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Digital Signage à la mode: An interview with Marie Elamar

Marie Elemar

In continuation to “Minority Report No More”, the introductory article of a series that showcases women who have made significant contributions to the digital signage realm, it was only fitting that the first interview be with the leading lady of my office, Marie Elamar.

Marie walks through the halls possessing a certain je ne sais quoi that reflects her endearing and inquisitive nature. Though a petite frame might suggest otherwise, her spirited mannerism ensures that her presence is known and respected in a room. Typically said combination of confidence and acuteness is acquired with time, but to Marie it came naturally. Her relentless drive catapulted her career path from a student at Lebanese University (where she obtained a degree in Management of Network Technologies) to President of LTS Networks Inc., a digital signage research and development company. Worth mentioning is that between graduating and climbing the corporate ladder, Marie was married, had children and immigrated to Canada where she learned her third language, English (she also speaks French and Lebanese).

It was in 2004 that Marie co-founded Broadsign and has been a fundamental member of the management team ever since. Currently, as Executive Vice President and General Manager, Marie calls on her fourteen years of experience to lead administrative and human resources operations.

“Women in a working environment play a variety of roles and I spend my day constantly changing hats,” said Marie during our conversation in her corner office. When questioned about a certain role in particular, affectionately dubbed “Broadsign Mom”, she remarked, “one of the most rewarding elements of my daily routine is mentoring and supporting my colleagues, many of whom I’ve known for a great length of time. I’m so proud of them, us and the achievements that Broadsign has made over the past decade that have helped spur the industry’s growth. Watching passion and success come together is very gratifying.”

Passion is an emotion that has been crucial to guiding Marie throughout her career. In the early days, digital signage was brand new and quite dry. When meeting with a customer, Marie recalled that a whole executive team would be present to first and foremost sell the industry, adding a small mention of the actual product in passing. The development stage was also laden with technological occupations within which women did not boast a great presence. “I’ve worked with men my whole life,” said Marie, “and while I can be considered one of the boys, I never felt a need to emulate them. Through hard work, perseverance and taking opportunities as they arrived I was able to overcome challenges that women face in the workplace, regardless of the industry.”

“Though times have changed, women tend to feel that they are in constant need of proving themselves to the world. Perhaps we underestimate ourselves. When I take a minute to look back at what I’ve accomplished, I myself am astonished. We do things we don’t think we’re capable of!” proclaimed Marie, adding “as digital signage expands into different segments, women will change the face of the industry by bringing emotion, depth and elegance.” This was not the first time I had heard the words “digital signage” and “elegant” in the same sentence (and without a negation at that) but coming from somebody who knows her angora from her cashmere, it was the first time I believed it.

It would thus appear that Marie has it all – a wonderful family and successful career. Is this the new norm or is she an exception? “Working women are constantly trying to attain a balance between their career, family and friends. Yet such a balance does not exist – you cannot have everything,” stated Marie seriously. “Everyone, regardless of gender, needs to establish what their priorities are and what makes them happy. Success must be personally defined and advancement toward this vision will be obtained via persistence and the strength to overcome fears. In other words, live up to your expectation, not their expectation.”

Clearly, Marie is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to deliver her best performance in any/all of her daily roles; after all, she insists that the most significant part of her education has been learning from her experiences. When asked about an important lesson she acquired on the job, her response came quickly and surely. “Do not see failure as failure- see it as a half success. And if it’s not meant to be, move on.”

Such advice will never go out of style.

Marie Elamar - Executive Vice President and General Manager

As executive vice president and general manager of Canadian Operations, Marie Elamar is Broadsign’s administrative backbone, overseeing all aspects of the company’s operations including finances and human resources.

Ms. Elamar co-founded Broadsign in 2004 and served as its vice president of Investor Relations and Strategic Development until 2006. Leveraging her commercial prowess and strategic insight, Ms. Elamar championed Broadsign’s strategic transition from a small research and development company to a leading global provider of digital signage software. Prior to Broadsign, she held a number of executive positions at software start-ups and publicly-traded companies.  In all, she brings 13 years of experience in the digital signage industry to Broadsign.

Ms. Elamar is a graduate of Lebanese University (Beirut, Lebanon) with a degree in Management of Network Technologies.