Sara Padidar

Forty Under 40 Winner 2015: Co-founder and principal, Talk Shop Media and LongGame Holdings, Age 33

With the rise of digital technology has come the birth of a whole new swath of industries – online marketing and social media strategy, just to name a couple. Sara Padidar, co-founder and principal of Talk Shop Media, a Vancouver public relations firm with clients such as Bosa Properties, YYoga and TEDx, has watched her industry skyrocket.

“Based on my experience, the pace of growth, the direction of growth, the rise and need for every company to think about their public relations strategy and their positioning and reputation, it is really directly related to the rise of digital technology,” said Padidar. “I started my career in the early 2000s, and at that time there was still a lot of traditional practices like faxing a press release, so it’s obviously come a long way since then.”

Having worked with a wide variety of organizations including major players such as Toyota, Rio Tinto Alcan, the BC Securities Commission, Seventh Generation and the Vancouver Whitecaps, she now serves as an instructor at Simon Fraser University for the public relations certificate program and for the University of British Columbia’s digital communications and planning program, offering over a decade of experience to the next generation.

Padidar said part of her job now involves tempering expectations as digital communications become more integrated into companies’ business plans.

“We definitely aren’t seeing the hype that we saw five or seven years ago, where it was seen as a fix-all or this silver bullet of an option. But now what we’re seeing is companies looking to social media to help increase their credibility and awareness levels – and help drive some traffic as part of their marketing strategy. But really it’s just one piece of that pie.”

Birthplace: Kitimat

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: Bachelor of arts from UBC

Currently reading: 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam, and before bed I read a lot of Curious George with my daughter

Currently listening to: Anything by Hunter Hayes or Drake

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Hair stylist

Profession you would most like to try: Chef

Toughest business or professional decision: Adapting from running a business on my own to entering into a partnership with two others. My business partners challenged my practices and approach for the better, but it didn’t always feel comfortable. In the end I have become a better leader and more focused strategist. I have embraced the parts of the business I am good at and let go of the bits where others have more suitable expertise

Advice you would give the younger you: Empower your team. Our most significant periods of growth at Talk Shop came after we provided more autonomy and opportunity to our talented team

What’s left to do: Lots! Expand our commercial real estate portfolio at LongGame, continue to lead in creative digital, media and influencer communications strategies at Talk Shop and further explore how we can work smarter and achieve more work-life balance within the agency

Join us to celebrate the 2015 Forty under under 40 Awards January 27, 2016 at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. For tickets and event info visit