Lisa Richards: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Lisa Richards, who realized early on that creating your own opportunities is often the best and only way to pursue your passion professionally. We caught up with her to find out what inspired her career and what advice she would share with other young professionals…



Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
Through my agency, Vitality PR, I connect health, fitness and wellness entrepreneurs with their ideal clients using PR and marcomm strategies.

What was the inspiration for your career route?
Ever since I was five or six years old I’ve always had a love of writing and media, but somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t interested in being on the editorial end of things. I got introduced to PR in university (I went to Western) through student government and other organizations and have never looked back since.

One thing I loved about public relations that inspired me to make it my career is that no matter the industry, every organization will always need PR – I’ve dabbled in healthcare, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Once I broke into fitness PR in 2009, I knew I’d found my niche.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Definitely the travel I’ve gotten to do in fitness PR. It doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it’s usually pretty epic. I’ve travelled across Canada and the USA, which has been awesome, but definitely one of the biggest highlights was going to fitness DVD shoots in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Having fun on and off set with my colleagues and staying in mansions on the beach and calling it a ‘business trip’ was pretty awesome.

Another memorable milestone was when I got to go to IDEA World Health & Fitness Convention in 2014 and went on stage right after Jillian Michaels – following her and still managing to keep the crowd engaged will always be one of my favourite career highlights.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
In the future I definitely see myself having an online brand with PR resources for entrepreneurs. I want to build a career based around the freedom to work wherever I want to. Five, 10 and 20 years from now I want to be waking up in foreign countries, spending my mornings doing work and my afternoons exploring the world.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Create your own opportunities – don’t wait for them to be handed to you. When I first left school, I took the approach of figuring out who I wanted to work for rather than seeing what PR internships were available. On two separate occasions, I reached out to the company’s owners (who didn’t have job opportunities at the time) and convinced them to create a PR internship for me through persistence and tenacity. Both employers ended up hiring me as a coordinator after my internship was complete – I created my own jobs and was working for organizations that I was truly interested in.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I absolutely love animals – they love unconditionally – so a lot my volunteer work is largely focused around animal-centric organizations.

In the past, I organized and led a national team that raised over $10,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Run for the Cure, great way to put fitness to use for a charitable cause.

What does the word notable mean to you?
To me, notable means taking the road less travelled. Standing out and having the confidence to do something differently from everyone else in a way that supports living a lifestyle that you are passionate about.

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Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Despite being a meat-eater, I’m a really big fan of Fresh Restaurants – their brunch is one of my favourite in the city (try the blueberry almond pancakes with scrambled tofu and tempeh bacon) and their Buddha Bowl is pretty much the only thing I’ve had on their dinner menu because it’s that good. I also love that they make their recipes available through their cookbooks so I can always whip up my favourites from the restaurant right at home.

What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser?
According to Chrome, I have a fondness for logging onto Facebook, Gmail, LinkedIn, Sexy & Wealthy in Heels and Freshbooks!

Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Bloguettes! Female entrepreneurs will especially love them – their Instagram account is beautifully curated and I’m constantly impressed by the content they share. I love that they aren’t “stuffy” entrepreneurs; they’re two young women who’ve really nailed building a brand on social platforms. They really understand the subtle nuances of different social networks and how to use them effectively with a gorgeous aesthetic.

What’s your favourite cocktail?
I’ll never say no to a mojito. As someone who doesn’t really like liquor too much, it’s always my go-to.

What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Missing Game of Thrones as it airs – people are the worst for spoilers!

What would be your last meal? And don’t hold back…
I’d definitely have my last meal at Nana on Queen West.  Southern fried chicken laab as an appetizer (the texture!), pad Thai (no peanuts, no bean sprouts please) as my main, then my favourite dessert in life, banana roti!

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I’m not a huge TV watcher, but when there’s a show I like, I’m into it. Come hibernation season (fall/winter) I will happily curl up with Netflix or Shomi and binge watch a series. Narcos, House of Cards, Empire – I’m ruined for watching TV shows that release one episode at a time!