Meet Laura Denham, the Chief Creative Officer of Notable Life

A creative producer with over 15 years of global experience in broadcast, events, content and Games, Laura Denham is a creator who brings big ideas to life. She has cultivated a deep passion for content production and amplification on both the broadcast and agency side. Laura is an integrated marketer who connects brands with culture. From ideation to execution, Laura consistently delivers meaningful experiences and content for brands. As the Chief Creative Officer of Notable Life, Laura sees a unique opportunity to bring high-profile production and creative expertise to the young and engaged Notable Community. 

 

 


 

 

My first job ever was… working as a sales associate in a shoe shop in Dublin, Ireland. I was 16-years-old and living with family for the summer.

 

I chose my career path because… my career chose me. I’ve been creating and producing ever since I was little and no matter how much I tried to cultivate another path, life brought me back to my creative place. I had a very artistic upbringing — recording studio in the house, dance lessons, arts school, etc. So, from an early age I really cultivated my passion for creating. By the time I was ready for university, I thought it was time to focus and pursue what many called a “proper career.” I went to business school, but somehow ended up writing a musical on the side. Then I moved to the UK to work in finance, only to be offered the role of Producer for WE Day back in Canada. Every time I diverted from my passions, life showed me a way back to my creative and production roots. I finally decided to stop fighting it and accept that this was my “proper career” and have been passionately creating for TV, marketing agencies, and content platforms ever since.

 

My proudest accomplishment is… working on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I was truly honoured to work for LOCOG as one of the Victory Ceremonies Producers, producing medal ceremonies. Working on an Olympics and Paralympics was always at the top of my bucket list — there is no event bigger in the world, so I knew I had to be part of this in someway. I achieved my goal before the age of 30, so I was pretty proud of myself, but more importantly I’m proud to have contributed to these defining moments in an athlete’s life and career — the moment they get that medal. It was life-changing and humbling to produce those moments for such deserving and inspiring athletes.

 

My boldest move to date was… moving to England right out of university without having ever been there before. Not to mention, I didn’t have a job lined-up. My best friend and I decided to have an adventure and that is definitely what it was. This is the experience that taught me to say “yes” to taking risks because they almost always payoff.

 

I surprise people when I tell them… that I am obsessed with 80s music and it’s the era of music I almost always listen to.

 

My best advice to people starting their career is… start thinking of the people you know now as part of your professional crew and help each other out. When starting out, it can get very “me” focused. My skills. My resume. My professional development. It isn’t until a little bit later you realize the power of your community. So, I tell people to start thinking that way from the beginning. Collaborate. Help each other out. Network and prioritize your relationships. Your friends from school will be your colleagues, clients, partners and bosses as you all evolving in your careers. That’s definitely been my experience. Life isn’t a one person show — everyone can get further ahead by investing in these relationships and growing together from the beginning.

 

My best advice from a mentor was… know your worth. Know what you bring to the “party” and how unique that may or may not be. Benchmark yourself against your peers. Once you have a clear perspective on this and you’ve been super real with yourself, you’ll have a great sense of your worth. That said, there’s a time to learn and a time to earn. On one hand, negotiate proudly with your worth in mind and what you deserve, but also be mindful of where you can improve and the market rate for that job. Keep in mind that your potential isn’t always part of the compensation conversation. Invest in yourself by working hard and prove your value. And once you’ve done that — ask for that value in return. This is the way to build a mutually beneficial relationship with any employer or client. Work hard and showcase your worth — that way, no one will never doubt it.

 

“Collaborate. Help each other out. Network and prioritize your relationships. Your friends from school will be your colleagues, clients, partners and bosses as you all evolving in your careers.”

 

I would tell my 20-year old self… to definitely work hard in school, but not to forget to work hard in your relationships too. Like I mentioned before, creating meaningful relationships and connections in all parts of your life are important and ultimately benefit your career in so many ways.

 

My biggest setback was… putting myself through school and struggling with student debt, as so many people do.

 

I overcame it by… moving to England and taking advantage of the foreign exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar and the British Pound. This helped me save and pay off my debt twice as fast!

 

The last book I read was… What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn) by Seth Godin.

 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I was born in Ireland and immigrated to Canada when I was very little. I became a Canadian citizen at the age of 8 and got “sworn in” by a judge. I still remember the day and all the other people who were there becoming citizens as well. It was a really proud moment and made the flag mean a lot to me at a young age. Did I mention I was also an Irish dancer?

 

I stay inspired by… forging strong relationships with the people I work with. One of my favourite ways to bring a team together is by taking on a creative project together and delivering it. Nothing bonds a team more than producing work, like a show, an experience, or a piece of content. You have to be all in and when you go through a journey like that with a team, you figure out super quickly how to support one another, how to work together and how to go after excellence as one unit.  

 

The future excites me because… with Notable Life, I know that I am going to be a part of so many big, amazing things. I’m excited to push our creative offering through collaboration with creative communities, creators and brands. I’ve been empowered to make an impact, contribute to a powerful voice, and create for a platform with a team that shares the same goals as me. I’m also so thrilled to continue to shine a light on the Notable Life community of creators, entrepreneurs and young professionals.

 

My next step is… to launch a digital content series called #CareerGoals that shines a light on young professionals in the Notable Life community and the amazing things they’re doing. The definition of a career has expanded dramatically when you consider creators, influencers, and side-hustlers. The Notable Life community has such interesting and diverse career stories and we want to share these stories in a big way.

 

 

Meet Sage Franch, Co-Founder and CTO at Crescendo

Sage Franch is the Co-Founder and CTO of Crescendo Inclusive Workplaces, and the creator of TrendyTechie.ca. She specializes in emerging technologies including blockchain, augmented reality, and cognitive computing, and is passionate about leveraging new tech to build a better future. Previously, Sage worked as a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, where she focused on global developer education and AI as a tool for positive change. Now, as Co-Founder and CTO of Crescendo – Inclusive Workplaces, Sage builds AI-powered tools that identify unconscious bias and help people learn to be more inclusive at work.

 

 


 

 

My first job ever was… teaching drum lessons at a young performing arts academy when I was in middle school.

 

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I never actually decided to become an entrepreneur, I decided to solve a problem. When I met my co-founders, we all bonded over our experiences of bias and discrimination, and based on our skill sets we realized we could build tech to change the world for the better. We researched and worked until the idea turned into a plan, which eventually turned into a startup, and here we are! I guess the day I became an entrepreneur was when I left my old job for my startup – that was the day it became real.

 

My boldest move to date was… leaving my fun, comfortable, well-paying job at Microsoft to go full-time on my startup without a salary! Leaving a bad job is hard, but leaving a great job is even harder. I loved working at Microsoft, but the time came where I knew I needed to give Crescendo 100% of my time in order for it to grow. Startup life is completely different from corporate life so it was a big adjustment, but so worth it.

 

I surprise people when I tell them… I also write music and science fiction!

 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I studied martial arts for nine years!

 

My best advice to people starting a business is… don’t get caught up in the “cool factor” of what you’re doing. Focus on your customer and what they need. No matter how excited you are about blockchain, AI and the next emerging tech, if it doesn’t add value to your customer, you should leave it out.

 

My best advice from a mentor was… talk about what you do in simple terms. When you live and breathe your business, it can be easy to forget that not everyone understands it as well as you do. Whether you’re talking to a customer, an investor, or a potential hire, it’s important to be able to convey what your business does in plain language. If you’re struggling to break it down, do the family test; pick the family member who knows the least about your industry and explain it to them.

 

“When you live and breathe your business, it can be easy to forget that not everyone understands it as well as you do.”

 

I would tell my 20-year old self… not to forget about self care. I way overworked myself in my early twenties, simultaneously studying full time to complete my Bachelor of Computer Science and working full time for Microsoft. That whole period of my life is a blur, and I didn’t focus nearly enough on my own health. Burnout is real and bouncing back from it is harder than pacing yourself!

 

My biggest setback was… when my mother and my grandmother were diagnosed with cancer. Nothing could have prepared me for how much my life would change when I had to become a caregiver early in my career.

 

I overcame it by… prioritizing endlessly and learning how to turn down opportunities. When I was just starting out, I said yes to every opportunity and task that was sent my way, because I simply loved learning new things. But when faced with family health crises, I had to learn how to budget my time and prioritize the most important things. It took a lot of “no’s” but I eventually learned how to not feel guilty when turning things down, and that is a skill everyone should learn.

 

Work/life balance is… absolutely essential. Work and life don’t have to be separate, but it’s important to give yourself time to think about something other than work. I get my balance by practicing yoga, playing guitar, and going to concerts, all things that allow me to disconnect and focus on something else for a while. Think about it like restarting your computer – sometimes we just need a reboot to start fresh and operate at full speed.

 

The last book I read was… 10% Happier, by Dan Harris. Now I’m reading Data and Goliath, by Bruce Schneier.

 

I stay inspired by… mentoring technologists who are starting to work with emerging tech. Geeking out with people who are excited about the future of tech is always so inspiring. And if my experiences can help remove barriers for someone on their road to their goals, I’m happy.

 

“If my experiences can help remove barriers for someone on their road to their goals, I’m happy.”

 

The future excites me because… there is so much potential for good technology to improve people’s lives. At Crescendo, we’re building tools to help people be more inclusive of one another, and we’re looking forward to a future where people and tech work together to do good in our world.

 

My next step is… expanding our development team and launching the full version of Crescendo!