Kylie McMullan

Forty under 40 winner 2018; Principal, Finch Media; Age 36

Photo: Rob Kruyt

With the way people communicate with one another undergoing continual rapid change, the best way for companies to get their message heard is to stay connected to marketing fundamentals while using new methods, says Kylie McMullan, principal of marketing consulting firm Finch Media.

For McMullan, the most important factor in keeping up in a fast-moving industry is to adapt quickly to changing times – without abandoning fundamental business principles.

“I think that technologies come and go, trends come and go,” she said. “But if you can really understand the fundamentals, you can really help your clients figure out the best path forward – by building on fundamentals with the new technologies that people are using.”

That’s why McMullan is wrapping up a PhD program on the subject while bringing those principles to her practice with a new flair. While focusing on the fundamentals she’s studying, she has built a flexible, five-member firm that can adapt to clients who no longer need the 9-to-5 daily workflow but rather move at the pace of the constantly shifting social media environment.

“Even in the time I’ve been practising, things have changed so much, and those changes continue to accelerate,” McMullan said. “Clients are asking for things now that they weren’t asking for a year ago; a year ago, clients would never ask for influencer-marketing campaigns. Now, we’re always asked about doing them. I think the challenge of the industry is keeping abreast of all the changes in technology and what it means to have reach.”

But at the deepest level, McMullan said, it is about working with good people and telling their good stories. Those basics, she said, drive the success of clients and help society in general. She cited a recent campaign with a pet-food company centred around an effort to get dogs in shelters adopted by new families.

“What makes me really happy is when we can do good work for a client, getting results but at the same time having the work serve a broader purpose,” she said. “It’s a reflection of working with good companies run by good people doing good work. When we are able to share in that work, that feels good.”

Birthplace: Langley

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: MBA, general business, Simon Fraser University

Currently reading: The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

Currently listening to: Childish Gambino, “This is America”; Beyoncé, Lemonade

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Independently wealthy

Profession you would most like to try: Fiction novelist

Toughest business or professional decision: Probably starting my company when my family is so young. It comes down to a choice we made as a family and amazing support, but it is still very hard

Advice you would give the younger you: Have more fun and be less stressed. Things usually work out in the end

What’s left to do: Getting the Finch Media Creates grant off the table, then continuing to do good work and share good stories


Join us to celebrate the 2018 Forty under 40 Awards January 24, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit