PRINCIPAL / FOUNDING PARTNER
As the principal architect of Murray Paterson Marketing Group (MPMG), Laura Murray has helped build a company founded on the passion, creativity, and integrity that define the artistic process. A classical ballet dancer and journalist by training, Laura’s leadership combines the strength + discipline of dance with the insight + exactitude of reporting, managing her team’s collective talents toward blockbuster results.
Her knowledge of the creative scene in Canada and her role as Vice President of Client Services at a local communications agency, where she found herself increasingly specializing in arts marketing, led Laura to launch Laura Murray Public Relations in 2011. She was soon joined in her vision of a firm dedicated to supporting the arts and cultural sector by her business partner Brian Paterson and, together, they have grown a company that by 2016 had morphed into the Murray Paterson Marketing Group. Today, MPMG boasts a team of 11 full-time employees in Vancouver and a network of creative contacts across the country.
The MPMG brand has become synonymous with excellence, innovation, passion, and service to the arts. For three years running (2015 to 2017), the company has been recognized by Business in Vancouver as one of BC’s top communications firms and by the Georgia Straight as Vancouver’s best PR agency. It is also a recipient of the BC Marketing Association Excellence Award for its strengths in innovative, full-service marketing and communications. Most recently, Laura was named by Business in Vancouver as a 2016 “Forty Under 40” winner, acknowledging the city’s most successful entrepreneurs under the age of 40 and the ones to watch.
Laura’s prestigious client roster has expanded to include more than 50 Canadian and international clients, among them The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Museum of Anthropology, China Arts & Entertainment Group, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Eastside Culture Crawl, Bard on the Beach, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, and Vancouver Christmas Market. As publicist for Ballet British Columbia during its challenging 2008-2009 season, Laura played a pivotal role in saving the company from insolvency, securing record amounts of media coverage and rallying public support for the struggling enterprise.
In addition to building and leading MPMG, Laura has provided arts commentary and reviews for the Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, Dance International Magazine, and 24 Hours. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Made in BC: Dance on Tour.
HEAD OF DIGITAL + MARKETING / PARTNER
Brian Paterson is MPMG’s senior strategist and go-to guy for all things digital. A classically trained actor, Brian discovered a broader stage for his talents by marrying his intimate knowledge of the arts with his skill and passion for marketing.
Brian’s strong technical understanding of online and social media tools enables him to develop cost-effective and high-impact marketing solutions for his clients. As an artist, he understands how audiences make their decisions about consuming cultural content. As a professional marketer, he knows how to integrate this knowledge into informative and compelling campaigns that resonate within Vancouver’s dynamic arts scene.
A certified Google Partner, he is a strong advocate of the value of new media as a platform for marketing the arts, ensuring that his clients benefit from the low cost and high audience reach that digital components contribute to broad-based promotional campaigns. Clients who have welcomed Brian’s insight include Bard on the Beach, Ballet BC, PuSh Festival, Vancouver Opera, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the David Suzuki Foundation, and Vancouver International Film Festival.
Practicing what he preaches, Brian sits on the Board of Directors at Firehall Arts Centre and Electric Company Theatre. He is a born and bred British Columbian whose greatest professional joy is connecting audiences to the bounty of arts experiences on offer here, which he also achieves through an arts column in 24 Hours Vancouver.
For as long as he can remember, Jesse Tanaka has been fascinated with the way things work – from wooden boats and car parts to the endlessly captivating workings of the Internet. As Digital Manager, this curiosity drives Jesse to discover and refine new online tools to make the ever-changing medium work for MPMG’s clients.
The son of a potter and a concert promoter, who supported their family through their creative pursuits, Jesse has a keen understanding of the business side of arts + culture. A graduate of Capilano University’s Arts and Entertainment Management program, he bolstered his business savvy through Langara’s marketing-focused Bachelors of Business Administration program, and furthered his technical proficiency with UBC’s Multimedia and Web Development Program.
Prior to MPMG, Jesse earned his multimedia stripes as Online Media and Marketing Coordinator for Killbeat Music, one of Canada’s premier independent music publicity firms, where he worked on campaigns for the Western Canadian Music Awards, Arts & Crafts Records, and 102.7 The Peak, among others. Since joining MPMG, he has contributed to and guided successful campaigns for Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Vancouver Bach Choir, DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Museum of Vancouver, and more.
A perfectionist by nature, Jesse is at home in the quality-driven culture of MPMG where he takes pride in being part of a team that measures itself by client delight and increased audience attendance.
OFFICE + OPERATIONS MANAGER / PARTNER
Overseeing Operations for MPMG, Dale Allison keeps his finger on the pulse of the business and his eye on effective + efficient delivery of client services. With more than 15 years of experience in business administration, sales management, logistics, and resource planning, Dale guides organizational development and planning at MPMG with a view to the long-term growth and sustainability of the agency.
His ‘big picture’ approach to management is reflected in his talent for tracking industry trends, researching emerging market opportunities, and identifying potential risks. He is adept at viewing client needs from multiple angles, advising on results-oriented plans designed to achieve maximum return for each client’s investment.
Western Canadian companies that have availed themselves of Dale’s strategic expertise include Swissport, Air Canada, and Sleeman Breweries.
Driven by a commitment to business excellence, Dale keeps his MPMG colleagues focused on the importance of delivering the kind of bottom-line results for their clients that bolster their firm’s own bottom line.
Since learning from her Grade 8 homeroom teacher that “organization is the key to success,” Sarah Ghosh has applied this philosophy to developing her multiple talents into a multi-faceted career. She has worked as a public relations specialist, producer, production manager, dramaturge, story developer, costume designer, and tour manager for several hit productions. This past experience in the arts and entertainment industry, coupled with her organizational skills helps her to meet the varied needs of her cultural clients at MPMG.
A professionally trained vocalist with a passion for jazz, Sarah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature with Distinction from the University of Victoria and a Certificate in Public Relations from Simon Fraser University. Prior to joining LMPR, she multi-tasked for The Virtual Stage, the noted Vancouver multi-media theatre and film-production company behind the sci-fi musical romp Broken Sex Doll and the critically acclaimed interactive Zombie Syndrome series. Sarah also managed The Virtual Stage’s Community Outreach Program (VSCOP), which engages youth and young people with special needs in innovative theatre and film projects.
As a Public Relations Consultant for a Cue Creative Consulting, she contributed to the success of such clients as MARTA MARTA Productions, The Twisted Outreach Project for Back Care & Scoliosis, Dancers Dancing, LINK Dance Foundation, Brighton Home Inspections, and It’s About Thyme Nursery.
When she’s not managing services for MPMG clients, Sarah moonlights as a jazz vocalist in the Vancouver area, and also enjoys spending time with her family.
CREATIVE + SOCIAL STRATEGIST
Communicate. Collaborate. Create. These are Kyra Wittkopf’s personal 3-Cs of stellar customer service. In her capacity as Creative + Social Strategist at MPMG, Kyra uses her communication and collaborative skills to develop compelling new media content that allows her clients to connect with the audiences they aspire to reach.
An honours graduate of Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, she has been the creative force behind successful online promotions and quality content for various artists in the music industry, including Carly Rae Jepsen, Marianas Trench, and Dallas Smith. She brings to MPMG her talent management experience with 604 Records, Light Organ Records, and Simkin Artist Management, as well as the business acumen she acquired as a self-employed consultant in digital strategy, creative direction, and graphic design for a wide range of clients.
The passion Kyra has for showcasing and celebrating the talents, strengths, and accomplishments of others extends beyond the workplace. She is a strong supporter of community initiatives designed to empower women and an active volunteer with organizations that encourage women to pursue their potential.
She was drawn to MPMG by its reputation for thinking beyond traditional marketing approaches and is excited about helping the team push the limits of how new methods and new media can be used to market the arts with as much originality as the firm’s talented clients bring to their own creations.
As a junior high school student in Kamloops, Chelsea Isenor was profoundly moved by a Western Canada Theatre production of Proof by David Auburn that sparked a deep appreciation of how performance art exists in a single magical moment of time. Convinced that theatre was better than the movies, she decided then and there that she had to be part of it.
This early epiphany led her to enroll in Theatre and Marketing studies at the Thompson Rivers University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts after acquiring experience as an actor, stage manager, and director, while developing her skills in arts marketing and promotion. Following an internship with the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, Chelsea joined Gateway Theatre where she led several marketing campaigns promoting Gateway’s Signature Series and Academy, coupled with the International Gateway Theatre Pacific Festival.
Chelsea is excited to be part of the MPMG team and to grow professionally “with the best in the business.” In her passion for the arts and the opportunity to work with clients who thrive on creativity, she is guided by the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson that “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Chelsea approaches this latest chapter in her career with the same enthusiasm that changed her world when she realized that promoting the arts would become her life’s work.
The ever-shifting, dynamic intersection of art and communication has always been at the core of Ines’ interests. It’s what drove her to gallery hop while earning a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. It’s what led her to the culture beat of The Korea Times, then onto the editorial team at the inflight magazine of Korean Air. It was for a special feature that she traveled to Naoshima Island in Japan—an art haven like none other—and there amid the Walter de Maria and Lee Ufan installations that she decided to commit to a career as an arts journalist.
Ines was a correspondent for Artinfo’s Korea bureau, covering the 2013 opening of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, and interviewing Venice Biennale’s Korea Pavilion artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho for Ocula Magazine. A fortuitous turn of events led to her joining the communications department of the Gwangju Biennale and then the International Biennial Association.
Having gained experience in both journalism and public relations, Ines turned toward learning more about art and its multitudinous, socio-cultural relationships. She moved to Canada to attend the graduate program in Critical and Curatorial Studies at UBC, where she dove into the thriving arts scene in Vancouver. She received her Master of Arts in Art History in 2017.
Still a Texan at heart, Ines is always excited to meet new people and embrace every project head-on, with a smile. Her career continues to delineate the nuanced connections between art and communication, and at MPMG she is eager to work with clients in crafting campaigns that resonate and reverberate.
A visit to Italy where she devoured history through frescoes, paintings, and carvings inspired Ashley Best about the power of art to tell stories of the past and its potential to record the present. Fascinated with film and promotion of the arts as a vehicle for storytelling, she pursued studies in marketing and art history, with a particular emphasis on the early and high Italian Renaissances. Armed with an Arts History degree from Capilano University, she went on to study media relations, marketing, and visual design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. After a practicum at Reformation, a Vancouver public relations and social media marketing firm, she worked as a public relations/marketing intern with the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area, where she managed campaigns designed to promote citizen involvement.
Her own involvement as a citizen includes volunteer work with the SPCA and support for the MS Society and BC Cancer Foundation. One of her proudest achievements as a Kwantlen student was helping her class raise funds for the Cause We Care Foundation, devoted to supporting low-income, single mothers in the Lower Mainland.
A native Vancouverite, Ashley feels privileged to be part of the Murray Paterson Marketing Group because she believes she is working with the best in the business to celebrate the stories that only the arts can tell.
Art, culture, and communications have always been the driving forces in Pamela’s life and career. Fascinated by the monumental power of museum and gallery spaces – and magnetically drawn to travel the world – her studies took her through an Honours BA in History at Concordia University and a MA in East Asian Studies and Art History at McGill University.
Through awards and scholarships Pamela earned the singular opportunity to study abroad in Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei. There, she would not only improve her Mandarin, but delve into the vibrant art scenes of Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, conducting thesis research on globalization, diaspora, and cultural translation in the Chinese contemporary art world. Returning home, Pamela dedicated several years to supporting galleries and museums across the Lower Mainland, including Heritage Abbotsford Society, Centre A, and The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford.
These experiences nurtured a deep appreciation for the integral role of curation in communication: whether it is works in an exhibition, words on a page, or squares in an Instagram feed. Her interest in the potential of Digital Marketing as a tool for storytelling and community building for the arts led her to complete an Associate Certificate in Marketing Communications from BCIT.
Pamela is elated to be a part of the MPMG team – and for the opportunity to elevate arts organizations with inventive, imaginative, and numbers-driven digital strategy. She shows up every day with an unwavering can-do attitude and the willingness to explore every avenue in crafting imaginative + strategic tailor-made digital campaigns for the firm’s clients.
A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts who danced with the Goh Ballet for two years, Allison Birt is fascinated by body movement. When a series of injuries sidelined her from her ballet ambitions, she turned to teaching Pilates to share her understanding of movement fundamentals with others seeking physical strength and freedom. While still studying Art History and English Literature at UBC, Allison became Operations Manager at the Vancouver Pilates Centre where her responsibilities included managing social media, promotions, and customer service. She is a member of the Pilates Method Alliance and a Certified Pilates Teacher.
The recipient of a number of accolades for dance and movement over her years of classical ballet training and Pilates instruction, Allison is particularly proud of an essay of hers in a 2012 edition of UBC’s undergraduate literary journal The Garden Statuary. She believes that all communication begins with listening and that client satisfaction is based on a sense of being heard and understood. As part of the MPMG team, she is delighted to be with a firm known for communications excellence and for raising the profile of the arts in B.C.
While dance will always be to Allison the art form through which she learned to express truth and vulnerability, her art history studies have informed her view that all artistic pursuits have the power to bolster political action and promote social change.
Angela Poon is a Communications Consultant at MPMG. A marketing and communications professional, copywriter, and former journalist, Angela knows the power of a great story. She has spent the last decade honing her storytelling abilities, writing on, and promoting a wide range of topics.
Angela began her career as a reporter and photographer with the community newspaper the Langley Advance, covering local news, city hall, and arts + entertainment. Her intuitive understanding and deep knowledge of the media industry soon led her to the public relations field. First, as a publicist with a Vancouver-based PR firm, garnering significant coverage for high profiled clients, including UNICEF, Forest Products Association of Canada, Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), and Body Beautiful Canada, and later moving on to manage regional communications and media relations for Canadian Blood Services.
Angela’s comprehensive experience and superlative media contacts, from her experience as a journalist and publicist provides unique insight into finding and developing great stories, enabling clients to gain effective exposure with key audiences, and successfully achieving strategic results.
Born and raised in Ladner, British Columbia, Angela is most at home on the wild and welcoming Pacific Northwest Coast. She was drawn to the field of communications as a form of expression — relishing in the inherent creativity she had previously only known through her love of music and musical theatre.
Currently in her third-year in communications at Simon Fraser University, Angela has held several leadership roles that highlight her storytelling, organizational, and event management skills. She spent a year as the Vice President of Events at the SFU Communication Student Union, and is currently serving as its Vice President of Marketing, working on building the organization’s profile. She’s passionate about connecting with her surrounding communities and learning how to reach out to ever-expanding audiences in this digital age.
In her spare time she hones her marketing skills through a personal blog, Angela Vannatter Online, which delves into contemporary social issues through a millennial lens. More than just a hobby, Angela Vannatter Online has become a real-time experiment in understanding how to develop and raise awareness for a brand aesthetically and textually — as well as gauging the most effective modes of communication.
Angela first knew she loved being part of a team when she performed in her high school theatre production of Grease. She discovered the importance of working within an ensemble as well as the challenges of making art. She’s excited to bring her diverse skills in content production and marketing to her new crew (and cast) at MPMG.
Early in her career Sylvia received formative advice from her mentor: “If you handle a piece of paper twice, it is one time too many.” This wisdom would prove foundational in the high-efficiency exactitude that she applies to her management and oversight of all things fiscal at MPMG.
After earning her BA in Psychology at the University of Waterloo, Sylvia began her career in the banking sector, rapidly ascending the ranks from teller to clerk to lending and ultimately to supervising a team and VIP clientele as Senior Account Manager at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).
Spreading her wings, she left the RBC to open her own bookkeeping consultancy, specializing in start-up companies. In the 25 years since, she has aided countless organizations, including Evoke International Design, Studio B Productions, and IO Media Productions. The diverse array of insights and service provided include growth development, financial planning, bookkeeping, and HR + office management, among others.
An entrenched and involved member of the Vancouver community, Sylvia has served on a number of boards including the Vancouver Racquets Club and Westminster House Society for Women, and currently acts as Board Director and Treasurer for Granville Island Cultural Society.