Top 40 Under 40 2013: Nadine Bernard

Nadine Bernard joined Nova Bus, a division of Volvo Group, in 2004. Taking on increasingly challenging management roles, she was appointed director of marketing, communications and public relations and official spokesperson in 2009. Bernard became the first woman to lead the marketing and communications department of Nova Bus.

Bernard is a key member of the global branding committee of the Volvo Group and the public policy executive team in North America. As part of the Volvo Country Management Team Americas, she is responsible for communication synergies within Volvo Bus across North America.

Bernard is described by her peers as a passionate, creative and result-driven business development executive. Her duties include managing marketing, communications and public relations for all Nova Bus activities across the United States and Canada, as well as business strategies, market research and analysis, business opportunity targeting, government relations and brand identity.

Bernard innovates by integrating the management concept of a personal board of directors to her work. Each of her personal advisers possesses complementary strengths and skills, contributes to assessing future potential and provides strategies to solve challenges. She recently gave a keynote speech on this innovative concept at a conference for women’s advancement in leadership.

When Bernard first started at Nova Bus, there was no marketing department. Convinced that Nova Bus needed a solid brand identity and a better knowledge of the market to move into the next phases of its development, she successfully built her team and department from scratch. Bernard was instrumental in significantly growing the company’s market share.

Under her leadership, the Nova Bus marketing and communications team has created numerous award-winning activities, most recently receiving the first place award in the Print Media/Direct mail category at the 2012 American Public Transportation Association Annual AdWheel Awards for its PinStop collecting challenge. The PinStop was an innovative, fun, pin collecting challenge designed to engage transit authority representatives attending APTA Expo in New Orleans. The campaign was a huge success, drawing repeat traffic to the Nova Bus booth. Two years later, transit authorities are still talking about their experience.

Her involvement in the advancement of public transportation allowed her to chair the Business Members Committee of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) between 2006 and 2008. Bernard currently sits on the CUTA board of directors.

Before joining Nova Bus, Bernard served in the Canadian Forces Reserves and worked in marketing, customer relations and event management, including experience overseas.

“Being able to contribute to urban mobility is what drives me every day. I’ve always got in mind the drivers, the maintenance teams and everyone who works with our vehicles. And, of course, the riders who rely on our buses to get to work, to school, to medical appointments, and so on — they are my inspiration.

“Public transit is such a complex and fascinating field. Each city has its own dynamics and the business environment is constantly evolving. At the same time, it’s a tight-knit industry, and success comes from loyalty and building committed, long-term relationships – almost like a marriage! That really is the best part – the ability to come together to tackle today’s transit challenges and pave the way for the urban mobility of the future.”