"Keep pushing yourself until you find what fuels you"

By Denise Ferreira, EIC

Have an attitude where people want to support you and be around you ~ Jessica Phoenix

No matter what industry you work in, we all face the same trials and tribulations, for the most part we’ll face these challenges throughout our entire careers, we’ll have big lows and big highs, we’ll feel defeated and we’ll feel powerful, we’ll be motivated and sometimes we won’t, but what separates those who are successful from those who aren’t is they didn’t quit and sometimes we all need that reminder, that little extra push that will keep us going. 

AdClub, for those in the advertising industry does just that- they are the voice of reason for many in this industry.

AdClub of Toronto is a not-for-profit organization that serves the advertising industry and all it’s related services (media, creative, production, advertising and marketing). It’s mandate is to raise and distribute charitable funds by organizing events that present the newest ideas and developments in the advertising industry and create social and business networking opportunities for all those in the ad industry.

One of the charities AdClub works with is nabs, a unique charity that is specially designed to support the health and well-being of all individuals in the media, marketing and communications industry in Canada. With it’s media partners such as AdClub, nabs has  been able to support this industry for over 30 years

Together, AdClub and nabs have created the Mindful Morning Breakfast series, that features talks and expertise from professionals that focus on mental health, resiliency in the workplace, leadership, coaching and personal well-being ( to only name a few).

Each event is focused on providing education, motivation and inspiration to those in the ad industry, from how to build a successful career is a highly competitive industry to coaching a team toward high performance and building healthy positive relationships.

You are in control of surrounding yourself with people who drain your energy or give you energy ~ Jessica Phoenix

I had the pleasure of attending the launch of this years Mindful Morning Breakfast Series with guest speaker Jessica Phoenix, a 2 time Olympian and 4 time Pan Am Medalist.

In a room full of ad industry professionals, Jessica not only shared her story on how she built her career as a female athlete, but she shares how she overcame a nearly fatal accident and continues to build her legacy.  I am pretty sure everyone in the room left with some newly found determination, I mean after hearing her story how could you not? She nearly died and 2 weeks post surgery was back on a horse training for the Pan Am Games. Her perseverance and determination  to reach her goals, despite facing adversity throughout her career is what makes Jessica’s story so relatable no matter what career path you are on. 

After your every biggest low, there will be your biggest high ~ Jessica Phoenix

Cynthia Rubino, Jessica Phoenix, Denise Ferreira

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Phoenix and the AdClub’s Director of Giving Cynthia Rubino, the mastermind behind Mindful Mornings. In both interviews they share with us their “why’s” which I feel is so important in understanding how every step and choice you make impacts how you turn that dream into a reachable goal.


Interview with Cynthia Rubino, Director of Giving, AdClub Toronto

Mindful Mornings- Breakfast Series- was there a pivotal moment that made you start this series?  Tell us the passion behind it.

I have been in Marketing and advertising industry for over 20 years, always in agency division.  I’ve  been on all sides of the table from employee to leader. As a Senior leader I came across a lot of people who needed help, there was a lot of turnover, people experiencing burn out because this industry I so high paced and demanding. Although  this industry is so rewarding it’s also very taxing and  I know all this because I worked on almost all positions. When I joined the AdClub Board, I loved the fact that they gave back and when I became the Director of Giving I wanted to do more than just provide a transactional cheque to the future generation.  I approached NABS  with the idea of wanting   to do more for the people who work in the industry. I wanted to do a  free event that people could come and unplug for an hour and that would allow them to think about themselves, giving them a chance to re-energize and get motivated.

Who’s the target audience for these events? Who would benefit from it most?

Anyone in the marketing and advertising industry, and when I say anyone, I want the junior person to attend because we want to prevent burnout.  We want to target the people in the industry that are in the crux period- the ones that are thinking “do I stay or do I go”.  We want the  veterans to attend to because we want them to know that if you still love what you do, you should stay.  I think when you feel that there is support out there the challenges feel easier to deal with and  it’s  why we think it is so important to educate people at all levels. Every  level needs to be supported.

The series has focused on various different topics such as coaching team members toward high performance, this one is a little different where it’s focused on how to build a successful career while touching on really important subjects such as mental health, well-being, confidence and overcoming obstacles- why do you think discussing these topics are so  instrumental to enhancing performance in the workplace?

Last year the focus was very scientific- medical based. This year we wanted to put a human element behind it, with the intention of having people relate to the topic/speaker on a  more personal level and peer to peer.  We wanted to focus on the importance of having the skill sets of perseverance and determination because sometimes we lose focus and it’s hard for us to use  those tools and sometimes we  just need someone to remind us how to use them.

 I wanted people to know that everyone goes through what we go through and so I thought having Jessica Phoenix as our speaker to tell her story would be a fantastic way to exemplify strength and power, as she shares how she navigated through her journey to reach her goals

What is one take away that you hope those who attend this series will walk away with?

To never give up. To know that you are worth trying every single day and that you do matter no matter what position you hold. You are going to have really good days and not so positive days, but to never give up. To surround yourself by positive people. You need to be surrounded by the people who are going to lift you.

Will there be more to the series- upcoming events/dates?

Mindful Mornings are done on a quarterly basis.   Jessica is launching our series for this year and since it’s our first time doing a series like this, we want to do a temperature check to see how people liked it in terms of shifting gears from scientific to personal connection.


Interview with Jessica Phoenix

I read one of your quotes “it takes a long time to master all of the skills you need and it is always evolving” there are so many young female athletes who aspire to be in the Olympics, what is one piece of advice you would give them?

 That you have to be willing to work harder than anyone else. At the elite level, all athletes are super and the only thing that separates the absolute top athletes are those that are willing to put in the extra effort to make it to the podium.

You went through such a traumatic event in your life, it’s so easy to fall into a depression and want to give up- but you didn’t, how were you able to cope or find the positive in all of it to get yourself through your recovery and back competing?

I always had the goal of standing on the podium at the Pan Am Games and all of my focus went into achieving that goal. I never allowed myself to focus on the ‘why me,’ I just stayed focused on ‘what’s next’ and put the work in to get there.

Going through a life threatening experience changes us, how do you think it has changed you most from the person you were before the accident to the person you are now?  

I don’t think it changed me. My faith has always kept me moving forward and focused on my purpose and it allows me to remain who I am through all circumstances.

My favourite line from the song RISE is “Dreams have no price tag” and it fits you so perfectly- can you share what this song means to you?

It’s become an anthem; the words ring so true to my life and my profession as an athlete and just being willing to put everything you have into your dreams, believing that everything will work out as its meant to.

You spend a lot of time speaking to children and young adults- why is this so important to you? 

Inspiring youth is my passion. It’s an incredible way to connect and motivate our young people and I just love the way that my story gives them something tangible, that they can see how big the ups and downs of life are and that they can overcome anything.”

Your story inspires many- can you share what your hope is when you share your story with adults like you will be doing at the Mindful Mornings event on June 12th? What is the one take away you hope people walk away with? 

When you’re growing up you’re always so excited for your life and achieving your dreams. Then as an adult you can start to feel like things have become stagnant. You may feel like you’ve already achieved your goals and you’re left wondering what’s next. I hope to light a fire in those listening, to inspire them to set new goals and go for them.” 

Your favorite quote or words to live by?

If you can dream it, you can become it.


For More information of Mindful Mornings Breakfast Series and/or AdClub Toronto- Click Here

For information on nabs: Click here

For more information of Jessica Phoenix- visit her website here

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