#StandApart Career Profile – Cameron Uganec @Hootsuite

cam-uganec-lsCameron Uganec’s career, like his current company (Vancouver’s tech-darling, HootSuite) tells a hyper-growth tale. Landing in San Francisco in the midst of the dot.com boom (and then leaving through the front doors in its’ subsequent crash), Uganec brought an early-adopters’ knowledge of digital that landed him his first agency role with more seniority than experience (“I was placed in a senior role on the Microsoft Account. I didn’t know what a creative brief was…”).

Working his way from agency (MacLaren McCann) to client-side (Playground, Intrawest) and through his own entrepreneurial ventures, Uganec describes his marketing mission as “reaching the connected consumer through storytelling.” With a stripped-down ego (one of his keys to success) and an instinct for storytelling, Uganec is now Director of Marketing at HootSuite – a social media management company that’s made its way from diapers to dynasty in just three short years.

Uganec’s current focus is to rapidly move the HootSuite needle through global expansion and help his team remember to celebrate the many shotgun-worthy milestones they cram in day. These are just a couple of reasons Cameron Uganec is resoundingly #StandApart; here are the rest:


Describe your current role in 140 characters or less…

Director, Marketing at HootSuite. I lead #brand management,  the internal creative agency, #contentmarketing, the primary #socialmedia and owned channels.

One word that best describes how you work.


What is your “Superpower”? (What is the one thing you do you do better than most?)

Build strong teams to build new things

I am a big believer in strength-based performance

Where does your motivation come from?  Does motivation come easy for you or is it work/discipline to sustain it?

When I look back at my career, I was most motivated when I was launching new initiatives. I am very curious about new ideas, models and technology and I love the process of starting something new. When I am involved in those projects, motivation comes easily.

How has your motivation worked for you?  Has your motivation ever worked against you? Have you ever had to wrestle with your motivation?

I am a big believer in strength-based performance. Focusing on the areas that a person excels at and they are passionate about. In my experience, when I have had roles that allow me to focus on my strengths and interests, I can accomplish big things.  That’s good for the company, the team and the individual. The hard part can be finding the right role at a company at the right stage.

In terms of wrestling with my motivation, absolutely. One example is when I started my own digital agency, I spent too much time exploring new ideas and concepts versus executing, building…doing. It’s important to get the balance right.

I recommend that when people are considering their educational choices they take a hard look at why they are going

Have you ever watched someone sabotage his or her own career? If so, how?

Sure, I have been working for almost 20 years, I have witnessed a lot weird stuff.  Basically if you follow the rules that your parents taught you .. you should be OK – Do NOT: lie, cheat, get addicted to bad things, let your ego take over or be abusive towards others.

Can you point to any career/life turning points that either: a) Provided clarity or b) Served as a springboard/accelerator/ launching pad

Buying my Mac and going back to school (Capilano University) to learn everything I could about digital communication and the web in 1996 was a “TSN Turning Point”.  Another big one was moving to San Francisco.

Why did you make the educational choices you did and what would you recommend for others on this front?

I recommend that when people are considering their educational choices they take a hard look at why they are going. When I first went to University, I went because that was what was expected. All my friends were doing it, so I followed the herd. I recommend don’t waste the time and money if this is why you are going to school.

When I went back to school the second time, I was following my genuine interest and passion in digital storytelling and my instincts that the web was going to be huge. I believed that there would be a market for what I was learning, I just didn’t quite know what it would look like. I took a risk and invested in myself and it paid off.

The Millennial Generation is fearless, they are not shackled by convention, they have raw talent and hustle

When you look back over your career to date, what are you most proud of?

Building teams that do great things together and helping others develop their strengths in the process.

We asked one of your team members,  Joanna Ambrosio (Art Director, Hootsuite)  what makes you #StandApart. Here’s what she said:

“You know those people that when they enter a room, you notice them? That’s Cameron. You always know when he’s in the room, he brings good energy and somehow makes you feel that things are gonna be ok. He’s a great manager, he treats us all equally, trusts our skills and empowers us to do better. My favourite phrase of his is “how can I help you?” – which is essential for any team player.”

You’re interviewing a candidate and there’s no doubt, they’ve got it. What ingredients were you looking for? When it comes to hiring, what does you/your organization consider the special sauce?

Self aware. Positive Attitude. Strong work ethic. Fearlessness. Leadership potential.

Most people are surprised that I am not a gadget guy

Describe the best team you’ve ever led – one that was ‘firing on all cylinders’ – what made that team #StandApart?

I have been lucky to be part of 3 teams in my career, that I would put in the ‘firing on all cylinders’ category.  If I have to pick one I would say my current team at HootSuite is the top. This team is different in that it’s a relatively young team, most fall in the Millennial Generation. I think this generation get’s a lot of unwarranted negative press. They #StandApart because they are fearless, they are not shackled by convention, they have raw talent and hustle. They trust and genuinely like each other.

What devices/apps/tools form part of your regular routine?

Most people are surprised that I am not a gadget guy, I currently have an iPhone 3. Yes, people make fun of me. I use HootSuite of course for managing our social, Chartbeat to get live results of how our blog is performing, I always have a couple of tabs open with Google Docs. Rapportive is a great gmail extension that helps me manage my social contacts.

How “LinkedIn” are you? Do you use it?  What role has networking played in your career?

I am very LinkedIn. I am biased, they are a partner of ours. However, I have been building relationships on LinkedIn since 2006. I use it everyday for news and useful content. I do use it for recruiting, and vendor selection. When I decided I wanted to work at HootSuite the first thing I did was use LinkedIn to see how I was connected to Ryan Holmes, HootSuite’s CEO. I am very thankful for my connections that made the intro.

This question was passed on from our last #StandApart Marketer, Marty Yaskowich, Managing Director of Tribal Worldwide Vancouver and VP, Strategy & Innovation for DDB VancouverIf you weren’t in your current role (or if money were no object) what would you be doing? What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Producing documentaries. Something that aspires to be informative, gritty and socially transformative (you said I couldn’t fail, right?) a la the awesomeness being put out by Vice.

If you could put one question on the list for our next #StandApart Marketer profile, what would it be? What do you want to know?

What Vancouver brands do you admire?