Debra studied creative writing at Concordia University and dreamed of becoming a poet and a playwright. However, her creative soul also has a pragmatic side that encouraged her to channel her love of writing into something that would support Canadian artists and businesses, so she opened a boutique PR firm, rock-it promotions. In January 2000, she started the business out of her parents’ spare bedroom with a phone book, a fax machine and a lot of determination. Now, rock-it resides on Richmond Street West in the heart of the city, with a team of talented PR professionals supporting the growing company alongside her.
As the company’s president and founder, Debra has appeared as a PR expert on MuchMore Music, eTalk and Global News, and has been featured in National Post, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and more. Debra reaches dedicated, engaged audiences through blogging for Huffington Post Canada, Inside Toronto and Toronto Special Events. In 2012, Debra was voted the PR Professional of the Year at the inaugural BizBash Toronto Readers’ Choice Awards.
She’s also had the good fortune to work one-on-one with talent including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Gerard Butler, Jane Seymour, Emily Blunt, Woody Harrelson, Scott Speedman, Morgan Freeman and Sarah Polley, among others. Some of rock-it’s current clients include Soho House, The Drake Hotel, Tommy Hilfiger, Seventh Generation, Canadian Stage, eOne (formerly Alliance Films), World MasterCard Fashion Week, Arts & Crafts and many more.
With more than thirteen years of media and influencer relations, social media engagement, brand ambassador programming and event management experience, Kate oversees a group of account managers and rock-it’s lifestyle client roster. Kate’s extensive food & beverage, fashion, retail and luxury PR background includes in-house as well as agency insight and she has experience working on various local and international powerhouse brands. With her extensive experience in event management, media relations, social media and strategic planning, Kate is a self-described multi-tasking maven and lover of all things communication.
In 2017, Kate was recognized with PR Team Leader of the Year and Top 40 Under 40 awards by PR in Canada.
Fun fact: she has a degree in Cultural Anthropology and once owned her own flower shop.
A disciplined strategist, Marela draws from over 10 years of communications experience covering media, public relations and crisis management. Her broad perspective is shaped by having practiced communications in five countries, leading the execution of spectacular programs that deliver business-oriented results. Marela has extensive in-house and agency experience in travel, hospitality, luxury, retail and lifestyle with expertise representing blue-chip clients, international organizations and high profile events both in Canada and abroad. At rock-it promotions, she leads teams whose passion for PR drives the pursuit to generate maximum brand awareness impact for our clients. She advocates applying strong creative vision to every PR program, anchored by emotive storytelling that connects clients to desired target audiences.
Fun fact: Marela likes to travel without an itinerary and credits her best travel memories to getting lost on her way to a tourist spot.
Carrie is a seasoned PR professional with over 12 years of agency experience. She has had the pleasure of developing and executive PR campaigns for many notable brands such as Caudalie, L’Oreal Professionnel, NIVEA, Nespresso, Weight Watchers among others.
As Director of Business Development, her collective experience allows her to clearly identify opportunities and develop tailored PR programs for new and existing clients. She is based in Montreal, but will be visiting the Toronto office frequently.
Carrie and her husband also recently opened a bistro named after their 5 year old daughter, Grace. She took her mother’s advice and married a chef;)
After graduating from Oxford Brookes University in England with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Media and Communications, Alice has since lived and worked in Los Angeles, Hawaii and New York. After a fantastic year working in Manhattan for a post-production company, she moved back to London to take on a role at the BBC, organizing events and then transitioning into a finance role.
After four wonderful years at the BBC, Alice decided it was time to spread her wings once more and immigrate for the final time. She moved to Toronto and joined the rock-it team as Office Manager. After a few years with the company, she assumes the role of ‘Director of Operations’, and now also runs Fourth Floor Management.
She loves Toronto, her cat, Winnie and bakes a mean banana bread.
With nearly seven years of agency experience, Daliah has worked with local, national and international brands including Dr. Martens, Manitobah Mukluks, ALEX AND ANI, Pet Valu Inc., The WORKS Gourmet Burger Bistro, and more. At rock-it, she oversees accounts including GUESS?, Etsy Canada, The Broadview Hotel, Consonant Skincare, Power Ball and more.
She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a B.A. in English and Political Science before completing a post-graduate Corporate Communications and Public Relations program at Centennial College.
As an Associate Account Manager Sheri works with a variety of clients including Club Med, Frank And Oak, Casper and Spirit of York. In addition to looking after her lifestyle and fashion accounts, Sheri also manages rock-it’s blog, onthefourthfloor.com. Before entering the PR world, Sheri spent a few years living in South Korea as an English teacher. Sheri holds a B.A. in English Literature and Cultural Studies from McGill University and a post-graduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College. With an appreciation for clean design and modern aesthetics, Sheri spends her free time adding to her library, wardrobe and music collection in equal measure.
Fontane started her career at a global public relations agency in 2014, where she supported on national campaigns across consumer and corporate accounts honing her experience in media relations, event management and influencer engagement. Over the years, her passion for PR was evident in her work with clients including PetSmart, Eveden, Cadbury, RICARDO Media and McCormick. As an Account Manager for a start-up agency, Fontane led and executed various influencer and media relations programs, including an award-winning campaign for Hyundai Canada. At rock-it, she manages accounts including adidas, Tissot, Tilley, FIJI Water and more.
With a constant pulse on what’s new, Fontane can be found tasting new restaurants, growing her eclectic wardrobe, or testing the latest workouts on her free time.
Ciara loves all pillars of public relations and providing her clients with out-of-the-box programs. She holds an Honours Diploma in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising giving her a unique eye and understanding of the business. Prior to joining the rock-it promotions’ team, Ciara worked at top agencies in the city and continued her success by being nominated to be on Fashion Group International’s Board of Directors. Outside of the office, you’ll find Ciara at any sporting event or checking out the newest local craft brewery.
Stacey loves the fast-paced environment of public relations. She holds an Honours Degree in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University and a post-graduate certificate in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Seneca College. Prior to joining the rock-it promotions’ team, Stacey interned in New York City at a top PR firm and continued her career in the beauty category with a leading brand in Toronto. Outside of the office, Stacey is the ultimate sports fan and can be found cheering on the Leafs and Raptors, with her adorable rescue pooch by her side.
Alex joins the rock-it promotions team as the Administrative/Executive Assistant. Alex has over 10 years experience in the administrative field. He’s the first friendly smile to greet all visitors, guests, and clients, and enjoys currently being the only man in the rock-it office.
For fun, Alex spends most of his free time running/organizing The Toronto Spartan Volleyball League, Canada’s largest LGBTQ league. He’s also a long-time player/member and loves every minute of it.
After graduating from Trent University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and French, Erin set off to Europe to work and travel, living in Ireland for a year. Since returning to Canada and obtaining a Postgraduate Certificate from Humber College’s PR Program, Erin worked at several top Toronto agencies before taking on the role of Bilingual Account Coordinator at rock-it. Erin’s always had a passion for the arts, performing in several musicals in University and volunteering for TIFF. In her downtime, you can catch her cuddling up with a blanket to binge watch FRIENDS on Netflix.
After graduating from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Journalism, Jessica worked as a freelance writer and photographer for a number of Canadian publications including FASHION, FLARE, and Canadian Family. She fell in love with PR while attending events as a journalist and dove head first into the industry, working closely with brands such as Dr. Martens, Triumph International, and NYX Cosmetics. When she’s not scrolling through Twitter or posting on Instagram, Jessica enjoys travelling, teaching (she taught English in South Korea for two years!), producing YouTube videos, and playing soccer.
Sari studied Political Science and Management and Organizational Studies at Western University. Right after graduating, she started working at a boutique entertainment PR agency. First as an intern, then a Promotions Coordinator and Junior Publicist, she gained an incredible experience in entertainment PR and events, including working at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. She will receive her Master’s degree in Professional Communication from Ryerson in August 2017.
Sari loves to watch movies, read, travel, spin and eat anything with avocado.
Lexi completed her BA in International Development and Communications at McGill University. After travelling for three months in Asia, she is back with a refreshed perspective and ready to dive into the world of PR. With experience in marketing and events, Lexi thrives in a fast-paced environment. Outside of work, Lexi can be found shopping, checking out the best restaurants and cheering on her favourite sports teams.
As a champion for PR and events, Christine brings her love for all things lifestyle, to rock-it promotions. After graduating from the University of Toronto, she harnessed her entrepreneurial spirit to launch her freelance makeup business. Working in the beauty industry allowed Christine to develop skills in event planning, social media and content creation. This led her to pursue a post-graduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College. She is excited to rejoin rock-it as an account coordinator after participating in the PV program. In her free time, Christine can be found practicing photography, cuddling with her Jack Russell or watching scary movies.
Lauren graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Production with a focus in public and media relations from Ryerson University. During the course of her degree, she has volunteered consistently with both World MasterCard and TOM fashion weeks, as well as ETalk during TIFF. As her final practicum project, Lauren joined forces with a few classmates as the Marketing and PR director to put together a sponsored live stream fashion show event with 8 designers, 6 vendors, and over 360 guests all to raise awareness of sustainable fashion here in Toronto. An ambitious and creative individual with a passion for all media and fashion-related angles, she looks continuously to gain experience in the PR and media industry. In her off time you may find her achieving fitness goals, socialising, or working on her own personal clothing craft.
Holly Wilks is a graduate from the University of Guelph with a Major in English Literature and a Minor in History. She continued her education at the University of Toronto earning her Strategic Public Relations certificate. She spent 6 months studying abroad in England and travelling throughout Europe meeting new people and continuing to grow her interests in the world of communications and PR. She spends her free time reading books, watching basketball games and trying new restaurants around the city.
Kelly completed her BA in Sociology, graduating with distinction from Dalhousie University. After graduating, she spent 4 months travelling Europe, Asia and Australia, and her passion for people, culture and communication flourished immensely. Through her past educational and work experience, she has been preparing herself for the field of PR, volunteering at pop-culture events and festivals to develop a well-rounded perspective of the entire industry. Kelly is keen and eager to learn and grow in the world of PR.
Outside of work, Kelly can be found bowling, trying new restaurants in the city, or spending time with her dogs.