Mentors

2012
Paula Gignac

Past President of IAB Canada & former Vice President of Rogers Women’s Group of Websites


Paula Gignac, recent past President of IAB Canada, and former Vice President of Rogers Women’s Group of Websites, is recognized throughout the industry — not only as a pioneering Web Publisher — but also as an award-winning author of Digital marketing programs for clients as diverse as AirMiles, GlaxoSmithKline, Ford, Proctor + Gamble, Hershey, etc. With more than 16 years of experience in the medium, and an unmatched record of helping clients achieve success in the Online arena, she was also creator and chief instructor of IAB Canada’s Intensive, One-Day Course in Interactive Marketing + Online Advertising. Following the tremendous success of IAB Canada’s Intensive One-Day Course In Interactive Marketing + Online Advertising, Gignac developed similarly-successful, industry-leading One-Day Courses in Social Media, Paid Search, SEO and Mobile Marketing as well.

During her time at Rogers, Gignac launched one of the first sponsored microsites; the first “viral” e-mail marketing program (Throw Like A Girl); and, the first Pre-Roll Online Video campaign in Canada. Paula also grew Chatelaine.com’s audience numbers to levels that rivaled iVillage and Oprah’s Oxygen.com Network, and subsequently turned Chatelaine.com into one of Canada’s first profitable Media Websites.

In 2003, a year before Gignac took on the leadership role with IAB Canada, the Internet’s share of advertising in Canada was 2% and the IAB’s Annual General Meeting had a dismal showing of less than twenty attendees. A year later in 2004, and just two short months into her role as IAB Canada’s Executive Director, IAB Canada’s AGM was standing room only. A year after that, the Internet doubled its share of total Canadian advertising dollars to 4%, and in 2010 (the last year for which IAB Canada data is available), stood at $2.1 Billion and 16% of total Canadian media spend.

Online, Paula launched many of the first and most successful forays onto the Web for the Canadian offices of blue-chip brand giants such as Ford, P+G, Kraft, Hershey, Conagra, Parmalat and GlaxoSmithKline, and won major marketing awards for her Clients both within Canada and internationally. Gignac’s industry-leading Interactive acumen was recognized back as early as 2001, when she was selected to appear on the cover of Backbone Magazine. Gignac was also one of the first Digital marketers to appear on the cover of Marketing Magazine as well.

After leaving Rogers in 2003 Gignac launched and taught the first-ever Canadian Certificate In Interactive Marketing + Online Advertising for IAB Canada -- a 16-week Course created in association with Atkinson Faculty Of Liberal + Professional Studies at York University – to a total of 80 students.

In the four years since its inception, IAB Canada’s Intensive One-Day Course In Interactive Marketing + Online Advertising has now been taught, by Gignac, to almost 2,000 professionals. Following the tremendous success of IAB Canada’s Intensive One-Day Course In Interactive Marketing + Online Advertising, Gignac developed similarly-successful, industry-leading Social Media, Paid Search, SEO and Mobile Marketing Courses to add to  IAB Canada’s line-up, and in the process, helped launch the careers of a variety of industry speakers as well.    

Despite her busy schedule, Paula has also managed to dovetail a number of philanthropic endeavours with key IAB Canada initiatives: including allowing five key Canadian charities to access free Online ad inventory as part of IAB Canada's PSA Program For Late Creative since 2008; designating key IAB Canada conferences as "Carbon Neutral" and offsetting the energy utilized and waste generated from these events through plantings with Tree Canada; and most recently, by allowing IAB Canada Members to show off their Digital marketing expertise in programs developed for and donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
Gignac has also taught Interactive Marketing within the Masters Certificate in Marketing Communications Management at Toronto’s Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC); and her expertise was recently recognized by the twenty-four countries that make up the global IAB network, where she was asked to present Best Practices In Industry Education at the esteemed Interac Conference in Belgium in 2009.

Originally trained as a Wildlife Biologist specializing in “optimal foraging”, Gignac’s perspective on Interactive is about as yin-yang as it gets… Add in her turns as a writer and an artist -- authoring articles for magazines as diverse as Fuse and Flare; winning a Studio Magazine Award for her photography before she had even completed her degree at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute; directing the short film Excess Is What I Came For; and, producing Glove (as part of InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre’s first all-female Digital art installation show entitled Game Girls) – and you understand why a legacy of innovation and excellence extends throughout Gignac’s career.

Paula Gignac - MHOL 2012 Mentor

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