30 Under 30 – Kelsey Cole

Kelsey Cole, 25

Photography: Mike Ford

Public relations associate, Revlon Canada

“If I wasn’t in marketing I’d be… a Broadway star (seriously!)”

Kelsey Cole insists she feels like an underachiever. She is genuine in her summation and curious about the accomplishments and average age of the other 29 people on this year’s 30 Under 30 list.

“I am not even close to satisfied with what I’ve done so far,” says Cole, a public relations associate at Revlon Canada. But as she runs through her resume, one thing becomes extremely clear: Cole is anything but an under achiever.

She has carved a place for herself in the PR industry as the person responsible for public relations in Canada around Revlon’s Almay, Mitchum, Gatineau, ColorSilk, Sinful, Pure Ice and Revlon brands. She oversees communications for product launches, events, social media and helps identify strategic partnerships.

Cole is just 25. Though she has been at Revlon less than a year, her accomplishments are remarkable but also somewhat understandable – since she’s been preparing for the job for most of her life.

Cole grew up in Collingwood, Ont., a ski resort town with a population of 18,000, and knew early on that she wanted a career in the beauty industry. A family friend who worked for L’Oréal in Paris helped steer Cole in the right direction, suggesting she work on her bilingualism and plump up her resume with extra curricular activities and exchange programs. Cole took his advice to heart.

She left home at 17 to study marketing and international business at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. For her third year, Cole moved to France to study at the ESDES School of Business at the Université Catholique de Lyon. While in her fourth and fifth year, Cole completed a 16-month internship at L’Oréal Canada in Montreal where she was involved in all aspects of the Garnier HerbaShine launch. After graduation and a brief stop as public relations coordinator for Aveda, Cole joined Revlon last October.

Though Revlon relies on global advertising initiatives to promote its brands, Cole is still responsible for identifying opportunities to leverage this work in the Canadian market. Almay for instance, recently signed Kate Hudson as its global brand ambassador. The actress and her mother Goldie Hawn appeared in a Mother’s Day campaign that ran in Canada and the U.S.

Cole used the global assets and tied them to “Playfully Pretty” tea parties in Toronto and Vancouver to showcase products for Spring/Summer 2013. Media were treated to pastries, mimosas and mini makeovers.

“It had an Alice in Wonderland meets English garden vibe and felt like the kind of party that Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn would stumble upon during a mother-daughter outing,” says Cole.

The program generated 6 million impressions and resulted in two television segments, four magazine pieces, 11 online editorials, coverage in 17 blogs, 186 tweets and 87 Instagram posts to more than 500,000 combined followers.

Cole was also very instrumental in Revlon’s sponsorship of Canadian Fashion Week. Though the Revlon team had previously discussed the possibility of signing on with the event, Cole took the idea and ran with it. After attending Fashion Week in New York last January, she drafted and pitched a proposal to the brand team. In March, Revlon Canada partnered with designer Lucian Matis to create the nail looks for his runway show and hosted a gifting suite and product demonstrations – all of which was staffed and run by Cole.

“It was a hefty investment, especially for something we’d never tried before so I really had to position it as the absolute place to be,” she says.

Having accomplished so much already, Cole is still prepping herself for bigger responsibilities. Her goal is to work for Revlon’s global office in New York City by the time she’s 26. “I hope to work on the PR team there and one day help to establish global strategies that have an impact all over the world.”

From Afridi to Wong, check out all the profiles in our 30 Under Thirty.

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