Patricia Morris: ‘Now is a good time’

—It is Black History Month, and every day this month, The Message will be sharing short profiles of Black professionals from across the industry: marketing, advertising, PR, media and production. Written by POCAM members, the profiles are a way to “fight invisibility,” an exercise in representation for an industry where representation must get better—

Patricia Morris spent several years paving her road into advertising, with stops in London, Vancouver and Toronto. Today, she is a freelance digital strategist and content creator, currently working at Pinterest.

Her career started in England with an agency called Storm Management, where image curation, digital campaigns, content creation and social media management provided her with a sense of the requirements needed to work in the advertising space.

“I kind of fell into it, really, but I was initially drawn to marketing through social media management, and seeing the inception of influencer marketing,” says Morris, who worked closely with some of the first people to harness the power of digital platforms and amass a following.

“I loved the idea that brands and individuals could create communities, digital experiences and grow significant audiences through free and accessible social platforms.” she says.

Now in her fifth year in the industry, Morris says a stroke of luck brought her to a Canadian agency she was keen to work for. “Shout out Dennis Pang!” she says, praising the founder of the Vancouver agency Popcorn who kept the lines of communication open long enough for what Morris calls “the timing and opportunity” to finally align.

She considers herself fortunate to have found agency roles with diverse settings, and reflects on how that has impacted her approach today.

“I remember a fair bit of bias in my early career straight out of university, and at the time it was dealt with by trying to make it through the awkward moments, avoid confrontation, and then have a good old-fashioned circle time debrief session with my friends who ‘get it’ during happy hour after work,” she says. “But 2023 me would happily sit with the awkwardness and deal with issues a lot more directly, in the moment.”

For Morris, seeing diversity ladder up to the C-Suite, more Black people in positions of power, and true representation as a default in the majority of work spaces, demonstrates how our industry can become more inclusive. Today, her work is focused on amplifying BIPOC & LGBTQIA+ creators across the Canadian landscape, and by applying a DEI lens to her work, she aims to help “slowly redress the balance.”

She encourages all Black talent working in Canadian advertising and marketing to network at every level, and to stay current by following relevant newsletters, Facebook groups and Slack channels. By sharing these recommendations with the up-and-comers who follow her trail, it is clear she has stayed true to her current mantra: “Now is a good time.”

This POCAM BHM 2023 profile was written by Justin Senior, owner of Justin Senior Consulting Services and a member of POCAM’s steering committee.