Career courage makes a PR Master
Mastercard worldwide senior VP and Group Head, External Communications Andrew Bowins is a graduate of Seneca’s Corporate Communications program.
Each day, it’s Andrew’s job to work with his team to promote MasterCard’s value for consumers, merchants and governments globally. The goal is to tell the MasterCard story in real time, across 43 markets, in 26 languages.
No problem for this public relations expert, whose CV includes some of the world’s largest companies, such as Dell, Nokia, Sony, Amazon and Oracle. With each new idea Andrew presents, he draws on the pearls of wisdom he gathered from his Seneca professors.
One in particular, Nick Douloff, was a major influence on Andrew during his studies.
“Nick was a classic PR guy,” says Andrew. “He called it straight, taught us how to think on our feet and look at problems from various perspectives, or ‘peel back the onion,’ as he called it.”
Andrew came to Seneca with a psychology degree in hand, after spending a year working for the Canadian Mental Health Association. He realized the best way to utilize his gifts as a writer and storyteller was as a public relations professional. At a major turning point in his life, Andrew had to decide whether to relocate to Vancouver in search of a career, or come to Seneca to build his PR knowledge.
“I signed up and never looked back,” says Andrew. “Seneca was where I learned to match academics with career aspirations and personal brand. That’s when it all started clicking for me.”
After 10 years working with Toronto PR firms like National, Fleishman Hillard, Maverick and The GCI Group, he felt a strong hunger to prove himself on the global stage. Andrew knew his options were Asia, Europe or the United States. An opportunity arose with Dell, leading him to Texas, where he met the love of his life. Today Andrew and his wife, along with their daughter, make Pleasantville, New York their home (just a 30 minute train ride from NYC). Born in Lindsay, Ontario, Andrew still has close ties to his Canadian roots and experiences.
“I think growing up in Canada and starting my career there exposed me to a diverse group of global clients; it helped develop my chops as well,” he says.
Andrew also attributes a great deal of his career success to his embracing of new media and learning how to meld the art of storytelling with technological innovation.
“The convergence of technology, business acumen and storytelling—these are all things I learned at Seneca,” says Andrew. “That’s what keeps me relevant today around the boardroom table and in the executive suite.”