Written By: Sara McMall
Through passion and relationship building, Kaleigh MacMaster has directed her career in sponsorship to new heights while finding time to devote to an important global charitable organization.
Kaleigh MacMaster is currently a Marketing Specialist in the Brand Governance & Merchandising department of BMO Financial in Toronto. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier University with degrees in Business and Economics, MacMaster pursued her MBA at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As part of the MBA program, MacMaster attained an eight-month work term with BMO in Toronto in the sponsorships department.
Through the work term, she was part of the activations for national and regional sponsorships, mostly related to community partnerships. After graduation, MacMaster joined the BMO Sponsorship Advertising Team where the first major property she worked on was Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC. She worked on BMO’s first integrated marketing campaign around the Toronto FC sponsorship that included out of home, social, in-venue and broadcast. Toronto FC recently won the 2017 MLS Cup after beating the Seattle Sounders 2-0 at BMO Field in Toronto. Toronto FC also won the Supporter's Shield this year and is the first Canadian team to win the MLS Cup.
MacMaster mentions the intensity of the fans in soccer and how BMO can capitalize on the passion of the fans through authentic brand story telling. Through the Toronto FC sponsorship, BMO aims to deliver “an unexpected human touch,” and create a genuine connection with the fans. MacMaster also has a hand in the Toronto Raptors sponsorship and helped coordinate 12 broadcast spots for BMO for the NBA season. She recently transitioned onto the brand governance team which has allowed her to view BMO’s sponsorships through a co-branding lens to analyze and consult on how the brand is used with their sponsorship partners.
BMO Financial Group
Education: Dalhousie University, MBA
When she first started at BMO during her MBA studies, MacMaster was involved in a mentoring program where junior associates were paired with senior executives. She was matched with a senior executive who helped her to understand the value she brings to the workplace and define her personal brand. Through bi-weekly one-on-one conversations, MacMaster recalls that her mentor never cancelled those meetings, despite what else she had on her plate. Little did she know, once MacMaster became full-time at BMO, she would directly report to the mentor she had the opportunity to develop such a strong relationship.
When asked about what more she’d like to do in her career, MacMaster happily described her passion for non-profits and her desire to continue to be involved in one she’s devoted much of her time – Movember. Movember is a global organization that focuses on men’s health, particularly prostate and testicular cancers, as well as mental health and suicide prevention.
What first attracted her to the organization was their “unique branding and approach to gaining attention for their charity.” MacMaster first became involved while at St. Xavier helping to run the campus level campaign and has taken an active role in local campaigns, no matter where she’s living. While studying abroad in Copenhagen, MacMaster attended Movember events and fundraising activities. Now in Toronto as the Movember Committee Chair, MacMaster has helped the local committee plan one of her favorite events – the Flannel 5k. Dozens of runners take to the streets of Toronto, each donning a flannel shirt, and complete a 5k run followed by beer, fellowship, and conversation around the Movember cause. After seven years of being involved in Movember, MacMaster still has a passion and excitement to continue to help change the face of men’s health.
As MacMaster’s story has shown, she has found people and places to help her grow throughout her career. When asked what her best piece of advice would be for someone looking to enter or grow in the sports and entertainment industry, she said “it’s really the relationships that matter the most. And keeping grounded in that will only help your career.”