A sought-after communications professional, Gadway began his career at BlackBerry following a co-op placement with the company in 2006. He eventually rose to become director of worldwide product marketing with BlackBerry, serving as a company spokesperson in international media and a point person for celebrity BlackBerry users including Alicia Keys, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tim Allen and others.
You started at BlackBerry on a co-op placement and went on to become director of worldwide product marketing. Was there a secret to your success?
I got some advice as I was graduating from Laurier from a VP at BlackBerry (now the CEO of Sonos). He said, 'Keep your head down, stay focused and be the best at whatever it is you're doing and opportunities will present themselves.' I tried to do that for the first number of years and was presented with some pretty cool opportunities. And I was lucky to have managers who encouraged me to pursue those opportunities, even if that meant leaving their team or taking a different path. Part of it was also focusing on relationships. I had built really strong relationships with people across the company.
What were the most challenging and rewarding parts of your time with BlackBerry?
When I joined the company, BlackBerry was a rocket ship and a beloved brand around the world, so it was really fulfilling feeling like I was helping to shape a product that people relied on every day. Being a part of what was then a Top 50 brand globally at such a young age and feeling like I had the opportunity to really shape the business, that was pretty cool. I do joke that I was with BlackBerry through the rise, the reign, the fall and the rebirth. I think that experience taught me a lot of resilience and perseverance. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
You left BlackBerry to become director of product marketing at Vidyard, a Kitchener-based firm that helps businesses harness the power of video. What prompted you to make the change?
I was coming up on 10 years at BlackBerry and it was the only experience I had, so I felt like I needed to diversify my experience to continue to grow. I started looking and interviewed with the big tech companies – Google, Apple and others. I also interviewed with a bunch of small, local companies. I happened to meet with Michael Litt of Vidyard and I was immediately drawn to the business, not because of what it was doing, which was cool – I believe in video and think that is how businesses will be communicating more and more – but I loved the idea of what Michael and Devon Galloway were trying to build: a company that put its people and its customers first, ahead of shareholder interest, a company that was trying to have a strong community impact here in Kitchener-Waterloo. I thought I could add a lot of value and learn a lot along the way.
You recently launched the marketing and PR firm Galvanize Worldwide. How did the company get started?
I co-founded this business with Heidi Davidson, who was senior vice president of corporate communications at BlackBerry and a mentor to me. She left BlackBerry shortly after I did and now lives in New York. One day, our families were sitting around her kitchen table and we were talking about what the next era of PR will look like. We had worked with the big global marketing and PR agencies and found the experience to be inefficient. We weren't getting strategic counsel, it was really costly and we never felt that they truly cared about our business – all of these challenges. So we thought we could build a leaner, more effective model where we serve as an extension of an organization's team. At first, it was just the two of us doing some side work for businesses that needed help. I was doing this evenings and weekends while I was still at Vidyard and we started picking up steam.
What happened next?
Heidi and I started meeting other people like us, who had marketing backgrounds, journalism backgrounds and communications backgrounds, who didn't wan't to go into the city every day, who wanted to be home more for their kids, who wanted to have more control over their lives. So we started adding them to the Galvanize team, building a network of marketing and communications professionals who could work remotely. Fast forward a few years and we were really hitting our stride. We were growing the business and noticing a lot of businesses needed outsourced marketing support. So I made the decision to leave Vidyard. Today, we've grown the Galvanize network of professionals to about 50 people across Canada and the U.S., which is something we're really proud of. There really isn't a facet of marketing we don't touch.