Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Cory Stewart, Founder of Embrace Disruption PR (EDPR), a public relations firm based in Toronto. Founded in 2012, the company has worked with several notable charities and brands including The Starlight Children’s Foundation of Canada, The Canadian Lesbian And Gay Archives, and H&M, just to name a few. 

We caught up with Cory to find out what inspires him and what advice he would share with other young professionals…

WORK

1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I work to get brands, businesses, products, and personalities the attention they deserve in Canadian media.

2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I’ve always had a fascination in media and passion for connecting people. In my countless jobs before starting Embrace Disruption PR (EDPR), I found myself organically publicizing my employer’s businesses to my networks. It took me 25 years (and an amazing mentor) to realize that a career in public relations would allow me to do what I love on the daily!

3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
If I had to pin down one specific moment, it would be landing my first large client. There’s a lot of self-doubt and trepidation when you start out as an entrepreneur, but when yours and your client’s visions become real, you feel on top of the world. That said, not everything is sunshine and rainbows – there are plenty of obstacles along the way to keep you on your toes.

4. Where do you see yourself in five years, 10 years, 20 years?
You always know in the back of your head that you should have these types of landmarks planned out. The reality for me is, if you’d asked me 10 years ago what my plan was, I definitely would never have fathomed what it has become today. Truthfully (as annoyingly cliché as it sounds), I’m a big believer in identifying the universe’s cues and following them – making sure not to miss subtle hints that can put you in the right direction. My five, 10 and 20-year plans likely all involve following my intuition and trying to make good choices.

5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
You need to seek out and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way (regardless of whether or not it’s your dream job) to find out what you like or dislike. Experience is king in navigating your way to happiness in your life and career. Beyond that, it’s just a matter of showing up and putting in the work.

6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
Being a member of the LGBT family, Community One Foundation is near and dear to my heart. This foundation provides grants and awards to LGBTTIQQ2S initiatives in the GTA in order to stimulate new services and programs for the community. From helping with the beginnings of institutions like The 519 and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre to funding the murals you see all down Church St., this organization assists in making these initiatives come to life. Check them out at communityone.ca and donate if you can!

7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I’m sure there have been many before that have shared the same answer, but… BALANCE. The unique thing about today’s workforce is there’s really no escaping it – our phones have become an extension of our palms and each notification (email, tweet, text) left unanswered feels like an unattended candle burning in your apartment. I feel learning to step away and make time for family, hobbies and friends has definitely kept me from burning out.

8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Something worth talking about.

Cory Stewart

PLAY

1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
It’s always a trade-off between my two favourite haunts, Wish and Smith. I believe they both share the same owners, and I’ve never walked away with a bad meal. Plus, both restaurant patios are deliciously fun in the summer.

2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Facebook (occupational hazard).

I have the musical taste of a teenage girl and a soccer mom, so the top two are Perfect Illusion – Lady Gaga and What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner. #noshame

3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Obviously Cher. If you haven’t discovered her tweets, you’re doing it wrong.

4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling  to?
I crave visits to Malibu (US) to visit one of my best friends. Would love to get to London, England sometime soon!

5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Instagram. Enough said.

6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Besides my taste in music? Bravo Television, which I now consider one of my hobbies.

7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
Wish I spent less: Tickets to any of Madonna’s concerts (but had no choice because well, Madonna)
Wish I spent more: Good groceries. I’m notoriously cheap (aside from the item mentioned above), and would love to push myself into buying better quality, organic-type food – because I read too many articles.

8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success for me is defined by feeling. If I’m in a good, positive space – I consider myself successful. If not, a change is undoubtedly on the way.

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