NAIT Celebrates

Robyn Dawson receives the Distinguished Alumni Award for helping Alberta businesses and communities thrive as a leader in media planning and buying.

Robyn Dawson

NAIT Celebrates Robyn Dawson

A leader in media planning and buying, NAIT Marketing graduate is dedicated to helping Alberta businesses and communities thrive

“Receiving this award validates what I do, and the efforts I’ve made to keep a strong local media planning and buying skill set in the industry. I feel proud that I can highlight what a great advertising community we have in Edmonton with this award.”

On the walls of media planning and buying agency Kick Media’s downtown Edmonton office is a mural that emblazons words of inspiration, like “be bold” and “hustle hard” and “stay humble.”

To NAIT Marketing alumna Robyn Dawson and her business partner, Carla Fawcett, those words aren’t just platitudes, but are integral to how they approach their business.

“We have a philosophy of being upfront and transparent with our partners,” Dawson explains. “It’s about building a connection, caring about your work and making sure your clients succeed in what they do.”

Over the past 16 years, the duo has done just that, helping to raise the profile of Alberta businesses and solidifying the agency’s reputation as a trusted media buyer for some of the most distinguishable provincial and national campaigns.

Keeping ties with the local advertising community and supporting the next generation of marketers has given them an edge to compete against larger metropolitan companies. To that end, Dawson’s kept a close connection to the polytechnic where she launched her career.

A career built on strong relationships and experience

When Dawson ventured into business education at NAIT in the early ’90s, she admits that she didn’t exactly know what she wanted to do in her career. Luckily, the program included a number of courses, namely accounting and marketing, that appealed to her.

It was a course focused on promotions and planning campaigns that was a catalyst for the marketing career she continues to enjoy today. Winning one of the coveted prizes for campaign planning during her final presentation was when she discovered her knack for creative and entrepreneurial thinking.

After graduation, Dawson landed a job in media buying at a local newspaper. That job led to another at an agency, where she later become director, working with some of Canada’s biggest companies.

Building strong relationships in industry was foundational to Dawson’s success. A decade later in 2008, Fawcett, a fellow media buyer, asked her to join as media director and partner at the then-fledgling Kick Media.

“The timing was kismet. I had all this experience, all this knowledge, so that gave me the confidence to branch out on my own. That first year, we exceeded our expectations and just kept growing,” Dawson says, adding that the company expanded their Edmonton-based business to include a Calgary office in 2011.

Bolstering the local advertising community

For more than 20 years, Dawson has lent her expertise to the Advertising Club of Edmonton, supporting the organization’s fundraising efforts. The club includes over 250 public relations and marketing professionals focused on helping the industry grow in the capital region.

“The advertising community is a tight knit group,” Dawson says. “We might be competitive, but we’re all working to make Alberta and Edmonton a good place to live, work and succeed.”

That desire to help her industry thrive led Dawson back to where she got her start.

Over the years, she’s provided her expertise as a guest class speaker and on the business school’s advisory committee. She’s also served as panelist judge for the promotional planning course. Kick Media sponsors an annual $1,000 prize for the best media campaign.

“Being a mentor to people coming into the market is really important,” Dawson says. It helps students launch their own careers and it helps Kick as well. Nearly 60% of the firm’s employees are NAIT graduates.

“Kick Media would not be what it is without them. And it's fulfilling to know that there's a new generation of media planners and buyers coming up the ranks.”

Story photos supplied by Robyn Dawson.

Distinguished Alumni Award 

The Distinguished Alumni Award is a lifetime achievement award recognizing individuals renowned for their leadership roles, industry expertise and merit.

More 2024 NAIT Celebrates Recipients

Champions, community-builders, mentors, visionaries and leaders make up the 2024 NAIT Celebrates award recipients. Read more about the lasting impact each has made through their spirit, dedication and generosity.

Sandvik Coromant

Sandvik Coromant is named the Distinguished Industry Partner for their leadership in the community and long-standing support of machinist education.

Ray Pisani

Ray Pisani is named the Distinguished Friend of the Institute for his outstanding contributions to our polytechnic and impact in the community.

Marcie Kiziak

Marcie Kiziak receives the Alumni Award of Excellence for her advocacy of women’s success in business, and her leadership as the CEO of NOVA Cannabis.

Arlo Maverick

Arlo Maverick receives the Alumni Award of Excellence for his support of the community and achievements as an award-winning musician, promoter and filmmaker.

Shreya Nandiraju

Shreya Nandiraju receives the Spirit of NAIT Alumni Award for her success and leadership in the engineering and automation fields.

Priya Winsor

Priya Winsor receives the Spirit of NAIT Alumni Award for her career achievements as founder of Compass Chocolates and for her support for the community.

2025 Award Nominations

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