Fellowship Award

Sonia Piano

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe Sonia as the industry’s Fairy Brand Mother. Her former mentees describe her as innately smart and intuitive when it comes to marketing and advertising. Getting to work with a leader like Sonia who cares not only for you as a teammate but treats you like a member of her Italian family is like winning the career lottery.

Sonia is a true champion of “brand.” She understands that great brands need to be anchored in strong values, purpose, and truth and will tell anyone who will listen how critical strong brands are to great marketing. This has been the throughline of her career. She is one of the most talented brand strategists in the province. AND she has reshaped or helped to influence the brands we work for or interact with daily. She was a huge advocate of impactful and meaningful brands when she worked on the Alberta brand project. It’s what she made true when she was the director of marketing at the River Cree Resort and Casino. It’s what she brought to every client project she worked on when she was an Account Director at DDB Canada. It’s what she did every single day as the Managing Director of Brand at ATB Financial.

Sonia is also a champion of the industry and of building a community for future marketers and advertisers. She’s been ACE president twice, which is unique among past presidents. Her second time at the helm, she stepped up when no one else would. It was a challenging time in ACE’s history. Under her guidance, the Advertising Club of Edmonton was reinvigorated and re-established as the institution it is today. Sonia is also a vocal NABS advocate. She’s always looking for ways to support NABS and encourages colleagues to leverage their services when needed.

She cares as much about her people as she does about the products and solutions we’re
promoting. She’s understanding when team members have family commitments, or just aren’t
feeling like themselves at work. Sonia cares and is caring. She’s passionate about the work,
and passionate about looking after her people. And somehow, she never sacrifices one for the

Sonia’s also as obsessed with the creative as the most obsessive creative directors, fussing over the precision of word choices and the placement of imagery down to the pixel. She catches details others miss, which opens up more opportunities to learn from her ongoing quest for high-quality advertising and marketing. And she does it all because she believes brands owe their customers, audiences and users the very best experiences.

Sonia’s brand is brands. And the people, brands and industry in Alberta are all stronger thanks to her.