Since graduating from Durham College’s (DC) Public Relations (PR) program in 1999, Jennifer Stein has been living what many PR professionals call “the agency life”. It’s incredibly exciting, fastpaced and rewarding and as a strategic storyteller for some of Canada’s biggest brands, she loves it.
“I knew after my first year at Durham College that I wanted to work in an agency. Since then, I always have – starting at Porter Novelli and working with high tech clients like Oracle and HP, then at a smaller agency called Temple Scott,” recalls Jennifer. “I then left there to work at APEX Public Relations where I’ve been for 11 years! I no longer really work in tech, but my passion is still there.”
As senior vice-president of Integrated Communications, Jennifer runs the consumer side of the business for APEX with clients like Walmart, New Balance and Levis. No day is the same, but that’s the way she likes it – and it gives her the opportunity to be creative and think of new, innovative ways to approach communications.
“At APEX I have the autonomy to do the things that inspire me. Right now I’m working on a YouTube comedy that I think everyone is going to love,” she explains. “It’s a step outside what PR is but I love learning and pivoting. It get me excited about going to work every day.”
It’s that kind of outside-of-the-box thinking that helped Jennifer and her team hit a home run with Walmart’s back-to-school campaign in 2015, producing a Snack Report based on consumer research and leveraging the content across multiple channels. The campaign did so well that they took home an Achieving Communications Excellence (ACE) Award from the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) for Best Creative PR Campaign.
Over the course of her career, Jennifer has won more than 25 awards from the CPRS and International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), including an Ovation award with IABC for her work on Upstairs Amy – a YouTube comedy APEX produced for Interac and Walmart.
“At APEX we are big on awards – it is a great way to reflect on work you have done and celebrate successes,” she says. “Our award for Upstairs Amy is my most cherished; it was a really innovative way to build brand awareness for both clients and ended up being very successful.”
Motivated by her past successes and with the goal of delivering the next big thing in PR for her clients, Jennifer admits that it’s all about being flexible and trying something new.
“PR and marketing has changed more over the last year than the last 12 years. You can’t ask me what I am going to do 10 years from now – I don’t even know what I am going to tomorrow – but I like that,” says Jennifer. “I’m excited to see where things move to next and looking forward to learning along the way!”