Brookline Public Relations [TCO] recently hit a major business milestone as the agency founded by Shauna MacDonald celebrated its 15th anniversary. We had a chance to catch up with Shauna to learn more about the agency’s journey and future:
What made you open up Brookline Public Relations (BPR)?
After serving as vice president for an agency overseeing operations in Western Canada for several years, I identified market gaps that I sought to fill with my own business. In an industry where PR agencies are considered either big or boutique, each with their own strengths and flaws, I saw an opportunity to implement a unique hybrid business model able to design and implement PR programs that offer the best of both worlds. Today, Brookline delivers the impact one would expect from a big box agency and the personal touch one could count on finding in a boutique firm. This market niche has been key to our success in ensuring Brookline’s sustainability for 15 years and counting.
Why did you select the name Brookline Public Relations?
The agency is inspired by Boston – a city close to my heart – where I fell in love with PR while completing my Master’s in Communications at Boston University and working for a boutique agency. I named Brookline after my Boston neighbourhood where I lived, and our office walls are adorned with pictures of the area to pay homage to where I started my career and cut my teeth in the industry.
When did you know you had a real business?
I realized Brookline was a viable business very early on as I was lucky to have a few blue-chip brands approach me for significant business. One being a national airline in Canada, another being a major bank in Alberta and one being a large technology company based in Toronto. From there, the company was able to grow and continue to garner business. We now have 15 incredible employees and service a variety of clients from different industries across Canada. I am so proud of how the agency has grown and am excited to see what we accomplish in the future!
What is one piece of advice that helped you take Brookline Public Relations here 15 years later?
Surround yourself with great team members who will support you when you need them to and – more than that – have their back when they need your help as well. I am known for saying that a team is only as good as its players, and Brookline is thriving and evolving thanks to an all-star cast.
What is something you wished you had done sooner?
Taken a vacation sooner when starting the business! Any entrepreneur will tell you they are consumed by working to make sure the business succeeds. That said, the business will only be successful if the leader is also ensuring they look after themselves.
Will Brookline Public Relations expand into other cities?
Brookline has a strategic focus on increasing our presence in Edmonton and Toronto. We have several clients with an interest or presence in these locations and we will remain focused on these markets in the next few years.
What can the market expect from Brookline Public Relations in 2020?
Brookline is poised for growth. We have just announced the addition of our creative design service with a lead graphic designer and junior designer to support our growing roster of clients. This asset coupled with our presence in key cities outside of Calgary will certainly keep us busy into 2020!