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Leadership: Better Practiced than Preached

I interviewed a young woman today who taught me a valuable lesson.

She was looking for an internship and was meeting with a number of agencies in Toronto. When I asked her why she wanted to work for FleishmanHillard she said it was because we demonstrated leadership rather than just talking about it.

I was curious what she meant by that.

She said where most agencies spoke about the time and care they take with employees, FleishmanHillard were the only ones who actually took the time and care with her as an intern. She said it spoke volumes about our values. She understood, that her employment as intern would be as much (or even more of) an opportunity for her to learn from our team as it would be for her to contribute to our team. Nevertheless, a number of members from our leadership team took the time to meet her and help her along the way.  She said it proved to her that this was how we’d treat her as an employee. Our actions spoke louder than our words.

Coincidentally, I was having this very conversation with a former client this morning. We were talking about memorable bosses that we’d had over the years. Both of us remembered the leaders who took time out of their day for people when there wasn’t anything really in it for them. If you emailed them to say hello, they’d email you back. If you had a win that week, they’d offer congratulations. They’d even take the time just to ask how things were going. They made everyone feel important and valued.

We often talk to our clients about the say/do gap and the need for as little distance between the two as possible. I actually think the gap exists when there is a misalignment in values. You can’t tell someone how they should behave as a leader. It needs to come from a genuine place. A true leader is the same woman/man in every situation. There is no gap, because they live what they value.

It was also a good reminder that as leaders we are always being watched. Even when we least suspect it. People are paying attention. And they believe in leadership only when they see leadership.

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FleishmanHillard Toronto Promotes Thirteen


FleishmanHillard announced today it has promoted 13 staff members in its Toronto office, including Charles Muggeridge who was promoted to Partner, Leslie Walsh who was promoted to Senior Vice President, Hélène LaRochelle and Jay Armitage who were both promoted to the role of Vice President and Megan Shay who has been promoted to Associate Vice President.

“FH Toronto has had a tremendous year – we’ve landed big new clients, grown organically, expanded our creative services offering, and won numerous awards,” said Angela Carmichael, General Manager FleishmanHillard Toronto. “This is one of my favourite times of the year when we get to celebrate and recognize the huge contributions that team members have made over the past 12 months. The number of promotions awarded this year is a true testament to the strength of the team we’ve assembled and the great work they do, each and every day.”

Charles Muggeridge (1) has been promoted to Partner. Charles joined FleishmanHillard as an account executive in 1995 and celebrated his 20th year at FleishmanHillard this past fall.

Leslie Walsh (2) has been promoted to Senior Vice President. Leslie joined FleishmanHillard more than eight years ago, and prior to that she managed public relations and marketing at a multi-site hospital in the GTA.

Hélène Larochelle (3) has been promoted to Vice President and Creative Director. Prior to joining FH in 2015, Hélène held senior positions at notable advertising and communications agencies including RMG Connect, J.Walter Thompson, and SonicBoom.

Jay Armitage (4) has been promoted to Vice President. Jay joined FH in 2010 and has extensive experience in issues and crisis management. Jay previously worked as a producer at CBC News Network.

Megan Shay (5) has been promoted to Associate Vice President. Megan started her career in publishing, executing digital campaigns for publications such as Toronto Life and FASHION Magazine, before transitioning to an agency setting. Megan joined the FleishmanHillard team in the spring of 2014.

Megan Stoudt (6) has been promoted to Account Director. Megan Stoudt is an expert in consumer marketing communications. She joined FH as an intern, left to explore opportunities at two other agencies in Toronto, and was happily welcomed back to the FH family in 2015.

Justin Hane (7) has been promoted to Account Director. Justin joined FH in January 2014 and specializes in executive communications and strategy, drawing on professional experience comprising work in journalism, politics and in the international development sector.

Rachael Factor (8) has been promoted to Senior Consultant. Rachael works with clients across a variety of sectors and industries, including financial services, real estate, payments, professional services, technology and not-for-profit.

Brianna Bijman (9) has been promoted to Consultant. Bri is part of the consumer marketing team at FH and works with clients in a wide range of industries, including CPG, technology, family and health care, food and lifestyle.

Douglas Johnson (10) has been promoted to Consultant. Doug works with the corporate reputation team at FleishmanHillard, providing support on media relations, strategic communications and storytelling. Prior to joining FH, Doug was president of Queen’s University’s student government.

Jannine Rane (11) has been promoted to Consultant. Jannine provides strategic media relations, communications, and stakeholder relations support to a number of clients in the financial services, corporate, and public sectors.

Lauren Treadgold (12) has been promoted to Consultant. Lauren’s strong media relationships and writing abilities have helped her support public relations programs for tech, financial, consumer, and healthcare clients.

Allan Keith (13) has been promoted to Consultant. Allan acts as a production coordinator for FH’s creative services team, managing design, video and development projects for multiple clients and practice groups.

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Ontario 2016 Budget


This afternoon, Finance Minister Charles Sousa presented the 2016 Budget to the Legislature. While largely stay-the-course, the 2016 Budget also takes significant steps forward to protect the environment and reduce the cost of postsecondary education.

To read FleishmanHillard’s recap of the Ontario 2016 budget, click here.

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FH Toronto CreateAthon a Resounding Success


The 24-hour PR marathon may be over but we are still smiling from ear-to-ear after our successful CreateAthon event here at FleishmanHillard Toronto.

Our 2015 charities, Evergreen Brickworks, the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, Ovarian Cancer Canada, Camp Kivita and Hot Docs, each came to us with unique challenges and different needs.

“I was completely surprised and delighted about the detail, direction and thorough planning that went into the strategy and execution plan.” Ovarian Cancer Canada

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Aboriginal Business Match and FH

Networking at trade conferences can be a very random thing – am I in the right place meeting the right people… is this worth my time and effort… who do I follow up with?

Not so at the Aboriginal Business Match East conference in Mississauga which we attended recently. The meeting is all about building effective business relationships between Aboriginal communities and the private sector. Here the business meetings are all arranged in advance – 20 minutes to tell your story and hear theirs. Kind of like speed dating, the randomness is taken right out of it. You are meeting the people who make the most sense and the follow up is focused.

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