Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Syntax Strategic Founder Jennifer Stewart, who we caught up with find out what inspired her career in public relations, the challenges she’s faced along the way, and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I get to tell really great stories. Our team gets our clients noticed through strategic public relations, digital strategy, and grassroots media relations.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started the company at the age of 25. I was a bit fearless, and wanted to test the entrepreneurial waters. My inspiration for transitioning from a full-time senior position to working for and by myself was truly a belief that I could do it, and that I would succeed. While some may view this as over-confident I view it as the belief that all entrepreneurs need to adopt to truly take that first step off the cliff.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is working with our clients. They’re diverse, and it’s fun to come up with out-of-the-box strategies that are unique to their needs. This is also the most challenging part of my job, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I took my BlackBerry into the delivery room.. it doesn’t get much worse than that.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see the company growing, and our team expanding. I want to continue to offer our clients something out of the norm – a break from traditional media relations. I want our work to speak for itself.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Balancing motherhood and career. It’s been a constant priority of mine to strike a healthy balance, and be a strong, active role model for my two children. I have a great team in place and flex my hours, or work at night or early in the morning if I want to be there for an event or make a play date.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success is being true to myself. I don’t think I would be as happy in any other role or job, and that trickles down to my happiness, and the happiness of my family. I don’t think money equals happiness. For the first year or so of my business, I made very little money, but I knew I was building and investing in something exciting.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
When I was named one of the ‘Top 25 People in the Capital’ by Ottawa Life Magazine. It seemed that all of the hard work was starting to pay off.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Work hard. Work ethic is the most single important thing for any professional in my opinion. I always joke that as an entrepreneur you have to “hustle,” but you do.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
There’s a restaurant called Thi Fusion. I love it, and it’s a staple on date nights. My three-year-old loves it too.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
With my husband and my kids. I say that they’re my three blue-eyed soul mates. They relax and inspire me.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Maui. It is just so stunning it’s surreal.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
I’m in a hurry to get things done by Alabama. I’m the most impatient person around. This sometimes plays in my favour, and other times, it doesn’t.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I think I would have gone into law. I love the idea of persuasion and the commitment it would take to be successful and stand out from the pack.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I do. I think it’s so important to give back to your community. I sit on the board of Project North, a not-for-profit organization supporting youth in Canada’s Arctic; I am a board member of the Kanata Food Cupboard; I am a board member of the Canadian Club of Ottawa; a committee member of TedX Kanata; and am co-director of Canadian Women in Communications and Technology, Ottawa Chapter.
What to you is notable?
Having your own thoughts, and the courage to speak them.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?