Today’s Notable Young Professional is Josef Azam, CEO of graphic and web design agency, Design Shopp. We caught up with him to find out what inspires him and what advice he would share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I am the CEO of Design Shopp International, a design agency with offices in Montreal, Toronto, New York and Ottawa. I lead a team of 32 amazing people. I deal with the finances, budgets, business development and pretty much am pulled in any direction that I am needed.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I always wanted to matter in this universe and business was something that I was good at. If I was good at something else, I may have chosen another path.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
There are many, however, moving into our new Montreal head office with my awesome team was definitely a highlight.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I am constantly pushing for more growth and success. Always dreaming big and not being afraid to take chances and risks. Staying stagnant in business will never work for me. In the years to come, growth and expansion will continue.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t believe the hype of most people. Be humble and don’t worry about what others think of your goals or ideas. Always believe in yourself, if you don’t, how can you expect others to believe in you?
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
Yes, we support the Starlight Children’s Foundation. They are an unbelievable organization helping children that are battling serious health issues. They provide opportunities for these children so they too can experience the joys of life.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
In the beginning, what people thought of me meant a lot. Now I don’t give a sh*t what people think of me.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Hard work. If you have money but never worked for it and never truly earned it, I don’t consider these people notable. However, I do consider the hard worker that works in a factory or cleans floors to support his family as a notable person. How much I make or how many millions my companies sell should never define who I am. I want to be known as the hardest worker in the room. That’s notable for me.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Khyber Pass restaurant. It’s a restaurant that my uncle owns and the cuisine is a large part of my roots. It’s also BYOB which is good when you to get hammered at dinner.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
The most visited website is probably CNN and the most played song is really any cheesy 90’s dance song.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Gary Vaynerchuk. This person says it like it is without bullsh*t. A bit like me.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Oftentimes during a vacation, I feel like I can be pushing for Design Shopp’s next big milestone rather than just relaxing on a beach. However, the US, particularly New York City, is one of my favourite places to vacation in, the city that never sleeps. I like vacations that pump me up and don’t relax me too much.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Owning a business the size of Design Shopp comes with a price. You will miss out on many things and have way more stress than the average person. Nonetheless, I don’t fear what I miss out on because I accept that building something substantial does come with a hefty price tag. I never forget that I not only built something special for myself, but also for my family. It is a legacy that I would like to leave my children and instil a work ethic that encourages success in their life.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
Supplements for sure and concerts and festivals.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success is a journey I have been on for eight years now setting goals, reaching them and continuing on. Enjoying the journey and the infinite possibilities for Design Shopp as well as future business endeavours is my definition of success.