What It Takes to Be CEO According to Notable Life's Claire Adams
In Toronto, if you’re looking for what’s new and noteworthy in all things entrepreneur and millennial, notablelife.com is where you’ll find yourself at. A fully digital news platform, event production house, and more recently, a branded content agency, the company is on the fast track for growth. Former Head of Entertainment at NHL and past Monday Girl speaker, Claire Adams moved in as CEO and Principle in 2017—a position that holds a lot of weight.
But with the success of the Notable Life awards (which should probably win a Notable Award for best party of the year), the launch of a board made up of Toronto’s most up and coming young professionals (not to mention our very own Co-Founder, Rachel Wong), and innovative brand partnerships like the #RBCandMe retreat, Claire is successfully turning Notable Life into one of Toronto’s most notable powerhouses (we had to).
On disruptive marketing and keeping her values, here’s what she had to say:
You recently acquired branding agency, Convey. You've got lots of brand partnerships going on. The Notable Life Awards are always a huge success and you continue to be one of the leading sources for young professionals and entrepreneurs. Can you talk to us a bit about Notable Life's expansion and what we can expect to see from you guys over 2019?
I’m really excited about what’s to come in 2019. We are expanding into the US in partnership with a massive global content brand and together we will be creating an experiential ‘roadshow’ that is designed to celebrate women. We launch our first event in the US in Fall 2019. Prior to that, we just recently announced that we are the Producer of Record for the Country Music Awards and this year will not only be executive producing the live TV broadcast, but overseeing the entire media property which includes outdoor events, industry events, sponsored events and content. We have so much on the go – it keeps me up at night – LOL.
Someone like you, at the top of their career and looking back, did you ever picture yourself to be where you are now? What do you think it takes to become a CEO and hold that title?
Truthfully, the most important thing I’ve learned about leadership is not the title or position you hold, but how you lead and carry yourself with a set of principles - at any level. I’ve gone through many transformations in terms of what is important to me and when I was younger I used to think it was title and salary and ‘being a boss’ because it felt like a natural and expected progression. I lost sight of my values many times along the way and didn’t always use that experience as a way to grow - I would just repeat the pattern. Now, after 20 years of holding executive positions, I know that title or salary alone doesn’t fill you. Nor does having lots of employees or a nice office or tons of clients. Values do.
I work with a lot of senior level leaders in my own company and outside my company and recently, I’ve spent time around managers who are not focused or diligent about growth of their inner self but instead are focused on optics and the position they hold. This is not a criticism, just an interesting observation on how people carry themselves along the journey of getting to the ‘top’ - whatever that means.
The danger of allowing yourself no personal reflection is that any ‘outside issues’ that a manager carries – consciously or subconsciously – can seep into meetings, drive reactions and the decision–making process and it makes it very hard for colleagues to thrive in an environment like this. I’ve been thinking about that a lot and how to address this within myself. This is the difference between being a leader and a manager. My own growth as a leader is a continued journey – it never ends and my experience has taught me that if you have a core set of inner values and a strong sense of self, the success will come more naturally.
In addition Notable Life content, you're also focusing on events, content, and influencer programs for other brands. What have been some of the most successful campaigns you've driven and what do you think drives successful marketing solutions for brands?
Earlier this year we won an award for Most Innovative Brand Campaign for a program we created with RBC – that really felt good because it was an out of the box idea that took a lot of blood sweat and tears to get over the line!
Philosophically, I believe brand success comes from purpose-built content driven by disruptive business and distribution models in order to truly create noise and impact. Creating a disruptive marketing system allows the content to make a significantly more meaningful and holistic impact on audiences. We create these systems and bring them to life with a variety of creative-first tactics – including digital, linear, event, PR & earned media, amplification models, editorial, branding and visual identity and high-profile talent/influencer. Its not always easy to work this way in a landscape that is very set in its ways, but we keep chipping away at the model and we try to not allow antiquated systems to kill our spirit !
We love how Notable Life supports women, especially entrepreneurs (yay Wednesdays!). What advice can you offer to other women trying to carve their own careers and paths?
Do not allow for 'Outside Issues’ - like built in fears of being vulnerable, conditioning, societal beliefs etc, stand in the way of what you want and allow yourself for personal reflection every day. I suggest to the women in my office to have ‘out of body ‘experiences in meetings, which really means get out of your own head and stay present enough learn from others.
Zodiac Sign – SCORPIO!! We’re good people, don’t be afraid!
Your Go-To Method for Managing Stress - Writing or journalling so I get out of my own head. Months ago I was faced with a lot of stress and I couldn’t meditate because there was too much noise in my mind. So I would run the bath and cover my ears with the water; I would focus on hearing my own heartbeat and this REALLY helped. Meditation hack!
Favourite Travel Destination – ITALY. OMG, I would live there in a second if I could
Worst Habit – Offering unsolicited advice. Instead I’m focusing on sharing only my experience. #WorkInProgress!
Last thing you listened to – Super Soul Sunday podcast :)
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