5 questions with Trina Boos

Trina is known as one of the most well-connected people in Canada’s ad and marketing biz. She earned this reputation as the creator of Ad Lounge (a now 5,000+ member community-based organization), which exists to provide a platform for key decision makers in the advertising and marketing industry to connect, stay ahead of the curve, and to help them remember why they love the industry that we play in. Ad Lounge does this through producing a series of networking and educational marketing events.  She is also the president of Boost Agents, a specialist recruitment provider to the marketing and creative services industry.

Prior to being a business owner, Trina spent her first ten years of her career driving marketing strategy and helping organizations achieve their business objectives both on and offline. She has worked both client and agency side on brands such as Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation, Johnston & Johnson, Ministry of Health Promotion, STAPLES Business Depot, Roots Canada, Columbia House, The Score Television Network and Alliance Atlantis.

In 2010, she partnered with the mesh group to act as Programming Director for meshmarketing, an annual digital marketing conference held in Toronto that focuses on emerging trends in digital media.  To learn more about what she’s talking about online, you can follow along at @adlounge and @boostagents.

What motivates you to do what you do on a daily basis?

It took me a long time to really realize that what I do most effortlessly is the thing I should be making a living at. The whole notion around “bringing people together” has followed me throughout my entire career. It began with the creation of Ad Lounge where it began as a Yahoo! group over 10 years ago, with the idea to connect with others who are passionate about the advertising, design, and marketing industry. It has resulted in the creation of some pretty wicked events like this one, this one, and this one.

The notion of community and connectedness brought me to the launch of Boost Agents, a new to market recruitment provider to the marketing, ad, design industry. Both organizations are a natural expression for me, and I’m honoured to say that I get to do what I love every single day, and that is to bring people together.

If you had 30 seconds to impart your wisdom on a classroom of soon-to-be graduates, what would you say?

a) Get involved. In the advertising, marketing and high-tech industries, opportunities exist more than any other I’ve ever known. Events occur almost on a daily basis. Volunteer. Participate.

b) Don’t feel that you need to know everything about the industry as soon as you’ve graduated. Read a lot, but also reach out and find people who you admire. Ask someone to be your mentor – they’ll be both surprised and flattered. Connect with them every so often with questions. Attend informational interviews, and be prepared with lots of good questions.

c) Try to keep interesting. Learn about things outside of your industry. Go to movies. Go on vacation and travel to places outside of your city. Read about nature. Go to the Science Centre. Not only do employers like staff that have things to contribute to the team other than just work-related conversations. But you’ll find that you will end up with ideas you never even knew you had – making yourself that much more of a valuable contributor to the team at large.

d) Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. As someone who meets numerous job seekers on a daily basis, I have to say how refreshing it is when someone calls to say “Thanks for the interview / thanks for your time.” Sure, an email is nice. But it’s expected. Stand out by picking up the phone. You won’t believe what a positive impression that will create.

e) Follow-up is good. But don’t over-do it. I made that mistake once in school because I took it much too literally when they said “Our industry is competitive, so you have to be aggressive.” And aggressive I was. And I think I scared off the potential employer. Show them that you are interested, be proactive, but don’t hound them. They’ll come after you if they’re interested. And – when they say to ask questions… come with maybe 3-5. I interviewed a candidate once who had about 20 questions in a notebook to go through with me just before our interview was finished. Well, she was organized – but what a turn-off. All I’m saying is – be very considerate about the subtle messages that you’re giving off during your interview (and the post-interview follow-up).

In your opinion, what has been one of the most important technological developments over the past 12 months?

As an entrepreneur who is out of the office half of the day, I am going to say the smartphone and mobile technology. I can Tweet on the road, update my Facebook page while walking to a client meeting, answer phone calls from candidates at a park bench, use location-based services, take advantage of mobile advertising, post job openings on the go, you name it. Business productivity, connectivity, and customer service increase all because of the wonderful things that mobile technology brings us. I can’t even imagine life without it now.

If you had a crystal ball, what would you say will be the most important technological development over the next 12 months?

The whole idea of virtual currency is interesting. But even more interesting is the recent announcement of Bitcoin, a new P2P currency, which appears to be a really disruptive and controversial payment system that claims to be completely untraceable and un-hackable. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for businesses, for government, for individuals, for crime protection, and the list goes on and on and on.. But again, because it’s undetectable, I suppose we’ll never know what impact it will actually have. Scary.

Who is one of Canada’s tech stars and why?

We have to make mention of our mesh friends, @stuartma, @markevans, @mikemcderment, @mathewi, and event planner guru @s_moore for doing great things for the education and advancement of Canada’s digital marketing industry. Ad Lounge partnered with the mesh group last year to produce meshmarketing, and it was an experience we’ll never forget.

If you’ve not signed up for the mesh conference as yet, don’t miss out on the opportunity. You’ll not regret it.

I also think you should follow @southsideadguy because he just plain rocks. If you care anything about advertising, Anthony is the guy to know in Toronto.