Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Corporate Communications
Year of graduation: 2001
Marissa created the innovative bi-monthly Get Out There magazine in 2004 which filled a void in the endurance sports market in Canada. Marissa has since replicated the magazine into a web-based format, integrating video, blogging and social media platforms. A passionate endurance sports athlete and experienced in event marketing and promotion specialist, she is a sought-after consultant to race directors across the country. Marissa also holds a BA in Media, Information and Technoculture from the University of Western Ontario.
Was it scary starting your own PR firm and then the magazine?
It wasn’t scary launching my PR consultancy. My parents encouraged me to take risks while I was young and didn’t have much to lose. I was energetic and determined. I also found a colleague who became my mentor and brought me on board to support him with some of his larger clients. In hindsight it was a pretty gutsy move - starting a business with little experience, no customers and no leads!
Starting Get Out There, on the other hand, was a much bigger leap. There was a significant outlay of cash at the start and it was a much bigger risk. But I didn’t want to wait too long for someone else to scoop the idea! To some degree, fear is what continues to drive me forward.
How did you develop a strategy to create effective content in print and digital media?
These platforms are much more fluid than print, and require ongoing learning and adjusting. Each platform reaches a different audience in a different way – a Twitter audience is not the same as a Facebook audience. While some of our content is common to multiple platforms, I try to tailor messages to these unique audiences. I also try to keep up with how these technologies are changing and how we can grow with the changes. Our digital strategy really is a moving target.
What led you to enrol in Sheridan following a stint as a financial analyst?
After a couple of years at RBC Capital Markets I started thinking about my long term goals. While I loved the environment I was working in, I knew I would never excel. Finance simply wasn’t my passion and I didn’t see myself being highly competitive in that industry. I really wanted to make a mark. After exploring my options I decided that a very practical learning experience like the one offered at Sheridan was right for me.
What advice would you offer a new communications graduate?
Keep moving forward. Being stagnant is not an option if you are motivated by career success. On a more practical level, here are a few rules that have served me well in my career.
· Be the best dressed person in the room. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
· Be on time, 100% of the time.
· Be over-prepared.
· Listen to others but trust your gut.