Chito Yoro counts unsolicited, selfless acts of generosity and great style that enhances one's natural beauty as two things he considers notable. Find out how both giving back and style are reflected in his daily professional life at NG Farrell Culture Marketing...
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
NG Farrell Culture Marketing is a Vancouver-based marketing agency that specializes in professional associations, arts & sports groups, non-profits, and political organizations. We provide strategic, creative, public relations and online services that help organizations attract new members, develop audiences, and enhance communities. Our goal is to cultivate the greatest potential of our clients, all of whom make our world a better place in which to live.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
We started the company because we felt that combining sports and arts groups, athletes and artists, would be a fascinating experience that would allow us to develop a very unique approach to marketing and advertising. Also at that time, funding sources for amateur sports and the arts were evaporating overnight because of the recession and resultant changes to funding bodies. Over time our client base broadened, but most of our clients are still in the non-profit sector. Our inspiration was to be able to offer marketing agency services to organizations that typically could not afford to work with a professional agency, and in doing so we created a very special niche for ourselves. As someone who had originally immigrated from an economically challenged country when I was a teenager, I wanted to really explore the potential that Canada offers for creating opportunities that not only benefit oneself, but the community and society at large.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
The freedom and joy of owning your own business far surpasses anything else you can experience as a young professional. And seeing the success of your clients while knowing that your efforts helped them achieve their success is also a great pleasure.
The most challenging part?
The most challenging part is the flipside of the best part. With the freedom and flexibility of owning your own business comes the responsibility of making sure the bills get paid on time. No one else is signing your paycheque and you have staff and suppliers who depend on your drive and determination. From the very outset, our business has grown organically on billings only and I was committed to NOT building a business on a foundation of debt. But this management style fits with our client approach too. Most of our clients are non-profit organizations and every penny counts for them. Coming from a country where resources were not abundant, I can easily emphasize with our clients, which means we are extra careful with how we allocate their marketing dollars. Ultimately this makes us hone our skills and drives us to come up with more innovative and creative ways to get their message out there.
Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
Our agency has a very unique operating model and I believe that several other Canadian cities hold expansion opportunities for us. I lived in Toronto for about eight years when I first moved to Canada and most of my family still resides in the Toronto area, so it would be nice to open an office there for that reason, too. Family is very important to me.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me means that you can afford to give back in meaningful ways. There are so many ways that people or companies can make contributions in selfless ways that don’t require writing big cheques. For example, I would love to see my company “adopt” an inner city public school that doesn’t have a performing arts program for its students. With our connections to the professional performing arts community here, we could then arrange to have top professionals in theatre, dance, music and production come in to help the school stage a big annual production, which we would then market and use as a major fundraising event for the students and their school. It would be a very rewarding, collaborative experience for all. We are exploring this project right now in fact.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
As a designer I am always happy to see my work in print, or mentioned in a favourable way by the public or other design professionals. But I think my most memorable milestone to date was moving the company into our current office, which is in one of oldest and most notable heritage buildings in the Gastown vicinity of Vancouver. Even though we have been here for almost two years now, I still love coming in every morning. I still have the sense that I have arrived someplace special.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
If asked for advice, I would say to always keep an open mind. Sometimes as young professionals we can get hung up on what is in front of us, such as our bosses or co-workers, our current projects, our current daily professional challenges. But life here in Canada is full of big opportunities, which if you aren’t keeping your eyes open, can walk right by you. I like to take different, sometimes random routes to and from the office quite regularly, just so that I can expose my daily life to a bit of the unknown. Finally, I would say to always be polite and considerate to others while you are working. Even if you are confronted with something (or someone) unpleasant, always stay true to yourself and don’t let others compel you to forget your own standards and ethics.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
While our company provides pro bono services to several non-profits and charities, one organization that I would like to mention here is CLICK – Contributing to Lives of Inner City Kids. They are a Vancouver organization that works to provide extra-curricular experiences so some very deserving children.
What is Notable to you?
Two very different things:
1. Unsolicited, selfless, acts of generosity.
2. Great style that enhances a person’s natural beauty.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
Moving to beautiful Vancouver gave me so many more opportunities to be outdoors. I enjoy taking my bike for a ride around the seawall. I try to walk to and from the office, weather permitting, which totals about 1.5 hours of walking per day. I also dance and have studied hip-hop and ballet. But walking is a favourite. Rather than seeing the world race by through the windows of a car, walking allows you to truly feel connected to your environment and can give you the confidence to make it in a large city because you become more intimately familiar with people, neighbourhoods, shops and businesses.