If you are a firm in Calgary who does not participate in the community, your business will not advance."
When Lindsay Hamilton was 10, she got her first job — working the phones every Saturday for her parents’ small cleaning and damage-recovery business. At a time when other kids were playing on the monkey bars, Hamilton was up-selling services and learning the importance of client relationship building.
“I don’t know if any of them actually knew I was 10 when I was talking to them,” Hamilton says. “Sure, they knew I sounded young, but they didn’t know how young.”
Hamilton has always been ahead of her time, for her age. In high school, she was the youngest board member at an art gallery in Regina. And, when she was 25, she was working as a headhunter and career coaching executives and other corporate bigwigs through her work with Caldwell Partners and Right Management.
Today, Hamilton works for Canada’s largest law firm, McCarthy Tétrault LLP. As its director of clients and markets, she does everything from working on pitches helping land new clients domestically and internationally, to heading up new community initiatives.
When Hamilton started working with McCarthy Tétrault six years ago, the firm had no real marketing department, so she built one from the ground up. Instead of going with a traditional marketing department that utilizes things like print advertising to increase the exposure of the firm, Hamilton decided to focus its resources on a philanthropic budget.
Thanks to Hamilton’s efforts, McCarthy Tétrault now supports more than 60 local charitable organizations and events every year, including the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer and Inn From the Cold. “If you’re a firm in Calgary who does not participate in the community, your business will not advance,” Hamilton says. “I’m proud to say our firm has a higher profile in the community than it did when I started six or seven years ago. ”
But Hamilton’s dedication to community goes beyond her day job. She volunteers between 200 to 350 hours every year and has helped out at organizations such as the Calgary Health Trust, the United Way and the Dale Auger and Friends — First Nations Leaders Art Event.
One community initiative that Hamilton is particularly proud of helped extend the life of Sakaw Cree artist Dale Auger. In 2007, Auger discovered he had an advanced form of cancer and would need an expensive treatment, not covered by the Alberta health care system, to prolong his life. When Hamilton heard this, she immediately helped organize a fundraiser that brought in more than $100,000, giving Auger the money needed to undergo the life-extending treatment.
“In terms of all the events that I’ve led, or conceived or supported, I am most proud of that one,” Hamilton says. “The ability to purchase and pursue this treatment resulted most likely in an additional year of him being with us.”
Why she’s the top: Over the past six years, Hamilton helped grow McCarthy Tétrault‘s involvement in the community to the point that it now supports more than 60 local charitable organizations and events every year.
The key to her success: “It sounds simple, but don’t underestimate work ethic — getting the job done. Also, with difficult decisions, I always ask ‘What will build the relationship?’ Success comes when you focus on the relationship.”