The Intersection of Agency Life, Work Life and Home Life From the Perspective of Female Advertising Leaders

June 19, 2015

Conversation with some of Toronto’s most knowledgeable ad women including:
• Melanie Johnston, President, DDB Canada
• Kristin Burnham, Strategic Planning Director, Cossette
• Jennifer Steinmann, EVP, Managing Director, Cundari
• Helen Pak, President, CCO, Havas Worldwide Canada
• Christina Yu, EVP, Creative Director, Red Urban

Moderated by Susan Krashinsky, marketing and advertising reporter at The Globe and Mail, our panel of experts discussed:
1. Finding their way to senior roles in advertising
2. How women work together
3. Juggling agency, home and work life
4. Lessons learned and advice to their younger selves

Annual AWT Golf Game

June 2, 2015


The ICA and Ad Women of Toronto were delighted to welcome 4 foursomes to our annual 9 hole golf event at The Ladies Golf Club, on May 25th. Although rain threatened, it remained clear and warm, leaving most participants wanting more golf!

At a social gathering afterwards, there was interesting conversation, new connections made, and delicious refreshments.

Two teams tied for first place:

Team 1
Davida Petroff, Google
Liz Drayton, Google
Alex Nikolajev, Google
Shauna Gutoskie, Google
Mandy Ip, Google

Team 2
Laurie Young, Ogilvy
Therese Brisson, Kimberly-Clark
Connie Morrison, Maple Leaf
Samantha Weisbarth, Ogilvy

Congratulations to Davida Petroff (Google) who won our fabulous door prize. Davida will be enjoying some pampering at the lovely Elmwood Spa!

Thank you to our participants for joining us, to Felicia Chapheau for organizing the event, to Linda Nagel for introducing us to The Ladies Golf Club, to Elmwood Spa for providing the door prize and to The Ladies Golf Club for its hospitality.

We are already planning for the May 2016 event, so please stay tuned!

Ad Woman Legend Shelly Lazarus

February 9, 2015

Susan Krashinsky, Marketing Reporter of the Globe and Mail, interviewed industry legend Shelly Lazarus of Ogilvy & Mather during FFWD 2015 at a sold-out luncheon. If you missed the event, please be sure to catch up online!


Adball 2015

February 5, 2015

Returning to Uniun nightclub the 2015 AdBall was once again held as the concluding evening social for FFWD: Advertising & Marketing Week 2015.  Many thanks to our 2015 AdBall Sponsor Yahoo!

Support from new FFWD Partner provided guests with savoury food stations & sweet treats throughout the evening.

GotStyle returned as our fashion show partner, suiting up our agency leaders in the latest men’s wear for the annual AdBall Fashion Show!

Guests were entertained throughout the evening by dueling rock cellists, Yahoo photo booth & a new video booth capturing hilarious slow motion videos of guests!


Second m:AD Women Event

November 28, 2014


Thanks to all of you who attended our second m:AD Women event, hosted by Microsoft.

Microsoft shared insights from their Canadian Cross-Screen Evolution study, while a Dress for Success video warmed our hearts! An exciting panel comprised of Sheila Heti, Haley Mlotek and Heather Mallick delighted the crowd with their takes on style. What followed was perhaps our most dynamic and interactive session yet – women have a lot to say about clothes! The event closed with a rousing exercise and talk from Barbara Morris on Reaching Within for Resiliency.

Guests were treated to a delicious breakfast (including smoothie shooters and maple-smoked bacon!) and a complimentary copy of Women in Clothes.

Ad Women of Toronto member Melanie Reiffenstein was inspired by the event – click here to read another of her great articles.


Fourth Annual Ad Women of Toronto Golf Game

May 28, 2014

Once again the Ad Women of Toronto gathered at the Ladies’ Golf Club on the beautiful spring afternoon of Monday May 26th for 9 holes of golf, followed by conversation over cocktails and BBQ.

The scramble format yielded a winning team, comprised of Stephanie Nerlich, Darlene Remlinger, Jennifer McLeod and Leah Power.


Many thanks to Linda Nagel of ASC for providing the introduction to the Ladies’ Golf Club, and to Felicia Chapeau of the ICA for organizing the event on behalf of Ad Women of Toronto.

Ad Ball 2014 – Galaxy Gala

February 15, 2014


The 2014 Ad Ball was once again held as one of the concluding events for FFWD: Advertising and Marketing Week, and attracted a spirited crowd of 500+. The new venue, Uniun, allowed for excellent mixing and mingling. Delicious hors d’oeuvres and food stations were provided by Oliver & Bonacini, and of course libations were plentiful and included Peroni beer and Union wine.

Agency leaders participated in a fashion show of the latest men’s wear from Got Style. At its conclusion, the crowd was delighted as the models tossed out abundant pairs of colourful YoSox. Kijiji generously donated a photo booth, where guests enjoyed their playful moment in the spotlight. Many thanks to Samsung, our technology partner, for supplying screens and providing guests with the opportunity to enjoy the Samsung product lounge.

Thank you to our generous sponsors: Got Style, American Express, Scotiabank, OBOX Media, Soho Metropolitan, Peroni, Rocket Fuel, Boost ‘n Go, Union Wine, Kijiji and Samsung.

To review Ad Ball 2014 photos, please go to Facebook

Please mark your calendars for January 29th, 2015 for the next Ad Ball!

m:AD Women – Insights from Toronto’s Top Advertising Thinkers

November 28, 2013

Ad Women of Toronto and Microsoft Advertising's m:Ad Women - Insights from Toronto's Top Advertising Thinkers


Ad Women of Toronto and Microsoft would like to thank all the women who joined us for the m:Ad Women, a half-day conference for the brilliant women of today’s advertising industry. Microsoft’s Kelly Jones kicked off the day by sharing recent research on the Digital Diva segment along with future trends marketers need to watch out for. Tanya Geisler taught us how to embrace our authority and present ourselves like the confident and knowledgeable professionals that we are. Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin, taught attendees how to break conventional rules in order to overcome challenges and succeed in this industry. We hope everyone left feeling inspired and better connected with your peers.


Presented By: Ad Women of Toronto Logo and Microsoft Logo


Digital Divas and the Value Me Trend
They control the digital space, dominating social networks and surpassing teenage boys in online gaming. These tech-savvy, hyper-connected women are challenging consumer norms and changing the way brands can reach them. Microsoft’s Kelly Jones will discuss what can make – or break – a brand in the eyes of these influential women and what future trends we should be watching out for.

Owning your Authority
The good news: you are a high-achieving, high-functioning woman. The bad news: you sincerely doubt it from time to time. The really good news: you are in excellent company. The fabulous news: you can go from feeling like an Imposter to feeling like the Authority that you are.

Rules to Break for Today’s AdWomen
There are pivotal sink or swim moments for women in business. And no one is better suited to teach them than Swim co-founders Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin. From assertiveness to networking and collaboration, they’ll name key rules outlined in their upcoming book and explore a few must-break rules for women in advertising.


Photo of Kelly Jones Kelly Jones, Head of Thought Leadership, Marketing Solutions Team, Microsoft

Working with Microsoft’s researchers, Kelly creates insights-driven narratives from thought leadership studies and analytics, to get into the guts of human behaviour and motivation. Focusing on Microsoft digital advertising platforms, plus future-forward technologies and digital industry trends, Kelly’s work has fuelled executive keynotes, conference content, sales strategy and public relations.

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2005, Kelly managed online marketing at HarperCollins Publishers, a division of NewsCorp, where she worked with New York Times bestselling authors to extend their brands across digital channels through paid, owned and earned media.

Kelly has an MFA in Creative Writing and Post-Colonial Literature from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Ohio University. And despite 9 years in Digital, she still prefers hardcover books and the Sunday Times in paper form. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Photo of Tanya Geisler Tanya Geisler, Certified Life and Business Coach, Motivational Speaker

Tanya is certified Life and Business Coach (CPCC, ACC) with a penchant for clarity (her Clarity Sessions have been likened to “divining rods of truth”). She’s coached hundreds of people who were ready to step into the starring roles of their lives. She wrote The Joy Pages, created Board of Your Life and the Step into Your Starring Role program, is a blogger for the wildly popular The Daily Love, has served as contributor and was featured in Canadian Living, and is an in-demand speaker who talks with great passion on all things joy, meaning and purpose (just try to stop her). She recently spoke about the Impostor Complex at TEDxWomen.

Photo of Nancy Vonk

Photo of Janet Kestin

Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin, Co-founders, Swim

Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin are co-founders of Swim, a creative leadership lab designed to create fearless leaders in industries from advertising to banking to fashion. From Droga5 to the “top 40 architects under 40” in the U.S., the groups they work with get new tools and insights to have maximum impact as leaders.

They were Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy Toronto from 1998 to 2011 and led their office to two Cannes Grand Prix, a Grand Clio and Best of Show at the Creativity Awards for work like Dove “Evolution” and “Diamond Shreddies”. Nancy and Janet have judged industry awards shows including Cannes, Clios, CA, The One Show, and D&AD; each have chaired shows like the Art Director’s Club, Bessies, Marketing, Extras and Ice. They’ve taught masters classes at OCAD, and lecture at other schools like VCU Brandcenter and Creative Circus.

Nancy and Janet were included in Creativity magazine’s Top 50 Creative People of 2008, and named advertising Women of the Year at the WIN Awards and the AWNY Awards in 2007. In 2011 they were inducted into Canada’s “Marketing Hall of Legends.” In 2012 they were included in Advertising Age Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising.

Nancy and Janet write industry advice column “Ask Jancy” on, and they penned Adweek book Pick Me, a staple in advertising schools from Texas to Turkey. Their new HarperCollins career guide for women will be on shelves in ‘14.

Vonk and Kestin’s Rules for m:AD Women

November 18, 2013

Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin rose to the top of their profession as women despite some old-boys-club naysayers along the way. Take the issue of being a mom and a leader in the workplace. While the former co-CCOs of Ogilvy Toronto agree that a great part of their success comes from motherhood (and the time management prowess it brings), not everyone they’ve worked with has felt the same. Vonk recalls some somber advice she was given early in her career when it came to having kids and leading a creative department: “Darling, you can’t do both,” she was told.

In a lively and no-holds-barred presentation at last week’s m:Ad Women event in Toronto, which was organized by the Institute of Communication Agencies Ad Women of Toronto initiaitve and Microsoft Advertising, the co-founders of creative leadership lab Swim addressed the professional hurdles they faced as women and shared the rules they believe women should break to find success.

Read the full article at Marketing Magazine.

m:AD Women Event Analyzes the ‘Digital Diva’

November 15, 2013

“We didn’t think women were using technology that much.”

That was the comment from a male employee at a Fortune 500 company when Microsoft recently went in to present global research about how women use digital. The astonishing remark shows there are obviously still misconceptions about women’s digital habits in 2013.

Kelly Jones, head of thought leadership in Microsoft’s marketing solutions team, set the record straight on Wednesday at a m:Ad Women event in Toronto organized by the Institute of Communication Agencies Ad Women of Toronto initiative and Microsoft Advertising. She shared those research results to illustrate how women in Canada—and abroad—have woven digital into their everyday lives.

The study, which Microsoft partnered with Ogilvy on earlier this year, looks at nine markets including Canada, the U.S., China and the U.K. The companies polled approximately 1,000 women in each region.

Jones began her m:Ad Women presentation by outlining the three main groups into which women in the study were segmented: globally, 32% of women are digital outsiders, 50% are mainstream users and 18% are digital divas.

Read the full article at Marketing Magazine.

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