NAIT instructor honoured for shaping local marketing and advertising community

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A “cheerleader” for students and industry

Influence is at the heart of marketing. If successful, the creator of an advertising campaign can convince consumers that acting on it will have a positive impact on their lives.

Influence, it turns out, is also at the heart of the work of Teresa Sturgess (Marketing ’83). She’s not a marketer in the formal sense; instead, as an instructor at the JR Shaw School of Business for more than two decades, she sells students on the idea that the field is for them, giving them the skills they’ll need to thrive in it.

And, as a major recent award proves, her impact has been positive and far reaching.

On April 27, Sturgess was recognized by the Advertising Club of Edmonton (ACE) with the Fellowship Award, granted annually to “an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advertising industry and community in general.” Her nomination featured 17 lengthy endorsements from colleagues, grads now in industry and students preparing to join them.

Each was a variation on the theme that Sturgess, who spent her early career in the industry in Edmonton, has built her reputation on a commitment to the success of others, students in particular, creating a ripple effect that has benefited agencies in Alberta and beyond.

From those testimonials, here’s a look at how Sturgess has inspired a legion of influencers in their own right, shaping a community that, in many ways, shapes us.

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“[Teresa] has shepherded an entire generation of marketers in Edmonton. She is a cheerleader for all of her students, always making sure they know about ACE and other industry opportunities to help [them] get early exposure to the industry.”

– Tania Nease, Director of Media Services, FKA


“Teresa’s exceptional teaching style and dedication to student engagement left a lasting impact on me. Her approach to teaching was both hands-on and thought-provoking. She created an environment that encouraged active participation, pushing us to delve deeper into the complexities of the advertising field.”

Kasha Johnson (Marketing ’22), Media Coordinator, Kick Media



“She is a warm and supportive foundation of the Edmonton marketing community with a greatly positive and enduring impact on the professional growth of all those she comes into contact with.”

Sara Kerr (Marketing ’11), Associate Media Director, ZGM Modern Marketing Partners


“Her push to bring students to the industry not only benefits her students but also provides the Edmonton advertising community with an opportunity to engage with aspiring professionals.”

Robyn Dawson (Marketing ’94), Owner, Kick Media, 2024 NAIT Celebrates Distinguished Alumni Award Winner


“She has fostered an environment of creativity and teamwork, encouraging her students and colleagues to venture into uncharted territories and tackle challenges head-on. Her leadership is both motivational and nurturing, creating a space where new talents can flourish and diverse perspectives are embraced.”

– Melanie Simmons, Chair, Marketing, NAIT JR Shaw School of Business


nait jr shaw school of business instructor teresa sturgess works with a student

“It was Teresa who really helped me excel and begin to realize my full potential. She helped point me in the direction of the Idea Marketing Club and helped me visualize what an executive role looks like. She has offered unwavering support with this journey, and has truly helped me flourish into who I am, professionally and personally.”

– Brianna Irwin, Marketing Student, President, Idea Marketing Club


“When I think of a community builder, Teresa instantly comes to mind. She is one of the most supportive human beings you could meet. She is such a cheerleader for those who are lucky enough to be her student, and such a cheerleader of the local ad industry.”

Linda Hoang (Radio and Television – TV ’11), Social Media Influencer


“She has continuously aimed to change the industry for the better, and more importantly, give the students the leverage they need to thrive. I would not be in the role that I am today, without her mentorship and guidance.”

Christina Melnychuk (Marketing ’08), Out-Of-Home Media Strategist / National Account Executive, Pattison Outdoor



“Teresa has been an important part of ensuring students have appropriate skills and expectations to enter the Edmonton marketing and advertising community. We hired many of her students right out of school because they were ready for work and typically have excellent attitude and aptitude.”

– Kevin Menshik, Media/Advertising Consultant


“Just say ‘Teresa’ and most will know it’s Teresa Sturgess you’re talking about.”

– ACE Awards Co-chairs


“Teresa is 100% the person who helped get my foot in the door working at one of the largest ad agencies in Edmonton and she has continued to be a mentor. If you look at any agency, there is likely one of her former students making an impact to brands and their target audiences. Edmonton’s advertising industry would look very different without Teresa.”

Evan Gyulai (Marketing ’19), Media Manager, ZGM Modern Marketing Partners


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