Apollonia Vanova: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is the talented artist, curator, entrepreneur and actress Apollonia Vanova, whose desire to be in full control of her life and career inspired her to take this particular journey…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Artist, curator, entrepreneur, actor.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
The desire to be in full control of my life and career propelled me to manage my own career path as an artist. I have discovered that no one could ever be as passionate about my work or my life as I am, nor could they ever understand it as well as I do.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best and the most challenging parts are one and the same: having to answer to no one but myself. 

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Being an artist and an entrepreneur is very rewarding but it also comes with many responsibilities that one would not have if one were to work for someone else. I have to be very careful how I organize my days and make sure to eat nutritious foods and exercise on a regular basis. Otherwise things can get off balance and when that happens, insomnia is one of the signs that suggests the work/balance is off and I need to recalibrate.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Exhibiting internationally in galleries, art institutions and art fairs.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Keeping myself motivated. During challenging times, it is easy to fall prey to a ‘victim’ mentality. I try to overcome it by looking to Winston Churchill’s famous quote: “When going through hell, keep going.”

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success comes in many forms, but to me success means accomplishing my goals. I establish a goal and then write down a daily, weekly and monthly plan of how to accomplish my goal. I follow my plan and put a checkmark beside every task until I’ve accomplished my goal. Therefore, Goal + Plan + Action = Success.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
After I graduated from high school, I travelled to Italy and became an apprentice to the famous sculptor Tomasso Gismondi. Upon my return to Canada, I opened Vano Inc., where I designed and produced large ceramic murals. I was just 20 years old when I received my first commission for a 20′ x 5′ pediment sculpture for a Neo-Classical private villa. Not having experience with such a large project, everyone, including my teachers, urged me not to accept such an ambitious commission until I had acquired more experience. In my youthful, arrogant, fearless and naive stupor my answer to everyone was: “If Michelangelo could do it, I can too!” I don’t think I would make such an arrogant proclamation now, but I always smile when I recall that moment because I was totally fearless and self-confident and that is what got me through. Although I had many obstacles to overcome with that commission, I successfully completed it.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t waste your time. We live in a world where it’s so easy to be lured by so many things. Decide what you want and focus on that. Time is the only thing that we can never get back. 

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Ki Restaurant. It has a fantastic atmosphere. I love the dark, romantic ambiance and the interior decor.  It also has amazing food, great service and a wonderful selection of sake.

When you’re not working, how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I really enjoy Muay Thai, going to art exhibits, the symphony, concerts, shopping in unique boutiques…

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Anywhere that is not touristy and commercial. I absolutely adore nature that is unspoiled and remote. I love embarking on road trips to unusual places. Once, I took a plane to Saskatchewan, rented a car and drove around the prairies for a couple of days and went to the Big Badlands. The wheat fields were shimmering in the sunlight and the sky was such a deep blue… it was spectacular!

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
“Nothing Compares to You” by Sinead O’Connor. 

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
More outdoor sports and activities. I finally got my PADI licence and would like to dive more. I would also like to get my sky diving certificate. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support the SPCA, PETA and the Humane Society. It is so sad that we still live in a society where animal abuse and neglect is not a serious offence. I am not only referring to individuals abusing or abandoning their pets, but am also disgusted by our laws that allow animal farming for the purpose of pet trade, fur trade or food, to legally trap, breed, raise, keep and slaughter animals under such inhumane and horrible conditions. I am horrified that in Canada, as long as you operate as a business, animal abuse is actually legal. 

What to you is notable?
Humility and valour. 

BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone for now.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)


Cover Image by: Benjamin James Ayres

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Top photo by Benjamin James Ayres