NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- When Jill Nykoliation was growing up in Toronto, she would often take apart her toys to examine how they worked, only to piece them back together. "To this day, I love to deconstruct thinking, ideas, brands, to see what is really underneath them, and use that understanding to leap them forward," said the 38-year-old president of Toronto agency Juniper Park.
Two years after quietly opening its doors, the BBDO Worldwide offshoot has grown from five staffers to fifty and has landed lead agency duties for several Frito-Lay brands in North America and the Quaker snack portfolio, plus local clients such as the Canadian Red Cross and lingerie brand Secrets from Your Sister.
Not so shabby for someone so new to the agency world.
Before opening Juniper Park, Ms. Nykoliation served as partner at Toronto-based agency Grip Limited for three years, but the bulk of her career has been on the client side. She graduated in 1993 from Queen's School of Business, where she studied marketing, and after that made a brief stop at the Royal Bank of Canada before a decade-long run at Kraft, where she focused on corporate marketing and customer-relationship management.
People close to Ms. Nykoliation said her blend of client-side experience and understanding of the creative process is what sets her apart.
"Jill is hands down one of the best consumer strategists in the industry," said Gannon Jones, VP-marketing at Frito Lay, who has known Ms. Nykoliation for 15 years. "She's been instrumental in helping us deliver world-class, breakthrough content and creative ideas on businesses such as SunChips, Lays and our women's portfolio ... each of which is delivering very strong business results for us."
Leader outside the agency
He added, "What I like most about Jill is that she's truly never satisfied. Even on a campaign like SunChips -- which has received wide industry praise -- she is constantly pushing us to the next level." Among Juniper Park's efforts for the eco-friendly snack brand are solar-powered billboards and compostable chip bags.
Earlier this year, she helped the food giant launch its first multimedia push geared toward women, and create a new portfolio of chips, popcorn and other snacks developed with women in mind.
Ms. Nykoliation is a leader outside the agency, too -- in the gym, as a spinning instructor. "Being in front of 35 people looking to you to be challenged and inspired right there gives me a weekly, instant read on my ability to motivate people," she said. "As a leader, I find this learning invaluable."