Parker: New senior VP finds perfect match with communications firm Tartanbond

Communications professional Jessica Harcombe Fleming takes on new national role at Calgary office of Tartanbond

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Jessica Harcombe Fleming says she was never one for personal recognition and titles, but being appointed senior vice-president for Tartanbond does start the new year with a feeling of pride for the work she does.

Brought up in Victoria, after a successful 20-year career in the PR and media-relations business she joined Tartanbond six years ago as director for Central Canada, leading the Alberta and Prairies team.

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After her undergrad degree at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, and a graduate certificate in strategic leadership in tourism at Royal Roads University in Victoria, her first job was managing sales and marketing for the newly opened Brentwood Bay Resort on Vancouver Island.

In 2006, Harcombe Fleming heeded the call of Ed Romanowski to move to Calgary as communications manager for his Bellstar Hotels & Resorts. Five years later she joined Travel Alberta, responsible for global media relations for North America, but her entrepreneurial bent and a desire to enjoy outdoor living meant a move to Black Diamond, working with a tourism agency and then with her own adventure travel consultancy.

Her mentor and friend over all of those years was Deirdre Campbell, owner of an integrated communications company in Victoria. Through a partnership with a leading U.K. independent PR, social, digital marketing and creative agency, she rebranded the company as Tartanbond. With a footprint in offices across the U.K. and Ireland, Campbell planned an expansion to work with clients coast-to-coast in Canada, and called on Harcombe Fleming to help. She jumped at the chance to establish an office in Calgary and take on the responsibility to hire local staff as director for Central Canada.

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With a passion for storytelling and a curiosity about the crossroads of digital communications, media relations and content marketing, the relationship soon blossomed and Harcombe Fleming says she had found the right place to allow her creative magic to grow.

Tartanbond now has offices in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary and Toronto, and after performing well, Harcombe Fleming is now working with staff and clients across Canada.

Her background in the travel/hospitality industry has been put to good use with a number of the firm’s clients, including PR and communications for Marriott hotels across Canada, Indigenous Tourism Alberta and its long-term association with Indigenous Tourism Canada, supplying media and corporate communications, crisis communications and media training.

A campaign that Harcombe Fleming says was as exciting as it was successful was helping Banff/Lake Louise Tourism to develop and promote sustainable transportation within the park last summer. A result was growing awareness by visitors of the park’s unique wilderness, with public transportation minimizing the effects on its delicate ecosystem.

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Tartanbond is also playing a big part assisting a number of other industries.

London Drugs relies on it for PR, media relations and crisis communications across Western Canada. The commercial real estate industry is well represented by Concert Income Properties and in the marketing for Red Mountain Homes near Rossland, B.C.

Farther afield, Tartanbond is promoting the Ikon Pass for Denver-based Alterra Mountain Company, while closer to home in Diamond Valley it is helping to launch exciting new products for Eau Claire Distillery.

Harcombe Fleming says her biggest achievement to date has been hiring the right staff with an understanding of the need to establish and keep good relationships with clients. Spotting people with a sense of kindness, as well as being highly driven and having the ability to do the job, she says was key.

Today she has a staff of 10 in Calgary, including Amy Bown, her associate director who was formerly with the Calgary Zoo.

Harcombe Fleming is sought after to speak to business audiences on crisis management. She joins Campbell on stage next month to address the Tourism Association of Alberta conference in Edmonton.

Her association with Tartanbond has proved to be an ideal match.

Notes:

After 37 years in business, the oldest independently-owned and operated wine merchant in Alberta is closing its doors. Devout supporters of J. Webb will certainly be disappointed. More news and info on sales coming soon.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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