We sat down with Lindsey Cepek, Marketing Specialist at the Drake Hotel (arguably one of the coolest jobs in the city). Here is her story.
1. Tell us a bit about your background. What career/educational path led you to where you are now?
I studied Communications and Cultural Studies with a minor in Spanish at Wilfrid Laurier University. From there, I moved to Toronto to complete my Public Relations post-graduate certificate.
2. If you had to define The Drake using 3 personality traits, what would they be and why?
Good question. The Drake is kind of a plural and omniscient being that embodies our cultural ethos and programming practices. The Drake is energetic, informed and has a great sense of humour. Drake takes having fun seriously and somehow manages to make it to all the events and happenings.
3. What have you found to be the most successful marketing tactic to build the brand?
Because the Drake is so neighbourhood and community focused, along with its rich and unique history within the West Queen West area – I think grassroots marketing has translated into the majority of our support and success. Oh, and Twitter.
4. Describe your typical day working as a Marketing Specialist for The Drake Hotel.
Every day is different. I have been with the Marketing team for almost three years and I have seen the sole property, our flagship property, The Drake Hotel; turn into a rapidly growing brand and from one space to three; including Drake One Fifty, Drake Devonshire Inn and the expansion of Drake General Store – all in a span of 18 months or so. I get to help with a lot of different things, from managing our social media platforms, creating concepts for new program initiatives to copywriting for marketing collateral. My position has evolved so much, from project coordination to SEO implementation.
5. What are some apps you and your team cannot live without?
With an output of so much content, we rely heavily on Hootsuite for scheduled posting on Twitter and Facebook. We also have a lot of fun with Instagram – it’s always fascinating to know what our followers ‘like’ the most. Outlook calendar reminders also keep me in the right place at the right time.
6. Do you have any advice for aspiring marketers looking to make their mark in the industry?
Sure. I think that when searching for your first marketing gig it’s important to stay true to brands, cultures and products that resonate with you and you’re passionate about. Never be afraid to ask individuals in your network to share their own career experiences and advice, find a mentor and ask others for help when you need it. I remind the people in my life that ‘relationships don’t end, they change’, this applies to all interactions; personally or professionally. You never know how people will enter and re-enter your life! Good, like-minded people have a way of finding one another.
If you want a job, write a follow-up email. When you think you’re being annoying, you’re not. Give people a great reason to remember you.
7. Where will The Drake Hotel be in 10 years?
I can’t say for certain, but in another ten years I think Toronto and the rest of the world will see a lot more from Drake land. The owner of Drake Properties is incredibly creative and hardworking individual – and he’s got an amazing group of people invested in planning and executing all of the endeavours to come.
8. What differentiates The Drake Hotel from the rest of the Toronto hospitality scene?
I think that Drake Hotel is special in that it has such an interesting backstory. The building itself is over 120 years old, has seen the evolution of Queen West and has been the host of many memories made. From our hotel rooms, Sky Yard to the Underground, it’s the building that never sleeps. I’m most proud of our cultural programming at the hotel – I can’t tell you how many unreal artists I’ve been able to see in concert after a day at the office (pre-show Drake Burger and Negroni included).
9. Favourite way to spend a Saturday in the city?
My favourite days to play in the city end up being a Tuesday or Thursday, but my Saturday definitely includes Brunch at Union and by night the ideal situation is to be in bed with Netflix and Pad Thai. But I love trying new restaurants, going to the movies, live shows and whatever ‘those crazy kids are up to’, I kind of just figure it out as I go. Can’t plan fun, you know?
10. What’s next for The Drake?
Right now, we’re working on our annual TIFF party. This year it takes place on September 10th and we’re celebrating the sound of cinema. I’m most excited that we just confirmed Kill Them With Colour as our late-night headliner (dance party!) – We’ve got tattoo artists on site again too.