Women of the Year 2021: Amber Mac is Helping Canada’s Entrepreneurs Innovate
From Olympic athletes and tech startup founders to social impact champions and business changemakers, our inaugural 2021 Women of the Year guide features 37 impressive leaders who are making a difference, both individually and as a collective. They’ve all navigated incredible obstacles to get to where they are (often on an uneven playing field) and yet, despite this, have still managed to summit their industries and change Canada—and the world around them—for the better. In our series of one-on-one interviews, get to know each honouree a little better: their values, mission, lessons learned, and the other women that inspire them in their own lives.
Founder, AmberMac Media Inc.
What is your elevator pitch to the world?
Amber Mac: My goal is to demystify technology so that it’s accessible to anyone who wants to grow their business, build a brand, or change the world—hopefully, all three!
What excites you most about the work that you are doing?
Amber Mac: The most exciting part of building a company and working in the emerging technology space is that we get an opportunity, on a daily basis, to learn about what’s next and simplify what we’ve discovered to audiences on every platform.
How do you define innovation?
Amber Mac: While innovation is most often defined as embracing something new, in all of my keynote speeches and webinars I stress the importance of relentless adaptation. In other words, you might not always be innovating but you are always adapting and moving forward.
Where do you think you have made the most impact in your community?
Amber Mac: Every since I started using the Internet, I saw the potential of this technology to change and improve lives. Whether it’s in my newsletter every Tuesday, on one of our many podcasts, or during a virtual event, I hope that I’ve been able to inspire people to be less fearful of technology and more excited about the opportunities it can bring our way.
What kind of problems are you trying to solve?
Amber Mac: We have lost touch with the magic that technology can bring into homes, businesses, and industry. Every day, I want to tell stories about this magic so that we move from a society that is slow to adapt to technology to one that fully embraces technology.
What are you doing that no one else is doing?
Amber Mac: At AmberMac Media, we’ve built a company and studio that delivers world-class virtual video experiences to some of the biggest companies in the world. While many media organizations focus on one specific medium, we’ve been able to craft quality content for all mediums—whether it’s podcasting, broadcasting, livestreaming, or an episodic series. We are a media company that is totally in tune with how audiences consume content.
Was there ever a turning point in your career that fundamentally changed your business for the better?
Amber Mac: In my mid-twenties, I quit drinking alcohol entirely. While I’ve certainly had many other pivotal moments, from working in the tech start-up industry in San Francisco to interviewing our Prime Minister, it was sobriety that has allowed me to enjoy daily clarity that I needed to successfully grow a profitable business.
What have you learned about yourself as you’ve built your company?
Amber Mac: Ever since I was a young girl growing up in Prince Edward Island watching my parents on their entrepreneurial path, I’ve always known that I wanted to run my own business. Now that I’m doing just that, I’ve learned that success looks different for many people. For me, I’ve always wanted to build a business that allowed me total freedom to make choices to improve the lives of others. I see building our business as less about me and more about helping the people and families who are part of our community.
What has been the most challenging part of building your business?
Amber Mac: My husband Chris has been my business partner since day one at AmberMac Media. The most challenging part of building our business is that we are working 60-plus hours a week and it’s often difficult to find some sort of balance in our lives. Thankfully, we both love the production space so every day feels less like work and more like creative play. However, I do think that we have to work extra hard to step away from the business at times and I need to work harder at that one thing.
What has been the most rewarding part of building your business?
Amber Mac: The most rewarding part of building our business is solving problems every single day. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I went from traveling every week for speaking events to figuring out how to maximize our virtual events production business. We did quite a few free events in those early days just to figure out how to offer the best in live streaming services. I’m proud to say that we are now doing five or more virtual events or sessions every week. It’s non-stop.
What questions do you think all leaders should ask themselves before building a company?
Amber Mac: I think the most important question a person who wants to start a company should ask themselves is: Why? I have interviewed too many founders over the years who are obsessed with raising capital and exiting their businesses. Too often, their “Why” is purely financial. On the flip side, the most successful business leaders I know today have figured out their “Why” and it is usually less about their success and more about their community’s success.
What has been your biggest career milestone?
Amber Mac: I am a big fan of celebrating mini milestones—regular small achievements on your path forward. If I had to pick a career milestone, I have one coming up this November that I’d love to share. I received a personal invitation from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to speak at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit about the Digital Disruption Opportunity ahead of us.
How do you define success? What does it mean to you?
Amber Mac: Success means that I have the freedom to make choices that often include opening the doors of opportunity for others.
What is one lesson that you hope people will learn or walk away with from your work?
Amber Mac: I hope people will see that it is possible to build a business in a space that is not yet defined. For Chris and I, and the rest of our team, we have been able to build a small media business and compete at times with larger players because we are able to offer a high-quality product that is consistently excellent.
If you could go back and give yourself advice what would it be?
Amber Mac: If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to take more naps. I have poured every ounce of my energy into building a successful business. Now that we’ve done just that, exceeding expectations and revenue during COVID times, I think I can perhaps relax a bit.
Who is a woman in the community that you admire?
Amber Mac: In the digital media space, one of our greatest trailblazers is Erica Ehm. Erica is a master of building online communities, delivering creative content, and standing by her friends.