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St. FX alumna Marketing Magazine's 30 under 30

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Meet ConnectNS network member Kristie Forbes, one of Nova Scotia’s most creative exports whose marketing savvy has landed her a career with the world’s most iconic brand - McDonald’s.

Born and raised in Bedford Nova Scotia, Kristie Forbes is always challenging herself to learn more, do more.

When selected to Marketing Magazine’s top 30, under 30 last year, Forbes explained that she thrives in fast-paced and competitive environments – it’s no wonder Forbes has chosen a career in McDonald’s marketing wonderland where new products and marketing practices are always on the horizon.

Prior to joining McDonald’s, Forbes was on the fast track to success with Halifax’s communications and marketing agency, Colour, where she managed over 150 projects for their major client – the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.

Forbes later transferred to Colour’s Toronto office to launch social media strategies for clients such as Skinny Cow Canada, Kit Kat Canada, and TUMS. One of Forbes’ most notable projects led to turning Skinny Cow Canada’s Facebook page from one of the fastest declining brand pages to the fastest increasing fan page in Canada in 2013.

From planning campaigns for the Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry or the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Poutine, to executing field marketing for over 500 restaurants across Ontario, we wondered how this St. FX alumna finds time to sleep and if she would be able to find time to chat with us about her thoughts on Nova Scotia – and she did:

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Nova Scotia”?

Home. There is a warmth and sense of community shared amongst Nova Scotians that’s so unique. I’m reminded each time I board a flight to Halifax - I can hear an array of Maritime accents and strangers talking, cracking jokes and establishing how they might be connected (and so often they are).

What do you love most about doing what you do professionally?

I work with an amazing team, and we have a lot of fun at work. It’s a results-driven, fast-paced environment, but we’re quick to remind ourselves that our mascot is a clown, and if you’re not having fun with this brand, you’re doing it wrong! That said, when you have the opportunity to work on one of the world’s most iconic brands, it can be just as exciting as it is daunting. People all over the world know the brand, have had meaningful interactions with the brand, and to some degree, feel a certain amount of ownership of it.

What’s the best lesson you ever learned?

“We have two ears, but only one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak" – Epictetus. I love this quote – it has so many applications. On an individual level, I’ve tried to become a student of our business, listening and asking more questions before sharing recommendations. On a larger corporate scale, the same principle applies. It’s more critical than ever for companies to listen to their customer, conduct research and be in touch with the ever-changing social/online conversations and behaviours to help inform their marketing strategy.

What’s the greatest asset Nova Scotia can offer your industry?

Innovative thinking. Some of the most brilliant and creative minds I’ve had the pleasure of working with hail from the Maritimes. We have a highly educated population, and I’ve found that in many cases, Nova Scotians are challenged to do more with less, which necessitates more innovative solutions.

What do you miss most about Nova Scotia?

What don’t I miss about Nova Scotia? I miss the ocean air, hearing people say “car” the way I do, and above all, the people.

Kristie Forbes is a member of the ConnectNS network of proud Nova Scotians, alumni and expats from over 40 countries. Learn how you too can get involved.