Alumni Spotlight:

Life-long learning as a strategy for success


July, 2020

It’s never too late! Coming from a senior position working in marketing for a financial institution, Melissa Nemec still believed that there were still various structures of strategy to uncover to heighten her skill set. We sat down with Melissa to discuss her reservations about enrolling & how the bootcamp can benefit mature students on agency or client side.

“My philosophy in education is that we should be lifetime learners. For me this is another tool in my toolkit. I am a lifelong learner, and I will continue to learn until I die”.

Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m born and raised in Toronto – Scarborough gal! I’m a huge globe trotter, artist, advocate for women, yogini, a mother, wife, & life long learner. I have amassed over 20+ years of experience in marketing on both agency and client side. I am currently the Senior Manager for Key Partnership for Scotiabank.

Walk us through your career path.
Closer to the start of my career I was working at Gee Jeffery where Angus Tucker, Robin Heisey, Peter Jeffery, Shelley brown, Ana Dixon, too many to name – all of these strong inspiring leaders with great insight and people to look up too were all under the same roof. It was an exciting time. I shifted over to Maclaren Mcann, and worked on a major car brand. It was a stark contrast from a small agency to the largest agency in Canada at the time. The process was different, but the client’s needs were the same. 

Shortly after I experienced an early midlife crisis, and spent 6 months in Europe. When I returned I switched gears, and landed a role at Scotiabank in their marketing team. Following that I moved to Sudbury, Ontario and worked for a publishing company. My husband and I moved down to Nashville, TN for a few years, where I took a pause to be a stay at home mom. We have since come back to Toronto where I have been working with Scotiabank for the last 10 years. I have been on the commercial banking side, small business marketing, and my current role in strategic brand partnership for small business.

This was an opportunity to go deeper and formalize my strategic planning.

This was an opportunity to go deeper and formalize my strategic planning.

Melissa Nemac
Strategy Bootcamp Graduate Fall 2019 &
Senior Manager, Key Partnerships & Marketing

The Strategy & Planning Bootcamp

Why did you take the Strategy Bootcamp?
I wanted to formalize that process, and reinforce the tools that I already had. This was an opportunity to go deeper and formalize my strategic planning. For me I’ve always loved the strategic thinking pieces, using trends, using something culturally relevant, and bringing those pieces together to create something that will get the attention of someone you are trying to reach.

Did you have any reservations before joining?
Haha yes – I thought I was too old. I had concerns about age, gender, and fitting into the environment. It wasn’t about the program itself. Advertising had a reputation of being a young person’s profession. Especially for women! I wanted to break those barriers.

What needs to change in the Industry to break those barriers?
The industry needs to look at not filtering through age and gender. I think life experience creates such richer insight. You can take away someone’s possessions, but you can’t take away their experiences. I think experiences should be even more valued.

How did you manage time?
You have to go with it and jump in. I do have a full time job, a husband, & children. I knew that it was going to be a huge time demand. You work with it. I shared the information with my family. 

I have good habits when it comes to regulating my schedule, establishing new routines early on, and having a strategy for success. We were wrapping up a kitchen renovation at the time. I wouldn’t recommend a kitchen renovation on top of the bootcamp.

Best moment of the bootcamp?
Absolutely the live client pitch. Working with the other partners on our team to prepare to, and to deliver our presentation was awesome. It was a ton of work, but was the most rewarding. To pull it all together, and deliver an amazing presentation, and place second. Collaborating with the creatives, and planners was a real life experience.

What module surprised you?
I loved the research piece. As a marketer in the banking world, bankers love numbers, using data and information is key. You see more and more of that when you are presenting to clients. If you can use real data and numbers, it really helps elevate your presentation. You are selling your ideas though the story, and your presentation is that story. You need to use all the tools and assets you have. I think every single one of the instructors had something really insightful to bring, and really helped refine my own tools and approach. They were all amazing.

It added another layer of confidence, and conviction in the approach that you are taking.

It added another layer of confidence, and conviction in the approach that you are taking.

After the Bootcamp?

What has been the result at work?
I have applied some of the strategic thinking pieces at work. I think having formalized the process, it takes some of the chaos and guesswork out of it. It saves time, and helps you come to the insight a lot sooner. Anytime you learn something you have more confidence in that space. It added another layer of confidence, and conviction in the approach that you are taking.

Great advice or feedback you received from the instructors?
I think Helen Androlia said it well “There is always more than one right answer”. Powerful teachers challenge you to think it through and go deep. She has that innate ability to do that.

What’s ahead for you this year?
I am excited. I have been doing some judging for the business impact category for the CMA awards. I am looking forward to reviewing these cases, and I think there will be a much more unique experience this year. I will be able to see the background work behind the scenes.

Who would you recommend for the bootcamp?
Everyone. You have to have a passion for the business, and want to be in advertising and marketing. You have to want to be in this space.

Final words?
Giorgio Armani didn’t start designing clothes until his 40’s, so it’s never too late.

Join us for our upcoming online Strategy & Planning Bootcamp!

Spaces still available.

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