Passionate, innovative, a risk-taker, and an influential woman entrepreneur, Sharon Gallant, President and Owner of GLG Communications, has sown the seeds to ensure her company always exceeds the constantly evolving marketing and communication challenges.
Sharon Gallant is an exceptional advertising and communications executive. When you meet her, you feel her energy and passion immediately. She thinks fast, talks fast, and moves fast. With an academic background that includes a Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s of Science degrees, and a career pedigree that includes powerful leadership positions at multinational ad agencies, she now oversees her own business, running GLG Communications since 2004, a full-service communications agency that manages the marketing and promotion of a veritable “who’s who” of blue-chip medical, pharmaceutical and consumer brands. Her agency, considered by most to be the best in Canada and the top five in North America, services clients from around the world. With agency offices occupying a modern loft space whose walls are covered in many hundreds of awards, it is clear to see why Sharon is so proud of the company she created.
However, her business success, she says, pales in comparison to her real success – she is the proud mother of two teenage daughters, both of whom are attending college this year. “My real point of pride is in being the mother to two astonishing young women. They amaze me every single day and remind me of why creating society where women have limitless opportunities is essential”.
A people-person, Sharon thrives on working with her staff as well as with her clients. When asked what she appreciates most about having a client roster that is the envy of the industry she says “I value that they trust us with their brands. I never take that for granted. I tell my staff never to take that for granted. We strive to earn their confidence and their trust every single day, and we do that because we care…because we care enough to always go beyond what is expected. We are completely invested. Good clients can feel that right away.”
With an agency staffed with the best minds in the business, GLG Communications has grown and flourished. And Sharon is quick to say she knows why “because we have a clear and singular business proposition. We don’t ever want to be big. It’s the opposite of who we aspire to be. We want to always be the best. That’s a very different proposition. Bigger is not better. It’s perhaps better if all your agency has is a mercantile motive, but, make no mistake, it is absolutely never better for the clients. Our clients know that. Bigger is never better. Better is better. Clients need and want a team they trust and a team that is customized and tailored to their needs. A small team that is the best in the industry, fairly priced, and who truly and deeply care about strategic brand building– no agency can deliver that except us. Not even close. If there’s a secret to our success, that’s it”.
Inspiration Behind the Inception
Sharon left her high-profile EVP and GM role at a large global agency to launch GLG Communications because she knew she could do it better. She believes that you cannot do what is best for your shareholders at a publicly-traded network agency when you should instead be doing what’s best for your clients’ companies’ shareholders. Those two motives, she says, are in direct opposition. “I’m a risk-taker by nature, as all entrepreneurs are, but I never felt any risk in starting my own agency – it seemed so obvious to me that a different agency business model would be embraced”, she apprised.
Empowering Aspiring Business Women
Sharon believes it is imperative to openly and honestly share your expertise and your knowledge. “Your successes and failures must be shared – in full transparency – so that other women can avoid similar mistakes. All too often, successful entrepreneurs keep to themselves, possibly to protect competitive advantage”. She believes that being open and honest, and sharing insights, can be motivational and empowering to other women.
Sharon’s Take on the Competition & Discrimination Against Woman in the Industry
When asked about her competition, the leading lady replies with a wry smile. “I have to be honest and say that I have no thoughts whatsoever on my competition. I honestly never think about them. It’s not a good use of my time. I think about our clients and their brands. They often share their negative experiences working with other agencies. I listen. If we concentrate on our amazing clients and what they need, everything else looks after itself.”
When asked about discrimination in the industry, Sharon doesn’t hesitate to answer honestly “Yes, I have had to face discrimination. Including very recently.”
She goes on to elaborate, “But I have also had the benefit of working with amazing men who believed in me and who offered me huge opportunities. I would not be where I am today without having had mentorship from the best of the best. I have so much to be grateful for”.
The Book that Inspires This Business Woman
Sharon is a huge fan of Hemmingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”. His clear, condensed writing style is very similar to ad agency copywriting. That resonates with her. She read that novel when she was 18 and admits that she has likely re-read it about a dozen times since. “How Hemmingway weaves a story and says so much without having to say much at all is an act of genius and is extremely compelling to me.”
The Future Roadmap of GLG Communications
Sharon is planning to bring more innovative approaches to break new ground and to approach every client’s business needs with ingenuity and creativity. “GLG is a team of ambitiously-minded people who work best in collaboration with ambitiously-minded clients. We get bored without innovation, so we will continue to expand our offering well beyond the traditional agency model. It keeps the team fresh and it keeps us on our toes” We would have to agree – and admittedly it definitely keeps GLG far ahead of their competition.
Words of Wisdom
Her advice to young women just starting out? Always be over-prepared! “A lot of my success I owe to out working others and knowing that I was far better prepared”, asserted Sharon Gallant. “Go beyond what others are doing. Be more educated, more knowledgeable, more strategic, and more insightful than others. Then you will have the confidence to know that you can accomplish absolutely anything – because you can.”