Mint hires new strategy leader amid larger shift

Kelly Deuster joins one year into the Toronto indie's pivot towards a more holistic creative offering.

Mint has hired Kelly Deuster as executive strategy director to lead the practice at the Toronto creative agency.

Deuster joins Mint with more than 15 years of branding and strategic planning experience, much of it international. Deuster most recently worked in consulting, but she has also worked as VP and group strategy director at Sid Lee in Toronto, as well as in various strategic roles for Publicis in Paris and Manila. She has worked on award-winning campaigns for Capital One, Plan B Emergency Contraceptive and Nescafe.

In her new role, Deuster will be key to Mint’s transformation from primarily an XM and PR agency to a more holistic, multidisciplinary creative agency.

“She will provide the necessary link between our talent and our work, by pushing the thinking to create brands, campaigns and communities that challenge the status quo for the better,” says Kim Tarlo, Mint’s ECD, who also worked with Deuster in the past at Sid Lee.

The agency began its transformation when it brought Tarlo in as a partner and its ECD roughly one year ago, just as the pandemic hit. Tarlo’s arrival and the onset of the pandemic coincided with an internal restructuring that also led to longtime employee Ashley White’s promotion to vice president and partner.

“We had a vision to transform, and we knew we needed to bring on the right partners to help restructure, re-envision and revitalize our ways of working to help change perception about what we can offer to our existing and new clients,” explains Jordan Fogle, Mint’s CEO. The agency’s client list has included Hershey’s, Vitamix, Google and Nespresso.

In the restructuring, the agency established a new mission focused on building brands to make a positive impact on culture and the future. That new mission necessitated additional hires, and so the agency brought on more than a dozen new people, primarily in its burgeoning strategic and creative practices. According to Fogle, Mint now employs 50 people and has additional plans for growth.

Amid the pandemic and to support its growth, Mint temporarily gave up its office, but “as the world opens up again, we do have plans to secure a new office space,” says Fogle.