This story appears in the November 2014 issue of Strategy.

Karine Courtemanche, president of PHD/Touché! and repeat Media Director of the Year winner, thought the first year of the agency’s Toronto office would see her do more media directing.

“I ended up spending a lot of time focusing on people and culture,” she says. “It’s a tough media industry these days and there is no way you’ll survive if you don’t have a specific positioning. We had strong positioning in Montreal and we really wanted to bring that to Toronto.”

The office opened in August of last year, and in the last 12 months, its work has really taken off. While Touché! has earned clients including Essilor, Ferrero, Quebec Tourism and Materne under Courtemanche, her greatest personal success has been Canadian Tire. She says the agency would not have landed the job had it not been on the ground in Toronto.

Between being selected as a judge for the CASSIES, Media Innovation Awards and Cannes Lions this year, and sitting on the boards of COMB and NADbank, Karine has still been able to split her time between Touché!’s offices. This has helped the Toronto branch adopt the Montreal office’s focus on growing talent, but going from zero to 27 employees in one year means leadership needs to keep the team working towards the same goal.

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