#Standapart Career-Planning Lesson: The Path to the Coveted VP Marketing Office …


It’s something we like to call “Love Monday” at the Smart, Savvy + Associates office – a time to celebrate Vancouver’s top-tier marketing and business professionals and the organizations they belong to.


In the spirit of soon-to-be V-day and our Love Monday tradition, we thought it only fitting to re-gift to you one of the best career planning ‘hindsights’ we’ve collectedNote: we did not say ‘mistake’.


Last year, we hosted a career-shaking event where we asked 12 accomplished marketing professionals to share five minutes of career wisdom inspired by the phrase:  “If I knew then…”


Here’s one career lesson we think lives and breathes #standapart:


If you think you know what your destination looks like, look again.


You’re working away in cubicle-four when – whoosh – there goes the VP, Marketing. In your head you start the awe-inflicted slow clap building to an internal crescendo of exuberant fast clapping. Congratulations on the excellent brand, you want to yell. Brand YOU, that is.


Clearly, Veep-in-the-Lacoste-sneakers has got it figured out. After all, there are five VP Marketing positions in Vancouver lording over some 65,994 eager marketers – some of whom have an MBA and serve White Spot to BC Ferry passengers. (Disclaimer: I am not a statistician; those numbers are fictitious). But you get my point, right? If you ever want to get somewhere – and by that I mean 150 extra square-feet of living space and by-name service at the Juice Truck – that is the job you need.


Ron Cann, 20-year marketing veteran, Board Member of the Canadian Marketing Association and Past-President of the BC Association of Integrated Marketers, explained this pitfall best.


“The worst mistake I ever made,” he said, “was focusing on that coveted office.”


So, how did he combat this “lack-of-corporate-ladder” frustration? He took stock of his strengths, (re-) defined his career scope and came to this conclusion:


“Marketing is an orientation, it’s not a position,” he said. “If you think outside the traditional marketing roles and you are a marketing-oriented businessperson, I think you’ll find a lot of success.”


When Cann made this statement, he was still four steps from CEO. But even he couldn’t deny his leadership trajectory. He’d grown from a graduate student hungrily ingesting GE and Jolt Cola case studies to a leader with primary responsibility for marketing products, services and “some really cool technology for a $60-million business.”


It was this quote by Seth Godin that tripped a critical switch on his career planning: “transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion”.


Cann urges instead that up-and-comers tap into the #standapart contribution that makes a great marketer: the ability to drive business results.


“Think outside traditional roles and focus on your orientation,” he said.


Cann is now Vice President, Marketing and Communications at QTrade Financial Group.


You can watch the rest of Ronn Cann’s,“If I knew then,” talk here and follow him @roncann


PS: Isn’t Twitter great? Out went the #superbowl lights and the big story is an Oreo. The lesson here? Smavvy.TV may be sold out but you can still get in on the #BloodSweatAndCareer action by following our #standapart blog series, “liking” us on Facebook and joining us LIVE on Feb 7th by following  #standapart on twitter.com/smartsavvy at 6:30pm.