Simon Foster is the SVP Digital Publishing and Business Development at GlassBOX Media, a Canadian company that operates three specialty television networks (AUX TV, BITE TV, and Travel & Escape) as well as a slew of digital portals (blogs, mobile sites, apps, etc). This 36-year-old Queen’s University and London School of Economics grad is being honoured on October 6th with the Arnold Edinborough Award, a prestigious accolade given annually to a YP who goes above and beyond in demonstrating exemplary leadership and volunteerism in the arts. Find our more about this noteworthy YP in today’s feature.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Building huge audiences and monetizing their attention, all on digital platforms, with a specific content focus on music, comedy, and travel.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I love media. The audience reaction to your efforts is immediate. They love it, they hate it, or are indifferent to it. So the pace of experimentation on digital platforms is incredibly fast, which is a work environment I prefer. Digital media is competitive, but we see an opportunity to turn GlassBOX into the next great Canadian media company, and that’s what excites me and motivates me to out-hustle my competitors.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is feeling like I’m a significant part of our business story. I work with a team of very smart and creative people, and I know my contribution is meaningful. The most challenging part is not having the luxury to enjoy a business win. This is amplified in a start-up environment, where growth targets are incredibly aggressive, and no matter what you achieved yesterday, you wake up to face the same steep pitch the next day.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Running the most successful digital media business in Canada.
What does success look like to you?
Success is growth, not standing still. That doesn’t mean great single leaps, but always moving forward.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Receiving the Arnold Edinborough Award from Business for the Arts this year, which recognizes a young professional who has demonstrated leadership and volunteerism in the arts. This award ties together many of the things I really care about. I’m being honoured at the Arnold Party on October 6th at the Carlu. Hopefully some of you will come and say “Hi.”
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Say yes. Don’t worry about being too busy. When an opportunity comes up at work or with a charity, there’s usually nine reasons to say no, and only one to say yes. But you should always do it. My experience has been that totally unexpected and wonderful results come from getting involved in something new.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I co-founded and chair Framework. Our key program is Timeraiser, now running in nine cities. We’re encouraging young professionals to volunteer. We’ve hosted 28 Timeraiser events across Canada, generated 93,000 volunteer hours, invested $500,000 in the careers of emerging artists, supported 383 charities, and encouraged over 6,000 Canadians to pick up a cause. Whew! I also sit on the Board of Directors of Canada’s National Ballet School. I commit to these things because I love the people involved in these organizations and the outstanding results of their efforts. I’m there to help make their vision a reality. And I strongly believe my business has benefited from what I’ve learned outside of the office in these different environments.
What to you is notable?
I have the deepest respect for the entrepreneurial spirit.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Blackberry. Hey, at least I don’t clip it to my belt anymore…