The attitude of the business leader determines how the enterprise marks prominence in the ever-evolving business arena, followed by its proposition model and dedication of the workforce indulged in the crucial fundamentals of growth. No matter how strong the laid-out foundation of the business is, it is only as strong as the leader’s morale.
With a firm and strong business mindset, Kate Dobrucki, Senior Vice President at Dentsu, takes immense pride in her capacity to manage teams that deliver impact even on tight deadlines while implementing an attitude that leads to business acceleration.
Kate is an industry leader with over 15 years of strategic PR expertise in experiential, social, and digital media. Her dedication to quality communication and branding has resulted in flourishing success for her clients. She blends persistence along with a decidedly collaborative approach to producing award-winning projects for well-known businesses.
In an interview with Insights Success, Kate discloses the attitude that she fosters that sets her apart from her counterparts.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief us about your career path as a staunch woman leader up until your current position at Dentsu.
I am a bookworm to the core and a storyteller for life. And when people ask I always say I get paid to write, share, and tell stories, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also like to balance having fun with having a firm, sharp business side; being a bookworm keeps me curious, reading stories about other people, places and concepts really helps round out my approach to any business challenge I come across.
I think it’s my passionate approach to quality communication and branding that has driven rapid success and growth for all my clients in the digital economy. Also, I genuinely believe that a talented team isn’t about sameness but insists on the unique contribution and experiences of its members.
Right now, I’m responsible for Dentsu Canada’s reputation, influence, and culture. And I lead a central team of communicators and marketers with a sharp vision and strong focus. With my team, I’ve streamlined regional communications, and I have led the development of an immersive onboarding process to foster a positive and energizing experience for our new colleagues. I have also led the construction of foundational internal and external channels for clients, colleagues, and partners and ensured clear, concise, and constant communication. All while during a pandemic!
I think it’s also important to acknowledge that I’m an avid volunteer. Outside of Dentsu, I sit on the Special Olympics Toronto Council and co-chair while also spending my Monday and Wednesday evenings as the Head Coach of the Special Olympics ski team – Toronto Speed Demons. In the summer, I play the role of the head coach of the Special Olympics soccer team – Toronto Hawks. Giving back to an important community like the Special Olympics has been some of the best hours spent of my life. The passion, dedication and sheer resilience of the athletes is inspiring, and I can’t encourage people enough to get involved in their local Special Olympics market.
My true passion, though, comes through in my mentorship, as a champion for female empowerment. I recently co-founded two women in business initiatives at Dentsu—Female Foundry, a mentorship, co-creation, and support program for Canadian female entrepreneurs; and Womxn Who, an internal accelerator program aimed at supporting the magnificent women of Dentsu, as they level up their careers. During the pandemic with my colleague and now co-host Simren, I started a Womxn Who podcast. We have conversations with women throughout their career journey, hearing their stories and often times inspired to silence on how determined and positive and insightful they are. We also have candid conversations around our own experiences – we discuss the importance of boundaries, finding mentors and sponsors and the importance of your inner circle of girlfriends to motivate and celebrate and push you forward.
What do you believe is the significant factor for women in the business arena, and what is the most important aspect of your success, adhering to these fundamentals?
There are many wonderful mentors and sponsors who have helped me where I am today. But the most important aspect of my success is that I’ve stayed true to myself while leaning into what I call my superpowers. When I first started my career, I thought a boss had to act a certain way – be firm was always the saying. But I’ve realized that more than anything, I’m a coach and a valuable teammate.
Harnessing my incredible abilities to craft, tell and share a compelling story, along with being positive, thoughtful, and full of energy, has got me to where I wanted—being true to myself and having the ability to show up as my authentic self has been empowering for me and my success. As a mentor, I also inspire others and create the space for them to do the same.
My power and success as a leader come from my ability to focus and deploy team energy in areas that will generate the greatest impact for all of us. Especially keeping us on track for our plan on a page and what KPIs as a team we’ve agreed and signed off to.
What values do you incorporate to enhance the work culture at Dentsu?
I like to live boldly. I take calculated chances, and sure I’ve quickly thought them through, but I don’t get lost in planning it all. Sometimes some initiatives or campaigns haven’t landed the way they were intended, but it’s all figurable.
Where do you envision yourself to be eventually, and what are your future goals for Dentsu?
If I’m being honest, I love the work and conversations Simren and I have on Womxn Who. They are simple, thoughtful, and dare I say, thought-provoking discussions. So many women and allies have been extremely generous with their time and advice, which is inspiring. In 2023, you’ll see more from me and the podcast for sure! We’ve even been nominated for an iHeartRadio award – as co-hosts of the year (so cross your fingers for us).
What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders willing to venture into the modern business arena, especially in the marketing and advertising sector?
I’ve loved my experience working at agencies – when you’re first starting, it’s so much easier to figure out what you don’t love doing. Within an agency, you have the ability to move around and try different brand teams. When I reflect on my time at Dentsu, I’ve held many different jobs and learned so much about myself.
Working with talented people, learning, listening, raising my hand, and signing up for work at first made my stomach into knots (questioning if I could do it – I always did), but it’s in those moments that I grew into the senior comms executive I am now.
Another piece of advice for women leaders would be about boundaries – I am a work in progress here too. However, I truly feel three sentences can help you unlock good to great. They are ‘No,’ ‘Not now,’ ‘Not me.’ For example, ‘No, this does not align with our mission and vision,’ ‘Not now. Fantastic idea but this does not take priority over our current commitments,’ ‘Not me. So and so is best to take that on.’ I know I myself haven’t used these enough. Most leaders fatally overcommit. So, this year especially, I’ve been working on decluttering.