Hi! I’m Adam. I teach at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. I sometimes write, and occasionally consult. I’m a former CMO, former Marketing Director at Airbnb, former Director of Product Management for the Yellow Pages, former lawyer, former bartender… this could go on for a while.
What follows is the story of how you end up with a career like mine (if you just want the bullet point version, you can find it on LinkedIn).
My strange and winding career journey began at 17, when I was applying to universities. I had a conversation with my father about “what I wanted to be when I grow up.” He asked me what I liked doing. I told him I liked to write, but foreseeing his reaction to this, I added that I didn’t think I could make a living being a writer. So, my dad said, “Well, you know who writes a lot, and still makes a good living? Lawyers.” See what he did there? My dad was a genius.
Despite a nagging sense that a legal career was not for me, but not knowing what else to do, I graduated with distinction from McGill University’s Faculty of Law.
My first (and only) law job, took me to Connecticut, where I ran an immigration program that allowed the business to bring over a hundred international employees to the US every year on work visas. In a strange twist, I was also asked to manage those employees upon their arrival, giving me my first experience in the world of business and management.
After two years, I returned to my hometown of Montreal, determined to start a non-legal career. Still without a solid plan or direction, I decided to start freelance copywriting.
It was while I was building up my roster of copywriting clients, that I took what was meant to be a six-month contract working for the nascent digital marketing team at the Yellow Pages. This would turn into eight years during which time I launched product offerings for search engine marketing, online display advertising, and social media marketing for small businesses. Eventually, I became the head of the digital product team. Hundreds of thousands of SMBs used our services and media.
During this time, I also launched a number of side projects that ranged from a video production company to a website devoted to tattoo art. I wrote articles that appeared in publications both online and offline that covered topics from marketing, to the environment, to fountain pens, to men’s fashion (proving that you can fake being an “expert” in anything).
After eight years, I left my comfortable corporate job with the corner office and took a plunge into the world of startups. I joined Breather, a fast growing Montreal-based tech startup that was being referred to as “Airbnb for office space.” A year and a half later, I was the Head of Marketing for Airbnb’s brand new luxury division. In addition to the familiar world of digital marketing, I was also responsible for PR, communications and traditional advertising.
Shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic forced global shutdowns, I left Airbnb to become the CMO of LANDR Audio, the end-to-end platform that helps musicians create, collaborate and distribute their music.
In 2022, my career took another swerve, when I realized that my favourite part of my job was coaching and mentoring younger team members. And so, I dedicated myself to teaching full-time. I now teach Business Communications and Marketing Management at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.
Time permitting, I continue to write, and do consulting work.
I’ve had an amazing career to date. I’ve worked hard, but I also recognize that I’ve been lucky. I am grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given.
But, even the greatest career will only ever be a third priority after family and health. And that’s why, all of the above will always take a backseat to my most important jobs: father, husband and son.