Personality Sells; Tips from NBA Event Staffer, Nicole Pollock of COTCAN; Exclusive Interview for Winner Magazine| BNS News

These former NBA and CFL dance professionals have brought a riveting combination of engaging persona and brand endorsement strategy to shake up the staffing industry; with clients that include largely recognized franchises such as the NBA, CFL and MLB, there is no mystery behind Nicole Pollock and Jorie Brown's well-deserved Top Choice Awards for event staffing services in the Greater Toronto Area - received multiple years in a row!  Find out how Nicole and Jorie have led Cotton Candy Events Staffing Inc. to become an industry standard in brand awareness (with a human touch!) by reading her Q&A interview with BNS' Jasmine Kara:

...believe that obstacles (no matter how steep) help build a stronger business...  

Nicole Pollock, President, Cotton Candy Event Staffing Inc.

Q & A With President of Cotton Candy Event Staffing Inc., Nicole Pollock

What services or products does your company offer?

Cotton Candy Event Staffing Inc. is a national boutique staffing agency specializing in the Experiential Marketing industry across Canada. Through utilizing the power of people, Cotton Candy (COTCAN) provides brand ambassadors to enrich brands and live experiences. Our focus is delivering exemplary staff who are personable, polished and professional with exuberant personalities to  elevate any event experience and create meaningful connections between brands and consumers.   If the ambassadors truly love the brand they are representing, they are the best people to get in front of consumers to showcase that. Our job is to pair the right people with that right brand so their genuine connection creates the “it factor.”    

How did you come up with the idea to start COTCAN and what purpose did you intend to serve with the concept?

After dancing professionally for Toronto's NBA and the CFL organizations, it was clear to Jorie and I, (co-founders Nicole Pollock and Jorie Brown) that our true passion is rooted in the excitement of brand/franchise development. 

Bringing the “fan experience” to all branding opportunities and live events was something the industry needed. We wanted to provide staffing with a focus on personality. 

Since launching in 2014, Cotton Candy Event Staffing Inc. has provided staff for hundreds of Canada’s noteworthy events nationwide within Sports and Entertainment, Goods and Services, Consumer Packages Goods (CPG) and Food and Bev industries for start-ups, innovations, and fortune 500 companies. These events encompass National experiential marketing campaigns for fashion moguls, professional sports, motion picture films, recording artists,  and more.

Recruiting and vetting strong is our natural niche.    


Which milestones have marked meeting benchmarks towards the fulfillment of your personal goals/ the company's vision and goals? 

From working for organizations and admiring brands to having our team represent them is really such a spectacular accomplishment for us. Knowing that these brands entrust us marks special benchmarks for our team. 

We have always wanted to build a strong company culture that allows for a safe and trusted community. Bringing amazing people together, who can build relationships and grow professionally and personally, is something we continue to prioritize. 

Some noteworthy awards and public speaking opportunities include University seminars and Q & A’s,  consecutive Top Choice awards, numerous notable articles, Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification, and more. Most important to us is seeing each event come to life through the success of stellar staffing. This is an on-going goal, which brings great pride and fulfillment. 

What part of your education or other experiences do you feel was the most helpful in preparing you for success?

As children, Jorie and I were competitive dancers, and we spent years dedicated to dancing professionally and representing professional sports franchises.  This training infused the fundamentals of being confident and disciplined, as well as the capacity to handle pressure while working as a team. These attributes are applicable in all areas of life, but especially when starting a new business - and even more so when running a business that is focused on recruiting and grooming talent.  This framework we have built our business on is one we have been privileged to witness first hand.

These invaluable skills became the foundation of creating a diverse network and learning the secret of successful branding… great people with a team mentality! 

Which strategies have you found the most effective in growing your audience/ bringing awareness of your service to a larger consumer group? 

Both social media and personal relationships have been the foundation to growing our brand and sharing what we do. 

Individually and collaboratively, we have always (since a young age) been very present in the community, marketing space and entertainment industry to network and build strong relationships. It’s amazing to see how these relationships give us such a strong foundation to share what we do, and in turn, those people continue to help share our message. 

I have always been a true lover of sports and entertainment, and Jorie, of music and film. This has been a great avenue to keep exploring our passions through our business. Staffing events for the NBA, CFL, MLB and All-Star experiences, as well as concerts, top performing artists and movies has been an invigorating way to keep our personal passions alive.

Sharing what we do is also extremely important, and social media, most notably, Instagram, has given us a great platform to share, connecting with new brands and clients, as well as attracting new and memorable talent/staff.


Are there any challenges that made it difficult to continue operation and that you managed to overcome? What was your approach to get past these?

As business owners, there are daily challenges with ensuring all clients' visions are executed to perfection and that staff feel respected and supported at each and every touchpoint. Managing this creates daily opportunities to learn and grow. 

Most present, of course, the pandemic has created challenges for a business, which rises and sets on live interactions. 

Cotton Candy Event Staffing’s focus is simple: hiring the best, brightest and most personable brand ambassadors to enhance your brand’s live experiences. The heartbeat of our mission is how great people make you feel and how that builds a brand's affinity and identity. We strongly believe the most impactful way to do that is face-to-face with the tangible, so instead of looking for ways to pivot, we focused on ways to strengthen, internally. 

We spent this time channeling our energy into becoming an internationally recognized Women Owned Business, took courses in Diversity, Disabilities and Inclusion, Pandemic On-Site Protocol training and conducted socially distanced team-bonding experiences and health and wellness initiatives with our nationwide roster. We continue to educate and implement new practices, daily. 

What advice would you like to give readers that hope to achieve success in your field?

The best advice we can share is to stay true to what you love, believe that obstacles (no matter how steep) help build a stronger business (and character) and to educate yourself on all aspects of the business… even the ones that may not be glamorous. Knowing all the parts to your business from daily practices, law and regulations, bookkeeping, finance, internal and client relationships etc., will help lead you in the right direction to make informed decisions or lean on those who can support and guide you where you need it. 

As entrepreneurs, challenges will always arise, and although you may be very seasoned in your given field, transforming from “doing” to “managing” all aspects of the business presents daily opportunities for learning. Trying to view them as avenues for growth will help keep things in perspective and keep a positive mindset.   


We thank Nicole for sharing these insights and experiences with Winner Magazine's readers.  If you are looking for event staffing services across Canada, we would recommend reaching out to Nicole and Jorie at Cotton Candy Events Staffing!

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