President and Founder ~ The Lightning Group
Howard is the President and founder of The Lightning Group. The Lightning Group finds “Paths To New Revenue” and provides Virtual Chief Marketing Officer services. Prior to founding The Lightning Group, Howard was Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Cineplex Odeon for much of his career. His numerous responsibilities at this publicly traded North American movie chain included marketing, promotions, sponsorships, internal and external communications, public relations, and investor and media relations. Howard designed a number of innovative, enduring business building programs that have become industry standards, including:
- Creating and managing an in-house advertising agency on behalf of both Cineplex and a number of the major Hollywood studios
- On-screen advertising
- In-theatre sampling
- Cinevision and Cinekiosks
- Created the concept of popcorn bag advertising
Howard has served on a number of Boards and Advisory Councils, including The Ontario Science Centre as Vice-Chairman of the Board; The Toronto International Film Festival Marketing Committee; The One Of A Kind Craft Show; Schulich Business School Alumni Council; The Motion Picture Theatre Association of Canada; The Motion Picture Foundation of Canada; The National Association of Theatre Owners; The United Jewish Appeal/Federation; Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University; Canadian Friends of Weizmann; The Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT); ORT; Harold Greene Jewish Theatre; and Co-Chair, Connect 2006 Business Program, Schulich Business School and Chair, Connect 2009 Schulich Business School.While at Cineplex, Howard developed and sold the largest live theatre sponsorship program in the history of Canada to Pepsi, American Express and Labatts. As part of that sponsorship, he proposed the creation of the American Express “Front Of The Line” program, which is still a foundational Amex loyalty marketing and sales program. Howard was both a corporate and industry spokesperson to almost every leading media outlet in North America, including The Wall Street Journal, The L.A. Times, The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, Ad Age, Marketing Magazine, CNN and Entertainment Tonight.
In addition to his corporate successes, Howard’s educational background includes an MBA from Schulich Business School, and a law degree (Osgoode Hall). He is a graduate of The Wexner Heritage Program and he teaches a course in “How To Launch An E-Business” at Ryerson University.