Toronto multicultural agency Ethnicity Matters recently restructured its core management team with the addition of three new members joining agency co-founders Bobby Sahni and Howard Lichtman.
The three new managing directors are Abhijeet Ray, formerly the agency’s VP media and PR; Terence Tse, who was most recently at Maple Diversity Communications; and Wendy Castillo McFarlane, who returns to Ethnicity Matters after leaving in 2020 to work client side as VP, sales and marketing at telMAX.
“Reporting directly to Sahni and Lichtman, the managing directors will each be handling their respective portfolio of clients and in-house departments, with a mandate to unlock new growth opportunities for the agency and its clients,” said a release announcing the changes.
That’s the business side of the new appointments. The Message reached out to see if they’d be willing to tell us more about who they are as people.
Both Tse and Castillo McFarlane agreed to answer some question for us, and here’s what we learned:
Favourite TV show of all time and why? My favourite TV show of all time is Miami Vice. From the music to the fashion to the darker side of Miami, this show influenced an entire generation.
Favourite book of all time and why? Batman and Philosophy. A mash up of superhero and Sun Tzu, the book explores the complex nature of the character and how it has enjoyed longevity in popular media—being reinvented time after time.
Are you a sports fan: Favourite team and favourite player? Being from B.C., my favourite team is the Vancouver Canucks and my favourite player is the Russian Rocket (Pavel Bure) for his flair and dash as an NHL Hall of Fame player.
Do you have kids: what are their names? Two daughters, Reese (18) and Riley (16).
Do you have pets: what are their names? Two husky sisters named Snow and Ice.
Favourite thing about this industry? Least favourite thing about this industry? Favourite thing is the people and the talent that they all possess and the learning opportunities for me. Least favourite thing is the schedule—I always want 10 more minutes to finesse something.
Wendy Castillo McFarlane
I use both of my last names because it represents who I am: “Castillo” because I’m a proud Latina and try to embrace my culture everyday, and “McFarlane,” because I’m married to an amazing half-Czech, half Scottish wonderful man. It’s also easier to travel down south when my girls have both parent’s last name—it’s a hassle if they don’t have both. I almost wasn’t allowed out of Guatemala once.
Do you have kids: what are their names? Yes, I have two daughters: Bella, who is 10 and Chloe is six. I’ve been married to Terry for over 12 years.
Do you have pets: what are their names? “Chico” is a 13-year-old Jack Russell pug, and “Mac” is our new eight-month old English Bulldog.
Most important person in your life outside work? It may sound like a cliché, but it is definitely my parents (Alfredo and Soledad). They showed that even coming from a conservative and male dominant country, women like myself should be well educated, leaders and independent. Now I’m teaching my two girls the same values and leadership skills needed to be a success in life and in their future careers.
Where were you born and do you think it’s an important part of who you are? I was born in Toronto, but moved to Guatemala (my parents are from there) in my early teens, where I went to high school and university. I moved back to Toronto more than 15 years ago. Living in Guatemala, not only helped me learn how to speak and write Spanish, cook authentic meals and have a meaningful understanding of cultural awareness; it also showed me to step out of my comfort zone and be adaptable to any situation. And not to mention help me make some long-time friends. My parents still have our home in Guatemala City, so I get to go back with my family whenever we want.
Nicest thing a coworkers said to you? Just today someone said to me “Blessed in your new role, you definitely worked hard for it, and you are an inspiration to all of us Latinos and minorities.” It was from an ex-colleague… I was almost in tears.