Tribal adds to its creative and digital leadership

Duri Alajrami and Erin Kawalecki join

Josh Kolm for Strategy November 22, 2016

Tribal Worldwide Canada has made two key hires in Toronto, including the creation of a new role that unifies several digital streams under one, unified practice.

tribalpicDuri Alajrami has been hired as VP of brand experience, a newly created position at the agency, while Erin Kawalecki has been hired as creative director.

Both Alajrami and Kawalecki were working with Tribal on a contract basis prior to being brought on full-time in their new roles. Prior to coming to Tribal, Alajrami was the founder of digital consultancy Relevance Club, and has had leadership positions in the social media divisions at Blast Radius, Colour and OgilvyOne. Kawalecki, previously a freelancer, has also had stints as a copywriter on the creative teams at Juniper Park, Taxi, John St. and McCann Canada.

In his new role, Alajrami has been tasked with “evolving and growing the Toronto office’s key digital practices,” according to a press release, which includes the development of technology, user experience, social media, search and performance marketing as one practice.

“User experience and performance marketing are on the newer side, but we’ve had some of these practices in the agency for years now and we felt that there’s an incredible opportunity to bring some unity around them,” says Andrew McCartney, president of Tribal Worldwide Canada. “We’ve got folks working on these things that are already much more collaborative. So it’s bringing some leadership to all these practices that are always in so much demand and where we’re constantly recruiting and bringing in new talent.”

He adds, “We felt that it was the right time to bring aboard someone with vision and the ability to talk to clients at the C-suite level. Duri helped us on a few projects and it became clear he was the right fit for this role that I had envisioned for some time.”

On the creative side, Kawalecki will be reporting to recently hired ECD Marketa Krivy and working with fellow CD Diego Bertagni to lead day-to-day creative at the agency. Previous creative director Lionel Wong recently left Tribal, though McCartney says Kawalecki’s hiring was to bring more writing and storytelling experience to its creative leadership.

“We have lots of great writing talent here and at DDB overall, but didn’t have someone leading our projects that brought the craft of storytelling to them,” he says. “We brought [Kawalecki] on for a few projects and pitches and it was incredible. We’re usually bringing forward ideas based heavily in innovation and strong visuals, but she brought a crispness and clarity to our ideas because of her strength on the storytelling side.”

Almost a year ago, Tribal Worldwide Canada announced a new national growth strategy that’s focused on utilizing its talents on a national scale by having a single strong practice for different disciplines, instead of the practices being split between the agency’s offices. McCartney says Tribal has had a number of new wins across Canada over the past year, both because of the growth strategy and the different ways the agency is approaching its work with clients.

“We’re seeing so many of our clients looking at the whole user experience and developing their brand personas as enterprise tools that get to every aspect of the company and really rally around users,” he says. “The other thing is a lot of clients have been building their own teams and practices and we are working with them a lot differently today. We don’t get briefed by them and present back, we are having conversations that lead to working sessions that lead to prototypes. The level of co-creation is real and clients are investing in teams that have the time and abilities to do that with us.”