WHAT IS YOUR MORNING ROUTINE?
I’m usually up before the sun is. This gives me time to fire off any emails needed to get the day going – besides, who doesn’t enjoy a good sunrise? I’ll have some breakfast and reflect on the day ahead before heading off to meetings or into the office.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH
My career path was pretty unorthodox.
At 23, I found myself without a high school diploma or college degree, struggling to make ends meet in Toronto. At this point in my life, I’d worked a lot of different jobs – from hotel maid to promotional model – and wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. I spent a lot of my spare time thinking about where my life was headed. My saving grace was my sister Julia. Before passing away as a result of cystic fibrosis, she gave me a book that really opened my eyes; it inspired me to forge my own company and do what I love. Since I had some experience in the modeling industry, I made the decision to launch my own modeling and event staffing agency.
I called this agency Femme Fatale Media. I had to hustle hard and fast to land my first clients, but eventually, I did. From there, Femme Fatale Media went on to land big corporate clients.
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU OR WOMEN FACE IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
The corporate world is still very male-dominated, especially the events industry. For example, there’s a real scarcity of women CEO’s, so women encounter gender role expectations. A woman CEO who is tough and extremely driven is often viewed more negatively than her male counterpart.
It can also be hard for a woman executive to be seen as credible – this is particularly true as she advances the echelon of the corporate ranks. I’ve had big-brand male executives question me because of my young age, whereas age is not very often factored into the equation if you’re male.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG GIRLS WHO WANT TO BE THE NEXT YOU?
You absolutely have to believe in yourself. There are a lot of external forces at work today which can crush a young woman’s self-belief into a thousand little pieces. So keeping your self-belief intact, and being immune to people who try to make you doubt yourself, is essential. That’s good advice for anyone who wants to be successful, but it’s especially critical for young women who, today, are bombarded with messages which work against a positive self-image.
HOW DO YOU SEPARATE WORK LIFE FROM YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?
I prefer more elastic boundaries between work life and personal life – instead of a hard, concrete separation of the two. When you’re on a mission – and you have to be if you’re going to see real success – then that mission is going to spill over into everything.
Even your personal life.
For me, work life is personal. So I don’t spend much time figuring out how to separate the two.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
People inspire me. Specifically, people who take a real shot at their dreams even if they know they might miss. People who know the deck is stacked against them but smile at the odds anyway and keep working to get what they want.
And good music will always inspire me, too.
WHEN YOU’RE OFF THE CLOCK, WHAT ARE YOUR INDULGENCES?
I enjoy spending time with friends and family, as well as volunteering in the locally. And if we’re talking indulgences…I love tasty food! I’ve been known to have chocolate for breakfast.