Give a big shout out to your mentors. Here’s mine.

BT31Mentors play an important role in our lives. If we knew then what we know now and if we had the opportunity, we all know what we’d say:


But we don’t. There’s never the time. There’s never the place. There’s never the opportunity. But deep down, we wish we could. We wish we could just say it.

Now we can.

It’s called The Big Shout Out and it’s in association with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada, a wonderful organization that’s celebrating their 100th Anniversary.

I’ve had many mentors over my life. There’s Larry Lloyd, a senior public school teacher who saw something in me that I didn’t really see in myself. There’s Craig Matthie, my high school wrestling coach who taught me more than holds and takedowns and who guided me towards Queen’s University. There’s my first boss, Gordon Cassidy, who showed me what an entrepreneur really is.

But given that this is a marketing blog, there are two that deserve a shout out.

I want to give a Big Shout Out to Tom Blackmore and Bill Sharpe.

The founders of Sharpe Blackmore (now Havas Toronto), Bill & Tom both provided me with two completely different ways to approach advertising, business, and life.

They brought me on as an account guy even though I had no experience in advertising.

Bill did the hiring with one of the best things I’ve ever heard anyone say about this industry:

“Being an advertising account guy is simply making a list and checking it off. The only question is are you smart enough to know what goes on the list and are you ambitious enough to check it off?”

After starting standup comedy, I realized that I wanted my comedy and advertising lives to be closer together. I approached Tom and said, “I want to move into the creative department and I’ll take a pay cut to do it.”

His response: “Fuck off.”

I was slightly shocked but said I would continue to work diligently as an Account Director and would work on my book on the side.

“No, no,” he continued. “You’ll move into the creative department immediately. I said that because you should never take a pay cut. You bring skills to the table that will make you a better creative person. Don’t discount that.”

They taught me some other great lessons.

Take care of people. Have fun. Be one step ahead of the other guy. Take chances – but take them knowing that they won’t all work out.

Way back in 1997, I was one of those chances. Over the years, they put their faith in me. They believed in me. And they supported me both in advertising and out. And now that I have my own agency, I realize they taught me more than I ever imagined.

They’re friends. They’re mentors. And I wouldn’t be where I am without them in my life.

Thanks guys. You deserve a Big Shout Out.

Who do you want to give a big shout out to? You can do it at or by simply tweeting it with #thebigshoutout.


1 Comment

  1. Carol Goddard

    Thank you for your work on this campaign – it’s exciting, creative, fun and inclusive. BBBS Halifax had planned a postcard style “thank you mentor” campaign for our community but the Big Shout Out is saving some trees and extending the concept around the world.

    Thank you,as well for all the work you do to support our collective work on behalf of children and youth in Canada.

    Carol Goddard
    Executive Director
    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Halifax

Leave a Comment