Marie-Hélène Leclerc: "I want to build transparent and sincere relationships."
Catherine Foisy has always had an aversion to the marketing world and that’s exactly why she joined it. She didn't like the fact that advertising campaigns were perpetuating stereotypes. She was tired of seeing men and women playing the same roles every time.
The copywriter joined the ad industry to understand it better and ultimately, change its ways. Since she was little, she has felt this need for social advocacy:
"I've always been attracted to environments I didn't really like. I tell myself, ‘I'm going to go there and stir things up!’ But I'd be lying if I said it was easy, because in reality, I'm confronted with opinions that are contrary to mine all the time."
Catherine has a special weapon: her words. She uses them to tackle issues that are close to her heart. Words have always been her ally ever since she picked up the pen ten years ago. It all started in CEGEP, when she got involved with the student newspaper. Journalism had everything to charm her. Nonetheless, there was a missing piece. She didn't want her days to be a race to get articles out.
"All my life, I wanted to study journalism, but the reality is that my profile as a journalist — and I'm putting big quotation marks here, because I don't consider myself a journalist — is quite atypical. Today, I can say that it fits with my generation, because I see new forms of reporting coming to life that aren’t focusing on sensationalism but dive more into societal issues... It wasn’t the case a few years back."
During her studies in marketing communications, Catherine discovered content marketing and a spark ignited. She could play with text in a variety of formats and have an impact on an industry she wants to see improve. While looking into her new field of interest, she came across Republik, whose values were mirroring hers. She wrote to one of the founders and told him she would like to join the agency one day. She was officially part of the team a year later.
"When I first came to Republik, I took the place I wanted to take professionally. I became a reference in epicene writing. I was able to inspire my colleagues to be more inclusive in the way they communicate. Beyond feminization, I also had a desire to include everyone. We think it's easy to write inclusively, but it's not. Especially when you have to come up with a campaign slogan or a call-to-action that appeals to a vast number of people. That takes some thought and that's the kind of role I've taken on here."
When Catherine entered the job market, she didn't have to look any further. She knew exactly what she had to do.
"I'm lucky, because I quickly realized what I wanted to do in life: deconstruct gender stereotypes in my industry. Right now I'm doing it through writing, because I write every day, but I don't want to stop there. For example, when I'm conceptualizing videos, I want to shake things up by putting women in roles that are traditionally occupied by men and by putting gay couples where normally you put straight couples. I want to do this beyond the need to sell a product. As a marketer, we need to educate our clients and work collaboratively with them."
Catherine recently came to the realization that she is the same person today as she was in university years ago. She continues to advocate for what she feels is unfair. In fact, she will continue to do so at work and outside of work.
"In March 2020, we put out a video with Republik on the place of women in creation. I had the pleasure of hosting it. Someone from my university commented that it was beautiful to see that I had continued to be the person I was even after graduation. This person went on to say that we all tell ourselves that we will stay true to who we are upon entering the workplace, but we don't really do. I spent my university years advocating for things...and I came into my professional life with that same energy."
"I don't want to be someone else in my job. I want to be the same person all the time. I'm not Catherine who leaves her beliefs at home while I put on my work clothes. That's why I joined the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and why I think it's great that there are impact committees in the company. Our people have different beliefs and in the middle of this, there’s our mission ‘to do better for the world.’ We need to get the brands we work with to understand that they have a role to play in that too."
Although Catherine initially joined the marketing community because she had taken a dislike to it, she still found colleagues with a similar vision and a willingness to speak up for what they believe in.
What kind of agency welcomes the personal convictions of its team members? An agency that wants to change the world, nothing less.
At Republik, we work with clients who understand the importance of taking action on social and environmental issues and who integrate the principles of social responsibility into their business models. We are looking for talents who have strong convictions and who have the ambition to change the world.
Don't let your convictions take the backseat, put them to work and run with it.