Peak Communicators

Contact Peak:

Vancouver

604.689.5559


Calgary

403.276.7860

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Meet The Team

Jonathan McDonald
Consultant

Specialties

I listen. I think. I strategize. I write. I advise. I manage people by enabling them. And learn from others’ great ideas.

Education

Haverford College (Pennsylvania), University of Alberta and Ryerson University. Lots of political science, a little less journalism. Eight long years avoiding the real world.

Farthest-flung city you’ve been to

It’s just under 11,500 kilometres to Montevideo, the vibrant capital of Uruguay. I spent a couple of weeks there during one university Christmas break, living in the U.S. ambassador’s home. (Uh, long story.) His elderly mother-in-law gave me daily Spanish lessons in the drawing room. (Again, long story.) And when I flew home, Duran Duran, Simple Minds and Simply Red were on my plane after their Hollywood Rock festival shows in Rio. Simon Le Bon … Jim Kerr … Mick Hucknall. It’s almost too much!

Favourite part of Peak life

It’s hard not to work toward that last half-hour or so on Friday afternoons, when we congregate around the surfboard table in the kitchen and enjoy a nice refreshment to celebrate a fine week of work.

Career highlight

My communications career is young. So it’s hard not to point to two decades at The Province, where we excelled at our brand and in connecting with our readers and viewers. We didn’t talk to people, we engaged with them, and that can make for great, meaningful journalism.

PR role model and why

Looking for a confident, smart, ethical communicator? I got to know Peak co-founder Ross Sullivan socially and learned all those things about him. Now I work for him, and see how he puts it into practice everyday. Two journalism role models as well: Don Gibb, a former London Free Press city editor who made learning the ropes so much fun; and Michael Cooke, the Toronto Star editor-in-chief and my former boss at The Province and Edmonton Journal, who took chances on a kid more than once.

Favourite B.C. pastime

I am much, much better at skiing Whistler than I am at surfing Tofino, but they are two of the greatest places on Earth. Also a huge fan of some of B.C.’s most spectacular highways, like 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet, and 3 between Manning Park and Keremeos (with a wee jog up the dramatic 3A).

Favourite social media site

Twitter. An amazing resource for news and analysis, and you don’t have to engage if you don’t want to. Word of warning, though, about one black hole: reading replies to the oh-so-interesting tweets the U.S. Commander in Chief issues. I can’t quite remember his name.

Random fact

First job in media was an unpaid summer internship at CNN New York as a teenager, in 1988. Showbiz Today was the nightly show. It was a thrill to meet Stevie Wonder, Bryan Ferry and Matt Dillon … but nothing beat meeting (drum roll, please) Kool and the Gang.