PR firm looks to bucket lists as a recruitment tool

Pomp & Circumstance is helping finance its employees fulfill life experiences

Amanda Lindsay

Co-founders Amanda Alvaro and Lindsay Mattick.

Pomp & Circumstance is helping its employees finance their personal bucket list goals as a way to attract and maintain talent.

As part of its bucket list policy, the newly launched Toronto public relations firm will give its employees $500 every year to be used to check off bucket list items.

“We feel like it’s a big world and we expect our employees to see it and be a part of it,” says agency co-founder Lindsay Mattick. “From a long experience in hiring lots of people in the field, we feel that the people who see the most in the world and have the most unique life experiences really bring that experience back with them. That’s not only valuable for them personally, but it also makes them, frankly, better employees.”

Amanda Alvaro and Mattick, co-founders of Pomp & Circumstance, left Narrative PR late last year to start their own firm. Alvaro founded Narrative PR in 2007 and was managing director, while Mattick , who also joined Narrative in 2007, was vice-president, strategy and creative.

Pomp & Circumstance’s first senior hire, account director Lisa Kwong, has chosen a photography course as her bucket list item for this year. “I’ve always loved art and design and I’m looking forward to learning a new skill,” Kwong says.

Kwong, who has more than seven years of experience in lifestyle and fashion PR, was a senior account manager at Narrative PR since 2014, and led several lifestyle and luxury brand accounts at the agency. Before that, she was an account executive at NKPR.


Account director Lisa Kwong.

Launching Pomp & Circumstance was itself a bucket list goal for Alvaro and Mattick. Now at the top of Alvaro’s list is to learn to play piano, while Mattick wants to hike in Utah and visit the Amangiri resort in that state.

Having a bucket list policy goes a long way toward explaining what the agency’s culture will be like, Alvaro and Mattick say.

Alvaro and Mattick note that studies show employers who understand their employees are more than the sum of the hours they put in at the office do better at employee retention. “The work environment has changed and in order to attract top talent, we have to challenge ourselves to be thinking about the workplace environment in a different way.”

The agency has also established an incubator policy, in which it will hand pick a couple of start-up entrepreneurs or non-profits every year, and work with them free of charge, regardless of budget.

And it will take advantage of the freedom that technology can provide through its “it’s nice out” policy aimed at encouraging people to find creative and interesting places to work that inspire them.

“If you’re going to write the most kickass PR plan sitting on a dock, we’re going to give you the freedom to do that. You shouldn’t be in these four walls between 9 and 5 every day. Great work can be done anywhere,” the agency co-founders say.

They say philosophy is very important to millennials, the demo the agency is targeting in hiring.

Pomp & Circumstance is hiring a few account managers and account coordinators, a social media strategist and interns.



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