Melissa Leshem, Marketing and PR Manager at INK Entertainment

Ame, Ultra and Tattoo Rock Parlour are all venues that host VIP film fest parties nightly but also accommodate the thousands of Torontonians who want to experience the film fest buzz until the wee hours. Late night festival favourites aside, La Societe, INK Entertainment’s newest addition to the its ever growing empire, is poised to be the hottest new go-to for post gala drinks. 
From shuffling talent on crazed red carpets to working with LA heavyweights to ensure that every event runs smoothly, Melissa has got one seriously demanding role right now. Could you handle it?

What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?  

A typical Thursday generally starts at around 6:30 am- whereupon I reach for my Blackberry even before I leave the cocoon of my duvet. Eager to see what I’ve missed in my night of slumber, it is from that moment on that I start to mentally plan my day and review my schedule, meetings and goals. A quick coffee, and kiss goodbye to my boyfriend, leaves me time to contemplate the right outfit. My selections must often play double duty as they go from office to events – so comfort and style are always top of mind. En route to the office, I have a quick call with my parents, where we wish each other a wonderful day (they have learned to be patient with my schedule so that morning call is much appreciated). My day can have any where from two to ten meetings with a variety of INK’s respected suppliers and partners. We meet to review upcoming opportunities like TIFF, product launches, or even plan our latest venue launch. That’s what keeps it exciting. We’re always building and growing. Between meetings I try to sneak in some e-mails, calls, brainstorming sessions and maybe even a site check or two. If on schedule, come late afternoon I’m off to one of our venues to prep and solidify last minutes details for an event. The end goal of course is a production that’s seamless and a client/guest experience that is unforgettable. I come home sometimes even more energized than when I left. Excited to regale my other half with a play-by-play of the evening’s successes, I wash up, count my blessings and return to my cocoon of slumber.  

What was your first job out of school?  

After graduating university, I was fearless and had an adventure-some streak that landed me in New York City. I got a job with a Manhattan-based lifestyle and event production company, where I first caught the “bug”. I had the opportunity to work with New York’s leading venues, restaurants and personalities. I worked with brands such as New York Olympus Fashion Week, E! Network, Bacardi and the MTV Video Music Awards. New York was a whirlwind romance for me. It was tough love at its finest. It built me up and, at times, broke me down. It made me expect more of myself and of the world I was to make. New York was a love affair that I will never forget. It made me much of who I am today.  

What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well? 

Damage Control.  If an exciting life is what I want, than I have to be prepared for all the unforeseen “exciting” things that can pop up. Maintaining your cool and always having plan B in that secret compartment is what helps. You simply can’t plan the unplanned.  

Building and maintaining excellent relationships. Much of what I do is the business of relationships. Working with so many distinguished brands, partners, talent and media, it’s important for me to communicate and maintain an excellent rapport with all my colleagues. I am very aware of how they are a contributing factor in my success and vice versa. After all, INK is a lifestyle brand – and we are in the business of good hospitality.  

Gift for the gab and taking pen to hand. The social element of my job requires me to be a strong communicator. Having confidence face-to-face and the ability to communicate the principles of the INK brand through my writing have helped me build opportunities.   

What do you love most about your career?  

That everyday is unlike any other. Anything can happen, and anything often does. I have the privilege of working with so many different types of industries like entertainment, cuisine, film, music and fashion. It makes for an interesting life! I also have exceptional colleagues at INK, who spike the day with humour and who I constantly learning from. I also love building a global brand. It’s an encouraging feeling that I am a part of something that is bigger than myself, yet in many ways can still be my own.  

Do you have any warnings?  

Never be afraid to ask questions. The worst thing anyone can do is insist that they know it all. All that we do know is that we do not know everything. Great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone, and while you should value your experience in some areas, do not neglect the fact that there are always new questions to be asked. Be confident in your willingness to learn.

If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?  

I would have to try my hand at being a travel food writer. I have always loved to write. Couple that with seeing the world and a full stomach? You had me at hello.

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