Hey Exec: Are you Paying Attention to Artificial Intelligence in 2023?

2023 is the year of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It doesn’t matter where you are in the corporate ladder, you need to be paying careful attention to this technology now!

Why? To scale your resources and leverage breakthroughs, such as ChatGPT (an AI assistant), especially in a year like 2023 where organizations are scaling back because of the economic downturn. If you don’t, you’ll be left behind as your competition gets ahead, way ahead!

Investing in your AI infrastructure will be a springboard to you being able to unlock capabilities within your organization. As you build your AI foundations, pay careful attention that you do so responsibly. What does that mean?

Your AI needs to be developed in a way that is ethical and benefits people and society. More specifically, be prudent in taking the necessary steps that ensure that your systems:

  1. Do not discriminate against people because of their backgrounds
  2. Explain to your users how decisions are being made and why
  3. Respect people’s privacy and personal data
  4. Function consistently in the face of unexpected inputs and consider unintended consequences
  5. Are governed by policies that maximize benefit and curb negative impact

Can you develop your AI infrastructure without investing in the five areas above? Yes, AND you’ll be opening yourself up to lawsuits from your users and regulatory bodies. Moreover, instead of unlocking potential you’ll be firefighting and sapping org. resources because you didn’t invest the time or effort to be build the right AI infrastructure. At that point in time, it won’t matter how many patches you put on your wound, it will continue to bleed profusely.

So why is 2023 so special for AI? OpenAI released ChatGPT late last year and this AI assistant will revolutionize the way businesses operate and people interact with AI systems. How?

Here are a number of ways ChatGPT can be used:

  1. Chatbot – can answer customer service questions
  2. Idea generator – can provide new material based on data it is fed
  3. Task supporter – can generate tables, write code, etc.
  4. Recommendation system – can provide recommendations on things to read, watch, buy etc.
  5. Translation tool – can help businesses and people translate material (think google translate)
  6. Information provider – can answer any questions you have
  7. Conversational partner – can engage with you in a conversation on any topic
  8. Learning tool – can teach you about any topic
  9. Writing tool – can generate original content in the form of posts or essays

How powerful is this tool for your organization? Extremely! The most powerful thing about it is that it takes context into account. In other words, it remembers what you asked it earlier and can personalize advice and recommendations in light of your conversation with it. Companies invest a ton of money to get a signal to personalize content (or ads) to their users, well, ChatGPT will become one of the strongest contenders in this race! As opposed to providing a data dump such as one generated by a search engine, ChatGPT can provide a well-crafted and detailed argument. Ask it why technology benefits or harms society and it will give you an argument for and against it. Companies are starting to feel a pinch in the face of ChatGPT because it is a threat to their business and how they operate. It will be interesting to see how things unfold over the course of the year!

In closing, wherever you are in the corporate ladder, pay attention to AI this year, and build your infrastructure responsibly. You’ll be thankful you did!


Karim Ginena, PhD
Senior UX Researcher, Meta AI

Executive Development Methods

Highly skilled executives are key for organizations to continue delivering better-than-expected results. With these challenging times, executives need to keep looking to develop their competencies and skills to deliver results year-over-year.

“Those in leadership positions seek to understand what skills, competencies and behaviours will support them in carrying out these demanding roles, both for the benefit of their own aspirations and those of the organizations in which they operate.” (Claire Collins, 2012)

Executive development will continue to be one of the upmost priorities in any organization. Growing and developing leadership skills is mostly centred on learning the knowledge and skills required for current and/or future roles for the executive.

Learning and development methods, including guidance on professional development, whether short or long term, varies from self-learning, training, supervision, coaching and mentoring. This article will highlight the different methods of executive development and briefly position them for a better understanding on which method is best to use based on individual development needs.


Self-learning is any deliberate, planned action taken by the person to acquire and apply certain knowledge and/or skill without the assistance of someone else, by intentionally reading, listening, or watching someone perform an action. The effectiveness of this method is based on the ability of the person to choose what to learn, when to learn it, and on how easily the content can be understood and/or applied. The challenges of this method are about having access to relevant content; the amount and quality of time that needs to be allocated to that content; and last, and most important, it requires self-commitment, self-motivation—and a significant degree of self-discipline.


In business training, the trainer is the source of information and knowledge. Trainees receive information from the trainer through lectures and/or skill-based activities. Attendees are usually assessed through written or verbal tests and/or other assessments. This type of development method is effective and has a more positive impact on junior-level positions, where employees are in the primary stages of acquiring basic knowledge related to role and/or field.

Business Supervision

Supervision, most of the time, comes with authority and tends to be more focused on observing the person’s behaviour and their skills. Supervision usually has limited focus on self-learning and is more focused on translating knowledge into practical hands-on experience. It helps the supervised person to put their knowledge into practice.

Business Coaching

Although Business Coaching is generally for a short period of time, it is recognized as a process for developing leaders. The biggest priority for the coach is helping the coachee to be self-aware and to be able to manage themselves to improve performance related to the role. There is an increased focus on specific skills required to excel in the role as well as the skills needed for working and interacting with others, particularly on changing behavioural issues to drive improvement.

With the coaching methodology, it is necessary for the coach to be neutral, listen, and ask questions in order to develop certain skills. The coach might not need to have hands-on experience, depending on the kind of industry the coachee is engaged in, but the right coaches provide leadership knowledge and experience, to provide the coachees with a fresh perspective, and strategy to deliver results.

“Coaching is a helping relationship formed between a client who has managerial authority and responsibility in an organization, and a consultant, to achieve a mutually identified set of goals to improve their professional performance and personal satisfaction, and, consequently, to improve the effectiveness of the client’s organization.” (Kilburg, 2000).

Business Mentoring

Mentoring is a long-term process based on mutual trust and respect. The role of mentors evolves as the needs of their mentees change over time. In addition to what coaches do in being neutral, they listen and ask questions to develop certain skills, affording them, as mentors, to be more interactive and engaging. They develop the mentee’s skills that are not just relevant for the mentees, themselves, in their present roles, but also for their future roles and careers, in general.

Mentoring covers various aspects to guide executives in running a successful business. Mentors play a crucial role, from framing and expanding a mentee’s thinking, to building confidence and skills, to providing fresh insight, to boosting the overall performance of the mentees.

The relationship developed between the mentor and mentee allows mentors to help mentees explore their career options, and provide them support about their career trajectories and growth. Since they have faced the same challenges as their mentees, and they are more empathetic toward their needs, they are always willing to share their experience, skills and knowledge with the mentees, and serve as a professional advisor and role model.


“Increasingly, organizations are turning to individual development techniques to supplement or replace traditional training methods” (Collins, 2012).

It is dangerous and misleading for an executive to claim they know everything, especially if they were newly promoted to an executive role. It is expected they have enough information and knowledge related to the job, but it is still necessary to have support in carrying out and implementing their relevant knowledge in a skilled way, to become a top-performing executive.

For maximum efficiency and benefit, executives need to be clear on what their priorities are and what kind of support they are looking for.

DX3 Canada is on March 8-9, Virtually! Have you Registered Yet?

We are just 3 weeks away from Canada’s largest marketing, retail and tech event! The 11th annual DX3 Canada will no doubt be the best yet—with two full days of world-class content and speakers that are leading the industry forward.

Join DX3 Canada, virtually, and learn from their THREE unique content streams. Whether you are interested in future retail trends, innovative marketing strategies or the latest tech disrupting the industry, you won’t want to miss year edition

Download The Brochure

As a Canadian event, DX3 Season 11 is proud to feature incredible Canadian brands changing our nation’s retail landscape:

  • Sarah Jordan, CEO, Mastermind Toys
  • Jose Ribau, EVP, Digital and Innovation, Cadillac Fairview
  • Meghan Roach, President and CEO, Roots Corporation
  • Frederick Lecoq, CMO, Sporting Life
  • Andrea Hunt, EVP, CMO, Arterra Wines Canada
  • Galen Davies, VP, Brand and Commercial Strategy, MLSE
  • Corinne Lalonde, Associate Director, e-Commerce and Content Marketing, SAQ
  • Tara Conway, VP, Omnichannel and Customer Care, The Source

Register Now

Alignment between planning and execution: The leader’s role

Alignment starts at the top. It is the role of a leader to define a path forward, create movement, and align people with the organizational strategy. They are required to execute the plan toward achieving better-than-expected results. Alignment is the way to link planning to execution.

Research indicates that a significant percentage of a company’s shortfall is due to a lack of alignment. Often, ineffective alignment by leaders is at the core of their challenges.

An effective alignment is a critical tool for leaders. If the leader has an idea in mind and needs a group of people to execute it, then it is obvious they must bring clarity to their idea, and consequently, make it understood by all involved—for optimal, expected and planned-for results.

The question then becomes, “What are the key messages CEOs and their executive teams need to communicate in order to align their team and help them bridge the link between planning and execution?”

So how can we make sure, then, that these messages are clear and understood by everyone across the organization? The following elements should be considered when delivering a clear message:

A – Clarify, Plan and Define: To align the execution team, the owner of the idea should clarify it in their own heads, first. Following that, the idea can be converted into a plan—of action. When the plan is crystalized, tasks can be identified, and clear roles and responsibilities can be assigned. Once everyone knows their role and what they are required to do or achieve, the detailed expectations need to be defined and connected to a performance agreement following the individual’s commitment to do the job.

B – The Story: People are more likely to listen and retain stories—especially when they’re visual. This is the most effective way to attract and capture the attention of listeners. Employees naturally gravitate toward, and connect, with stories that have a meaningful impact on them.

To create a compelling story, ensure these 3Cs are employed:   Capture, Connect and Create.

Capture: Share the big picture – Capture the audience with a strong vision about the plan, the “why” behind it and how they are connected to it. They should be able to visualize the plan in action and the role they will play in making it a reality.

Connect: Engage with the audience through understanding their personal and business drivers, and build the story focused on these drivers.

Create: Maintain a clear focus on well-founded, well-researched, insightful and relevant content. Create simple and clear instructions that are understood by all levels of the target audience.

C – Tell: Communication, in its varied forms, is the art of influencing people to willingly go on this journey with you. Leaders who effectively employ the 3Cs, naturally find engagement by others in joining their vision, their journey, as they now see the alignment between their talents, skills, abilities, and the greater work of the organization. They see a clear vision of where the group is going, and how they will get there.

As an art, communication is a skill that can be learned through discipline, open-mindedness, and practice. It is a careful, yet delicate mix of listening and speaking, and of engaging with empathy. As leaders, when we speak, listen or are silently present, how we communicate reflects our values, builds trust, and creates confidence in others. Effective leaders can clearly articulate their vision, communicate their expectations, and convincingly convey messages—with presence, power, and a sense of authority.

Understanding the link between communication and influence requires a thorough understanding of how people engage and react. As leaders, we must be conscious of others’ interpretations, how they decide, what they expect from us, how we can support them, and guide them toward a decision that aligns with the greater good.

Two simple tools that build this awareness, are:

The Decision Cycle and The Influence Cycle.

The Decision cycle is a sequence of steps that a person takes to reach a decision. It starts by recognizing there is a decision that needs to be made—by the person himself, and to collect information on the subject matter, as accurate information can be the key to outline the ideal situation, and simply representing the end goal or target you wish to achieve through such decision.

Once the individual has acquired the necessary salient information, and outline the ideal situation, this will be used as a base to compare past experiences and outcomes.

“Information’s pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience.”

—Clarence Day (1874 – 1935), American Author.

Using the information collected, and experiences from which we can draw, we must then begin to compare options and their possible outcomes. The decision-maker naturally facilitates a “pros and cons” debate for each option. In doing so, we begin to understand the consequences of our actions—both favourable and unfavourable. Once we have weighed our options, the next step is to commit to a decision—and execute.

Finally, dealing with the outcome and potential repercussions of decisions taken. If this is the decision-making process, then how do leaders influence it? How do they help their teams navigate each stage, and provide strategic communication and advice to influence a positive outcome that aligns with the greater strategic goals of the organization?

Another key cycle to the puzzle is the influencer cycle, which closely follows and drives the decision-making cycle. First, an influencer must engage the decision-maker by targeting his personal and professional drivers. This can include corporate goals, personal values, and much more. Following the initial engagement, the influencer must fully understand the problem and current status of the decision-maker. Once they have done so, they can begin to define the ideal situation. This can be considered their target outcome or benchmark. Now that they have identified the current status, and ideal solution, they can begin to present the decision-maker with credible options and action plans to achieve the goal. The next step is to ask the decision-maker to commit to an action plan so they can begin the execution stage. And, finally, as mentioned above, they must act with empathy and address—and mitigate—any anxiety caused by the action plan. These can come in the form of the decision-maker “second-guessing” the decision.

Understanding the relationship between the alignment of people and strategy is core to the work and practice of an effective CEO to deliver better-than-expected results.

Capitalism in Crisis, the Books don’t Balance, what are the Implications on Marketing

By Fabiano Ormaneze

 Social inequality, major inheritances, and the fragility of the actual capitalism concept are forcing people to rethink actual capitalism.


Inequality is the definition of the economy in a time marked by the lack of opportunities. Just to give some examples of how this translates into practice, of all the wealth generated in the world in 2017, 82% went into the hands of the richest 1% of the planet. On the other hand, the poorest half of the global population – 3.7 billion people – did not get anything. In Brazil, there are five billionaires whose wealth is equivalent to that of the poorest half of the country, reaching US $2 trillion in 2017 – 13% higher than the previous year. At the same time, the poorest 50% of Brazil saw their ‘wealth’ reduced over the same period, from 2.7% to 2%. The data came from NGO OXFAM, an international organization that defends and encourages sustainable development since the 1950s.

Along with inequalities, the contemporary capitalist system is characterized by a systemic crisis. “We are always in a crisis!,” states Rogério da Costa, coordinator of the Postgraduate Program in Communication and Semiotics at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). PhD in History of Philosophy and specialist in the theory of Cognitive Capitalism—an approach that studies the socioeconomic changes caused by information technology—he explains that when two fundamental aspects are threatened, the situation is exacerbated.

“The problem is that the idea of crisis only makes sense when it comes to two inseparable aspects of our way of life: consumption and employment. Threats to these two dimensions end up being a global concern. Crisis, in this situation, should ultimately mean not being able to pay debts,” says the professor, also referencing the book, The Making of the Indebted Man by sociologist and philosopher Mauricio Lazzarato.

For Anapatrícia Morales, professor in the Graduate Program in Economics and Biotechnology at the Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC) and Southeast regional coordinator of the National Forum of Managers of Innovation and Technology Transfer (Fortec), capitalism’s current stage and constant situations of crisis show that the system needs to be re-evaluated. “The capitalist system needs to be rethought in order to seek productivity gains that wouldn’t generate social, environmental and economic liabilities. This would necessarily involve economic inclusion through redesigning the role of today’s political, business, and institutional players.”

The professor’s position is similar to the skepticism of French economist Thomas Piketty in his bestselling 2013 book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. One of the main points the author addresses is the division of wealth in developed countries since the 17th century, stating that great inheritances are in many cases the cause of current inequality. This is because people who have received family heritage can often out-perform companies in a very short time.

The economist argues that it is essential to introduce tax regulations in order to close the gap between those who inherit a lot of money and those who don’t. In developed countries such as the United States, Japan, and most countries in Western and Northern Europe, the percentage varies from 25% to 40%, depending on the amount of money passed from parents to children. In Brazil, it is only 8%. For the purpose of comparison, it is worth remembering that credit card interest hit 230% a year, while overdraft fees are even greater, a staggering 300% per year.

According to Piketty, economic inequalities and the immigration rise in Europe show that the capitalist system, as it stands, no longer works. Piketty believes that the world is already in a “post-capitalist” phase, and the French economist is not alone in her beliefs. In his 2015 book Post-Capitalism, British journalist Paul Mason states that now is the time for a new economic and political system.


While major wealth, inherited or not, grows exponentially, and distances people from the poorest part of society, we also need to focus on citizenship. “What we find when we look at our capitalist societies is—alongside inequality—a weak citizenship practice. In other words, we see this gap between first and second-class citizens. The problem is not only structural, but also historical, with roots going back to slavery, genocide, and exploitation,” explains Costa.

Professor Anapatrícia complements this by citing the practical changes that took place in the system. “Economic development stems from a dynamic that promotes a permanent state of innovation, product replacement, and creation of new consumption habits. It becomes a critical element in the competitive struggle of companies and countries.” But what is the way forward? It is not simply a matter of being against the capitalist system, which is characteristic of contemporary society. Even in Cuba, where socialism has managed to consolidate itself with satisfactory results in some fields such as education and health, there is a gradually growing trust in the capitalist model, especially after reopening relationships with the United States. “Let us say that it would be difficult to think of such a clear distinction between the logic of capitalism and our lives, since capitalism has shaped our way of living and thinking. The breakdowns, landslides, economic collapses, and stock market crashes have always been part of our daily lives,” Costa says.


The system resists in this crisis and difficulties, and individualism emerges from the balance of power established between the various players, one of the most striking characteristics strengthened in recent times. “The minimal state idea, of course, has countless effects on our lives. But it is necessary to understand what accompanies such logic and how our desires are invested by capital. There is a desire for a minimal state, which echoes the increasingly marked individualism in our societies”, explains the professor.

One of the points to be debated, which enables healthy or, at least, less perverse evolution, is human awareness about the system and the need for reflection on public policies reducing inequalities. The question guiding this discussion should be, “Does it make sense to live in a world with so much misery beside us”? In order to be consolidated in future generations, it must begin now.

The Journey Talk featuring Jaeden Auguste

Welcome to The Journey Talk with Rafa Uccello! Here we talk to young marketing professionals about their career journey, aspirations and inspirations. Get to know more about the people that are shaping the future of our industry.


This week, we got to chat with Jaeden Auguste, a freelance marketing specialist who highlights the importance of networking and constant learning, in the evolving marketing industry.


Name: Jaeden Auguste

Pronouns: He/Him

Education: Humber College – Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing

Industry: Digital Marketing

Favourite quote: “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing. That’s the Law of Consistency. It doesn’t matter how talented you are. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you receive. If you want to grow, consistency is key.” —John C. Maxwell

Guilty pleasures: Sour Patch Kids



1.Did you have a career in mind when you started?

For me, it was a very interesting process. Sometimes in high school, you are forced into specific roles—your parents want you to be a dentist, an engineer, etc. My parents wanted me to go into I.T., So I went to Ryerson University for technology management. I spent about three years there and realized that what I wanted to pursue was marketing and that I didn’t enjoy I.T. So, I decided to go to Humber.

2.  At what point did you know the career you wanted to pursue, and what you wanted to achieve?

 My interest in marketing started when I was a kid. My dad had a company, and I helped him with his marketing and social media content. When I transitioned from I.T to marketing, I knew I wanted to work with digital content, and I already had the leading skills to do it. My real-life experience was the catalyst for choosing digital marketing. If it weren’t for my dad’s business, I probably wouldn’t know about my interest in the industry.

 3. What is something that you learned that has been impactful for you?

 I learned throughout my time in school and at work that networking is so important. Networking is one of the key skills that a marketer should have. I learned about it later than I wished, but I made sure when I started at Humber that I connected with my professors and classmates. In the real world, to get through particular doors and positions, it’s not always about being the best candidate; it’s about who knows the right people.

 4. What is one thing you wish you knew when starting your career in marketing?

 I wish I knew what I wanted to specialize in, sooner. As marketers, we are always trying to learn as much as we can—the industry is constantly evolving and changing; we are naturally forced to tackle many different areas. I wish I had known to focus on one thing at a time, try it out, and move on to the next if I didn’t like it. I realized while applying for jobs, recently, that no one wants a “marketer of all trades”; companies want marketers who are focused, and who get results.

 5. What keeps you motivated and inspired in your professional life?

 My hunger to learn keeps me motivated. I chose marketing because it is constantly changing—which means there is always something new to learn. Every day is different! For you to learn, you also have to execute: hands-on, practical experience, is key. With a continually evolving industry, I have the opportunity to apply that and be the best in my area of expertise. Working as a freelancer, I have been doing a lot of social media marketing, however, on the side, I’m also exploring YouTube analytics, SEO, backlinks, sales copywriting, etc., to ensure I’m ahead of the curve.

Ethics in Marketing

Written by: Professor Laurie Busuttil, CPM

When Max De Pree was CEO of the Herman Miller furniture company, he posed several questions for discussion at an executive leadership retreat. Two of these were, “What is the purpose of business?” and “Is there a moral imperative to good design?”.[1]  They are good questions for marketers to consider, too.

The Purpose of Marketing

The question about the purpose of marketing could have a variety of answers. Is it to serve our customers and to help them flourish? Is it to advertise products or services—or does it begin with developing those products and services? Do we convince target audiences to buy products that meet wants and needs created by us, or do we develop products our customers truly need? Regardless of how we answer these questions, the marketer’s prime obligation is to act ethically.

Marketing is the exchange of one thing of value for another: products and services for money. Honestly depicting the value proposition, making brand promises that we can keep, and taking a long-term view of customer relationships should facilitate valuable exchanges, which are at the heart of successful marketing.

The Practice of Marketing

De Pree’s second question prompts discussion about a moral imperative in marketing. This is the ethics of marketing practice. Gary Karns suggests that deceptive advertising and persuasive practices result in one-sided gains, and exploitative and unjust relationships.[2] Such practices also result in the loss of trust in marketers and in the brands they promote.

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer report identified two dimensions of trust: ethics and competence. Sadly, none of the four institutions Edelman studied (business, government, media, and non-governmental organizations) were perceived as being both ethical and competent. Business ranked highest in competence, yet it was still seen as being unethical.[3]

Marketers can help change those perceptions. We can change the way organizations and brands are perceived by customers. This will build stronger consumer relationships, develop advocates for the brand, and enhance profitability. Developing trust is foundational to a brand’s—and a marketer’s—success.

Trust is established and strengthened when we listen and tell the truth. This was abundantly clear in 2008 when Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, released a one-minute and six-second television spot, expressing a heartfelt apology to those who had been sickened, and to the families of those who had lost their lives because of a listeriosis outbreak at one of their meat processing plants. The share price of the company dropped drastically on news of the outbreak, yet four months after McCain’s apology and commitment to improve safety practices, Maple Leaf Foods’ shares were trading above the price at the time of the outbreak. Honesty matters and it has a direct impact on the value created by the firm.

While the practice of marketing is shaped by the ethics of marketers, words are not enough. Customers expect action. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer released a special report on brand trust in which survey respondents indicated they “wanted brands to take action, solve problems, and advocate for change.”[4] Yet, as the survey also discovered, nearly 70% of people avoid advertising, a fundamental avenue of communication for marketers. Consequently, ethical practices must influence other marketing practices.

For example, engaging in sustainable product development and conservation of resources has practical implications for product design and development. Taking a cradle-to-cradle rather than a cradle-to-grave approach means that marketers care for the environment and do not waste resources.  Transparency and consistency in our pricing and distribution practices are additional ways to restore trust in businesses, especially when traditional avenues of communication (advertisements) are being removed.

Putting customers at the centre of our practice means we put ourselves in their shoes. Treating others as we want to be treated should lead us to intentionally structure our marketing activities in ways that do not create “built-in disadvantages to any individual or group of people.”[5]

 The Future of Marketing

As a marketing educator, I am excited about the future. Every day I work with young people who are planning their future as marketers. They recognize the need for honesty, transparency, accountability, trust—and the ethical foundation that will be required to establish successful careers as valued partners at the business table. The moral imperative is being envisioned.

In class, we discuss case studies, real situations around which students can wrap theory, concretize concepts, and apply them to situations with which they may already be familiar or which they will encounter in the future. We discuss ethical issues from the perspective of all stakeholders. For instance, sometimes the discussions centre on our role as consumers and the ethics of consumption, preparing them to think about the customer as they design, develop, and promote products and services. We tackle discussions about developing products that are not “needed” by consumers but drive spikes in sales. On other occasions, we discuss advertisements that push the envelope and cross moral lines. We reimagine promoting such products in clever and creative ways, rather than in crass or offensive ones.

Of one thing I am convinced: the future of marketing will be bright if we take time to model ethical marketing practices and intentionally prepare young marketers to enter the industry



[1] Wolterstorff, N. (2004). Educating for Shalom: Essays on Christian Higher Education. C.W. Joldersma and G. Stronks, (Eds). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004.

[2] Karns, G. L. (2008). A Theological Reflection on Exchange and Marketing: An Extension of the Proposition That the Purpose of Business is to Serve. Christian Scholar’s Review, 37(1), 97-114.

[3] 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. https://www.edelman.com/trust/2020-trust-barometer

[4] Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust. (2020) https://www.edelman.com/news-awards/brand-trust-2020-press-release.

[5] Chewning, R. C., Eby, J. W., and Roels, S. J. (1990). Business Through the Eyes of Faith. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

The Journey Talk featuring Paige Sontag

Welcome to The Journey Talk with Rafa Uccello! Here we talk to young marketing professionals about their career journey, aspirations and inspirations. Get to know more about the people that are shaping the future of our industry.

This week, we got to chat with Paige Sontag, a Senior Manager at Nielsen, that talked about the importance of leadership and transparency in client relationships.

Name: Paige Sontag

Pronouns: She/her

Education: Bachelor of Arts Honours in English and Psychology at Queen’s University, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Research Analysis at Georgian College

Industry: Digital Marketing / Advertising Technologies

Favourite quote: “You don’t know what you don’t know” – my boss and mentor

Guilty pleasure: Love Island and boxed wine

Q: Did you have a career in mind when you started?

A: No, not really. I went to Queen’s University for English and Psychology because I wasn’t sure of what I wanted. I had two ideas in mind: either I wanted to get a master’s in information sciences and become a librarian or do a master’s in counselling psychology and become a counselor. As I was near the end of my undergrad program, I realized I did not want to get another degree. After that, I started looking into colleges and multiple post-grad programs. I came across the Research Analyst program at Georgian College that sparked my interest. While I was there, I noticed that I liked marketing research, where I started my career. I always knew I enjoyed research; however, I also knew I didn’t want to work in academic research. When I started to learn more about marketing research, the passion started setting in. And the rest is history.

Q: Did you ever feel rushed to decide your path after undergrad?

A: I did feel kind of rushed because everyone wants to get a job after they graduate. My problem was that I wasn’t entirely sure about what I liked. I was a good student, but the university was not the type of study I liked to do, so I knew that doing a master’s without being sure if I would enjoy it was not worthwhile. That’s why I took the post-grad path; it turned out to be a great experience.

Q: At what point did you know what career you wanted to be in, and what you wanted to achieve? 

A: When I was in my post-grad, I had different courses within research that sparked in me the certainty that “Yes, this is what I want to do”. I like qualitative research; although I leaned more toward quantitative analysis in my job, I had the opportunity to get trained as a moderator. Throughout that period, it became apparent that I wanted to have a career in that field.

Q: What is something you learned that has been impactful for you? 

A: One of my bosses told me that “You don’t know what you don’t know”, which can be a confusing sentence. However, this taught me that when you work as a supplier of data to marketers and agencies, they expect you to be an expert in many areas, but you can’t always be that. Admitting that you don’t know something and finding the answer afterward, was one of the most impactful things. I’m a perfectionist at my core, and I always want to help my clients, immediately. But it is not always possible. It was hard for me to understand that at the beginning of my career, it helped me realize that it’s ok to not know everything in such a vast industry, and take the time to find the correct answer later on.

Q: What is one thing you wish you knew when starting your career in marketing?

A: I wish I knew that the job isn’t as important as it feels. When you are working hard because you want to see great results, you can burnout quickly. One thing people say in our industry is that “We don’t do brain surgery”. There are no radical outcomes if you can’t get something done. Although we are accountable to our clients within our deadlines, most clients understand if you need an extra afternoon to get something done. Needless to say, working is essential, but it’s not life or death. However, I still need to remind myself that it is okay to take a break, so I don’t feel burned out. That keeps me going.

Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired in your professional life?

 A: For me, one of the essential things is leadership and being part of a team. What keeps me motivated is being able to keep my team motivated and engaged, and seeing their success. When they are successful, everyone wins, the team and each individual member. It also reflects how much I helped them grow and work toward their goals. I always say to my teams that if they need a reference for a future job, I would oblige; I don’t want to hold them back for what could be a significant step in their careers. Decisions leaders make can have a profound effect on the trajectory of their team members. I always want to help people—from those I manage to my team or my clients.

Member Spotlight: Reginald Sheppard

By: Madeleine Christmann

Check our member in the spotlight – Reginald Sheppard. Highlighting his thoughts on how the New Brunswick government should aim to use digital marketing strategies when connecting with the younger generation on COVID-19. A true testament to CIMMO’s online courses and mentorship paired with long-time member success. You can read more about the article here.


25th Century Magazine: Innovation from the Brazilian outskirts

By Mario Quintino

 Inspired by the desire for change, consultant links creativity and transformation with a project in Capão Redondo.

 A little over ten years ago, in the Capão Redondo neighbourhood in Sao Paulo’s Southern outskirts—one of the most deprived areas of the city—the Fábrica de Criatividade (Creativity Factory) project was born. Created by the entrepreneur Denilson Shikako, 34, the innovation consultancy was established in 2007, and to this day operates in the same headquarters. Currently serving large companies in Brazil, it still maintains social projects in the region, always aiming at creating and transforming. The Creativity Factory is an example of what can be achieved by more sustainable capitalism focused on fighting against inequality and advancing opportunities, especially for the most marginalized.

“The world is different on the other side of the bridge.” One of the most well-known verses by the rap group Racionais MCs shows the reality of contrasts in São Paulo. While, on one hand, the Southern region is home to Morumbi, one of the city’s most privileged neighbourhoods, on the other hand, there is Capão, which was once considered one of the most dangerous regions in the world. Shikako’s family was one of the victims of this unequal reality.

In 2000, his father was murdered. Following this tragedy, the middle-class family sold everything they had and moved out of the country to take care of a relative’s business in the United States. However, it was from this loss that Shikako found inspiration to contribute to change in the neighbourhood, doing what eventually became a lifelong project for him: seeking creative solutions to overcome difficulties and expand opportunities.

“After this tragedy, my family moved away, took off some time, and returned. I already had the desire to create a social project, and came up with the idea of building the Factory. We need to take steps to change our reality, otherwise, nothing will happen. Our interest has always been to create a sustainable project that gives this idea and money to people,” says Shikako. Soon after the concept was consolidated, work began with the help of various partners.

The concept of creativity and the reuse of materials have been incorporated into every detail, including the design and construction of the building where the Factory is located. There are, for example, doors made with marble, a “human foosball” court, walls with secret passages, and slates on the washroom walls, where anyone can write their thoughts and leave messages.

Everything is different and functional in a space that also became home to the first Cultural Center in Capão Redondo, with a theatre and spaces offering a range of creative workshops. Around one thousand people a month benefit from these services, offered free of charge or at affordable prices, through the Friends of the Creativity Factory Association. “My mother remembers something. I wrote something in fourth grade where I said I wanted to be an inventor. I wanted something really revolutionary, in the middle of Capão Redondo. The plan was to create a place offering for people ideas and, at the same time, could generate income for them.”

In one of these activities, Shikako recalls the story of a boy. The children had to express, through drawing, what they would like to be in the future. The boy then took the pencils and drew an image of a child during a mugging, wielding a weapon in his hand. After this, there was a need to work on raising awareness and possibilities for this child. “Our goal is to awaken the idea that innovation and creativity open paths, possibilities, changing lives like this. Through art, we can create the awareness of seeking something new and, consequently, offer opportunities,” says Shikako.

 Innovation consultancy

 The idea began by valuing and creating a space for change in a neighbourhood that transformed and became one of the best-known innovation consultancies in Brazil. Large companies such as Natura, Danone, and Rede Globo are among its clients. For Itaú (Brazilian bank) the co-development of the organization’s innovation project resulted in actions such as a flash mob that brought around 5,000 employees together.

Another project created for the cosmetic company, Mary Kay, is “Our Monday is the best” with the program “Thank God. It’s Monday”. For a year, every Monday, the company’s call-centre operators had different activities involving different perceptions of senses encouraging creativity and coexistence. Several of these projects generated videos and texts that can be found at the consultancy website: www.fabricadecriatividade.com.br.

One of the highlights of the Factory’s work is its motto, which is a phrase by Shikako himself: “You miss 100% of the pitches you do not do.”

It is an ode to human potential in face of the transformations the world is undergoing. The Factory is introduced to the projects proposed by the companies and teams of professionals in areas such as marketing, engineering, design, advertising, and publicity. Together, they develop actions encouraging employees and managers to innovate. The idea is to always stimulate creative thinking. The project has already carried out around 700 training sessions, 400 consultations, and more than a hundred projects across all branches of companies.

“Our work is empowering people, showing them the ability to be creative. You need to be aware of what you are capable of and feel free to innovate. We show techniques that provide this. All of this results in the construction of an integrated and creative company. Creativity changes the world. We want to awaken and transform people,” says Shikako.

The success of the Creativity Factory has already expanded beyond the bridge separating Capão from the rest of the city. It has put itself on the map. “Capão is our Silicon Valley. We can have an even funny headquarters comparing to Google!”, says the entrepreneur, laughing. The space has been used many times for meetings and presentations inspired by nature. Worldwide famous bands like hip-hop group, The Black Eyed Peas, have already performed there.

Space has also hosted United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) meetings. With such recognition and expansion, it grew and needed new units. The consultancy, known as the world centre of technology and innovation, is now in Silicon Valley, and also in Canada. It never, however, forgot its origins and purpose. Projects like this are timely initiatives; they start very small, from the idea of someone who believes in human beings. However, they carry with them the ability to have a long-term impact by acting early in life for young people, even in childhood. They become, therefore, an educational construction activity, resonating with people in this century, and those centuries that are coming.

 25th Century Magazine was created by Midierson Maia and it is focused on long-term impacts of disruptive technology. It seeks to bring the reader a debate about the impact and consequences of disruptive innovation. Check out more at https://25thcenturymag.com/