Compass Rose celebrates New Year pointed in right direction

Ottawa public affairs firm hosts reception for staff, clients at ByWard Market office to kick off 2023

Jacquie LaRocque, Marci Surkes, Theo Argitis
From left, Compass Rose founder, principal and public affairs counsellor Jacquie LaRocque with her strategic advisor, Marci Surkes, and new managing director, Theo Argitis, at their New Year's Levée, held Thursday, Dec. 12, 2023, at the Compass Rose office at 1 York St. in the ByWard Market. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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It was clear at the New Year’s Levée hosted by Compass Rose on Thursday that the Ottawa-based public affairs firm doesn’t need a bucket list of resolutions; it needs only to stay the course in 2023.

Compass Rose is on a roll, as recognized in a framed letter of congratulations for its seven years in business, signed and hand delivered by Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, on behalf of Ottawa City Council. The mayoral letter also gives a special thanks to the leadership team at Compass Rose for continuing to invest in Ottawa and, in particular, the historic ByWard Market where the business office is located. 

Compass Rose was founded in 2015 by principal and public affairs counsellor Jacqueline “Jacquie” LaRocque. In 2022, she was named one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women, in the entrepreneur category, by the Women’s Executive Network. Her 21-person team includes Marci Surkes, former director of policy for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and former long-time Bloomberg News journalist Theo Argitis. He’s weeks into his new role as managing director. 

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Compass Rose decided to hold a reception to celebrate the year to come, as opposed to cramming its party into the busy period before the holidays. “The week prior to Christmas, we gave our team time off,” LaRocque explained to OBJ.social. “Our goal was to have a chance and an opportunity to regroup after the holidays to celebrate together in the new year.”

Jacquie LaRocue, Mark Sutcliffe, DG Stringer
From left, Compass Rose founder and principal Jacquie LaRocque with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and his principal secretary, DG Stringer, formerly a public affairs counsellor at Compass Rose, at a New Year’s Levée held Thursday, January 12, 2023. Photo by Caroline Phillips
A framed letter of congratulations from Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, on behalf of Ottawa City Council,  was given to Compass Rose at its New Year’s Levée, held at its office at 1 York St. in the ByWard Market. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Among the guests of the New Year’s Levée were CPAC’s new president and CEO, Christa Dickenson; Agnes Augustin, president and CEO of the Shaw Rocket Fund, Annabelle Cloutier, executive director of communications and public affairs and corporate secretary at the National Arts Centre, and Wayne Liko, managing partner of Kanata-based workplace management solutions provider Horizant (the last time OBJ.social saw Liko was in 2018, when he was in a boxing ring, fighting Jeff Westeinde at cancer charity fundraiser Fight for the Cure). Also in the crowd was Rosemarie Thompson, executive director of Coalition for a Better Future, a think tank co-chaired by former cabinet ministers Lisa Raitt and Anne McLellan. Thompson is based out of the Compass Rose office and has a close working relationship with the firm. 

Argitis, who officially joined Nov. 28th, has taken a leadership role in the growth strategy of Compass Rose, including the development of business segments focused on content, communications and thought leadership.

“It’s all Jacquie’s vision,” the married father of six told OBJ.social at the reception, held at 1 York St. and catered by Stephen Beckta’s Play Food + Wine, located in the same building. “Jacquie decided that she was going to make Compass Rose a major player in this town, as far as GR (government relations) is concerned, and to be very innovative and do things that no one in this town is doing.”

Argitis and LaRocque’s friendship goes back to when he first moved to Ottawa in 2005 to become the Ottawa bureau chief role at Bloomberg News. She’d been director of communications for Jim Peterson, when he was minister of international trade.

Argitis said he took the managing director job at Compass Rose because he felt the work was exciting and interesting, and that he’d learn something new. 

“I love Bloomberg. I mean, Bloomberg is family to me,” said Argitis, who was at the reception with four former colleagues. “Jacquie has given me this opportunity to do something different …I just felt it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

While the celebration welcomed back a couple of returning team members who’d been off on leaves, Kathleen Walsh and Bea Vongdouangchanh, it was also a send-off for DG Stringer, who recently left Compass Rose to become principal secretary to the city’s new mayor. “I love it,” he told OBJ.social of the job. “There’s a lot to do but it’s exciting.”

Taking over his parliamentary monitoring role is public affairs counsellor Tajwar Mazhar.

Invited guests dropped into Compass Rose for its New Year’s Levée held at its office, at 1 York St. in the ByWard Market, on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Christa Dickenson, president and CEO of CPAC (Cable Public Affairs Channel), with Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe (who used to be a host with CPAC), and CPAC director of programming operations and communications Jeremy Clark, at Compass Rose’s New Year’s Levée. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Stephan Wicary, Marci Surkes, Rosemary Thompson
Bloomberg News editor Stephan Wicary with Compass Rose strategic advisor Marci Surkes and Rosemary Thompson, executive director of Coalition for a Better Future, at the New Year’s Levée hosted by Compass Rose. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Shirlee Engel, Annabelle Clouthier
From left, Compass Rose public affairs counsellor Shirlee Engel with Annabelle Cloutier from the National Arts Centre, at the New Year’s Levée hosted by Compass Rose on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Kelly Hutchinson, Wayne Liko
Compass Rose public affairs counsellor Kelly Hutchinson with Wayne Liko, managing partner of Horizant, at the New Year’s Levée hosted by Compass Rose on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Photo by Caroline Phillips
From left, Compass Rose new managing director Theo Argitis with Chris Roussakis, co-founder/chief creative director of Phantom Productions, Compass Rose public affairs counsellor Kathleen Walsh, and Bloomberg News reporter Brian Platt at a New Year’s Levée hosted by Compass Rose. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Tajwar Mazhar, Agnes Augustin
From left, Compass Rose public affairs counsellor Tajwar Mazhar with Agnes Augustin, president and CEO of The Shaw Rocket Fund, at the New Year’s Levée hosted by Compass Rose at its 1 York St. office in the ByWard Market. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Melissa Cable, Ken Polk, Andrea Sarkic
Compass Rose public affairs counsellors Melissa Cable (left), Ken Polk and Andrea Sarkic at the company’s New Year’s Levée held Thursday, January 12, 2023 at its ByWard Market office. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Will Bulmer, Lauren Kennedy
Will Bulmer, new lead specialist, government relations, for the World Wildlife Fund, with Lauren Kennedy, director of public affairs for Chicken Farmers of Canada, at the New Year’s Levée hosted by Compass Rose at its 1 York St. office in the ByWard Market. Photo by Caroline Phillips
From left, Compass Rose public affairs counsellor Kathleen Walsh has just returned from maternity leave, while Bea Vongdouangchanh, seen together at the company’s New Year’s Levée, is also back, following her leave. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Gone but not forgotten: the former office of DG Stringer, who recently left Compass Rose to join Ottawa’s new mayor, Mark Sutcliffe, as his principal secretary. Photo by Caroline Phillips

caroline@obj.ca

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