Daniel Shearer

Executive Vice-President, General Manager at Cossette

Bachelor of Arts, History, Sociology and Social Anthropology, 2003

A liberal arts education is not just nice to have; it is a must.

You may not have heard of Daniel Shearer but when you get a hankering for a burger, feel the need to pick up a Google Home or are looking for a new bank, well, Daniel may have had something to do with that.

Daniel is Executive Vice-President and General Manager at Cossette, a major Canadian marketing and communications agency. It counts among its clients the biggies such as McDonalds, Google and TD. Then there ‘s Walmart, Sick Kids Hospital, and Canopy Growth. The list goes on.

For Daniel, being an ad man is in his blood.

“Advertising was very much in the family,” he says. “I knew from a very young age that this is what I was going to go in to.”

His plan was simple. Go to King’s to get the education he wanted, but work summers in the advertising business.

“I was able to do it all at once. I could pursue that liberal arts education which I knew would help me. My industry can be boiled down to connecting with people and so a liberal arts education set me up beautifully to do just that, even better than a traditional business degree. And I got experience in my chosen industry.”

It worked perfectly.

“I graduated on Friday and started work on Monday.”

Daniel worked for a couple of smaller agencies before landing, what at the time was, his dream job, Account Manager at TAXI. Three years later he led the team that launched the mobile service provider Koodo Mobile.

“This was at the start of smart phones. It was before the assumption that you would have email on your phone and Facebook and Snapchat. Not every consumer wanted the full experience of the data rich, quite expensive version of a cell phone. So we had to get into the mind of the consumer and find out what they wanted from a functional offering from our brand, but also emotionally—what is the space in which they play, how do they think about the world, how do they self identify, what’s important to them.”

It was hugely successful.

Daniel stayed with TAXI for over a decade. That’s when Cossette came knocking. Cossette’s philosophy and Daniel’s were one and the same.

“We don’t want to crowd the universe with unending commercial messages that are unwanted. What we do want to do is find the right way, the right time, the right place to connect brands with people in meaningful ways. If we get that right, everyone wins.”

It’s been a rapid rise up the advertising and communications ladder. Daniel gives credit to King’s.

“I’ve never lacked ambition. Key to that is curiosity. If you really dig into King’s and really understand not just the texts you read but what you are trying to unearth through the Foundation Year Program (FYP), curiosity must be part of that mix. You’re exploring, revealing stuff, debating stuff. You’re hearing different points of view and you’re watching how the overall narrative has shifted over thousands of years. That curiosity has been a big part of fueling my success.”

As he surveys his industry, Daniel wonders how others have managed without that kind of background.

“I genuinely believe that a liberal arts education gives you a core understanding of humanity and society and culture. It gives such tremendous value to someone in my seat. A liberal arts education is not just nice to have; it is a must. It is critical.”

Posted: July 2019