You have arrived, Episode 6 of our Origin Story series, each week we will give you a glimpse into the super heroes of the Canadian public relations industry who have gotten into the business, learned the craft and the ones behind some amazing brands and campaigns.
In our sixth episode we talk with Priya Chopra, Founder & CEO – 1Milk2Sugars [TCO].
Think back to your teenage days, what did you think you’d be doing today?
- When I was growing up, I changed ideas of what I wanted to do almost on a weekly basis – sometimes it was a fashion designer, other times it was a lawyer, other times it was to open a pizzeria (for the sole reason that it was my favorite food). No one in my family was an entrepreneur but I knew it was in me from my early days – I even opened a small jewellery kiosk selling jewellery that I brought in from India – I wasn’t even done university yet.
Three career moments that got you here?
- I was a marketer, but got a six-month stint in PR for L’Oréal Canada. Years later when I was building my agency and looking for a specialization, I came back to PR.
- Pursuing my Masters in Fashion Management in Milan, Italy and coming back home to not having a job for the very first time in my life – this was a major crossroad that led me to take the road less traveled.
- Having three kids – if that doesn’t make you delegate fast, I don’t know what would!
Three jobs that helped define the person you are today?
- My first job at McDonald’s – in those days, it was hard to get a job there, and I was told that my persistence got me the job.
- Opening a jewellery kiosk and getting known as the girl that was selling glass bangles – even back then I knew that you had to find your niche and own it.
- My foray into the beauty world, through the several years I spent with L’Oréal Canada.
When did you know you wanted to work in this industry?
- When I would see the results we would obtain for our clients, and knowing how it made a positive impact on their business.
Tell me about your first campaign:
- One of the first major campaigns I got to work on was to launch a professional hair colour brand in thousands of salons across the country. The brand challenge was to be the first professional hair colour that consumers know about and ask for in the chair. Usually no one really knows what the stylist is using as their hair colour, but this time, for this particular launch, we managed to create a top of mind awareness that was so widespread that this product became the most talked about in the entire beauty industry – across all categories for the first six months of its launch.
How are you a better leader today vs when you first came in?
- Older and wiser they say! I have definitely worked on becoming the best leader possible for my team. It took many years of training and learning how to delegate. Now my role is to allow my managers to lead their teams under my guidance.
What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
- Perhaps I would have not become an entrepreneur so early. There were a ton of stumbling blocks and you don’t have the network that you have with time.
What’s your management style?
- I have been called a fearless leader many times. I take a lot of chances and encourage my team to do the same.
What problem do you solve?
- What don’t I solve?! One of my favourite quotes from Richard Branson is “launching a business is an adventure in problem solving” – it’s not an exaggeration.
What is your super power?
Who is your nemesis?
- I would say that I am my only nemesis. I believe that character is destiny and that you become what you think. If I didn’t believe in myself that would be the ultimate obstacle.
What have you learned this year so far that will be game changing in the next year?
- You are only as good as your team. I’m focused more than ever on my “Sugar” squad, and building a solid foundation with a strong corporate culture. That’s quite a big undertaking so it will be my focus for this year and the years to come.
Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a major obstacle that stood in the way of you accomplishing a goal or commitment. How did you approach the situation?
- The fact that I am still able to successfully grow a communications business in this volatile market. The way people receive and perceive news is changing daily – I give kudos to all my fellow Communications/Marketing business owners out there that have been able to ride the wave and come out on the other side triumphant.
Do you have a theme song?
- “What’s Up Danger” from Spiderman into the SpiderVerse soundtrack. It’s all about taking chances and that speaks to me.
What is the most challenging part of your role? What is your favorite part of what you do?
- Building a brand – and we want to be an international brand at that. I love the way we are constantly shaping and evolving our own personal brand, as well as enhancing the brands of our clients.
We’re constantly making things better, faster, smarter. We leverage technology or improve processes. In other words, we strive to do more—with less. Tell us about a recent project or problem that you made better, faster, smarter, more efficient, or less expensive.
Since we have two offices, we are always trying to improve communication between remote teams. We recently looked at the ways we run our MMMs (Monday Morning Meetings) and made some great strides to improve the process. We went from it being a laundry list of to-do’s per client, to a template that forces the team to be very top line by speaking in terms of green, yellow, red.
What is your finish line?
- We have so many growth plans for 1Milk2Sugars so I am pretty sure I will be growing old and grey-er with this Agency being my life’s major project.
If you woke up on a dessert island tomorrow, what are the first 3 things you would do?
- Take a dip and enjoy the warmth – I don’t get enough island time!
- Find a water source.
- Make a game plan.
What’s your favourite non-professional activity?
- That is super simple – wine tasting and then burning off the cals in a HIIT class.