Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Candid Communications Founder and Director Cara Spevick, whose Toronto-based boutique agency is the culmination of her passion for professional writing and the desire to take charge of her own affairs…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am the Founder and Director of Candid Communications, a boutique Toronto agency that provides professional writing, public relations, social media and marketing services. Since my company is relatively new, I am currently wearing many hats and handling a variety of tasks – from business development, to client relations, to creating online content. While building my own brand is a job in itself, I love being my own boss and juggling all sorts of responsibilities.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Since graduating from university, I’ve gained extensive experience in the print, broadcast and online media sectors, working for large corporations such as Global News and Sony Music Canada. I have also written countless articles for newspapers and magazines, as well as website and blog content for many organizations and companies. After being exposed to the field of communications and public relations through various employment opportunities over the years, I decided to launch my own company with the skills and knowledge I acquired. As the founder and director of my agency, I am pursuing my dream of using my passions and talent to help my clients succeed in their own business ventures.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I love waking up every morning with the ability to devote my day to growing my company. I have had several experiences in the past, while working for others, where I felt like my efforts were taken for granted. Being my own boss makes me feel like my daily devotion to my job and my clients is truly worthwhile and rewarding.
Because my agency is still quite young, I think one of the most challenging aspects of running Candid Communications is securing accounts. I know I am more than capable of helping companies boost their performance and reputation through the quality services I offer; it’s just a matter of getting my name out there.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I have always tried to make my personal life as much of a priority as my career. If I get too absorbed in my work and neglect my mental and physical health, no one benefits. Just like my clients need some down time at the end of the day, so do I. Balance is key, and I strive to keep myself happy in and out of my office.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I hope Candid Communications is successful and well respected. I hope by this point that I will have worked with many amazing clients with whom I’ve developed strong relationships. In half a decade, I want to be well travelled, I want to perhaps have a novel under my belt, and I want to be growing my family. I am now married to an incredible man who makes me excited about the future.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
When I first entered the job force, I was shy and timid. I cared a lot about pleasing others, and not necessarily about my own happiness. I was at the bottom of the ladder and treated like I wasn’t very important or valuable. Over the years, I have developed a stronger voice and proven that I won’t be stepped on. Today, I don’t tolerate when people talk down to me condescendingly. I know my worth and I am confident in my skills and abilities. Starting my own company was my way of separating myself from toxic work environments and from those who didn’t let me thrive.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
To me success is doing fulfilling work. Writing has always been one of my greatest passions and talents, so being able to create blogs, articles, and website and social media content for my clients is what makes my job so personally satisfying. When you spend your time doing what you enjoy and you’re able to make an income from it, work isn’t really work anymore.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
While I’ve written some very memorable articles and interviewed some very interesting and inspiring people as a journalist, I think starting my own business just a few months ago has been one of my most notable accomplishments. I will never forget the day my website went live and my husband (at the time my fiancé) brought home a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
It’s very easy to feel like the work you’re doing is tedious, but everyone struggles at some point in their career to establish themselves and succeed. Keep moving forward and keep growing. On another note, if what you’re doing is truly crushing your spirit, perhaps it’s time to assess your circumstances. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t let anyone bully you. Above all, be strong and confident in your identity.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I have a few favourites: La Bruschetta for Italian, Tabule for Middle Eastern, and Milagro for Mexican. Runners-up include Gusto 101, Pizza e Pazzi and La Vecchia. I’m not the biggest drinker, so I look for restaurants with appealing apps and entrées.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I love spending time with my husband, exploring the city and discovering new areas. Some days we’ll search for unique coffee shops, some days we’ll go for walks and enjoy nature, and some days we’ll see a play or movie. I also love weekends at my cottage, where I get to be with my family and relax by the lake.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
To date, I’d have to say Italy. That’s where I went on my honeymoon and that’s where I felt truly content. I could not ask for better food, a richer culture, more breathtaking views or nicer people. The country is magical and it had such a wonderful impact on me.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
This is a hard one… As cheesy as it sounds, I have to say “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. The lyrics are very catchy and the song always puts me in a good mood. I even love the version from Glee (yes, I said that).
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t running my business, I would still be writing. Whether professionally or creatively, I will never stop expressing myself through words. If I had to choose a different career, I’d probably become a teacher. I love children.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I have supported several charities over the years, including those associated with cancer research, with animal welfare, and with Israel. As a journalist, I have written about many non-profit organizations that do great work in our community and around the world, and I think publicizing their good deeds is a good deed in itself. In the future, I would like to volunteer for causes I support and to first hand help others who are less fortunate or in need.
What to you is notable?
To me being notable is making a difference. Whether it’s helping people through work or in your spare time, being notable is using your strengths to assist others. I also associate the term with being selfless, taking risks and not tolerating negativity.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone (and iPad).