Tag

entrepreneurship

Browsing

Women of the Week: Anita Emilio

Anita Emilio always dreamed of working in the travel industry. At age 30, after 10 years in the Art House Movie industry, she took a leap of faith and left to follow her passion. Somebody recognized that passion and provided her with a great opportunity to train her. Initially her salary was cut in half, but there are no regrets. “It is the best sacrifice my family and I have ever made,” says Emilio.

She was always drawn to the world of travel, seeing it as a leveler since everyone can experience it despite their age or upbringing. “It is something that even those who have nothing in common can chat about and I had big dreams of seeing the world. There’s no better way to achieve those goals than to work in the industry.  I have been extremely fortunate to have travelled extensively both for work and pleasure.”

Despite choosing not to pursue a post-secondary degree, she credits her success to the notion that if you work hard, good things will happen. This appears to be working for her since she started leading Travellers Counsellors. “Put the world’s nicest yet most driven people in a room, inject incredible leadership, give them the right tools to do the job and believe in them 100%,” says Emilio. Her approach is “built entirely on relationships, with customers, suppliers and each other.”

She still manages to make her company distinctive. “Our agents are the best in the business, with many years of experience and this is their career and passion. We are a family-run business and extend that sense of family to our agents, our head office team, our partners and our clients,” she says.

Work-life balance is an integral part that comes from within. There are “long hours and often a lot of travel for work so you must be very careful to juggle the balance between home and work and know when to say no.” She remarks that the younger generation understands this element.

Emilio remains focused on recruiting in the travel industry and will be launching an online televised broadcast on February 12th; later, she will meet those great candidates. “I personally go out and meet them to make certain that we are right for each other and that it will be a successful relationship,” says Emilio.

When Emilio is not working, she is an avid marathon runner. “Absolutely, running a marathon is proof that when you set your mind to something, anything is possible,” she says. When she is alone with her thoughts, she can think, plan and dream.

“Be strong and daring. Know who you are and be proud of it, don’t do anything your future self would not be proud of.  I have left and lost positions when I was asked to do things that were against my values and beliefs.  At the end of the day you have to look yourself  in the mirror, do it with a clean and clear conscience,” says Emilio. “You can be nice and kind and succeed in the business world.”

Women of the Week: Rhiannon Traill

When Rhiannon Traill was finishing a degree in arts and contemporary studies at Ryerson University, she was taking part in an event, speaking on a panel. Unbeknownst to her, in the audience was a founding board member of The Economic Club of Canada.

When the board member approached her after the event, he mentioned that the club was looking for someone to fill an entry-level position.

“I had heard a little bit about [the club], but not much, to be honest,” says Traill.

She took his business card, but she wasn’t looking for employment at the time and had plans to do a graduate degree.

“I came home that night and I sort of spoke to my husband and he said, ‘Why don’t you just go and meet them? What’s the harm in checking it out? You don’t necessarily need to take a job with them, just see what they’re offering.’”

The Economic Club of Canada is a non-partisan organization hosting events all across Canada, introducing its members and guests to the greatest leaders of our times. The club has hosted senator John McCain, former president Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the president of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko and Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was governor of California.

“It was kind of like magic,” she says. “When I walked into the tiny little office and I met Mark Adler, I just kind of fell in love with his vision for what he wanted to do with The Economic Club.”

Traill started out as the club’s director of operations in 2008. Within three years she became the club’s vice-president and in 2011 she was promoted to president and CEO when Adler was elected as a Member of Parliament for York Centre.

“I grew up the ranks pretty quickly and helped Mark to grow the club into a national organization. So it’s pretty interesting and fluky,” she says.

In 2011, Traill came up with the idea of the Jr. Economic Club. It’s an offshoot organization from the club and mandated to educate Canadian youth on personal money matters and financial literacy.

“It has exploded,” she says. “It’s done really well. I’m really thrilled with the program and just the outpouring of support we’ve gotten from the corporate community.”

Traill has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She’s a natural self-starter. At 10 years old she started a dog training business with a friend. The business ran for about four summers and all of the money was donated to the humane society.

“It was funny, when I came into The Economic Club, the first event that I ever worked on was when we hosted Bill Clinton, so that’s a way to get you excited about the job,” she said. “I went in and I got to meet Mr. Clinton, and my eyes kind of lit up and I sort of thought all of these possibilities that we could do.”

At 28 years old, Traill’s story is an inspiration for youth with big dreams. Since she’s been with the club, she has assisted in rebranding it from the Economic Club of Toronto to the Economic Club of Canada, opening chapters in Ottawa and Calgary, with another in the works in Vancouver. She also started the Voice of Hope Award.

“You can do anything that you believe in. Part of it is about right time, right place, but not ever thinking for one second that you don’t belong,” she says. “Just really believing in yourself and your abilities, what you can bring to the table.”

Women of the Week: Amanda Petrovic

Some people don’t figure out what they want to be until their late 40s. They drift, unfocused, through mindless odd jobs, searching for something that suits them.

Amanda Petrovic is not one of those people. She has known for a very long time where her calling lay.

“At a young age I already knew I wanted to be involved in real estate. I was always passionate about becoming an entrepreneur. The real estate industry determines where people live, raise families, work, dine, shop and play. It has such a tremendous influence on the quality of people’s lives. It shapes the fabric of the city – and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Before entering the job market, Amanda first pursued a BA and an MEd. She now uses the knowledge and skills gained from that education to stay on top of the ever-changing market, which helps her do her job and ensure her clients’ needs are met.

As she explains, “My approach to client service is also steeped in education. Ensuring that my clients are well-informed allows me to pragmatically guide them through every phase of buying and selling. It is extremely important to me that my clients feel knowledgeable and fully confident in their decisions so that we can best meet their real estate goals together.”

Since 2011, Amanda has worked as a sales representative for Private Service Realty Brokerage, helping her clients through the process of buying and selling real estate. Offering what she calls a “full-service real estate experience,” a service which includes assistance in property and portfolio management and investment planning, she combines her in-depth knowledge of the Toronto market with her clients’ needs and goals to find them the perfect Toronto property.

And now is a great time for her clients seeking property in Toronto. Amanda believes that the last year has been exciting for this market, and she is quick to promote many new projects opening in the city. For example, new projects opening in Yorkville offer clients the chance to enjoy luxury living, while Yonge and Eglinton will offer opportunities for people seeking lifestyle communities in more of a neighbourhood setting.

Even though the incoming market is hot and she will likely be very busy finding people their dream homes, Amanda is also striving to make the world a better place. This year she will be working with the Canadian Centre for Diversity, a non-profit group dedicated to educating Canadians about the value of difference and eliminate prejudice and discrimination.

By the looks of it, 2013 will be a big year for Amanda Petrovic. Keep your eye out for her, as she is set to make a positive impact on the Toronto community.

 

Women of the Week: Elena Christopoulos

If the definition of superhero is ‘one who saves the world,’ Elena Christopoulos could be called a superhero. She has devoted her working life to renewable energy, striving to help reduce humanity’s carbon footprint.

This interest in environment started early: Elena spent time in Greece as a child, and their way of life formed her identity.

“My relatives always had a huge appreciation of the environment. That upbringing has left an everlasting mark on me.”

Ahead of her time, Elena started in the industry before the modern environmental movement really caught hold.

“Many have recently entered the ‘green’ space and unlike many of my competitors, I have worked in this industry since the ‘90s, which is not only rare, but has given me credibility in the industry.”

As the movement gained momentum, Elena pushed to integrate more environmental projects into the everyday world. In 2000, Elena worked as part of a team to bring the first urban wind turbine in North America to Toronto.

“I wanted to make my hometown city of Toronto the greenest city in the world. This was a very successful project because it integrated diverse political and environmental spheres.”

Elena is president of the Board of Directors for the Green Chamber of Commerce, a technical and consular advisor for E3NYC and a speaker/member of Women of Wind Energy (WoWE). But her skills in the field are not just recognized by those working for environmental causes. While flying into Toronto once, Elena met with pilots who were routinely flying the route and were familiar with her turbine. She says, “They told me that they brought their kids to look at the turbine and that all pilots flying into Pearson see the turbine, a beacon of renewable energy, a beacon of hope for the future of this world. It was at that moment that I realized the impact I had made and the footprint I already left behind.”

Elena, as a woman and an environmentalist, has to wage a steady battle against the lingering mindsets of previous generations. But as she sees it, ““Making a difference in this world, whether it is an environmental or political change, is not only a job for me, it is my passion.”

Now all she needs is a superhero name.