Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Le Chic Soirée Owner Anya Bortnik, whose company specializes in adding that special touch to social and corporate events. Here’s what inspired her career path and what advice she would give to other young professionals…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Proud owner of Le Chic Soirée, a successful Toronto-based event planning and styling boutique specializing in both social and corporate events.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I’ve always had a passion for planning and styling events, and have spent a significant amount of time in the event planning and decor industry. Eventually I decided to pursue my dream and venture off on my own, so here I am!

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is meeting with new clients and turning their vision into something that surpasses what they imagined. I would say that the most challenging part is striking a balance between business and personal life as a lot of the work is usually done on weekends. It makes it tough to see your family and friends as everyone is on a 9-5 schedule and mine varies from week to week.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
The previous question sort of leads me into this one. There are no set hours in my industry, and there are certain months of the year that are VERY busy. So sometimes I find that I sacrifice going to the gym, doing Zumba or seeing family and friends as much as I would like. I’m a very energetic and hyper person (sans the caffeine), and there were weeks that were so long that I just wanted to catch up on sleep.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself growing the business and potentially venturing into new opportunities along the way. I do continue to see myself running Le Chic Soirée and growing the team. 

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
A major challenge was deciding to branch off on my own after several years of working in the industry. It was both challenging and gratifying, though, because as with anything, taking a risk and going after what you want can be scary. It’s incredibly rewarding when you see how much you can accomplish if you just focus on your desires and take a chance.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Money has allowed me to have some great experiences, like travelling, but I don’t think its what leads to lasting happiness. I think that the feeling of success can definitely lead to happiness though. Success to me is when you are doing what you love and when you feel that sense of accomplishment after booking a new client, or after hosting a successful event, or after seeing the smile and gratitude on a client’s face. That’s definitely a good feeling!

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I would have to say starting my own business. You learn as you go and it’s an ever-evolving work in progress, which requires a tremendous amount of patience. However, if you are passionate about what you do (and others can definitely tell when you are), it doesn’t feel like work!

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Take the time to figure out what your passion is, and once you have figured that out, go out and do it. I remember reading that to have your dream job, you must create it. You may need to make a few sacrifices in the beginning but with drive and motivation you will get there sooner than you think. Don’t settle, if it doesn’t feel right, then chances are that it’s not. Follow your intuition!

Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
I love Lee Restaurant and Joey’s. Love the ambience of both, the food is delicious and it’s a great, young professional crowd.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I love to travel and do so whenever I get the opportunity. I think that travelling is the only thing that makes you richer because it opens your eyes to new cultures, adventures and creates memories that stay with you forever. Some of the best memories I have are from the trips that I’ve taken. I also love to do Zumba, it’s fun, energetic, and you get a great workout! I love to spend time with family and friends, and can spend hours reading  fashion and design blogs.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
This one is a tie. This past summer I travelled to Italy and completely fell in love with it. The culture, the food, the scenery, and just about everything was so amazing that I did not want to leave. The other place would be Greece. It was just so picturesque, I felt like I was part of a postcard everywhere I went. People there were very friendly, the food was delicious, and the Greeks really do know how to host parties!

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Beyonce, Run the World.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t in the events industry, I would most likely be doing something within the fashion or PR industry. I’ve always had a flair for fashion and design and I’ve also always enjoyed working face to face with people. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Over the holidays I participated in The Shoebox Project, which is a charity that provides shoeboxes filled with little gifts to women’s shelters across North America. It’s a small way to brighten someone’s day. I would love to get more involved with charities that support and empower women.

What to you is notable?
Hard work, perseverance, kindness, loyalty, courage, and patience. All of these make up the foundation of entrepreneurship. I think that it takes great courage to go after what you want. I also think it’s also notable to make a positive difference in people’s lives and to offer support to those who took that initial step in the right direction. Notable is being true to yourself and doing what you love!

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone 6.

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