About Kathleen Burbridge, Senior Account Director, Gambit Communications

Kathleen is an experienced Canadian comms professional with over a decade specializing in lifestyle, luxury, fashion and automotive, and leads on all client servicing at Gambit Communications overseeing the Middle East, Africa and India. 

Prior to joining Gambit, Kathleen spent eight years in senior roles at international communications agencies in Toronto, Chicago and Dubai, working on a variety of multinational clients including Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, BMW, MINI, L’Occitane, Jergens, Bioderma, Biore, Marc Jacobs, Dubai Tourism, Nexxus hair care and Messika Paris. 

An Influencer activation expert, Kathleen has handled major brands’ influencer outreach programmes on-ground in London, Paris, Toronto and across the GCC, building a suite of strong relationships along the way. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Queen’s University, Canada.

About her thoughts for the industry

The public relations industry, or now what I personally refer to as the communications industry has drastically changed since I started my career a decade ago. The traditional media landscape was far richer in terms of titles, for example, I remember having multiple print automotive titles across the region, and now we have hardly any. Bloggers were still a thing, and the influencer scene was just getting started.

The primary goal was securing earned coverage for a client, but that’s no longer the case. We’ve had to adapt to broader roles as communication professionals, which has made our work more diverse, and the landscape more complicated to navigate. The role has transformed to be cross-functional, and bleeds into other areas including earned coverage, paid, experiential, influencer marketing, social media, and digital marketing (to a certain extent).

This change didn’t happen overnight, and communications will never stop evolving, as we as humans do. At Gambit, it’s rare that we have a client that only wants to leverage traditional PR, it’s more often than not they want to explore what our Integrated Communications team has to offer – paid influencer collaborations, production, and more. Our aim is to ultimately help our clients to reach their audiences, however that may look. 

A successful communications professional must be willing to get out of their comfort zone, have passion and always continue to learn. This industry isn’t stagnant, so the people working in it can’t be either.

Maneuvering through the changing communications landscape over the years hasn’t been easy – but I’ve loved every minute of it, or at least the challenges it has brought. I’ve been privileged so far in my career to work with and be mentored by some incredibly talented individuals who have supported me in navigating the industry, allowing me the space to try new things, and giving me grace when something didn’t work out. 

My hope for the future is that I can be the same support for my team that I’ve had, to lead from the front and to guide them to be the best communications professionals they can be.