If the busyness of public relations and advertising agencies is an indicator of a city’s business health, Calgary is doing just fine, according to the strength of Brookline PR’s recent activities.
Launched here 19 years ago, Brookline was named after the district in Boston where Calgarian Shauna MacDonald cut her teeth in public relations. Her company is now recognized as one of the leading boutique PR agencies in Canada.
New clients are regularly added to its expansive client roster; one of the latest is T&T Supermarket.
Brookline worked with the ICE District in downtown Edmonton since its inception as a $2.5-billion mixed-use sports and entertainment district. It also supported key partner and tenant announcements, including the opening of the Loblaws City Market. Loblaws now owns T&T, so when it needed help to promote its Mid-Autumn Festival influencer campaign, it rewarded Brookline for the good job it had done in Edmonton. The Calgary agency now handles the supermarket chain across Canada.
Other recent new client wins include the City of Red Deer and the Red Deer Resort and Casino.
Red Deer called on Brookline to encourage people to return to the downtown area in a campaign throughout September. And for central Alberta’s newest premier hotel and conference centre, the agency was tasked with supporting the opening last month with media relations, content development, event planning and social media.
MacDonald reports that the past couple of months have been extremely busy.
Six of her staff were on site during the World Petroleum Congress (WPC), which returned to Calgary for the second time in its 24-year history, making it the only city to host the event more than once.
She says with events being held at the Big Four Building and at the BMO Centre, it was like working with two events at the same time. Her people supported pre-event media relations, on-site media co-ordination and crisis communications.
It was an exciting challenge as WPC attracted more than 150 media attendees and 5,000 delegates from around the world.
The most recent addition to Brookline’s impressive stable of accounts is the Calgary Public Library. Again, won on a competitive bid, Brookline is charged with promoting campaigns, projects, media relations and content support for the Calgary Central Library and its 21 branches, and to build upon its awareness as a key library leader in Canada.
Handling its longtime portfolio of accounts and the new additions meant the need for more staff and added responsibilities for others.
Delighted to join MacDonald and her team earlier this year was Richard Bartrem, former vice-president of marketing and communications at WestJet. A professional with 35 years of experience in leadership and management, Bartrem is Brookline’s brand and communications specialist.
The Calgary staff currently numbers 15, but MacDonald is also keen to use contracted experienced talent when needed.
During her early years in Boston, she worked alongside Wendy Agudelo and Louis-Philippe Dorais. Brookline has welcomed Agudelo, a celebrated public-relations professional and award-winning journalist who still lives in Boston, as its U.S. senior PR strategist supporting the team with strategy and insights for its U.S. clients and campaigns.
Dorais resides in Montreal and is called upon to support its clients as a bilingual communications specialist. He has an interesting communications career, serving as director of communications for the Montreal Alouettes and similar roles with Tennis Canada and Formula One Grand Prix du Canada.
Internally, Leanna Kruk has been promoted to group vice-president, and Kelsey Wilson and Rebecca Hurl are now both new account directors.
Busyness is a good sign for Calgary.
What began as a startup at the University of Calgary in 1983, LivingWorks Education has become a global leader in suicide prevention and intervention training. Last week, founder Richard Ramsay attended the 40th anniversary celebrations at a conference here to share leading research and knowledge attended by suicide prevention leaders from across Canada, Europe, Asia Pacific, the U.K., U.S.A. and Australia. The Calgary-based organization has educated more than two million people in more than 40 countries, teaching people how to keep others safe from suicide.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]