Memories and proud moments

Apr 04, 2022

On April 4, 2022, we announced that John Wiltshire has decided to retire from his role as President and CEO effective May 2. We asked John some questions to reflect on his time leading the CMA. Here are his responses:

What is your first memory about when you started your role?

The commute! I worked in Toronto, but lived in Winnipeg. So every Tuesday morning, I would be up at 3:30 a.m. Caught an early plane to Toronto. Took the train, then the subway. And finally, a bus. This was when we worked out of our Don Mills location, which, as a former CEO quipped, was inconvenient for everyone to get to.

What is your favourite CMA memory?

I think the most powerful memory I have was early in the pandemic, moderating a Thought Leaders Connected virtual session. There were about 120 in attendance, with representation from all of our wonderful Councils. The subject was around how to employ good marketing in these times. It was the perfect demonstration of the CMA at its very best.

What are you most proud of/how would you define your legacy as CMA President and CEO?

I think legacies are best reserved for prime ministers and other heads of state. But I’m confident that I brought a business mentality to the CMA. We grew our membership and engagement, added mightily to our value proposition and made everything we do aimed at emboldening Canadian marketing.  

What will you miss most about working with CMA staff and volunteers?

So very much. The CMA has a volunteer staff of more than 700 people and a full-time staff of around 30. I never turned down an opportunity to meet with our amazing Council and Committee members. They are unbelievably talented, knowledgeable and kind-hearted. But I will miss our incredible full-time staff the very most. We went through the crucible of the pandemic together. We’ve celebrated, commiserated and collaborated. I had the opportunity to share with them through daily, then weekly blogs. They are all very special to me. I expect I will miss them for some time.

What’s next for John?

Being still, at least for a while, which will be my new challenge! Instead of actively pursuing, I am looking forward to being surprised and delighted by big or small opportunities that come my way, with the purpose of using my talents to make the world a better place. My intent is to live joyfully every day.

John Wiltshire




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