Celebrating more of CMDC’s Future Impact Awards winners

Late last month, the Canadian Media Directors’ Council held its YA Future Impact Awards in Toronto. Hosted and run by the CMDC’s Youth Ambassadors—created to help mentor a new generation of media leaders in Canada—the awards are about recognizing and celebrating the young minds that are going to shape the industry in the years to come.

After two years of going virtual during the pandemic, the awards returned to a live event this year, and saw 230 attendees enjoy the show at Toronto’s Artspace— chosen by the YA for its reputation as a hub of creative entrepreneurship dedicated to helping Canadian artists and creatives thrive.

There were 238 submissions across 12 categories this year, with the winners chosen by the Youth Ambassadors. They were selected for “breaking barriers, demonstrating passion, skill and ultimately pushing the media industry forward.”

We’re sharing the full winners list below, but also asked some of the YA Awards winners and shortlisted candidates to tell us more about themselves. We profiled four of them here, and we’re sharing four more below.

  • Advocate of the Year: Teryn Clapp, Epitaph Group Inc.
  • Innovator of the Year: Manon Hug, Starcom
  • Collaborator of the Year: Kyle Storey, PHD
  • Sustainability Champion of Year: Alexandra Martin, Jungle Media
  • Notable Newcomer of the Year: Jessica Baldachin, OMD Canada
  • Young Marketer of the Year: Irene Daley, Canadian Tire
  • Data Miner of the Year, Chloe Chan, OMD Canada
  • Female Technopreneur of the Year: Karolanne Theroux, Cossette
  • Community Builder of the Year: Mallory Thompson, PHD
  • Techie of the Year: Labeeb Mirza, Starcom
  • Mentor of the Year: Derek Laurendeau, Jungle Media
  • Media Leader of the Year: Johari Williams, Media Experts

NIKITA GOUR, digital director, iProspect

What excites you most about working in media today?

I personally hate the feeling of being stagnant, where you feel like the work you do day in and day out is the same. So, knowing that I never have to feel that way—being a part of today’s media industry is what excites me the most about working in this field.

Media—be it digital or traditional—is always evolving, and consequently it motivates those of us working within this field to stay curious and to keep learning and growing.

Is there one trend in the industry you’d like to see more of?

A bigger focus / acknowledgement of the role of data and tech in media. A holistic media strategy is nothing unless it is grounded in data, and strategic execution itself is heavily reliant on technical platform knowledge.

While this might not make for a glamorous case study, I think it’s important to start shining a brighter light on this background work that is integral to the success of any media campaign

Mentorship: Who is the one person that has had the biggest impact on your career so far, and why?

Over the last year, I have been fortunate enough to work closely with Tracey Johnson. She is like my digital Yoda.

I am constantly in awe of the people-first approach that Tracey embodies, working with her and seeing how she handles tough situations in a calm and compassionate manner has helped me to be a better mentor myself. I believe it is super important to have a mentor who believes in you, even on days when you don’t really believe in yourself, and the level of confidence Tracey instils in all of us, motivates me to do better everyday.

MANON HUG, supervisor, media planning, credit cards & RESL, Starcom

What excites you most about working in media today?

The diversity of our tasks and daily lives as well as the continuous learning of our industry are the reasons why I get up with the desire to work (almost) every morning. No two days are alike… And for someone who doesn’t like routine, this is exactly what I need.

One day I’ll be focusing on the performance of a campaign, the next day on how to solve a tracking problem, and the day after that on how to help my team move forward in their to-do list. Also, we are fortunate to work in an industry that evolves and progresses day by day, which means that we can continually learn about new tools, new technologies. If we want to, we can always step out of our comfort zone by trying to integrate a new partner with its own AI to a media plan or to implement a new KPI to improve the analysis of the performance of a campaign. I like to know that I can challenge my daily life on the day I want to.

Manon Hug (left) and Sydney Kirkland of the CMDC’s YA committee

Mentorship: Who is the one person that has had the biggest impact on your career so far, and why?

One of the most beautiful people I met in my professional life, Geneviève Bilodeau-Roy—my mentor since the beginning. She is the one who took the time to explain the Canadian and Quebec media, a newly arrived French woman, she is the one who taught me to always come up with solutions (even if they are wrong) to a problem.

She taught me to go further in my thinking and research, to believe in myself,  when I was doubting myself every day because of my shaky English and my lack of Canadian knowledge. Even if we don’t work together anymore, she is the one who remains the most involved in my professional evolution and who remains available around a glass of wine to discuss and analyze the victories and also the defeats.

What do you think was the personal quality or attribute that was most important in winning a CMDC Future Impact award?

Capacity for adaptation is one of the most important qualities to succeed in our industry and win this award. As I explained, we work in an environment that is constantly changing without waiting for us. Adapting to any situation helps us to quickly bounce back and move forward, even in the hardest, busiest times, both professionally and personally. Someone who can easily bounce back and adapt are, for me, the people who stand out from the rest.

CHLOE CHAN, senior strategist, OMD Canada

What excites you most about working in media today?

Everything is always changing in media. The campaigns people were running 10 years ago are so different from the ones I help to plan today and it’s going to change again in another 10 years. A couple of years ago TikTok was pretty niche but now they’re growing to be a huge part of media whether it’s branded ads or leveraging influencer to help sell through products. #tiktokmademebuyit

Mentorship: Who is the one person that you’re not currently working with that has had the biggest impact on your career so far, and why?

My supervisor, Sam Garner. She’s on maternity leave but we started one day apart and when I first joined OMD she really showed me the ropes. I also started right before the pandemic began in February 2020 so she taught and supported me virtually when it was new and tough for everyone. Her mentorship grew my confidence and made me better at what I do, pushing me to learn more.

What do you think was the personal quality or attribute that was most important in winning a CMDC Future Impact award?

A willingness to learn. When I started, fresh out of university, it was a bit overwhelming and I felt very green. Whenever I didn’t know how to do anything I would try to ask questions even if they were simple. Any new tasks I was given I took them as opportunities to learn. And when I inadvertently made a mistake, I made sure to learn from them as well. It’s important to remember you’re not going to be good at your job from day one.

LABEEB MIRZA, Media Planner, Starcom

What excites you most about working in media today?

This industry is closely related to technology. Every profession or position in this industry, including entry-level roles like lighting specialists, requires a significant degree of technology contact. This provides those working in this area with several possibilities to learn about new and innovative technology. One of the most significant benefits of the media sector is the frequent connection with technology. Being able to test Alpha’s that companies have launched, for example Netflix launching ads and being one of the first few advertisers to be part of that launch and case study.

Labeeb Mirza with CMDC Youth Ambassador Dustin Wilson.

The media sector relies heavily on skills. Every employment function in this field, from the most basic to the most advanced, requires a unique set of talents. This inherent demand for skills in this area has resulted in a plethora of training possibilities being provided by both the company you work at and external bodies. Aside from the external training, the employee will also be well-equipped with the required abilities because of his job in this area. This will be beneficial to his future employment possibilities.

Every day, I open my computer, knowing that today is a new assignment with a plethora of approaches and points of view to consider. What interests me the most is the unlimited possibilities and solutions that working in media today brings versus just a few years ago.

What do you think was the personal quality or attribute that was most important in winning a CMDC Future Impact award?

I consider myself a persistent, resilient, insightful thinker with the ability to spot inefficiencies. Some of my ideas and thoughts are initially dismissed and ignored, until the effective outcome of such thinking begins to blossom and snowball into great landmark accomplishment. I’ve always seen that when people acknowledge that I’m on to something, my ideas are revisited, and it’s significantly more efficiently done. All amazing breakthroughs in history have originated from people with the same, one-of-a-kind, and golden winning mindset. Just keep fighting for what you’re doing, and while it may not always be the best, there is always space for refinement and optimization to make it the best.

Is there one trend in the industry you’d like to see more of?

The Persistence of Influencer Marketing When it comes to where people acquire their information, the public is quite skeptical. Influencers have earned the trust of their audience through time. As a result, their audience understands that when their favorite influencer endorses a service or product, it is genuine. Companies must capitalize on this more aggressively in the future.

For example, Apple uses iJustine a YouTuber to make videos like “Unboxing the new Iphone 13 pro”, or “Cases you must buy for your NEW Iphone 13” during launch. As a sustain approach throughout the product lifecycle (typically for iPhone its 1 year). iJustine promotes their brand and give pertinent information about the debut of their new products but also throughout the campaign she uploads videos like, “Using the Iphone 13 pro for 6 months”. I’d want to see this pattern more frequently since it establishes credibility for the product overall, not just during the launch period as most companies do to only drive awareness.


David Brown