Cover Feb 18, 2011

Heather Ostertag is a name that the Music Industry knows well. Ostertag is best known for holding the seat of president of FACTOR, but also sits on the Board of the CCMA, Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, founder and Chair of the Panty Schmooze and proudly wears the prestigious Order of Canada. Heather Ostertag is an individual that is considered to be an inspiring values based leader.  She is also a passionate supporter and developer of Canadian culture, with a reputation that has demonstrated strong strategic and operational management execution skills – a dedicated people developer.   Achievement, creativity, results driven, tenacity, resilience, empathetic problem solver and persuader are some adjectives used to describe this indefatigable individual who is driven to succeed and excel at any undertaking she involves herself in. 

With her 30 plus years working in the arts, she has developed relationships with companies and individuals that all have unique and distinct skills. These positions have put her name firmly ensconced in the Canadian Music Industry and would lead her to her next incarnation of an already successful and illustrious career.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Heather Ostertag and getting to know more about the person behind the engine. 

‘I recently left FACTOR to pursue a new challenge’, Ostertag explains. ‘I felt I had done all that I could at FACTOR and while I made all these tremendous connections with entrepreneurs it was obvious to me that the thing that seemed to be lacking was how to connect them all. Heather Ostertag and Associates will be doing just that. I have always felt strongly about working as a team. That is what I accomplished at FACTOR.  I took some time off this past summer to re-evaluate what I wanted to do.’  Sadly, it also provided the time for Ostertag to spend the last few months with her Dad, Peter, who was failing from the terrible disease of cancer.  He passed away on October 26, but for his daughter, it was valuable time she got to spend with the man who gave up most of his life to raise her and her siblings. 

‘My Dad was a huge influence on my life. My mother left when we were small children, and rather than take the easy way out; put all four of his kids in the hands of the Children’s Aid Society, my Dad chose to work very hard and keep his family together. I am sure it was not an easy thing to do, especially for a man in that era. But he did just that. Years later, raising my own son, Jason, I realized just what a sacrifice of love that was for my Dad. The other thing he instilled in me was the respect and honour of everything Canadian. I lived in fear every time I bought him a present and had to make sure the label said ‘Made In Canada’, Osterag laughs. ‘If it wasn’t from Canada, he didn’t want it, so I come by the Proudly Canadian values through him. One of my shining moments was to have my Dad with me when I received The Order Of Canada in Ottawa in 2003. It was the only time he was at one of my events.”

Born in Orillia, Ontario, Ostertag came to the big city to find work and never left. Starting in insurance and other corporate jobs, it took a few years for her to end up at CTL (Canadian Talent Library) until 1985 when CTL and FACTOR merged and Ostertag was part of the merger package. She worked her way through the ranks at FACTOR, and finally hit the ceiling when she took the seat of president in 1999 and the title of CEO  was added in 2005 for this  truly unique Canadian company.

“I feel I left FACTOR with a good, strong base of what I needed to do there. Thereafter, I spent some time contemplating what I wanted to do, and tossed around names for my new company. An associate of mine suggested Heather Ostertag and Associates, and it was then that I realized the effect of the branding of my own name. I want to do the same for all the associates that will work with us.”

“The creation of my new company has enabled projects to be undertaken that could not be managed by one person alone.  Each associate working on a project is responsible for their piece of the project and is committed to ensuring that it is completed on time.” 

With the expertise and drive of Ostertag at the wheel, this is sure to be yet another successful feather in the cap of this Canadian icon. “I feel strongly that everyone needs to get paid for their work. This business has far too much of ‘donated services’ expected from savvy, smart people who need to see their value and expertise. A good friend of mine, a person I highly respect, singer/songwriter Sylvia Tyson says ‘If you give it away for free, it is worthless’. Positive words to live by and I want that to be my mandate for both myself and my associates. With 33 years of FACTOR as my experience, I have been the one doing the budgets, lobbying for artists and writing the cheques. My plan is to take that experience and work with associate affiliates to grow within the industry and beyond.”

“The slogan for my company is ‘The Solution Team’ and that is exactly what we are going to be for everyone. If you need a video package done, a presentation executed, press kits, EPK’s, business management, video production, recording producers, marketing people, artist direction, we are just one phone call away for you to find exactly what you need. The technical list of what we offer includes:

  •  event planning
  •  strategic planning
  •  project management
  •  organizational management
  •  change management
  •  crisis communications
  •  corporate governance
  •  social media development
  •  script writing


The code which Heather Ostertag and all of the Associates operates is one where:  

  •  the project must be completed on time
  •  the client must be satisfied 
  •  the project must be completed on budget


No project is too big or too small.  Each project will be assessed as a unique and distinct opportunity and only those associates with the appropriate skills will be included in the project.


There is also a charitable side to this new organization. “I believe in being a responsible member of the community and therefore it has been decided that following the completion of any project, a portion of the net profits will be donated to a charity. We will be asking each associate we work with to choose a charity of choice that we can support through donation.”

I asked Heather Ostertag who had been an influence on her career and ethics. ‘My Dad first off. He was an honest man who did an honest day’s work every day. There are others in the business I thank for the inspiration they have shared me over the years. Duff Roman, who I considered my mentor.  Pegi Cecconi, and Ann Graham are two ladies that have encouraged and supported me while also kicking my ass as required.  I will always be indebted to them.  Also all the entrepreneurs and artists that have been so generous in sharing their dreams , aspirations and challenges with me.  Without their willingness to trust me with the information I could not have been as effective in getting the job done.  I have had a wonderful career at FACTOR and am very proud for all I have been able to do to support our Canadian artists – some of the finest talent in the world!

Any advice for up and coming talent or newcomers to the Canadian Music Industry ? “ Be ready, research and listen. If you are not going to listen to the voices of expertise then there is no point in hiring an associate of any form. Be ethical, be fair and work hard. If you set your mind to anything you can succeed.”

With Heather Ostertag at the helm of this new venture, Heather Ostertag and Associates is sure to be ‘The Solution Team’.

To learn more about this new company or to contact Heather Ostertag 

visit: www.heatherostertagandassociates.ca