Entering agency life
Lisa started out initially at a small Canadian Ad agency called Griffin Bacal Volny, which was subsequently acquired by DDB. She reflects it was an excellent training ground.
There was the VP of PR and Lisa, as an entry-level PR person, she was exposed to advertising and other critical elements of the PR mix.
“Since it was just the two of us, I really had to step up and the person that I worked for was a true creative genius,” she says. “I hadn’t really considered myself to be creative, and he really challenged me to flex my creative muscles. I’m grateful to him for pushing me.”
Part of the challenge was that many of the clients were in the automotive aftermarket industry – not Lisa’s area of interest of knowledge. She stretched herself to work inventively around that kind of a topic.
After about two years, Lisa realized she wanted to work in a more PR-focused environment and joined Cohn & Wolfe. She wanted to work in consumer marketing, and Cohn & Wolfe had an outstanding practice in that area. Its clients and the brands they worked with appealed to her. She worked on brands including Coppertone, Ocean Spray, Dr. Scholl’s and Heinz.
Once again it was a fantastic training ground. “I worked for someone who had exceptionally high standards and that helped me become much more disciplined,” Lisa tells PEO. “I grew in terms of how I approached client management, program management and became specifically skilled at being highly results focused.”
She was under a huge amount of pressure to deliver the kind of results that were expected of her, and she believes it served her well for the long term.
“I also learned valuable leadership skills through example, which helped me to decide how I wanted to conduct myself going forward.”
Lisa moved up the ranks within the consumer practice, ultimately becoming second-in-command but was ambitious and began looking for her next opportunity.
She ended up at Edelman somewhat by accident. The firm wasn’t on her radar – she was focused on consumer PR and at the time Edelman Canada was better recognized for its corporate and health practices.
She initially went to interview at another firm and met a number of people throughout the interview process.
“I hit it off with one of the people who interviewed me and he ended up moving over to Edelman a month later,” she says. “When he called, I was intrigued about the Edelman opportunity, and then joined the firm a month after that.”