Scholarship established in memory of Peter Vaz

NABS and McCann will support new entrants to the industry in memory of the digital exec, who passed away on Oct. 9.

As the advertising industry remembers Peter Vaz, NABS and McCann Canada have established a new scholarship that aims to maintain his legacy of mentorship and digital leadership for years to come.

Vaz passed away on Oct. 9, nearly three years after being diagnosed with ALS. During his career, he spent more than 23 years working at McCann Canada and sister agencies at IPG Mediabrands, most recently leading McCann’s programmatic and search strategy as VP and director of channel engagement. He also served as co-chair of IAB Canada.

“Peter was a leader, a business driver and an all-round wonderful human being,” said Ryan Timms, president of McCann Canada. “Peter went above and beyond for his team and for our industry. Every single one of us who had the opportunity to work with and get to know him are better off for it. We are proud to continue Peter’s legacy and impact through the establishment of this scholarship.”

Following his ALS diagnosis in early 2017, Vaz and his wife Susan received support from NABS, including making their home accessible so he could be cared for at home. Vaz spoke about this support, as well as the things he learned following his diagnosis, at NABS Day in 2017.

With Vaz’s known passion for mentorship and learning in the digital realm, The Peter Vaz Memorial Scholarship has been established to develop the digital skills of future leaders in the industry. Though designed for recent grads and new entrants to the industry, the scholarship will be open to anyone who needs financial assistance to pursue programs that will help them address a digital skills gap or receive a certification. Applications will open in January, with an industry panel reviewing submissions and awarding scholarships and bursaries the following month.

“Peter’s awareness, acceptance, good heart and courage were shining examples of Peter’s ability to move forward,” said Louise Berube, director of allocations and services at NABS, who worked closely with Vaz following his diagnosis. “Peter took charge of his diagnosis, using the best of technology and lived life to the fullest. His sense of humour and smile served him well until his last moments. This scholarship honours Peter’s many qualities that were admired by all who came in contact with him throughout his career in our industry.”

Donations to the scholarship fund in Vaz’s memory can be made on the NABS website.