Alumni Spotlight | Kate Chippindale, Digital Marketing

By Trilby Goouch August 28, 2015

Meet Kate Chippindale, Marketing Manager at The Drake General Store and Digital Marketing Alumni. Find out what Kate enjoyed most about the course and how it helped her land her new role.

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Tell us a bit about your educational/career path and how it led to where you are today?
I studied economics at Queen’s University (…without the faintest idea of what I wanted to do with my life…) but quickly realized that I was not destined to be an Economist. I definitely did learn a lot from the program and my time at Queen’s- improving my analytical thinking, learning to learn (as my Dad always says…) and challenging myself to solve some of the most complicated mathematical equations that I never thought possible. However, I yearned for creativity and ‘real-world’ applicable, strategic thinking (vs. hypothetical situations with 2 people, apples and oranges and figuring out which way a curve shifts…). I took as many electives as I could in the Arts + Marketing departments and became actively involved in extra-curricular activities + fundraising initiatives focused on marketing, branding + event planning… and from there, I started to find myself.

I was lucky enough to land an internship at Indigo on their Marketing team the summer after my third year at Queen’s. I knew the second I walked into the doors of the trendy office on King St West – that I was home. The team welcomed me with open arms and I joined on full-time 8 short days after my final exam of fourth year. I owe most of what I know about marketing + retail to Indigo and the amazing bosses, mentors and friends I made during my time there. In over five years working on the marketing team, I grew quickly from a young intern to a marketing manager.

I was exposed to the planning + execution of brand strategy, advertising/media, and promotions for a company in a constant state of transition, evolution and growth. My focus was primarily on growing the lifestyle business vertical and increasing multi- channel traffic and brand/category awareness year over year.

Recently, after 5+ years on the team, I was ready for a new challenge! I have always been intrigued by start-up life (with many dreams of starting my own company one day with some of my brilliant girlfriends) and the Drake General Store has always been my favourite neighbourhood shop + brand. When given the opportunity to join their growing team and make my mark – I jumped at the chance. I am really looking forward to their risk-taking, ‘try-anything-once mentality and to building a team and strategy to take us through the upcoming Holiday season – and beyond!

Describe your current role at Drake General Store.
I am officially the team’s Marketing manager – but with a VERY small team, I have my hands in many projects and parts of the business – campaign themes, story-telling + content creation, social media, helping to manage the website, customer service, corporate gifting, PR, events, email marketing, managing the graphic designer, new business/partnerships, store visuals and signage, promotions… to name a few (and I’m only 3 weeks in!)

What’s the best part of your job?
No two days are the same. I am challenged, learning by doing, and there is a strong ‘one team one dream’ mentality. There are no egos, new ideas + fresh thinking are both welcomed (and encouraged!) and I have a lot of autonomy and decision-making power in my role.

Above all – I’m working for one of the coolest brands/stores in the country so I mean… I can’t really complain! It’s nice to love what you do + makes it a lot easier (and more fun!) to promote and market a brand you’re already obsessed with.

How did your BrainStation course contribute to your personal/professional success?
The course taught me the basics / best practices in every realm of digital media and gave me the confidence and tools to continue learning on my own. I am now responsible in part for touching every area of the business (including social, digital, site experience, SEO, Adwords, analytics…etc) and the course gave me the tools I need to dive right into the conversation at DGS and make informed decisions, suggestions and changes already in my first couple weeks!

What was your favourite part of your BrainStation experience?
I loved that it was hands-on and taught by instructors who were working at some of the industry’s trailblazing companies. Everything we learned was backed up by real-world, best-in-class examples and the instructors were flexible and approachable to meet every student’s needs.

Do you have any advice for those looking to break into Digital Marketing?
Find a brand/company you love… with a culture you love… and co-workers you love. I wholeheartedly believe you must love what you do to be successful. You must be challenged and a little bit nervous every day. Find a workplace that inspires you – and a boss that brings out the best in you.

Make a list of companies you want to work for and find any and every connection you have to someone who works there. Do your research. Schedule informational coffee dates. Read – blogs (PSFK + Fast Co. are some of my favourites), books, magazines… Find your niche. Be resourceful. Take risks and try new things. Keep learning… and most of all – Google knows everything. Literally.

Where would we find you on a weekend in Toronto?
I rarely leave the west end – I generally don’t go to places I can’t walk to. You will probably find me on the Drake rooftop, at Bellwoods Brewery… hanging in the park… riding my new bike…brunching… running by the water … or exploring new shops in the area.

Inspired by Kate’s story?

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