Howard Lichtman, President of The Lightning Group and Co-founder of Ethnicity Marketing and Advertising.

Known as a futurist, game changer and transformer of brands, Howard Lichtman is in a category of his own. He has forged an extraordinary 30-plus year career as a Canadian marketing leader, with a trail of landmark successes to his name.

Using his innate marketing smarts, boundless creativity, passion and exceptional resource networks he has expanded market share, re-invigorated tired brands and turbo-charged revenue generation for some of the biggest names in Canada and beyond. From well-architected strategy to flawless execution, Howard Lichtman has earned a reputation as an empowering and engaging leader, committed to his clients and reliably at the helm of every project he takes on, large or small, to nurture it to successful fruition.


Howard created The Lightning Group using his keen eye to help companies understand their key assets and better monetize. Over the years, he has worked for scores of businesses across North America, from retail brands and professional services corporations to healthcare organizations, associations and universities. The Lightning Group has assisted clients like Loblaw, Casino Niagara, Holland Bloorview, Ottawa Senators, LivRelief, Schulich School of Business, Goodyear Tire, Toronto Public Library, Casino Niagara, Holland Bloorview, and many more.

Howard holds an MBA from Schulich School of Business and a law degree from Osgoode Hall. He regularly facilitates CEO roundtables and has been a popular key note speaker for organizations including the Canadian Marketing Association, the American Marketing Association, Food and Consumer 

Products Association Canada, the Association of Canadian Advertisers, Festivals and Events Ontario, Strategy Magazine’s Marketing Summit and more.

Howard also co-authored a book with Ken Aver and Ian Chamandy: “Why Choose You—in Seven Words or Less”, as part of a Go-To-Market Implementation.

He has served on many prestigious boards, from the Toronto Film Festival Advisory Council to being the Vice Chair of the Board for the Ontario Science Centre. He is currently serving on the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place and has also served on more than a dozen non-profit boards.


Cineplex Odeon/American Express “Front of the Line”

Bold innovator in entertainment marketing and sponsorship programs

As Executive Vice President of Marketing for Cineplex Odeon Corporation (North America) Howard pioneered a number of milestone initiatives including the famous American Express “Front of the Line” program, a foundational loyalty marketing and sales concept he personally created. In light of its phenomenal brand recognition, many people assume it is a global AMEX service offering, but in fact it’s only offered in Canada. 25 years later, it is still a pivotal piece of American Express’s product platform. Howard was also the driving force behind Canada’s largest-ever live theatre program sponsorship valued at $15 million which he sold to Pepsi, American Express and Labatt’s

While with Cineplex, he also developed and launched the onscreen advertising medium in Canada. In doing this, he refined and refocused Cineplex’s entire business model from exclusively selling movie tickets and popcorn to one that included products and services. In this way, he boldly positioned Cineplex not just as a theatre chain but as a media asset, launching concepts that are taken for granted today, including:

  • screen advertising
  • sampling
  • movie theatres as meeting rental venues.

Taste of the Danforth – Virtual (Outsourced) CMO

From a small Greek event…to Canada’s largest street Festival (1.6 million attendees)

Howard later became the Virtual CMO of Taste of the Danforth, transforming it from a localized Greek food event into a huge, truly multicultural Festival, with a ‘dollop of tzatziki’ on top. By changing the program and bringing in the right media partners, the Festival is today the largest of its kind in the country, welcoming 1.6 million attendees in a single weekend every year.

Ethnicity Multicultural Marketing and Advertising

Marketing to Canada’s Ethnic Mosaic

On top of all of this, Howard also became the co-founder of Ethnicity Multicultural Marketing and Advertising, an award-winning Toronto-based agency. He understood the void in the marketplace, the missed opportunity for Canadian corporations and the lack of best-in-class service offerings targeting foreign born Canadians…whose population size today equals the entire population of Quebec. In a few short years, Ethnicity Marketing has had the pleasure of assisting such leading brands as CIBC, TELUS, Koodo, Public Mobile, Acura, Infiniti, CAA, Canada Dry, Wrigley’s, Dyson, Ferraro and Panasonic – to mention but a few.


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    Consumer Expertise Chief Marketing Officer at Cineplex
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    Trailblazer Howard has been at the forefront of Canadian marketing for more than 20 years. He created the “Front of the Line” program for American Express
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    Track Record He transformed the Taste of the Danforth into Canada’s largest street Festival, welcoming 1.6 million attendees each year.
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    Marketing Educator Howard is also a Ryerson Instructor on “How to Launch an e-Business”
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    Renowned Expert Devil’s Advocate for the Schulich Global Management Program which combines Recanti Tel Aviv University and Schulich MBA students in their capstone course creating “go-to-market” strategies for Israeli companies targeting the United States
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    Marketing Author He co-authored book: “Why Choose You – In 7 Words Or Less”
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    Esteemed Marketing Judge – Regional HULT Competition Judge – finalists go to England for 6-week Boot Camp and then to New York to compete for a $1 million prize
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    Jewish Business Champion Member of HOMRUN – an Israeli start-up referral consortium for Corporate targets in North America
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    Angel Investor Howard is an Angel investor in LifeWire, Sensibill, DotHealth, Mediseen and NXCAR
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    Agency Founder Howard launched Ethnicity Matters, an agency start-up 5 years ago that has become Canada’s leading multicultural agency with clients such as CIBC, TELUS, Canada Dry, Dyson, Infiniti, Panasonic, Kruger, CAA … and the list goes on





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