Each year, OBJ and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce choose 40 of the region’s top young entrepreneurs and business executives and recognize them for their professional achievements, expertise and community service.
In these profiles, OBJ highlights some of this year’s recipients – their impressive accomplishments, what drives them and how they like to spend their downtime away from the business world.
Birthplace: Fort Erie
Company: Clear Interior Design provides creative, collaborative approaches for unique and customised interior design solutions.
Education: Diploma in advanced interior design, Algonquin College (2000)
Charitable involvement: Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario, eastern Ontario chapter
Biggest biz achievement: Successfully launching my interior design firm in 2005 at the age of 26.
Biggest obstacle: Starting your own company can be a difficult undertaking for the most seasoned business professionals. While my interior design background positioned me to drive the vision behind Clear, navigating the challenges of a startup with no formal business education has been one of my greatest obstacles. Through focus and determination, I have never lost sight of my vision or goals to achieve success, and I believe the only way you can truly grow is by stepping outside of your comfort zone. While I have learned some hard lessons by taking risks and making mistakes, I have used those experiences for personal and professional growth. By maintaining a positive outlook and surrounding myself with a supportive and encouraging network of family, friends, colleagues, team members and my husband, I have been able to overcome any obstacle.
Biggest influence: This is a hard one. I don’t think I could narrow it down to just a single person, but rather a community of influencers that I draw inspiration from.
Biggest lesson learned: Do not undervalue your time; it’s a resource you can’t get back.
First job: My very first job in the field was at HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. I completed a three month co-op placement with the Ottawa branch of the firm as part of my studies at Algonquin College. Following my graduation from the advanced interior design program, I was excited to accept HOK’s offer of a full-time position.
Advice I’d give the younger me: Don’t worry if you don’t fit in perfectly; it is what will make you unique later.
What’s left to do: A personal goal of mine is to work towards designing and building my own home with my husband. Professionally, I am continuing to grow my business by building a boutique design firm that fosters a passion for designing spaces that connect with their users. Additionally, I would like to continue to provide and promote a design philosophy focused on modern disciplines and to be a community leader in modern design practices. In both my professional and personal spheres, giving back to the community is important to me. I hope I can make a lasting impact by offering my time and professional skills in a charitable way. Stay tuned…
Favourite pastime: When I have the luxury of some spare time, I like to plan or get involved with gatherings, parties and events, either for myself or for friends, charities, etc. I love the idea of bringing people together to celebrate something and inviting them to experience the details that come with planning parties or events. I like taking the theme of a party and developing details to reinforce the experience. From the enjoyment of food, drink and decorations, I love ensuring guests are fully engaged in the experience.
I’m currently reading: I am on a general mission to read the library of Margaret Atwood, but I’m currently taking a break to read a short book called From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe. It is a short read about the modernist art and architectural movement post-World War II. It speaks of the German architect Walter Gropius, who founded the total art school in Germany – Bauhaus. Wolfe uses wit to describe and provide insight on the history of modern architecture. As I am reading about the leaders of the past in architecture that Wolfe is describing, it is reminding me of my passion and discipline to practise modern design and my continuous improvement in the discipline.
Favourite movie: Anything and everything by Wes Anderson! I connect with all things about his movies, especially the distinct visual and narrative styles.
Favourite song: I love music, and there are so many amazing artists and bands it would be hard to just pick one of them, let alone a single song. That being said, you can’t go wrong with a bit of The Jackson 5!
Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa Senators
Favourite local summer event: Ottawa Jazz Festival
Preferred social media platforms: Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram