Notable Team of the Week: CARAS/The JUNO Awards

It’s no secret that exceptional work stems from the power of collaboration. So in addition to featuring notable young professionals and entrepreneurs every single day, we’ll be chatting with some of Canada’s best teams every Thursday to get an inside look at how they combine talents to stand out in their industry. Today we’re talking to the CARAS, the team behind Canada’s prestigious JUNO Awards…


1. Describe what you and your team focus on in less than 140 characters. Go.
We exist and work to celebrate Canadian music and artists. Period. End.

2. What kick ass projects/programs have you been working on recently?
In 2015, in collaboration with Slaight Music, we launched the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, a mentorship and development program for emerging Canadian artists. This past October, the incredible 2017 winners – Neon Dreams, The Lytics and Youngblood – were flown to Toronto for a week of mentorship with Canada’s Music Incubator at Coalition Music. They also got the chance to “music-nerd out” during one-on-one sessions with JUNO Award winners LIGHTS, Max Kerman (Arkells), producer Gavin Brown and Canadian rock royalty Alex Lifeson (Rush).

They finished off the week with a showcase at hmv Underground in front of a room full of music industry heavyweights. Next stop for the winners is JUNO Week 2017 in Ottawa where they’ll perform at JUNOfest and one of the bands will be chosen to perform at the 2017 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards.

3. What are some of the benefits of working on a team?
At our core, we are a group of music lovers dedicated to shining a light on Canadian talent. Every member of our team has a unique and invaluable perspective to offer. We are also an incredibly tight-knit group who trust each other implicitly.

4. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced? 
We pride ourselves on being extremely organized and prepared, but sometimes Mother Nature has something else in mind. This is the story of JUNOS vs. The Volcano: cut to St. John’s, NL, 2010, and volcanic ash clouds are pouring in from Iceland. Pandemonium ensues in the form of delays, cancellations, lost hockey jerseys and more. At the end of the day the show must (and did) go on, but it was a little touch and go for a moment!

5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals working within a team?
Get to know your team members beyond the confines of the workplace. We spend long hours working together and it’s nice to work with our friends, not just our colleagues. Tina Fey said it best: “Don’t hire anyone you wouldn’t want to run into in the hallway at three in the morning.”

6. Does your team have a designated leader?
The “Lead Singer” of our band since 2015 is Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts. His extensive experience, passion and dedication to the music industry over the past 30 years makes him the perfect person to be at the helm of the JUNO Awards.

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Photo: CARAS/iPhoto Inc.

7. Within your organization are teams switched up every once in a while or do they maintain the same? What are some of the benefits and cons of that?
Pretty much everyone gets the chance to work on projects with people outside of their own department which creates some pretty cool results. For instance, our Marketing and Brand Partnerships department teamed up with JUNO TV to create some fantastic video content for Volkswagen starring Scott Helman, Brett Kissel, and Francesco Yates.

8. What does the word collaboration mean to you?
Our team. Simple as that. Collaboration is bringing together things that are great on their own, and making them even better just by the sheer virtue of being together. We love perfect pairings. Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart on their own are incredible. Put them together and you have your new favourite TV show.

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Photo: CARAS/iPhoto Inc.

9. What has been you and your team’s favorite project/campaign/ initiative to work on and why?
If the JUNO Awards are the head of CARAS, then MusiCounts would be the heart. MusiCounts helps keep music education alive across Canada by providing instruments and equipment to school and community music programs. Since its establishment in 1997, over $9,000,000 has been awarded in support of music education in Canada. MusiCounts works hard to put instruments in the hands of people who need them the most.

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Photo: Barry Roden


1. Where is your team’s favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Our office is filled with people who love to enjoy great food around the city! We even had a CARAS supper club so we could try new places!

2. Do you and your team go out together? Where and why?
We like to support the local live music scene. You’ll often find a group of us at a show anywhere from the Air Canada Centre to The Dakota. Sometimes it’s as simple as drinks together at a local pub enjoying each other’s company outside of the office.

3. What’s the best thing that has happened to you and your team recently?
In 2016, we won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Live Entertainment Special for The 2015 JUNO Awards broadcast! And we expect to celebrate again this next year with a win for our 2017 Broadcast that airs on CTV April 2!

4. Are there any other teams within your company or any company that you know of that are killing it?
We think our Nominating and Voting team is killing it right now. The JUNOS would be nothing if not for the Canadian artists submitting their work for consideration. The window for 2017 JUNO Award nominations just closed and the team is hard at work verifying and overseeing the entire process to ensure each submission is given the consideration it deserves.

5. And finally, what does success look like to you and your team? Work, play, or otherwise…
See below, need we say more? 😉

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Photo: Ryan Bolton

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