She’s travelled all over the world, smiling and dancing the entire way. Laura Furtado, named one of last year’s Top Five Young Entrepreneurs in Canada, continues to help women stay motivated, positive and achieve their ultimate fitness goals through her online company DivaGirl. Offering services from seminars to classes and professional dance groups, her company continues to grow and help women all over in this YEDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.

I’m an international Dancer, Instructor, Choreographer and Presenter. I am the Owner of DivaGirl, which is an online community that encourages women to get fit, have fun and feel sexy. DivaGirl consists of 4 divisions: DivaGirl Fitness, DivaGirl Entertainment, DivaGirl Beauty and DivaGirl-Preneur. I work on creating dance/fitness programs, events and services for females, alongside my DivaGirl Licensees, to encourage women to unleash their sexy within. I hang out with lots of women, dance, joke around and create… I have a tough job.

Why did you start your company? What was the inspiration for this route?

The concept of “DivaGirl” came at a time in which I was overworked with classes and workshops and wanted to find a more “efficient” and “fun” way to conduct business. I thought it would be great to create a community of instructors, in which by leveraging and helping each other, everyone would benefit. This was something that was missing in the dance industry and I wanted to be one of the first to market.

The name “DivaGirl” was inspired from a good friend and amazing Dancer, Krystal Garib. She constantly called me a “Diva” because of my personality, and the name really caught my attention. “Diva” represents the independence and strong-will of a woman, and “Girl” represents the flirty, fun side of females; characteristics that represents the brand. In addition, it was an ex-boyfriend who had motivated me to execute the concept and actually build the business model. I thank both of them for helping me where I am today.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
The best part of my day is the fact that every day is a new adventure! Though my days are very long, usually starting off at 6am and ending past midnight, there is never a dull moment. I am given the opportunity to help and inspire women daily, which I love to do, hence why I live a very happy life.

The most challenging part?
I actual enjoy the entrepreneurial lifestyle… even the accounting! However, on the downside, it is challenging to manage a personal life. Running your own business requires a lot of work hours- meaning that you spend LOTS of time with your best friend- yourself. Entrepreneurs are “loners” by nature and though I love spending time by myself, I would like to have more time for my friends and family.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In the next 5 years, I plan to continue to grow the DivaGirl brand and its current divisions. My personal goal is to reach 50 DivaGirl Licensees over the next two years and have a presence in new cities, including Europe. Over the next year, I am launching our active wear clothing collection, our online DivaGirl shop, instructional DVD and online certification courses which I plan on building over the next 5 years. I also plan on executing DivaGirl Conferences throughout various major cities. Finally, I am working on a TV proposal in hopes to create a DivaGirl show. Regardless, I will still be dancing, having fun and encouraging women to be fabulous!

What does success look like to you?
Success is simple. It means living a happy, productive and meaningful life. If you have all three characteristics, you are a rock star! 

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?

The most memorable milestone for me was being titled one of the five Top Young Entrepreneurs in Canada in 2010.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?

–        Leverage others specialities and partner with other brand/individuals.

–        Always network with other amazing, passionate people, as they will help your business grow.

–        Treat everyone with respect and always keep the meaning of “karma” in mind.

–        Be yourself and follow your heart… as no one else will be better at being you than yourself.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I am on the Board of Directors for the Dance for Life Foundation, a non-profit organization that believes the passion for dance can be used as a medium to bring together communities of people globally. We support and assist charities and individuals in need and all of our profits from our initiatives go to charity. In addition, I sit on the Turnout group at the National Ballet of Canada, who foster the future of dance by supporting the prestigious Apprentice program. I’m also an active mentor for thriving female entrepreneurs in Toronto. Throughout the year, DivaGirl also supports various local, women organizations, which serve various goals, yet all focus on making women lives’ better.

What to you is notable?
Being notable is working hard, treating other with respect and always having a good heart. At the end of day, there should be no regrets.

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