interpersonal Skills
People skills are extremely important. Teamwork, collaboration, networking, engaging with others in a genuine and respectful way…. all of these “soft” skills are keys to success. Why? I think that it boils down to something like this: People prefer to work with people that they enjoy being around.
It is no secret that AI is poised to disrupt marketing in a massive way. Because I specialize in social media marketing, I’m always thinking about what this means for people on a day to day basis.
I think that we have to be ready for anything. That means, we must embrace change and new technologies, while constantly trying to prepare ourselves for whatever the next chapter in our career may bring.
Successful marketers will take a nimble approach to their work while at the same time immersing themselves in new trends and information where possible.
If you want an opportunity, you need to learn how to ask for it. If you are waiting for an opportunity to drop into your lap, you could be waiting a long time.
Most of my opportunities in business have come my way because I’ve been proactive. I have thought carefully about what I wanted my career to look like, gathered as much information as I could on this, then went for it. I have developed relationships with people in my industry and treated others - regardless of their role or stature - with the utmost respect. I also work at maintaining my personal brand and share marketing tips and information regularly on my social media channels.
I put effort into genuinely connecting with clients, students and colleagues from all walks of life. I work at improving myself and learning more about current marketing trends and innovations.
I think that when you’re starting out, you should try to get a foot in the door with a reputable organization and learn as much as you can while you’re there. Take a positive attitude, seek out new opportunities and build your network. If you’re a young marketer doing all of those things consistently, you’re doing well in my books!
I think that it’s such an exciting time to be in the marketing industry. Tech and social media offer a range of powerful business tools that enable skilled entrepreneurs and marketing professionals to take brand-building into their own hands.
I believe that it is really important to be happy and healthy in one’s work and I am an advocate for healthy social media use. For my own well-being, I make sure to spend a lot of time with my friends and family and immerse myself in nature regularly. For me, a hike through the woods or a trip to the beach are a perfect antidote to the information overload that occur when I spend too much time on electronic devices. I’m happy to see that more and more people are taking “digital detoxes.” I believe that sometimes, in order to recharge, we must disconnect!