My Thoughts

EP16 – The best brands have a crystallized point of view

The best brands in the world ultimately have a crystallized point of view. They know why they exist, whether you call it purpose or experience, it doesn’t really matter. The point is that, whatever you call it, there is consistency. It is recognizable and it is explainable. Inside an organization, somebody has to be the keeper and the ambassador of the brand and to keep it top of mind across all initiatives and endeavors. Ultimately, everybody in the organization should own it. That is what Livia Zufferli, Partner, Customer Marketing & CMO Program Leader for Deloitte defines as the B to E to C model. In her model, the business has to engage and empower the employees to then pass that brand message and experience (or purpose) down to the customer so that everyone is aligned. The best brands must first make sense of and resonate the experience with their employees, to then be able to resonate it with their consumers. That means no matter who is standing there representing the brand, an employee, the CEO, even the brand’s agency, everybody should be an equal owner in the story with a crystallized view.

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In this episode, Livia joins me to discuss this and other important aspects of what makes a brand relevant in the age of digital and performance marketing. Livia brings her experience from both agencies and organizations where she has held such roles as SVP Brand for Rogers Communications and VP, Head of Marketing for Target Canada where she lived the incredibly fast rise and fall of that iconic brand in the Canadian market. She might just talk a little bit about that experience and what every marketer should know when it comes to being able to have all departments in an organization take accountability for the brand’s success.

When you are done this episode, then listen to the rest of my podcast and let me know what you think about it by subscribing to my email list. I hope you enjoy listening. If you have any ideas for other interviews or topics, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

EP15 – ExecThread, a bias free disruption of the $50b executive search industry

ExecThread isn’t a recruiting firm. It is a platform, a community, a marketplace, trying to do something that’s paradigm-shifting in the executive recruiting market by using a unique crowdsourced approach to bring much-needed transparency to the ‘hidden job market’. ExecThread has amassed ~15,000 retained executive searches to-date, and made them available on the platform to their members.

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When Joe Meyer decided to test the waters for a new executive-level role after his time spent at Apple following the acquisition of his last start-up, he found the process excruciatingly inefficient. A large part of that frustration lies in the fact that the vast majority of executive-level job opportunities that you often want to pursue aren’t publicly-posted, and hence are hard (if not impossible) to access.

These are often the confidential job opportunities worked on by retained executive search firms, though the only chance you have of finding out about them is if you’re directly approached by the recruiter, or someone in your network tells you about them.

And the chances of that happening are pretty slim. Even if you are well-pursued by executive recruiters, you’re still only finding out about a sliver, a microscopic sliver of the opportunities out there. So Joe decided to solve that problem by bringing more transparency to these much sought-after opportunities.

What he built was ExecThread, a close-knit exclusive network where members help each other by sharing career opportunities, vetting other applicants for membership, and breaking down the traditional barriers of the executive search ecosystem

What also came out of the build-out of this highly curated network was another remarkable outcome.

Nearly half of ExecThread’s 50,000 members come from underrepresented groups (which over-indexes the national average at the executive-level by over 2x), an unintentional outcome driven by ExecThread’s underlying value-proposition of bringing much-needed transparency & access to confidential exec-level jobs. Not only is ExecThread breaking down the $40-50 Billion executive search industry, but is doing it with inherent bias’ removed as well, and as a result is leveling the playing field.

Oh, and did I say that all member referrals are automatically granted access. So, let me know if you want in by sending me an email through the form on my website, or apply on your own at ExecThread with this link.

EP14 – What do Denny’s, Sandman Hotels and The NHL’s Dallas Stars have in common?

Every once in a while I come across  an organization that I had no idea existed, you know, we’ve all had that experience where we’re looking up a stock symbol, we’re watching a financial news show, we find out one of our friends or colleagues or neighbors work somewhere. We ask them what they do, and it’s like, what the heck is that? I didn’t even really know that existed!

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Well, last year I was in Vancouver and I was speaking at a session for one of my favorite technology companies, Adobe, and I had an opportunity to meet an individual, Manoj Jasra, who was exactly in one of those situations, working for an organization in this really cool role that I seriously had no idea existed. The company is Northland Properties, and I had never heard of them.

What I did know were all of the brands and assets that roll up into it. So it was just this weird, interesting conversation. And so I asked Manoj to join me on the podcast to talk a little bit about himself, a little bit about his really interesting role and a little bit about his really interesting company, Northland Properties.

Recognized throughout Canada as one of the most trusted names in hotels, restaurants, sports, and construction, Northland Properties Corporation is the force behind such brands as Sandman Hotel Group, The Sutton Place Hotels, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, Chop Steakhouse & Bar, Denny’s Restaurants, the Dallas Stars, and Northland Asset Management Company. Proud to be 100% Canadian-owned and operated, with over 50 hotels across Canada, the UK, Ireland and the USA, they have head offices in both Calgary and Vancouver, and employ over 12,000 talented individuals across the world.

In the role of Chief Digital Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Manoj is tasked with transforming this legacy business, building out internal marketing agency and digital capabilities, while growing revenues and enhancing the customer experience across all of their properties and brands.

Listen in to Manoj Jasra as he shares his stories and opinions as an authority on how to transform organizations, build internal agency capabilities and redefine the role of the CDO and CMO. Then, listen to the rest of my podcast and let me know what you think about it by subscribing to my email list. I hope you enjoy listening. If you have any ideas for other interviews or topics, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Canada’s top CDO (that’s digital and data to you)

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, digital, data, UX, and technology solutions could not be more critical to an organization’s overall strategy, growth, and success. As an executive leader and CDO, Shawn Mandel transforms organizations and drives positive, lasting change to position those organizations as both industry and market leaders. A leader at the intersection of business and technology, his career encapsulates a blend of expertise in product and software development, business transformation, digital, data, and IT development and operations. Oh, and he likes Malcolm Gladwell too.

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With strengths that transcend industries, he has led some of the most transformative initiatives for Canada’s top brands, including TELUS and Rogers. Now, he tackles one his biggest challenges. Modernizing and transforming Cineplex, the leading film and entertainment company in Canada. As theaters shut down, how has Shawn set himself and Cineplex up for the future? His broad experience across the technology, telecommunications, e-commerce, retail and media & entertainment sectors might be just what they, and we as consumers, needed.

Listen in to Shawn as he shares his stories and opinions as an authority on how to transform organizations, hire top talent and redefine the role of the CDO (all from the confines of my backyard). Then, listen to the rest of my podcast and let me know what you think about it by subscribing to my email list. I hope you enjoy listening. If you have any ideas for other interviews or topics, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

EP12 – Live your customer’s story with Tony Chapman

Tony Chapman won a multi-million dollar agency pitch with 40 pictures and a monologue. I was there to witness it, and ever since, have marveled at this marketing guru who is also one of Canada’s leading communication experts and one of the youngest members inducted into the Marketing Hall of Legends (2008). 

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In this episode, Tony and I discuss the best ways to succeed, whether you are a large multinational or a small, local entrepreneur. Some of Tony’s most important pieces of advice resonate across all verticals and businesses. He has many insights and thoughts on culture, the role of digital, and which brands are winning in today’s world competing for customers and their constant attention.

Some highlights of Tony’s advice include:

“Stop telling your story, become part of theirs” 

“Give the customer more of what matters to them, their life, their livelihood, their family, and do it with less friction”

“I think you can, especially with digital nowadays, have an incredibly purposeful career that will bring profit to you versus a profitable career that lacks purpose”

Listen in to Tony Chapman as he shares his stories and opinions as an authority on how to build brands and sell strategically and profitably in today’s volatile marketplace. Then, listen to the rest of my podcast and let me know what you think about it by subscribing to my email list. I hope you enjoy listening. If you have any ideas for other interviews or topics, please don’t hesitate to let me know.