Message from our President and CEO: Perseverance and commitment

Message from our President and CEO: Perseverance and commitment

January 11, 2021

Message from our President and CEO: Perseverance and commitment

A new year creates the opportunity to reset. That’s something we can certainly all use in 2021. With vaccines starting to roll out, we are kicking off the year with a sense of optimism.  I take great pride in reflecting on what the CMA achieved last year, with the support of staff, volunteers, and generous sponsors.

We developed a series of initiatives to support the marketing community in uncertain times by:

  • Launching Marketing Connected, including identifying government supports during COVID-19,
  • Sending weekly CEO notes to provide insights on the current climate and how marketers could adapt,
  • Creating CMA Helps to support marketers who were displaced by the pandemic, and
  • Introducing a COVID-19 webpage for consumers.


We continued to focus on professional development by:

  • Delivering thousands of hours of student learning, including through our Chartered Marketer program,
  • Extending CMA NXT, our popular early career marketing portal, to over 4,000 users.
  • Providing financial assistance to pandemic impacted learners to help them continue with their development plans.


We fostered a sense of community by:

  • Pivoting our highly touted events to a digital format, and making them free of charge for CMA members,
  • Attracting 1,500 marketers to celebrate and reunite at our CMA Virtual Awards Show, with an interactive website and live in-studio presentation,
  • Engaging hundreds of volunteers through our Board of Directors, Councils, Committees and Working Groups,
  • Launching Thought Leaders Connected, a forum for discussion on key marketing topics and issues for all CMA Council members, and
  • Welcoming 55 new and diverse members in 2020 including IBM, Skip the Dishes, Harry Rosen and the Boys and Girls Club of Canada.


We served as the voice of marketing on key public policy issues by:

  • Advising the federal government on privacy and AI regulation,
  • Advising BC, Ontario, and Quebec governments on proposed privacy rules,
  • Clarifying existing rules with government and conveying our views on how these rules impact the marketing profession, and
  • Providing updates and regulatory guidance to members on proposed changes and how they impact marketing activities.


We took a stand in support of diversity and against hate speech by:

  • Issuing statements and positions in support of Black Lives Matter and against hate speech on social media platforms,
  • Creating a Talent Council with a mandate to address systemic racism and discrimination in marketing, and
  • Launching a talent survey on the current diversity and inclusion landscape in the Canadian marketing profession.


Times continue to be challenging for marketers from many sectors of the economy. As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting our members, we will extend CMA Helps to June 30, 2021. This means that any marketer who has been laid off by a CMA member organization as a result of the pandemic can access complimentary member benefits until that time.

I hope that 2021 is off to a good start for you, and that you share my optimism about a brighter year ahead.

Stay well,
John Wiltshire

P.S. On a more sombre note, I was sad to learn on Friday that John Wright, a former CMA board chair (2002-03) who was widely admired, passed away suddenly. John held senior marketing roles at Air Miles, Wunderman and Ogilvy, and was a tremendous supporter and believer in the CMA. We will be extending our heartfelt condolences to John’s family.