Human Connections – Conversation with Dave Gourde, President & Partner, Glassroom

The members of our leadership team come from diverse backgrounds, have a wealth of expertise and hold various views of the world. This diversity of perspectives is what makes us a rich, inclusive and strong collective. In this series of articles, we sat down with some of our leaders to discover their own unique POV on B4H (business for humans).

Today, we’re talking with Dave Gourde, Partner at BBR/Glassroom. After a stint as a professional hockey player, Dave earned degrees in marketing and communications at McGill University, and hit the ground running at Palm + Havas and Bos. Dave’s 15+ years of experience in media have made him an expert in the ever-evolving media landscape, where he constantly endeavours to find new solutions. At BBR/Glassroom, Dave expanded the agencies’ media offering, establishing a reputation for creativity and performance. 

Human Connections with Dave Gourde

Experiences from all walks of life influence the way we understand and behave in the world. In Dave Gourde’s case, much of his work ethic, collaborative approach and leadership style stems from his background as a professional athlete. Borrowing from his university hockey days, Dave built media strategy and optimization agency Glassroom with the same game-play mentality: one team working towards the big win. 

It was thanks to one of his earlier experiences pitching for a huge prospective client that he found his personal star quality. “In my hockey career, I learned that it’s about winning at all costs. I was disciplined and always had a game plan. We worked together as a team and we elevated each other to bring out the best in one another. It’s a cutthroat sport, very much like the media world. I bring a lot of that hockey discipline with me to work but, unlike in sports, in the media industry I also bring my human self. If you show up as yourself, get personal and make real connections, that’s when you really have a competitive edge. But more importantly, it’s how you build strong relationships.”

The long game 

Agency life can get quite cold if we keep our heads down and only focus on getting the work done. That way of working can lead to detachment and, even worse, burnout.

“It’s an industry that stands on the principle that you’re only as good as your last performance, and that kind of thinking can either motivate you or hold you back. For me, it reminds me never to take a win for granted,” Dave explains. “The truth is, it’s not just about landing a project, it’s about the relationships we foster with our clients and partners. It’s about helping brands move in the right direction so that they can succeed. In the end, it’s about the long game.”

Always showing up as his authentic self, whether it be with clients, employees, fellow leaders or partners, Dave focuses on the human aspect of the business. “It’s funny because 10 years ago, I might not have believed that simply being human was the right approach in business, because I was so focused on the business side of things. I know now that business comes second because it’s first and foremost about human connections and building trusting relationships.”

Showing his dedication and commitment before anything else, Dave explains that “if you remember that consumers are humans, you’ll care more about connecting with them than about selling to them. The more you share and connect with the humans that interact with your brand, the more they know you care. And that’s what the media world really needs: people who show up as people, listen, show empathy and strive to do the right thing for others and the world in general.”