Up to the Minute: Stephen Thomas names director of digital strategy

Plus, U92 and Alice & Smith get a new GM and Mint announces several new clients.

Hires and promotions

The Humanise collective has a new senior leader within its ranks. Julie Brault has been named VP and general manager for both the group’s digital shop U92 and gamification studio Alice & Smith. She will support business development and strategy for both agencies, while “maximizing synergies” within the Humanise network, according to a press release. Brault previously served as VP of brand and omnichannel digital strategy at Videotron, as well as VP of creative at Cossette Interactive.

Maytal Kowalski has joined Stephen Thomas Ltd as director of digital strategy. She will work across the agency’s roster of non-profit clients, serving on the strategic services team and leading the development of its digital marketing and fundraising programs. She has experience working for commercial brands and has led digital campaigns for non-profits, including The Second City, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Al Green Theatre in Toronto. Her hiring comes as non-profit organizations continuing to embrace new digital channels, according to Liz Attfield, VP of strategic services at Stephen Thomas.

Havas Montreal has promoted Gaelle Cayrol to the role of VP of client services. According to a release, the move follows the arrival of Carle Coppens as SVP and creative director last September and signals the Montreal agency’s “commitment to growth.” Before arriving at Havas, Cayrol spent time at the Montreal offices of FCB and JWT.

Toronto-based PR agency Burstyn Inc. has hired Aynsley Mariani as vice-president, a move the two-year-old brand consultancy says reflects its focus on “expansion within the public relations industry.” Mariani will helm strategic development, management and expansion of Burstyn’s communications and events divisions. She was previously director of PR for Maison Birks and, before that, director of communications at Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto.

New business

Toronto agency Mint, which specializes in experiential, social, digital and PR, has expanded with several new client assignments during the first quarter of the year. In won experiential and PR work for Air Canada Rouge, an integrated mandate with cannabis brand Muskoka Grown, and PR mandates with Consonant Skincare and Montreal-based vegan restaurant LOV, as well as the North American business of SAAS experience management company Medallia. Those wins follows a recent mandate from women-focused social app Bumble, for which Mint recently launched a Toronto networking pop-up for women.

Toronto’s OverCat Communications will serve as the PR agency of record for Chaumet jewellery in Canada. The shop’s mandate includes leading new product launches, PR and influencer relations for the Paris-based luxury brand. OverCat has an existing PR relationship with Maison Birks in Canada, where Chaumet’s products are exclusively sold.


Calgary-based Shaw Communications will sell its 39% stake in Corus Entertainment for around $548 million, the companies revealed this week. Once the deal closes, expected some time before May 31, Shaw will no longer hold an equity interest in Corus (full story for Media in Canada subscribers.)

Last week, Google announced a number of updates to Chrome that will give users more control over which cookies are stored as they browse the web. The changes have the potential to drastically alter websites’ ability to track users. Media in Canada spoke to industry insiders about how the changes will impact advertisers’ ability to reach consumers (full story forsubscribers.)