This series is close to the Brand team’s heart. Over the years, it’s brought us closer to eight women that we’ve admired, professionally, but didn’t know much about prior to the interview process.
This time’s different. We know Katia. Enough, at least, to know that she would have shied away from this profile if we pitched the idea. But we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell the story of a queer woman so pivotal to the shape of Sid Lee’s voice. So, with a little covert assistance from her lovely wife, Lisa, and a few hundred hours of shared laughs, brainstorms, and roasts, here’s what we know of how Katia Aubin made her mark.
Katia is a kinetic presence. She’ll roll her eyes at the comparison, but she shares the interpersonal superpower that Marilyn Monroe was fabled to have: an ability to shift the energy of a room at will. Her warmth and lightning-fast wit are punctuated by a palpable intensity: she’s serious about her work, the world, and Sid Lee’s place in it. When you imagine the kind of person suited to lead Brand & Communications for an international agency, there she is.
Katia was raised on Montréal’s South Shore. To say she’s always loved sports may be an understatement: in addition to enrolling in ringette, swimming, and skiing, she taught herself US geography by following the tours of NHL teams and learned to read with the sports section of La Presse. As life went on, her drive for team sports eventually translated to a career in Communications, where she cut her teeth at the likes of Rogers, Ubisoft and RDS.
Katia’s always wanted to be seen as a professional and a leader before any other facet of her identity. Still, she recognizes the responsibility that comes her position as a 2SLGBTQ+ woman in leadership, and strives to use the credibility she’s earned over the years to gain visibility for other members of the community, particularly queer womxn and women of colour. Katia’s vested interest in community building likely stems from a deep sensitivity to the feelings and sovereignty of the people around her, and an unwavering belief in the potential of her peers. From this source, she draws what seems to be an endless supply of energy.
And indeed endless energy is the kind you need to build a Public Relations strategy from the ground up. To craft compelling, creative, and emergent communication plans worthy of recognition from Cannes, The One Show, Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas, and more. To oversee publications covered by The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Verge, and countless others. To make a mark in one of the world’s most saturated and competitive industries.
Not daring to miss the opportunity, we asked Lisa for some fun facts about Katia we’d be surprised to know. We do, after all, already have a few: she had a brief stint as a TV reporter, tended bar at a gay club, and has seen every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Lisa shared a few things. First, she has trouble telling left from right. We’ll be keeping that one for the roasting repertoire, but it was another anecdote that resonated the most: “A lot of people catch on to Katia’s emotional intelligence, but not always how brilliant she truly is. I’m not sure if she realizes how many people look up to her.”
You rock, Katia. And remember: your office is right of the elevator. Don’t get lost.