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Heidi Ehlers

Heidi Ehlers

Founder at Heidi Consults

Toronto, Canada







Career Consulting for Soon-To-Be-Famous Creatives.  Leadership Consulting for the World's Best Creative Leaders.  Author of Diary of a Creative Director

If your career isn't progressing the way you had hoped it would, visit website, send me a line and let's talk.  

~ heidi


Current job
Career Consultant / Leadership Consultant
Last job
BLACK BAG creative recruitment inc.




Transforming creative people's careers.

WHATEVER THAT BURNING QUESTION IS THAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT, DON’T ANSWER IT ALONE. Do it with me at your side. FIRST I WAS A CREATIVE PERSON. I started in this business as a secretary with a gift for writing funny All-Staff memos. People said I should become a copywriter. So I did. For the next 12 years, I worked as a Copywriter, Creative Director, and I even started my own agency. Throughout my career as a creative person, I was repeatedly a sucker for the “We’ll turn this place into a creative hot shop.” spiel. Fell for it time and again. Why? I didn’t know the questions to ask in an interview. Now I do. THEN I BECAME A RECRUITER. (BUT I AM NOT A RECRUITER ANY MORE.) In 1995, I became a recruiter. I believed my experience as a creative person would give me a better understanding of both the talent and the companies hiring the talent. It has. Of course, my ongoing passion for all things creative made me as good a judge of a great portfolio as the Creative Directors who hired me to help them build a department with them. AFTER SIX YEARS OF RECRUITING, I STARTED MY OWN BUSINESS. BLACK BAG creative recruitment + career management launched on Hallowe’en, 2001. Boo! After years of asking creative people questions they didn’t seem to ever have the answer for, I realized that while schools devote a lot of time to concept development and the judicious use of white space, what the schools never seemed to teach was how to create an amazing career. Yes, an incredible portfolio is an important part of having your career turn out the way you imagined it would while you were sitting in school. But in my experience, it plays a very small part. Important. But small. I wanted to know. Do people who achieve uber-success as creative people think and behave differently than the majority? I wanted to ask the world’s most lauded. I had a thesis and I wanted to prove it. So I created Diary of a Creative Director: An exploration of the road to greatness. The answer: Yes they do. In 2007, Diary of a Creative Director was one of the top three attended seminars at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, after Al Gore and Saatchi’s Young Directors Showcase. Diary of a Creative Director, the book, is nearing completion. In 2008, after my ongoing frustration with the reactive nature of hiring talent (what else does an agency sell, and why does it get so little attention?) I created The Talent Attraction Institute – a methodology that teaches companies to think of the attraction of the world’s best talent as a strategic initiative – one linked to new business, increased margins and awards. Well isn’t it? In 2008, after many conversations with some of the world’s top Creative Directors, I launched Camp BLACK BAG – a program that teaches creative people what most don’t inherently know: How to plan and implement a great career. Since 2008, Camp BLACK BAG has been webcast all over the world – in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, New Zealand and The United States. (BTW, did you know that hosting a webcast isn’t a lot of fun? It’s like talking into a black hole. One way. No interaction. So I stopped doing that.) I have also been invited to share the Camp BLACK BAG presentation with students at some of the world’s most prestigious advertising colleges and universities. Now THAT is fun. I LAUNCHED HEIDI CONSULTS BECAUSE YOU TOLD ME YOU WANTED IT, AND NEEDED IT. In April, of 2010, I stopped recruiting to focus on the far more rewarding practice of Career and Talent Consulting and I launched HEIDI CONSULTS. I’d started formalizing the conversation the year prior, but now I wanted to do it full-time – either by helping people or helping the people in companies. I wanted to put some structure on what is usually a “Hey let’s grab a coffee” conversation. In my experience, structure leads to better outcomes. And this conversation is WAY too important to have casually. Right? Since the launch I have helped hundreds of people with their specific career questions. I have helped them become unstuck and begin moving forward again in the direction of their dreams. Sometimes our conversations have been about helping them to re-discover their career dreams. Admit how big they were once. Make them that big again, so that they can begin moving towards creating them again. It’s not always easy, but at the end of it, it’s always worth it. YOU NEED A CAREER CONSULTANT MORE THAN YOU NEED A RECRUITER. Today, people need career consulting as much as they need a recruiter. Maybe even more. A recruiter’s job is misunderstood. They don’t help you find a job. They help find people for jobs. And despite what they may tell you, or have you believe, they don’t work for you. Never have. Never will. What you need, is a brand that helps you stand out online, in person, in voice mail, and get noticed amidst volumes of competition. Think you don’t know how to do that? You do it every day. You’re in Marketing right? What you’re up against is no different than what your clients are up against, and what they come to you for help with. But doing it for yourself? That’s another story altogether right? What you need is someone to talk to – who is on your team. Who has your agenda as their divining rod. Who knows what your dreams are. Who will help you achieve them. When you’re in the midst of negotiation, you need someone to help give you the confidence to make that ‘extra’ request, or caution you when ‘one more’ request may tip the apple cart and sour the entire process. It’s a delicate balance. Don’t do it alone. Or maybe it’s something completely different. Whatever that burning question is that keeps you up at night, don’t answer it alone. Do it with me on your side. It’s like chicken soup. It couldn’t hurt. I hope to meet you soon. ~ heidi