Mentors & Mentees

Client-Agency Crossover
John Torella

John Torella began his retailing career with the T. Eaton Co., holding the post of Marketing and Communications Manager from 1970–1980.

In 1980, he joined Vickers and Benson, one of Canada’s largest marketing and communications agencies, as the president of their retail group where he managed many of the same services as contemplated related to feasibility study, update study, and promotional materials. During the period of 1984 to 1986, John worked with clients such as Ford, Bank of Montreal, Birks, Cartier, Harry Rosen, and more specifically with Canada Tourism and Ontario Tourism. He then joined Grey Advertising, a worldwide communications company. As the General Manager of Grey Retail, he worked with a number of international retail brands.

In the summer of 1993, John Torella joined J.C. Williams Group as a partner and senior consultant in the areas of strategic planning, branding, marketing, and communications. John is a member of and frequent speaker for the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Marketing Association, the National Retail Federation of the United States, and the American Marketing Association.

He has been a member of the faculty at Ryerson Institute’s Fashion Department, as well as co-author of Building a Winning Retail Strategy for the Retail Learning Initiative at Ryerson, and A Guide to Retail Success for the National Retail Federation in the United States. John is the author of Stop Talking, Start Doing Retail Branding, Whole-Being Retail Branding, re|think Retail Branding, The Evolution of Retail Marketing (e-book), and his latest e-book Brands in the New World of the Omni-channel Marketplace.

Major clients John has consulted to include: LCBO, Blacks Photography, Lands’ End, Sherway Gardens Shopping Centre, Sobeys Inc., Royal Doulton, Sporting Life, Visa, The Laura Shoppe Group, Aldo Stores, Indian Motorcycle, Pharmasave, Holt Renfrew, and The Body Shop. Over the past few years, he has made major presentations to the National Sporting Goods Association, National Hockey League, The Retail Council of Canada, the National Retail Federation (USA), the Retail Institute of Scandinavia, the International Council of Shopping Centers, and the Marketing Association of New Zealand. John Torella is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Kellogg Graduate school of Management Communications strategy program, Schulich School of Business York University Brand Equity program, Harvard Business School’s Managing Brand Value program, and Tuck School program on Strategic Brand Management.

In 2006, John was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Marketing Association, and in 2013 was inducted into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame for his work in the retail industry.

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