Edelman Canada CEO Lisa Kimmel leaving the agency

Edelman’s top Canadian executive Lisa Kimmel is departing after spending more than 20 years with the agency in increasingly senior roles. Her final day is Oct. 11.

Kimmel joined Edelman in 2002 as senior vice-president and national leader of its consumer marketing practice, and was promoted to general manager of its Toronto office in 2009. She continued to rise up the agency ranks over the next decade, and last year was promoted to global managing director, sector specialty agencies, DJE Holdings.

She held that position in addition to roles as chair and CEO of Canada; and chair, Latin America and the agency’s Global Women’s Equality Network (GWEN)—an internal initiative aimed at fostering an environment where women of all backgrounds can enjoy equal opportunities to grow, lead and succeed, both in Edelman and beyond.

“I am proud of the Edelman businesses that I have led: Canada, Latin America, and most recently, our Sector Specialty Agencies,” said Kimmel in a LinkedIn post announcing her departure on Wednesday. “All of these have been built on a foundation of integrity, decency and accountability. I am proud of that achievement and will always be convinced that those qualities are what produces trust. Without trust, nothing is possible.”

In a statement to The Message, an Edelman spokesperson said that current Edelman Canada COO Bianca Boyd (right) will serve as interim CEO, while Mariana Sanz will continue in her role as CEO of Latin America. Both report into global president and COO Matt Harrington.

“We are grateful for her contributions over the past 20 years and wish [Kimmel] the best,” read the statement.

Kimmel said that she spent her time at Edelman surrounded by people of “extraordinary character, tenacity and creativity,” who found “tremendous satisfaction” in doing standout client work while having the courage to do the right thing simultaneously.

In 2019, Kimmel was among three Canadian advertising and PR executives named to the HERoes Women Role Model list of 100 Female Executives, joined by her Edelman colleague Catherine Yuile and Cossette’s Melanie Dunn.

She said her leadership philosophy was inspired by her father, who built a successful convenience store chain on a foundation of integrity, service and fairness.

“I believe that the best way to achieve excellence is to prioritize creating a workplace culture built around humility, selflessness and collaboration,” she wrote. “I believe that, if everyone in an organization is treated with respect, the result will be a great culture that produces business excellence. I hope that this approach will influence some of the next generation of rising leaders.”

Kimmel said she’s unsure of her next step.

“Life is not a circle, nor can it be lived looking backwards. I am constantly telling my brood of five kids that they need to ‘look up and look out’ (from their screens),” she wrote. “The world is a big place, full of possibilities, and I am open to almost anything. Heck, I even went white water rafting on a class V canyon this summer in Alaska – something that a few years ago, I never could have imagined doing. But if you do not look up and out, nor get outside your comfort zone, you may not have the opportunity to rise to your fullest potential. I am not fearful of the unknown. In fact, I am excited for the journey ahead.”

Chris Powell