I began my career as a “suit”, otherwise known as an account services person, in the high-energy, take no prisoners, world of advertising. Living in Montreal, I worked on businesses as diverse as Gillette and Calvin Klein. Then, once I’d packed up and made my way to Toronto, I worked on Ford of Canada, NFL Canada, Canadian MedicAlert Foundation and Scotts Foods (KFC). Those years provided me with tremendous communication and marketing disciplines that would serve me well throughout my career. Most importantly, I learned how to think from a consumer’s perspective, which from my point of view became the holy grail of marketing. What else could possibly matter?
Taking a significant risk, I followed my passion and left the advertising world in the late nineties to pursue a career as a photojournalist. It was the most rewarding of times. By design, I visited every province and territory in Canada. I explored all seven continents with exhilarating adventures in Africa, Antarctica, through the Amazon rain forest and reaching into some of the most remote corners of the planet. I told stories of my travels in magazines and newspapers around the world, including a very small, may emphasize VERY small, but career opening piece in National Geographic magazine. These experiences alone would have been reward enough for my efforts, but eventually being accepted as a member of the prestigious Explorers Club, became of my proudest accomplishments.
In 2005 a friend introduced me to a small Canadian parka (a “parka” for non-Canadians is a warm winter coat) company called Canada Goose. From the moment I tried on a Canada Goose parka I was sold. Up until then I had hated the bitter cold of a Canadian winter, but my new Goose parka opened up half the year I had previously avoided. I could spend more time outside taking pictures, exploring landscapes and interviewing people because of those amazing jackets. What’s more, the company had a real story. It was an authentic, family built, best in class product, and a they were starting a journey that I wanted desperately to be a part of. And so, as timing and good fortune conspired, I was invited to join Canada Goose to help tell the story of Canada Goose as their head of marketing.
From that time, until June of 2017 when I retired from Canada Goose, we grew from roughly $17MM in annual sales to nearly half a billion. My role evolved from V.P. Marketing to Chief Marketing Officer. It was one of the most challenging and fantastic careers anyone could ever hope for. In partnership with the most dynamic and entrepreneurial team on the planet, we built a global outerwear icon. I can’t begin to tell you how it all happened in a paragraph or two, but boy do I have some fantastic stories.
I left Canada Goose after winning three Cannes Gold Lions and being named one of Ad Age Magazine’s 50 Most Creative People In The World for the last creative campaign I oversaw. When Canada Goose went public, it seemed like a natural time to step aside and pass on the torch.
Today, aside from the extreme luxury of having more time to spend with my family, I continue to seek out great stories. Be it through the occassional magazine or newspaper assignment, or as a consultant working for companies with authentic and inspiring stories to be told. And oh yes, I’ve learned pickleball.