Laura Murray

Forty Under 40 Winner 2016: Founding partner, Murray Paterson Marketing Group, Age 39

Making a living as a professional dancer, writer or musician isn’t easy. So when Laura Murray realized she probably wasn’t going to make it as a ballerina, she pirouetted to focus on her other creative talent – writing.

But being a freelance art critic is no easy gig, either, so she spent several years in public relations. In 2011, she started her own full-service marketing agency, Murray Paterson Marketing Group, which focuses exclusively on arts and culture.

Now five years old, the company has grown from a two-person operation to a 14-person company that has earned a number of accolades, including being named Best Public Relations Firm two years in a row in the Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver awards.

Born in Etobicoke, Ontario, Murray studied dance from the age of six. After high school, she entered York University to take a double major in dance and English, but after one year, her professors urged her to pursue dance professionally. 

She auditioned for a ballet company in Toronto, where she trained for two and a half years, then came to Vancouver to train with Goh Ballet around 2001.

After making an audition circuit and failing to get accepted into a professional ballet company, she decided to go back to school, and earned a diploma in journalism from Langara College

She learned that it’s not easy to make a living as a freelance writer, either, so she took a public relations job at Ballet BC. She then worked for four and a half years at Curve Communications, where she became vice-president. In 2011, she launched her own agency.

“It was myself in my second spare bedroom alongside one staff, who is now my business partner, Brian Paterson,” Murray said.

While working in PR for other companies, she realized there was a need for a one-stop marketing service that catered exclusively to the arts. She has since found such a demand for her services that she has had to turn down business.

“I think one of the greatest challenges of running a business can be knowing when you’re at capacity,” she said.

Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit