Marketing Mag’s 2009 Ones to Watch

Or: Watching Me Watching You!

This year, I was honoured and humbled to be named one of Marketing Magazine’s “Ones to Watch” in the publication’s annual survey of the top marketers under 30. I just slipped in in this, my last eligible year.

Marketing Mag - Ones to Watch 3 of 5 by you.

Congratulations to my fellow nominees:

There are a lot of online people in the list and here’s what Marketing Mag said about that shift to online:

Much of the future of this industry will be written online, in new and emerging media, on channels that only sprung up yesterday and others that will spring up tomorrow. The young people profiled on the following pages will be the ones writing some of the most exciting chapters.

Whether they’re creating websites, spreading word-of-mouth buzz in the blogosphere or moving mass brand strategies online, these professionals, all under 30, have already turned heads across the industry and seem destined to do so for years to come.

And here’s what they had to say about me (with a few corrections thrown in from me):

“Experience isn’t necessarily a yardstick of talent,” says Ed Lee.

It’s an appropriate observation from a man who entered the PR game by “accident” and in six short years became Veritas Communications’ youngest ever managing director when he was appointed to the lead role of the social media division com.motion at just 29.

London, U.K.-born Lee studied anthropology and politics at Oxford Brookes University before a friend told him about an internship at GolinHarris in London.

“I turned up not knowing anything about PR,” he says. Lee received “amazing on-the-job training” and stayed at the firm for a year. He and his then-girlfriend (a Calgary native who later became his wife) moved to Toronto in 2004 (actually 2005). Lee started as an account director Senior Consultant at Strategic Objectives before moving to Fleishman-Hillard. It was here he realized his passion for the online space, and after three months moved over to the firm’s interactive arm, iStudio.

This past January, he received a call from com.motion founder Keith McArthur, who was looking for his own replacement after accepting a job as senior director of social media and digital communications for Rogers. The two met up, along with Veritas president Beverley Hammond, who after 10 minutes knew Lee was a “rock star.” In February, he joined com.motion.

Lee “is the kind of guy who gives you complete confidence in his knowledge,” says Hammond.

Since his arrival, com.motion has doubled in size (note: we are on track to grow approx x3 in 2009!) and has added Guinness, Subway, Genworth Financial and Wines of Ontario to on its client roster. An obvious advocate of social media, Lee isn’t one to innovate for innovation’s sake, says Hammond. All of Lee’s programs evolve from the same starting point: a strategic look at the client’s business and communications objectives and their key audiences.

For example, Lee gave hockey fans a place to rally in support of Canadian BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie’s bid to bring a new NHL hockey franchise to southern Ontario. He developed the content for, where visitors could add their names, voices and video messages of support, and link to other social media sites.

The effort generated around 28,000 Facebook fans and 4,500 Twitter followers, while nearly 200,000 fans signed up for the campaign newsletter. The Globe and Mail compared the effort to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for its use of social media to recruit and engage supporters.

Outside the office, Lee maintains his own blog, Blogging Me Blogging You (note: now and co-founded Third Tuesday Toronto, a meet-up dedicated to introducing social media to the mainstream communications community. The group has more than 2,200 members with chapters in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver. Lee is definitely one to watch, and you can, on his blog… Twitter… Facebook…(what about LinkedIn?!)

Besides this very kind write up which Kristin Laird gave me, the most gratifying aspect of this was an ad which the Veritas Team placed in the article:


Advertising and PR working in concert. As it should be.

I try to do my job to the best of my ability and feel slightly uncomfortable with these sort of individual accolades – especially as I know that anything I do and achieve is more about the people who have supported me, cajoled me and inspired me throughout my career.

I think Sir Isaac Newton said it best when he said:

If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.

And that’s how I feel every day. From the moment I walked into GolinHarris to report to Barry Leggetter through to (almost) three great years of working under Katherine Fletcher at iStudio, all the way through to just last night when Bev Hammond and I discussed the next few years of com.motion’s [explosive] growth, I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing mentors to show me the right, and wrong, way to do things.

While this is an amazing accolade and I am as proud as punch to receive it, it is also a double edged sword. This puts more pressure on my shoulders to do an ever better job – to accomplish a much harder task. To realise my potential. I don’t want to be the old man of the office who lives off of past glories.

No, success (if you can classify this as such) is not a place you get to but an ever evolving state of mind.

5 Responses to Marketing Mag’s 2009 Ones to Watch

  1. […] 2009-11-26T10:36:06  New (self serving) blog post: Watching Me Watching You! [link to post] […]

  2. Mark Evans says:

    Congrats, young man!


  3. David Jones says:

    Well done. Well deserved.

  4. Hugh Phibbs says:

    Thanks a lot for this amazing content, I will attach this web site to my rss feeds, a friend basically informed me relating to this the other day. this may be the best

  5. […] of Marketing Magazine’s “Ones to Watch” — you can read about that on his Blogging Me, Blogging You blog (do I detect a nod to a certain Alan Partridge there?) and follow his Twitter […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: