Alumna leading the way in her marketing career

Alumna spotlight: Brittany Garlin

Getting a coveted spot on the Forbes Communications Council is just the latest accomplishment in Durham College (DC) grad Brittany Garlin’s flourishing career.

Holding dual roles as head of marketing at Agency Vista and Vista Social, the 2016 graduate of the Advertising and Promotion program at DC was named to the Council earlier this year. An invitation-only organization for senior-level communications and public relations executives, it provides invaluable networking opportunities, while adding Garlin’s name to the esteemed list of Forbes contributors.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be featured in Forbes or writing in Forbes,” she said. “When I’m doing partnerships with businesses, it gives me a layer of credibility, because they’re seeing the Forbes name associated with my name. It has definitely made me feel more confident.”

Garlin has plenty of reasons to be confident. In a relatively short amount of time, she has built an enviable marketing career from the ground-up and has excelled in the tech space. Her journey began soon after graduation, when she took a role as junior marketing manager at Keek, a popular social media video app.

“It was a really fun and cool experience. That was the first company that got me into tech,” she said. “It’s something I discovered I had a passion for. My path has never been set in stone. I’ve always just gone with what interests me and watched that evolve.”

In 2019 her path led her to a new company, Agency Vista. As one of the first three employees, she helped build it into a successful platform that connects businesses with marketing agencies to suit their needs. Last year, her responsibilities doubled with the launch of Vista Social. A social media management tool, it allows businesses to schedule their social media posts across various different social networks, view engagement analytics and more. It was also the first such tool to implement ChatGPT technology.

In helping to build both companies, she has called on a number of the lessons she learned at DC. Her tireless work ethic was influenced by her professors, many of whom were still working marketing jobs while teaching. She received a solid foundation in a number of crucial skills, from networking and bringing in customers to experiential marketing. She has even benefitted from courses she didn’t particularly enjoy, like learning to use Adobe Illustrator. Those skills later came in handy at her first job, when she had design skills nobody else could match.

Dawn Salter, professor and program coordinator, sees Garlin as a prime example of the kind of talented marketer DC can produce.

“Students come into the program because there’s something that they think they’re going to like about it, and then you just watch them develop. When they leave, that development continues and they end up flourishing,” said Salter. “Brittany found her passion in the industry. She had to go through some learning and try some different roles in the industry to find that fit.”

With years of marketing experience now under her belt, Garlin is giving back as a member of the advisory committee for her old DC program. By sharing the lessons and insights she has learned along the way, she is helping to shape the education tomorrow’s marketers will receive.

“They just need to realize that learning never stops,” she said. “The only way that you can stay ahead is if you continually keep learning and realize that you don’t know everything.”  

DCSA chairperson making the most of her final year

Student Spotlight: Megan Bent

In her three years at Durham College (DC), Megan Bent has just about done it all.

Currently enrolled in the Sport Business Management graduate certificate program, she’s already an Advertising and Promotion graduate. She’s a key member of the dominant Durham Lords women’s rugby team that went undefeated last season on its way to provincial gold. And for the second year in a row, she’s leading the way for the Durham College Student Association (DCSA) as executive chairperson.

Though she received a Bachelor of Global and International Studies from Carleton University, it wasn’t quite what she was looking for in a post-secondary experience.

“It just wasn’t the right fit for me. I learn best in a get-your-hands-dirty kind of way, and neither high school nor university played with mud.”

Her search for a more tactile education led her to DC, where she immediately made herself at home both in and out of the classroom. She jumped into student life by helping out at orientation events, and then successfully ran for the position of Media, Art and Design director on the DCSA board, before the outgoing chairperson advised her to pursue the leadership role.   

“Getting the opportunity to join the board, I really got to understand the dynamics of our campus, how the association worked, and the things that we could offer to students,” she said.

Her smiling face has become a familiar sight on campus, and students know they can always approach her with their questions, concerns or friendly greetings.

She credits her counterparts at the DCSA for allowing her to do so much.

“I get a lot of praise for the things that we do, but we really have a well-oiled machine behind the scenes. They’re always pushing me to be better. They’re always taking care of me. I really couldn’t do what I do without them.”

Their support, as well as her own dedication and hard work, allows her to excel in class as well as on the rugby pitch. Now in her third season, she has embraced a leadership role on the team. In the same way she guides new students as DCSA president, she shares the benefit of her experience with the younger players on the team.

“When you’ve been on the circuit as long as I have, you have a lot of knowledge and a lot of insight,” she said. “I love playing with them. My team has been amazing. We’re there for each other.”

Her dedication to DC yielded a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity last month, when she was chosen to deliver the ceremonial first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays’ College and University Night. Members of the DC ball teams gave her some tips, and when the moment came, she threw a strike in front of a packed Rogers Centre.

“The stadium feels a lot bigger when you’re standing on the field than when you’re in the seats,” she said. “It was really cool representing our school and getting to see the crowd.”

She will soon be incorporating her passion for athletics with her education. In her upcoming field placement, she’ll be working with the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA). She’s already well acquainted with the organization as a member of its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee. Combining her multifaceted education with her love of sports would be an ideal career path for her.

Whatever her future holds, she knows it will be tough to say goodbye to DC.

“I’ll be pretty bummed because it’ll be the end of a chapter, and it’s been one of my favorite ones that I’ve ever got to write,” she said. “But then I also get to start a new chapter, and so I’m optimistic that my next stage of life will be as vibrant and lively as this one.”