Inaugural Advisory Board

Jay Chaney

Chief Strategy Officer, Cossette

headshot of Jay Chaney

With close to 20 years of experience, originally beginning in pure-play digital, Jay is known for pushing himself, his team and his clients to look at the world differently, to question everything and to seek new ways for brand and audiences to connect. He seeks to break the rules of advertising and create an entirely new level of value for brands and consumers.

This approach has led to many noteworthy campaigns that have been recognized on a global level and have contributed to significant business gains for clients. It has also led to the creation to one of the most versatile Strategy teams in the industry, which currently services General Mills brands, McDonalds, Telus, Sick Kids, Intact Insurance, Canadian Olympic Committee, and Habitat For Humanity amongst many others.

Jay has previously worked with lg2, Tribal/DDB, Critical Mass, and Blast Radius.

Jennifer Davidson

Vice President, Marketing Communications, CIBC

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In June 2015, Jennifer joined CIBC as the Vice President, Marketing Communications. In this role she brings her experience leading large scale campaigns and her strength in building strong marketing teams. She is responsible for brand strategy, marketing planning and the development and delivery of integrated marketing communications for the bank.

Prior to this she worked at Molson Coors based in Canada, the US and international markets leading brand strategy and marketing for iconic beer brands including Coors Light, Molson Canadian and Creemore Springs. Jennifer started her marketing career at Unilever Canada where she managed a broad range of home and personal care brands. Jennifer is very involved in the Canadian marketing community as Chair of Jury for Cassies in 2015, past Board member of ACA and guest lecturer at Queen’s University MBA program.

Susan Irving

Senior Director of Marketing, PepsiCo Canada

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Susan Irving is the Senior Director of Marketing for the Frito-Lay Portfolio at PepsiCo Foods Canada. Susan has been with PepsiCo Canada for over 10 years in increasingly senior roles and has worked on several of the Company’s iconic brands. In her current role, Susan leads a team of passionate Marketers who create successful and memorable campaigns, and drive profitable growth, for brands like Doritos, Tostitos, Cheetos, Ruffles and Lay’s.

Susan’s 17-plus years of business experience spans across all aspects of consumer marketing including brand strategy; advertising and communications; P&L management; cross functional team leadership; media planning: digital; social media; innovation; public and corporate communications; sports and event marketing and consumer insights. Susan is known for her collaborative approach of working with teams to deliver breakthrough, insight-driven consumer campaigns and programs that deliver growth.

As an accomplished Marketer, Susan has been recognized with several industry accolades including CMAs, Cassies, Cannes Lions, The Bessies, Media Innovation Awards and Canadian New Media Awards. She was also among Marketing Magazine’s prestigious Top 30 under 30.

An avid sailor, Susan was a member of the Canadian Sailing Team, having campaigned for the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics. She holds a board position with the Leaside Hockey Association; a judge for the Globe and Mail’s Young Marketers Competition and the CMAs; a key note speaker for several North American Conferences and is an active supporter of – a program dedicated to connecting today’s experts with tomorrow’s trail blazers.

Ricardo Martin

VP Marketing, Unilever Canada

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A passionate and eloquent marketer, Ricardo (“Dickie”) Martin, has led teams for Unilever across Latin America, Eastern Europe, London and New York. He brings a world of award-winning experience to his current position as Vice President, Marketing, Unilever Canada.

A native of Argentina, he has helped architect market development models around the globe that have paved the way for the introduction and growth of multiple brands into #1 positions in multiple countries.

He is an innovator at heart, who also knows when it’s best to adapt the best practices from other markets to work locally. His education includes a Master of Business Administration (The London School of Economics and Political Science/New York University/HEC Paris) and a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Management (UCA - Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Brent Nelsen

EVP, Chief Strategy Officer, Leo Burnett Canada

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Brent in his own words is powered by “culture and caffeine.” Under his strategic leadership, love for instigation and inspiration, Leo Burnett Toronto has been recognized globally and nationally, winning at virtually every strategy and creative awards show.

His contributions have received numerous recognitions: Effies, Ogilvy’s, Chiats, Cassies, London International Advertising Awards, Media Innovation Awards, Facebook Awards, ADCs and Cannes to name a few.

Prior to joining Leo Burnett Canada, Brent held the position of SVP Planning Director at DDB Chicago and SVP Planning Director at McCann Erickson World Group in New York.

How Brent works with people, approaches problem solving and thinks creativity was learned through years of training and toil as classical symphony musician.

Mark Smyka

Director of Communications, Cossette

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Mark Smyka is Director of Communication for Cossette with responsibility for the agency’s external and internal communications.

Mark is a communications specialist and an authority on the marketing communications industry, having covered the marketing, advertising and film and television production industries as a journalist prior to joining Cossette.

In 1986, after stints as a daily newspaper and trade journalist, Mark co-founded Brunico Communications.

While at Brunico, Mark was intimately involved in the launch of: Playback, Canada’s film and TV production magazine; Strategy, a marketing trade publication; KidScreen, an international trade publication covering the youth market; and Boards magazine, another international trade publication devoted to TV commercial production.

Randy Stein

Partner, Creative, Grip

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At the age of 29, Randy was named creative director of a top Canadian creative agency, Palmer Jarvis DDB, Vancouver. There he led the agency to a then-unprecedented three-peat as strategy magazine's Agency of the Year. In 2002, Randy joined Grip Limited as a partner where he helped Grip win Marketing magazine’s “Agency of the Year” after less than three years in existence – another unprecedented feat.

Most recently, Randy was behind the first-ever feature film created by a brand: Kokanee’s The Movie Out Here, which has been recognized internationally as a groundbreaking piece of branded content. In 2014, he had the honour of judging the Branded Content and Entertainment category for the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and has been a speaker at branded content conferences in both Canada and the U.S. His work has been recognized by every major awards show including Cannes, One Show, D&AD and Communication Arts. Randy has had the privilege of working on iconic brands such as Honda, Kokanee, McDonald, Pizza Hut, Bell Canada, and KFC.

Ann Stewart

President, Maxus Canada

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Ann is President of Maxus Canada, Canada’s fastest growing media agency, for 3yrs running, which she launched in 2012 for GroupM. Maxus represents some of Canada’s strongest brands and Ann has built it to an agency of 80 people with offices in Toronto and Montreal.

Ann is known as an innovative and engaged leader with 25 years of diverse media experience ranging from operations, strategic planning, buying and even selling of media. She has been in the GroupM family for over 10 years previously running Excelerator Media, as GM Managing Director.Before GroupM Ann was a partner in the Brainstorm Group, a full service communication agency, and previously spent 4 years selling OOH advertising.

Ann is a graduate of Humber College in Marketing, a graduate of the 4 year CAPP program and she serves on the board of the Canadian Media Directors Council. She is an active member of IAB, RCC and a former board member of NADbank.

Mark Tomblin

Chief Strategy Officer, Taxi

headshot of Mark Tomblin

Mark has been with TAXI since January 2013, when he moved from the UK to join the agency as Head of Planning for the Toronto offices. In July of that year he was promoted to Chief Strategy Officer of the TAXI network – the first person to occupy that role. As such he is responsible for developing and leading the strategic thinking across the network’s six offices.

Immediately before coming to TAXI, he was Head of Planning for the Leo Burnett Group in London, where he led a large and varied team of 38 planners and researchers ranging from first-job graduates to ex-marketing directors who between them provide a complete range of planning services to the six companies that make up the group. When he took the role in 2010, his ambition was simple: to make them the best planning team in London. In the prestigious biennial 2012 IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards, the team won two of the coveted gold awards – an unprecedented level of success for the agency in the more than 30-year history of the competition.

During a varied career, Mark has worked widely in and around the communications industry in many different environments, from small start-ups to large network shops, from a boutique research consultancy to a digital advertising agency. On the way, he has garnered extensive experience of working with a great variety of client organisations, both large or small, as well as public, private and third sector.

The common thread – if indeed there is one – is his love of solving problems in interesting and sometimes unconventional ways. Cursed with a brain that loves puzzling things through (and never quite seems to sleep), it was small wonder that he eventually found his natural home in planning.

Mark also has a keen entrepreneurial side to his character, as shown by the fact that he has been involved in creating two agencies from the ground up. This taught him the profoundest respect for anybody who starts their own business – as well as many entirely unforeseen skills in the areas of photocopier repair and IT systems.

Mark has a first degree from Cambridge and an MBA from the Open University. He is proud to be a Certified Member of the Market Research Society and in March 2014 was delighted to become the first Chair of the Account Planning Group of Canada.

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