President and CEO, SPP Marketing Services Inc.
Finalist, TELUS Trailblazer Award, CENTRAL
SPP Marketing Services Inc. (SPP) had already been in operation as a promotions and experiential marketing agency for ten years when founder Elen Steinberg saw her winning opportunity: creating an innovative program using Canadian airports for marketing credit cards to the public. By overcoming challenges and bringing value to her bank clients, the company has been able to focus solely on premium credit card acquisitions since 1998. As the leading North American new credit card customer acquisition agency, SPP has enrolled over 5 million people for credit card products.
My first job ever was… Selling clothes in a boutique in Montreal.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… Full time jobs in TV journalism were scarce and I needed to pay the bills.
My proudest accomplishment is… Having been able to give many people an opportunity to succeed – such as immigrant women and also raising two wonderful children while building a successful business.
My boldest move to date was… Switching the company into commission sales from being paid hourly as an event marketing agency.
I surprise people when I tell them… That they may not know me personally, but I can almost guarantee that they know what I do.
My best advice to people looking to disrupt the status quo is… Be open to opportunities. Be bold. Ask for the sale, the contract, the promotion. If you get a no you are not any worse off than you were before- if you get a yes, it changes your world.
My best advice from a mentor was… Get up and make 10 sales calls before lunch.
If I could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, it would be… Golda Meir. I believe she was the first female world leader.
I would tell my 20-year old self… Always trust your instincts and never lose that unwavering belief in yourself.
My biggest setback was… When we lost 90% of our business in 1997.
I overcame it by… Not taking no for an answer and finding a solution to turn it into a yes. We came back stronger than ever from near bankruptcy and increased sales by 500% from before the setback.
I never go a day without… Being grateful for the great people I work with and the opportunities and continuing support from our clients.
The last book I read was… David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.
I stay inspired by… Seeing the big picture, looking for opportunities for expansion into new markets and showing new clients our capabilities.
The future excites me because… I see more opportunities for the company.