The Marketing Hall of Legends welcomed 10 industry veterans to its illustrious rankings this year. With more than a century of industry experience between them, Marketing stole a few moments with each one, asking them to look back on their careers and examine what brought them success.
Ivan Fecan – Builder
The man often credited with transforming CTV into Canada’s #1 network, Ivan Fecan has been central to the Canadian media landscape since the early ’80s. Before retiring, the executive and philanthropist held a long list of prestigious roles in media and broadcast, including head of English TV at CBC and CEO and president of CTVglobemedia.
Who was the most important person you’ve ever met in business and why?
Brandon Tartikoff. He was the greatest television programmer of all time, while fighting off cancer twice. (It got him the third time.) We only worked together for a few years, but his lessons still reveal themselves to me. He taught me about the business of show and to embrace my inner carny. He always said we build sandcastles, but no matter how beautiful, the waves will wash them away.
What did you learn as a child that contributed to your career success? Enjoy the simple things in life.
The biggest mistake I ever made that made me a better person/professional was… not betting on myself.
What’s the biggest gamble you’ve made in your career? Betting on myself.
What is your proudest career accomplishment? My 32-year marriage. Without it, I would have flamed out.
Aldo Bensadoun – Visionary
A household name to so many, Aldo Bensadoun created The Aldo Group in 1972. Today, it operates more than 1,000 retail stores across Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland, as well as more than 600 franchises around the world. But he is celebrated for his philanthropy as well as for his business acumen—even when it wasn’t necessarily fashionable to do so.
What did you learn as a child that contributed to your career success?
My parents had a strong influence on me, especially their values. They taught me to care and respect others, give back to the community and help people in need. They also made sure that I knew my multiplication tables.
What’s the biggest gamble you’ve made in your career?
On a personal level, it was supporting the fight against AIDS in the early ’80s, which was taboo at the time. We believed in raising awareness in our stores to save lives. From a business perspective, it was deciding early on to stop selling other brands at our stores and focus solely on developing and selling the Aldo brand.
The most exciting thing about the industry today is…
Customers have access to a lot of different channels to interact with our brand. It is a great challenge to adapt and make sure we continue to serve them in a consistent, memorable and coherent manner across all channels.
What advice would you offer anyone starting their career today?
Don’t be afraid to do things differently and stick to your values.
Photography: Mike Ford
This series of Q&As – which also includes Hugh Dow, president of M2 Universal; Jack Bensimon, president of Bensimon Byrne; Bonnie Brooks of Hudson’s Bay Company and many others – will appear in the March issue of Marketing. Subscribe today, and be sure to check out the issue on your iPad.