Welcome back to our series This Is How I Get It DONE, where we take moment to interview members of the PR In Canada community to find out more about them and share with you more about the person behind the desk, from how they got their start to where their current role (and everything in between). For our fifth episode we talked to Priya Chopra (BIO).
Current Gig: The “Milk” at 1Milk2Sugars, President and Founder.
One word to describe: Focused.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today: I have always been an entrepreneur even from my university years. I was in the Marketing Co-Op at Concordia University in Montreal, and even while studying and working, I managed to start a small business with a partner. We opened up a jewellery boutique and would import jewellery from my native country, India. Right after graduation, I landed the only coveted job opening at L’Oreal Canada, that many grads were vying for. I consider L’Oreal to have been an amazing ‘school’ for me, where I learnt a certain standard of quality, as well as attention to detail, that I still carry with me today in my own business. Despite a successful progression at L’Oreal, I decided to follow my instinct, and start my own shop, but not before taking time off to complete an MBA in Milan, Italy. I started 1Milk2Sugars Inc in 2012, and we have been growing by leaps and bounds each year. Now just 6 years later, we are in Montreal, Toronto and New York.
What made you start your own agency? Being independent and going your own way can be scary for some, for but me, it meant job freedom. The freedom to craft something from scratch and build a brand was always my dream. Despite how many businesses can fail at start up, I always knew I would succeed (and believe me, there were definitely some bleak days). I am so thankful I made it to the other side, and I wake up every morning excited for all the opportunities that are coming our way.
What is a typical work day like for you? My work day begins religiously at the gym, where I put on my Beats and release those good endorphins. I have been an avid fitness person since I was 15 years old, and have always given consistent time to my body and my mind. My work day then begins and every day is varied; it can be spent liaising with my team on current account status, new business briefings, overviewing operations, forecasting growth and financial targets…you get to do it all when you own your own shop and I am still learning every day.
When did you launch your agency? When did you know you had something? Officially in 2012, right after the recession – great timing! I think a milestone moment for me was when I was able to open our Toronto office remotely from Montreal. I never intended to move to Toronto, but I wanted a competitive advantage over other PR firms in Montreal. I decided to invest in this second location quite early on, and it was a great move. Sustaining a 2nd location and team remotely for the last 4 years is definitely something that shows the strength in the structure of our business model.
How do you balance family-work? My family is my first priority, but I always say I have 4 kids (my 3 actual children PLUS my Agency). I started my Agency when my first child was born, her name is Jaya and that means ‘victory’ in Indian. She certainly did bring me victory, and with each child, I have continued to be able to grow my business and my family. I never took a mat leave, in fact I remember interviewing candidates with my baby girl sitting on my lap, or taking my 6 month year old son around for site checks in the dead of winter! They have been along for the ride! Now that I have a talented team of Sugars by my side, I am able to enjoy a fantastic work-life balance.
9-5 is LONG gone, what is one shortcut or life hack that works for you? My inbox and list of to-do’s is never ending, but I tackle this with focus and calm by setting aside a daily shortlist of items I must accomplish in that day. Realistically some things can wait, and some can’t, and you simply can’t do it all.