#StandApart Marketer Profile: Marty Yaskowich (Part 1 of 2)

MartyYaskowichWhat hasn’t changed? That’s what  – a cutting-edge digital marketing and social media agency – finds himself asking about his industry today. And, having recently doubled up as the newly appointed VP Strategy & Innovation for parent agency, DDB Vancouver, it’s something he’s got to keep his finger on.

With a strong start in the journalistic trenches, Yaskowich’s career to-date storytells an impressive climb from Account Manager to VP-level in just under 9 years, overseeing multi-million dollar integrated marketing campaigns from pitch-to-play for the likes of Nordstrom, Canadian Tourism Commission, BC Hydro, Best Buy Canada and the University of British Columbia.

Today, Yaskowich, the son of two elementary school teachers and a sometimes instructor at UBC himself, is most concerned about sourcing the best people, technologies and partnerships to help his big-name clients #StandApart themselves. After all, as Marty says, if he’s learned nothing else as leader of an award-winning team of 30+ super-creatives (all of whom Marty says are committed to their ‘art’ above all else), it’s some pretty sharp Instagram skills and a well-developed knack for figuring out what’s next. Keep reading for Part 1 of 2 on our sit-down with Marty Yaskowich and what makes him #StandApart:


Part 1: On motivation, seizing opportunities and always playing marketing as a team sport


Describe your current role in 140 characters or less…

I support our integrated planning and strategy division, with a personal focus on social and digital engagement

One word that best describes how you work.

“Strategery” (shamelessly stolen from a Will Farrell/Saturday Night Live skit. Google it.)

Intentionality or Happenstance?  Which has played a greater role in building your career path?

Happenstance… followed quickly by intentionality. Before I got into marketing/communications, I worked in journalism for a few years. I quickly learned that what makes good reporters ‘great’ is an ability to see opportunities within an interview and dive deeper based on an interviewee’s in-the-moment answers. Business is a lot like that. Small opportunities emerge that you have to a) identify and b) be quick and agile enough to capitalize on. Building a career really relies on both.

I think motivation is a byproduct of success.

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

Have you seen the home prices in Vancouver?? My mortgage statement provides all the monthly ‘motivation’ I need! Truthfully, I think motivation is a byproduct of success. The more successful I’ve been in various roles in my career, the more motivated I am to keep building, growing and evolving my career. If you’re not motivated every day it’s probably because you’re doing something that you’re not inherently wired for.

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

I think I’m more of a grappler than a wrestler.

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

I really didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up as I headed off to university, so I studied things that I was really interested in and then later supplemented that education with more practical educational experiences. I think both lateral and practical paths are critical for long-term success in our business. Many of the best people I work with came to marketing via the road less traveled. And it has made all the difference.

It’s a mantra I still believe when I’m looking for new employees: Hire for the personality/attitude. Train for the job.

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

I didn’t really love the day-to-day job of being a reporter and part-time broadcaster. But I think there was a moment that I realized the skills I had developed in those years could serve me really well in marketing/communications: active listening, curiosity, the ability to think on my feet, public speaking skills…

My first boss in the communications business told me that he loved the intangibles I brought to the agency, and that he could teach me anything I needed to know about marketing. It’s a mantra I still believe when I’m looking for new employees: Hire for the personality/attitude. Train for the job.

Many of the best people I work with came to marketing via the road less traveled. And it has made all the difference.

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

Anyone who forgets that marketing is a team sport. Ours is a business of collaborating and sharing to make all the ideas better – strategy, business insight, creative, execution. When team members try to protect their own ideas or take too much credit for the work, I know they won’t last long at DDB and probably not long in the business either.

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

I’ve been on LinkedIn for years but the platform doesn’t guarantee a networked career. Recently, I’ve been reading some interesting theories on how to use the social network more effectively and I’m trying to apply those principles to my presence there. Example: start with helping others… you’ll be surprised at how much stronger a community you can build when you put the needs of others first. 

Check back next Wednesday for Part 2 of our exclusive chat with marketing leader, Marty Yaskowich, on his career highlights and what makes him #StandApart. 

Feeling Inspired? Can’t wait for Part 2, check out these other #StandApart career profiles featuring leading marketing professionals from Vancouver and beyond:

Mark Szabo, Marketing Strategy Consultant and Past Vice-President, Karo Group

Keith Marret, VP Marketing, Communications and Product Development, Avigilon

Shafiq Jamal, Senior Vice-President, Edelman Vancouver

Ashleah Wilson, Vice-President Marketing, DominionGrand Financial Group