Few days back, the world witnessed a bold statement by Patricia Arquette when she demanded gender equality in her Oscar acceptance speech. It was all over social media, and viewed as both brave and controversial. Perhaps she wanted to set the tone for this year’s International Women’s Day celebration. Hey Patricia, we heard you at ON Q!
This year, International Women’s Day is observed on March 8 with the theme #makeithappen. Extensive events are already taking place all over the world with many powerful and moving messages. At ON Q, we can closely relate with this theme as we are proud to be led by successful women entrepreneurs with clear vision and strong leadership styles.
Tanya Dodaro and Livia Grujich, Co-founders of ON Q Communications, decided to share their stories as part of the celebration of International Women’s Day. This is our tribute to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges and reflect our internal leadership styles. This is our tribute to all women entrepreneurs out there.
Happy Women’s Day!
What is your vision for ON Q? How do you plan to achieve that vision while balancing with your role as a mother of twins?
Livia: “Our business has grown based on 100% referrals from happy clients. We’ve been fortunate during the past ten years to have loyal clients that have been with us for 5 plus years. In an industry with high turnover, it speaks volumes to the fact that we always meet and exceed clients’ expectations and we are always leading in the field of social media and public relations. Looking ahead to the next ten years, my vision for ON Q is to keep attracting the best talent in the field as I strongly believe that a company is only as good as its people. And with a strong team, the sky is the limit.
I want my two year old daughters to grow up knowing that their mom is a motivated woman who believes that if you work smart, you can accomplish anything you want. For me, that has always been a good balance between a career that’s challenging and gratifying, and a loving family for whom I can always be there for, without missing any of the special moments. Luckily, having a business partner with the same values has allowed us to grow ON Q into profitable business, while raising four little future business women!”
ON Q has just celebrated its 10 year as a successful PR and Communications agency. What are the key attributes behind this journey, particularly as a women entrepreneur?
Tanya: “Since I was a little girl, my father use to tell me, “If you love what you do, it’s not work”, and it couldn’t be closer to the truth for me. It has been an exciting growth period for ON Q Communications and a wild ride. 10 years in business, 50 clients plus, 6 mat leaves, 7 babies (6 girls and 1 boy I might add). Needless to say, we are embracing “International Women’s Day” here at ON Q. When I look back over the last 10 years, 3 themes standout.
- Motivation, encouraging yourself to look at each day as a new challenge.
- Perseverance, not allowing all the bumps in the road to steer you away from your final destination.
- One simple formula, the harder you work the more success you will have. “
What are the key challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Canada? How did you manage your challenges when you launched ON Q?
Livia: “According to Industry Canada, over the last 20 years, this country has seen a 200% increase in the number of women-owned firms. Nearly half of all small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada had at least one female owner. We are fortunate to live in a country where women can go to university and pursue their career choices. However, we still have differences around gender roles, expectations and income. Prioritizing and weighing of personal and professional demands have always been a challenge for women. This is even more prominent when you own your own firm. In the beginning especially, you wear all the hats, and there is a direct correlation between input and output. Not having a paid maternity leave is something that would deter many women from going out on their own.
When my business partner and I decided to incorporate a business, we didn’t give much thought to the fact that we are two women, around the same age, who will likely be growing families while growing a business. We knew that we would be strategic with the choices we make allowing us to have the best of both worlds. Ten years, and four babies later, we have learned a lot about multi-tasking, managing work and life, and most of all, having a strong team to depend on.”
From a leadership perspective, what are your suggestions for the young women professionals who want to build a long-term career in the agency world?
Tanya: “Well, I want to focus on what I truly believe in.
- Find happiness at work each day
- Remember that work-life balance is a choice not a privilege
- Don’t sweat the small stuff, business is business
- A woman can do anything a man can do, just a little better J
- Reach for your highest goals, if you are dedicated nothing will stop you”
What are your thoughts on ‘International Women’s Day’ Celebration at ON Q? How do you plan to #makeithappen @ ON Q?
Livia: “ON Q is proud to be partaking in women’s day celebrations both online, through our social media channels and in our office, wearing purple to show our support for ‘justice and dignity’. Being two women entrepreneurs and having several AMAZING women on our team, we strongly believe in giving back to our community and supporting start-up businesses run by women through educational seminars and mentorship. Understanding each other’s values and visions, we will always strive to #makeithappen.”