About Leona Hobbs

Leona Hobbs is a Toronto-based marketing and communications professional with 15+ years expertise in communications, social media and digital marketing.

Leona consults with agencies and startups. Leona was head of services at Atom Agency and vice president and partner at Social Media Group, a leading agency helping companies make the most of the social web. She was director of marketing and communications at Tucows, an Internet services and software company.

Leona has also worked for Yahoo! and for Fleishman-Hillard. She frequently speaks about the social media and digital marketing to students and at conferences.

In 2013, she taught Web and Social Media Principles in the PR program at Durham College.

Leona is chair of the advisory committee of the post-graduate Public Relations program at Loyalist College.

 


 


It's been all about marketing for Leona Hobbs since her days editing school yearbooks. After completing journalism school, Leona was recruited to join Fleishman-Hillard, a global public relations agency. While at the agency Leona pursued a progressive career path. She worked with clients across a number of sectors – video games, healthcare, food and telecommunications. With a knack for strategy, Leona was promoted through the ranks from intern to vice president over a seven-year tenure.
     
From the earliest days of her career, Leona has focused on the Internet's disruption of mass media. The first Internet client project she developed (in 1999) was a Tomagotchi-inspired game designed to teach kids how greenhouse vegetables are grown. Leona participated in the formation of Fleishman-Hillard's global interactive practice group and became a subject-matter expert for the agency. In addition to her digital and online projects, Leona developed content for clients and honed her earned-media skills pitching and securing mainstream and blogger coverage.  
     
In 2004, Leona began to work with Yahoo!. She immersed herself in Yahoo!'s four-pillar business model for content, community, search and personalization. She worked closely with marketing, in-house counsel, sales and product teams for Yahoo!’s operations in Canada and delivered co-marketing activities with Yahoo's business partner, Rogers. Over her three years working with Yahoo! Leona developed campaigns and programs to drive user engagement with Yahoo! content and services like Search, Mail, Music and Photos.
     
Hungry for more work with Internet services and applications, next she moved to Tucows as director of communications. While frequently remembered as the original software download site, when Leona joined in 2006, Tucows’ core business was in wholesale domain names and email services. She lead 24/7 customer communications, corporate communications, internal communications, investor relations, trade show marketing, branding and product marketing communications.

After meeting Maggie Fox, founder of Social Media Group through Toronto Girl Geek Dinners,  Leona recognized the potential for a great collaboration and joined Social Media Group in 2009 to service the Ford Motor Company account. Together, Leona and Maggie built a thriving social media agency focused on providing services for companies seeking to recognize and harness the burgeoning opportunities in social business. Frequently working at the vanguard of social media marketing and driving applied innovation, Leona's work focused on strategic planning and social media roadmap development, social listening and online reputation management, generating earned media, content marketing and B2C and B2B social media marketing. Leona supported a number of key accounts including SAP, 3M, Thomson Reuters, CNN, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Canada), Sleep Number, two of Canada’s largest banks and a global professional services firm.

In 2012, Leona stepped away from agency life and ventured out on her own as an independent consultant. Later that year, Leona joined one of her clients in a permanent capacity as leader of the agency services business for Sequentia Communications. Leona has transformed the agency to a provider of converged digital marketing services heavily focused on digital marketing for B2B companies. Importantly, Leona built eam and culture that reflects service, quality, clarity and respect. In March 2013, the agency rebranded as Atom Agency, providers of digital marketing fusion. 

Leona returned to pursuing her own ventures and the world of independent consulting in the fall of 2013.         

Frequently called upon to comment on social media and marketing in the media, coverage for Leona includes the National Post, CTV News, CBC Radio, Canadian Business, Sun Media, TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, and The Globe and Mail. She also speaks at conferences and lectures to post-secondary students.

A natural leader, Leona is deeply committed to teamwork and establishing productive partnerships with colleagues, clients, vendors and her extended network. She is a self-confessed workflow geek and lover of agile business. Leona is a student of the Co-Active coaching system as a model for conduct in interpersonal relationships.

In 2010, Leona was recognized by The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) with a World of Difference 100 award in the community category. She is Chair of the program advisory committee for the post-graduate public relations program at Loyalist College. Leona is an active participant in the Toronto digital media community.

This past winter, Leona taught a course called Web and Social Media Principles to students in the PR program at Durham College.

While passionate about her work, family and friends are the grounding forces in Leona's life. She and her husband travel and enjoy frequent retreats to the family cottage. She is the proud owner of Scotia, the most adorable Goldendoodle on the planet. Leona reads hardboiled detective fiction like it's going out of style and has loved video games since getting hooked on Astrosmash for Intellivision at age 7.