Mike Belobradic: My Resume
My Professional Career So Far
I am pretty fortunate to have had a career path that has allowed me to focus on my core skills and experience, but to do so in a variety of different ways in many different industries. Not only have I been able to progress professionally, but also to get a very well-rounded view of business from several different perspectives (public sector, private sector, agency, association and more).
I also think of my resume as having two parts:
- My Formal Resume (formal skills and experience)
- My Alt Resume (other skills and experience)
Most people I know through business tend to be familiar with my formal resume. For a quick view of my formal background and experience, please feel free to visit my LinkedIn profile.
Many of my skills, however, are the factors that really differentiate me and these have come from my outside interests (typically hobby businesses that I have run in my spare time over the years).
My Formal Background and Experience
I began my career as an advertising copywriter, eventually earning the position of Creative Director at the ad agency where I worked. Wanting to be closer to the business side of things, my career then moved to positions in several related disciplines: promotions and event management; public affairs, media relations and communications; sales and marketing; product management; marketing communications; digital strategy; Wealth Management and business strategy; sales; and digital strategy.
Over the course of my career, my greatest strength and key point of differentiation has always been my writing skills and my ability to create compelling stories for whatever I am doing. I believe that solid writing and editing skills are worth their weight in gold no matter what you do in business. In my career fields, if you cannot communicate effectively and succinctly, you are going to be at some level of disadvantage.
First and foremost, I am a Marketing, Digital Strategy and Social Media advisor who helps businesses and individuals to develop their unique brand strategy, value proposition and corresponding marketing plan. My strength comes from the fact that I have lived in the shoes of sales professionals, business professionals, product managers and more. I have walked the walk and this comes through in my approach to targeted marketing strategy.
Key Skills and Experience
Marketing, Digital Strategy and Social Media
This is my primary skill set. I have led marketing and digital strategy for many organizations in many different sectors, including B2B and B2C work. Early in my career (in the pre-digital days) this involved writing, advertising and traditional creative initiatives (desktop publishing, collateral creation, PhotoShop, Illustrator and advertising creation). As a Digital Marketing Executive I now deliver leading-edge Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategies. The focus of my work tends to be on developing and implementing branding initiatives and related marketing and digital strategies at the highest levels.
Public Relations, Media Relations and Communications
I have many years of experience managing public relations, media relations and communications initiatives at various organizations, agencies and levels of government. Acting as a media spokesperson on contentious issues is one of my strengths, along with the preparation of news releases, white papers, backgrounders, PR strategies and internal/external communications initiatives. My digital strategy experience has also proven particularly useful in this category.
As a savvy business professional, I was Vice President and Managing Director of the Wealth Management Group at BMO and the VP MD of High-Net-Worth Strategic Initiatives for BMO Wealth. I led a group of 25 professionals (including estate lawyers, tax experts, CFPs and marketing staff) and developed strategies that were highly successful in generating new assets for the organization. I routinely exceeded asset level goals and objectives, and received “Exceptional” performance reviews.
For a period of time in my career I was Vice President of Managed Products at BMO Nesbitt Burns. In this role I undertook a strategic realignment of our product offering in order to leverage profitability and better serve client needs. I also led and launched one of the largest product development and implementation initiatives in the history of the firm. The product went on to exceed targets and become extremely successful and profitable.
Promotions and Event Management
I have overseen Sales Promotions and Event Management in many of my marketing roles. I also led this function for TorontoLife Magazine earlier in my career.
As an advertising professional I began my career as a copywriter and was promoted to Creative Director of my agency within three years. Not only am I skilled at creative concepts and ad strategy, but I work well with clients in helping them to understand and interpret key business drivers that can be leveraged for business purposes. Beyond my agency experience I have had advertising components in several subsequent roles — including my main work today in digital strategy with online ads and related metrics.
Rounding out my formal professional background is my sales experience. I have been a successful sales professional in several capacities, including travel and real estate. This first-hand experience is valuable in many aspects of my marketing and social media work and I am very comfortable developing marketing strategies where a high-performing sales force is part of the delivery mix.
My Other Skills (the Alt Resume): Entrepreneurial Background and Experience
My entrepreneurial business experience (initiatives that I sometimes call “hobbies that pay”) has always been important to me because these initiatives have allowed me to test marketing and social media strategies in a live business environment while enjoying work in many areas of personal interest. While I do not run businesses like this any longer (as my career has progressed to new levels), I have had many successes in the past and exposure to various skills and industries. Here are some of my more successful entrepreneurial ventures and related skill sets.
I have always enjoyed photography on a personal level and on a creative level. For many years I ran a professional photography business. This began when I was living in France and I managed to get myself a Media Pass for the Cannes Film Festival. Almost immediately (and somewhat by accident) my celebrity photography business was born. This was not paparazzi, but coverage of celebrity events for the celebrity glossy magazines. This continued when I returned to Canada, where I covered celebrity charity events and awards shows in Toronto and Vancouver.
Some of my subjects back in those days included Madonna, Michael J. Fox, Howie Mandel, Kirk Cameron, Pat Benatar, John Travolta, Rob Lowe, Alyssa Milano and others. I had photos appearing in many glossy U.S. and global magazines that cater towards celebrity news and photography (my favourite at the time was working with Tiger Beat Magazine, if you remember that one).
I later moved on to custom portrait photography and had a full-blown custom-built in-home studio, complete with make-up room, separate bath, full portrait lighting set-up etc. I focused on unique portraits for CD covers (bands), promotional materials, model comps etc. Not your run-of-the-mill department store portrait studio by any means.
My love of snowboarding and skateboarding manifest itself for a period of time in my business as the founder and publisher of 360 Spins Magazine. 360 Spins started out as a small 8-page newsletter with a distribution of 500 copies (free of charge) through local snowboard and skateboard shops in Toronto. By the end of the third year, I had grown the business to a 40-page offset print publication with a distribution of 15,000 copies across Canada and into key U.S. markets. I leveraged many skills here, as I ran the entire publication from my downtown Toronto condominium. I did layout, writing, photography, graphics, printing, media relations, ad sales, sponsorships and more. By the second year I had hired an ad sales manager and external writers and photographers.
Ultimately 360 Spins Magazine began taking up more time than I could spare as it continued to grow. It was doing okay (self-sustaining from a revenue perspective), but not nearly enough to support my expenses as a homeowner. I was big into digital by the late 1990s, so when I ended the magazine production I moved the business online in 1997 to become BoardPark.com, a skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing portal. I sold BoardPark.com via eBay for approximately US$15,000 in 2000. That experience and that transaction definitely helped to cement my fascination and passion for all things digital.
Read the issue-by-issue detailed history of 360 Spins Magazine.
My creative skills took a new direction when my interest grew in the field of landscape design. This was spurred on by the purchase of a new home in a new subdivision (with a large barren backyard) in Oakville. After running with that passion and earning my Diploma in Horticulture and Landscape Design from Sheridan College, I started and ran a successful landscape design business in Oakville for several years.
My skills in custom woodworking began when I started a business building custom longboard skateboard decks in my basement. I started a website and a company (MJB Design) and sold many custom skateboards, which I shipped across North America. I enjoyed woodworking so much that I expanded my shop and veered in a new direction, building upscale custom furniture. I focused on old world mastercrafts (such as dovetail joinery and the finest exotic woods) and had several clients over many years of building furniture. This was a very rewarding undertaking and I loved the design and production cycle of woodworking. I miss having the space for my woodworking shop today.
Indie Record Label
Music has been part of my life since I started playing guitar at age 14. In the early 2000s I ran an indie music label called Cedar Trail Music, which focused primarily on supporting up and coming country music artists with CD releases, publicity and promotion. This business allowed me to leverage most of my marketing and digital strategy skills, along with media relations, public relations, event management, music recording studio production and much more.
Disney Travel Advisor and Author
Disney travel has been an intrinsic part of my life since my first trip to Disneyland Resort in California at age four (many years before Walt Disney World Resort existed). Walt Disney World opened in 1971 and since that time I have visited WDW 93 times and counting. I am looking forward to visit number 100, which I anticipate will happen sometime in 2018.
To share my knowledge about visiting Disney Parks and Resorts and to help others with their Disney travel planning, I earned my TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario) Travel Advisor license and founded 1923 Main Street, which is currently my ecommerce shop for licensed merchandise. I am also author of the book The Very Best of Walt Disney World Resort.
All of my Disney travel-related businesses relied heavily on my work in digital strategy, communications and social media to generate leads and assist others with their Disney travel planning.
Much of my blogging and social media activity nowadays revolves around Orlando-area travel and related topics to 1923MainStreet.com. As I appraoch 100 weeks of vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort and the greater Orlando area, I don’t expect that this will change at all in the years ahead.
Every Business Has a Story to Tell.
Marketing, Digital Strategy & Social Media Advisor