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Exclusive: PR In Canada, A Look Back At Agency Leadership In 2016

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi


LeadershipNo matter what level you are within the organization, leadership is an attribute that can make or break your career.  It is also one of those aspects that helps a public relations agency grow or not

In the business of communications the interactions that public relations people have with their clients, media and team members are crucial and often what makes others want to stand beside you or find someone else to stand with. As we compare our Agency Leadership Review of 2015 to 2016 there have been a few leaders and organizations who have helped to changed the business landscape over the year, and the world around them. As a result of their effort and work.

Let’s take a look at the Canadian public relation agency leadership over the course of 2016:


Agencies we discuss in this article include: Broad Reach Communications, Citizen Relations, Craft Public Relations, Edelman Canada, Environics Communications, GCI Group, Global Public Affairs, Hansell McLaughlin Advisory, Kaiser Lachance Communications, Narrative PR, NATIONAL Public Relations, Teneo CanadaThe Colony Project, Veritas Communications, Weber ShandwickZak Communications


Broad Reach Communications

As they look to expand their operations and service offering, Broad Reach Communications brought on Jeff Roman as the agency’s Vice President of Client Services.

Citizen Relations

Back in May 2016, Nick Cowling was appointed President of North America at Citizen Relations, the promotion has had a positive effect on the agency’s growth and ability to retain its leadership team across the country. As Nick took on more responsibility, he promoted Mark Carpenter and Sabrina Kandasamy to the role of Co-Leads running the Toronto office.  Sabrina did opt to leave the agency back in the fall of 2016 taking a role at a startup agency in Toronto.

Cohn & Wolfe

Cohn & Wolfe saw a major change in its operation this year as the agency’s Montreal office was folded into sister agency NATIONAL Public Relations back in September 2016.  The move did not have any effect on the Toronto office led by David Gordon.

Craft Public Relations

Just months after launching Toronto-based Craft Public Relations. Lisa Pasquin made her first senior hire as Melissa Retty joined the organization. This was an interesting hire as two ex-Veritas Communications staffers have been reunited.

Edelman Canada

It was a year of transition for Edelman as the agency saw the departure of a number of senior executives. Unfortunately they had not updated on any replacements within the leadership team, but did lose a few more mid-level and long term employees in the second half of the year.

Environics Communications

As Bruce MacLellan stepped back at the helm of the communications he Co-Founded in 1994 with Bob Pickard the agency’s leadership team remained steady throughout 2016.

GCI Group

GCI Group saw a few departures to its team in the later part of 2015, but quickly appointed Stephanie Engel as Senior Vice President, Consumer & Lifestyle to help try and round out their leadership team to start the new year.

Global Public Affairs

Global Public Affairs announced a few additions to their team including Andrea Ellison as Vice President, National Communications.

Hansell McLaughlin Advisory

In 2016 we saw the birth of Hansell McLaughlin Advisory led but two industry veterans Peter Block and David Scott.

Kaiser Lachance Communications

Toronto-based Kaiser Lachance Communications (KLC) had some staff changes throughout 2016, but announced the promotion of Janine Allen to the role of General Manager for their Toronto office.

Narrative PR

Narrative started the year off with the appointment of Sarah Spence as Managing Director.  As the Ex-High Roader took over Sarah quickly brought on Sherry Boisvert as an Vice President to help drive the agency’s leadership.

NATIONAL Public Relations

NATIONAL Public Relations had no shortage of changes at all levels within the agency from the executive level to junior level, team members either left or were let go as we covered here throughout the year. Unfortunately their year started out with David Scott leaving, then a few more changes herehere and here.  The turn over didn’t stop there as we later reported more departures at NATIONAL Public Relations here, here.  There was one senior appointment made back in August 2016 which we thought might be a sign of some positive changes.  Then a few weeks later Jeff Roman announced he was leaving NATIONAL, then in August the agency laid off some of its staff.

Teneo Canada

With John Crean’s sudden departure from NATIONAL Public Relations the industry had wondered why and what he would do next as he kept everyone in suspense for months.  To start off 2016 we announced the appointment of John Crean as the Managing Director for Teneo Canada.

The Colony Project

We can’t help but feel a sense of pride when we see one our of Top 30 Under 30 inductees continue to accomplish new career milestones, and this was true for Amanda Shuchat as she was appointed the Managing Director for The Colony Project. Then in May Amanda appointed Michèle Fortier to run its newly opened Montreal office, that turned out to be a short run as Michèle and the organization eventually parted ways.

Veritas Communications

Over the year a number of Veritas staff parted ways with the organization, as well Veritas Communications shut down its conflict agency – commotion.

Weber Shandwick

Greg Power announced an appointment to Weber Shandwick’s executive team in Montreal with Rachel Yates as Senior Vice President. In April, Shafiq Jamal was appointed Senior Vice President And Managing Director for their Vancouver office.

Zak Communications

They had not been on our radar before, but Montreal-based Zak Communications hired Deane Code to manage its new Toronto office.

What we gave learned from the agency leadership in 2016…

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As PR In Canada and Profectio continues evolve our product towards more of a platform that connect buyers and sellers there will be even more opportunities for agencies to raise their profile. Of course much like any opportunity, it can only work for those to take full advantage of it, and engage with the opportunities that are available.

The landscape will become even more competitive in 2017, agencies that win new business will be the ones who stay ahead of these coming changes. 


Agencies we discuss in this article include: Broad Reach Communications, Citizen Relations, Craft Public Relations, Edelman Canada, Environics Communications, GCI Group, Global Public Affairs, Hansell McLaughlin Advisory, Kaiser Lachance Communications, Narrative PR, NATIONAL Public Relations, Teneo CanadaThe Colony Project, Veritas Communications, Weber ShandwickZak Communications


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