Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Public Relations - Corporate Communications
Year of graduation: 2013
After 10 years as a journalist in her native India, Sonia Sharma arrived in Canada in 2012 with a desire to enhance her professional opportunities and gain some global experience. Sheridan’s Public Relations and Corporate Communications post-grad program helped kick-start her career in Canada where she is quickly rising through the ranks in the communications field.
After stints in the technology and the cultural sectors following her 2013 graduation, Sharma worked as an outreach coordinator for the non-profit group MonstARTity Creative Community that stages multicultural events in the GTA. This led to a position managing media and events for Maple Diversity Communications, before she joined award-winning Toronto agency specializing in multicultural advertising, Barrett and Welsh Inc. as Media Manager in May 2016. Her current job sees Sharma handling multicultural media strategy for TD Bank and working on media and communications planning for brands like Sobeys.
Successful multicultural advertising is about more than translating and circulating existing content, says Sharma. “Given the extent of diversity in Canada, multicultural marketing is like a jig-saw puzzle and that is what I enjoy the most. The challenge is to find the right piece of communication or media tactic to fit the right ethnic market and align that with the overall brand identity of the client.”
Despite her years of experience as an associate editor, as well as her education (she holds both a Bachelor of Commerce and a Master’s in History from India), Sharma faced challenges in building her career anew here. One of those hurdles was learning the standards of communication in Canada, which differ from those in India. “Something that was mainstream culturally in India became diversity in Canada. There is a lot of difference in the way South Asian and other visible minority audiences are communicated with here and the media that is available for them.”
For students and recent grads who are re-inventing themselves, regardless of their background, Sharma advises them to remain hopeful about the future, despite the challenges. “I felt that Sheridan gave me a good platform to jumpstart my career here. However, if someone starts to get discouraged I think the best thing is to take a break, re-energize and start again. Be your own brand manager and try to find the best possible way to reach your target audience. Never hesitate from trying new things and never give up!”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Public Relations – Corporate Communications program.