The Really Brief — Week of September 20

Rethink has added Natasha Michalowska and Frederick Nduda as creative directors in Toronto.

Michalowska, a designer-turned-art director, was most recently working as a freelancer, but has agency stops at Zulu Alpha Kilo, Juniper Park\TBWA, Sid Lee and Cossette, where she designed the VS logo for the multi-award winning SickKids Foundation campaign.

Nduna has worked at BBDO, CP&B, Innocean, Publics and FCB/Six where he was part of the team that won some of the biggest awards in the world for “Go Back to Africa.” Most recently, Nduna was one of the first hires at GUT Toronto.

Rethink said the new hires come as the agency continues to grow, with recent wins including Metrolinx, Athleta, and McCain.

Vancouver-based independent media planning and buying agency David Stanger & Associates Inc. has rebranded as Mediology. The agency has more than 25 employees across five offices in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, and is owned and operated by Sam Richardson and four senior managing partners who purchased the business after founders David and Mary Stanger retired in 2019.

“This change signals the fact we’re not an agency that’s content to stand still,” said Richardson. “We want to continue growing as a leader in media strategy and management with deep talent, sophisticated systems and the proven ability to digitally target audiences, optimize engagement and maximize ROI.”

PR agency Talk Shop has promoted (left to right) Natalie Kiguel, Krystin Lee, Chantel Cassar, and Natalie Martin to vice-president.

Along with vice-president and head of operations Martina Ivsak (far right), they will join managing partner Katie Stevens to form the new leadership team for the agency, divided between Toronto and Vancouver.

“These moves elevate the next generation of leaders at Talk Shop—their experience, contribution and commitment to excellence have driven the firm to be one of the fastest-growing in Canada, earning both category leadership and top employer status,” said Stevens. “Part of what makes Talk Shop a Top 100 Employer is our dedication to fostering talent within the company, providing the opportunity for growth and career advancement from within.”

Broken Heart Love Affair has added Ravi Singh (main picture) to its team as VP client success. Singh joins from FCB Canada, where he was group account director and lead on brands including McCain Foods, Labatt and Air Canada. His career has also included stops at Union and BBDO.

“In addition to nerf gun fights and drink carts, what Ravi loves most about this business is the people. And we loved the idea of having Ravi help our clients build their brands,” said BHLA partner and chief business officer Bev Hammond.

Lg2 partner, president and CEO Claude Auchu has been named to the board of directors for Worldwide Partners, the global network of independent agencies. Lg2 joined the Denver-based network, which is comprised of more than 70 agencies from more than 40 countries, in 2019.

“I’m honoured to be selected to serve on the WPI Board of Directors. This global network shares many of our group’s core values and is driven by a keen understanding of entrepreneurship and healthy collaboration,” said Auchu. “I’m confident that lg2 will learn a great deal from the board members and that our business model will inspire others. Contributing to the progress of our member entrepreneurs and their business vision is my top priority.”

Maxine Wu has returned to the agency where she started her career more than 16 years ago, joining the Vancouver independent Wasserman as director of strategic services. Working closely with recently appointment president Cam Landell, Wu will be responsible for the agency’s strategic services team.

Wu will be responsible for leading strategy on key agency accounts, including travel and tourism. She will also be in charge of the broader strategic team, helping to nurture and direct the agency’s growing in-house capabilities.

“My experience at Wasserman sparked a career-long passion for strategy and relationship building, so to come back and lead that side of the business is really exciting,” said Wu. “I look forward to making it equally exciting and fulfilling for our clients as we help them return to ‘normal’ in the post-pandemic world.”

St. John’s agency Ray has added six new team members as it prepares to move into a new office this month.

The additions include senior creative lead Michael Butler, who is returning to his native Newfoundland after spending the past eight years at various Toronto agencies; as well as graphic designer Carol Tower and junior graphic designer Maya Baião.

Ray has also hired Kate Greenwood as strategic and communications manager, while Allison Hopkins joins as account coordinator, and Josh Tucker joins as account advisor/business development lead. The agency has also promoted Tracy Russell to chief client officer, responsible for providing strategic direction while continuing to work closely with clients.

“In the past two years, our agency has doubled in size and we’re still growing,” said Ray president and creative director Jenny Smith. “The unique skill sets of our team allow us to provide our local, national, and international clients with exceptional creative solutions to a variety of business challenges.”

King Ursa has hired Grant Cleland and Sean Atkinson as executive creative directors. Cleland has more than 15 years experience at agencies including Bruce Mau Design, Zulu Alpha Kilo, Leo Burnett, Huge, and Cossette, while Atkinson has nearly 20 years experience including stops at BBDO, Cossette, and Zulu Alpha Kilo.

“They’ve been on our radar for years, and we’re thrilled to finally work with them to help us get to the next level,” said King Ursa co-founder and chief creative officer Paulo Salomao. “They embrace our consolidated and collaborative agency approach, and are going to be key players in creating synergy and unity with our media, strategy, and analytics departments.”

Independent creative agency Fuse Create recently added six people to its team. Joining the creative team are art director Patrick Carter and copywriter Mike Furlong. The pair worked most recently at denstu One (formerly Grip Ltd.), and will be focused on Ricola and CIBC at Fuse Create.

“So much of what we do lands in social—it’s the currency of communication—and these guys dominate that space,” said Fuse Create ECD Steve Miller. “They have a fresh perspective and bring an integrated background that compliments and strengthens our ever-growing team of thinkers.”

Fuse Create also hired Rouba Lababidi as account supervisor working on the CIBC account, while Chatura Gnanaswaran, Nicole Eum, and Nicholas Dinatolo have also joined the account team, working across all projects.


David Brown