Women across Canada are kicking butt in the workforce, all while maintaining their cool and doing the things in life they enjoy. “Monday Motivation: How she does it” is a news series where we profile notable women working in various fields to find out how they juggle work-life, balance. For this installment, we chatted with Sonia Zarbatany - Co-owner of Zarby International and serial entrepreneur.
Can you describe what you do?
I can’t help but laugh; I am wearing so many different hats at the moment. I am the co-owner of Zarby International, executive vice-president of Vince Camuto and Sanctuary Clothing in Canada, as well as a business and success mentor, coach, and speaker. In my fashion business, I distribute some of the best North American brands to the Canadian market. I scout international markets for the next “it brands” to launch in Canada. As a business and success mentor, I am hired to speak across North America on different stages not just to inspire, but to give concrete tips and techniques on how to achieve the life my followers aspire to live. As a coach, I select a few clients to mentor and tailor my approach to help each person. What I do comes from my never-ending passion to help others achieve their best self.
What does a typical day look like for you starting from the moment you wake up?
What I love about my life is that there truly isn’t anything typical about what I do or how I choose to live my life, and run my business. If I am in Montreal, my day starts when my 4-year-old daughter hops into my bed and gets the party started! First, she wants to cuddle, then she picks out her dress for the day, because I gave up trying to make her wear anything else. Then we have breakfast as a family. I hop in the shower and try to get ready in 15 minutes, while my daughter tells me what to wear and tries on my makeup as I do mine. After our mommy and me time, I drop her off at school, head to the office and let the games begin. I am extremely “scheduled” in all aspects of my life. I have to be because all the moving parts I’m juggling. Everything is in my calendar; from meetings to “to do” lists, to kids activities, social engagements, charitable and PR events, and my workouts. My friends, family and husband all know if we have plans; they are getting a calendar invite (laughs). I realize that this might sound odd, but when you are so busy and running around, it guarantees that I never neglect the most important people in my life and that I don’t double book important events.
What does your day look like at the office?
My day at the office consists of working with major accounts, planning fashion buys on our brand, projecting what styles will sell, planning buying trips, shopping channel events, and so much more. My social media platforms also takes up an hour of my time to answer requests to collaborate with different brands, speaking engagement requests, workshops to develop and interview questions to answer. I also try to take some time to share fun tips on my instagram stories and answer questions from my followers on Instagram.
What are some challenges you face as a career woman?
The concept that we can do it all. Being a business owner has its perks. My daughter is sitting beside me at the office and colouring away because I decided to bring her to work with me today. Yes, I realize how lucky I am that I can do that. So many working mothers don’t have that advantage. However, there’s no off button for the business, there’s no 9 to 5 and there’s no weekends off. My mind is always on my business and on projects I take on. Not only are we career women, but the second we have children we must completely organize them too. When I travel for business, I am constantly checking the cameras in my house to make sure my daughter gets to sleep on time and is happy, and cared for. I have reminders on my phone when she is done school to ensure I schedule the Uber pick up for my daughter and my nanny from her school even while I am sitting in a meeting in a different time zone. We women take care of the kids, the home, the social life and the office. It can often become overwhelming if we are not organized, but we are superwomen and we can get it done!
How do you overcome these challenges?
First and most importantly, feeling overwhelmed is ok. There is no shame in that. The solution sounds simple, but I realize it can be very difficult to achieve, learning how to cope with that aspect of our lives and not just cope, but accept and address so that we can be the best version of ourselves for our children, spouses and dominate in the business sphere. Which brings me to the practical component of your question; Organization and an extreme case of it (laughs). I have surrounded myself with a great team. I have a fantastic staff at the office, an amazing assistant, great management for my speaking gigs, a social media expert and a nanny who I love and trust. My husband is also my greatest ally, my dad and in-laws are always just a call away. Never forget the importance of your support network and do not hesitate to use it. We take on so much and need the reassurance our circle can provide.
How do you like to unwind?
I would love to say a great bottle of wine and catching up with our friends, but since I'm almost seven months pregnant the bottle of wine is now out of the equation. For me, the gym has always been my solution to get me out of "work mode" and into “happy wife, happy mom and happy friend mode.” When I feel overwhelmed, overstressed or just over it all, I hit the gym for an hour of the hardest workout I can find, with the best music and amazing people. Then BOOM, like magic, I leave my work stress at the gym and go home. The whirlwind constantly going through my mind calms down so that I can go home and just be me, a mother and a wife, and above all present. At least, that’s what I tell myself (laughs).
You’re pregnant but… Choose one: wine or cocktails?
Once this pregnancy is over; Wine please! I’ve never been a big drinker so cocktails were never a big thing for me, but a great bottle of wine and an amazing dinner with friends, yum! I miss wine (laughs). Pregnant problems...
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be humble, be happy, always be the hardest working person in the room and make time for those you love no matter how hectic your life is. Let’s face it, it will always be hectic! These are the words I live by every day.
How do you define success?
When I go to sleep at night, kiss my kids, my husband, turn my phone on silent and just smile, I know I am exactly where I am meant to be, and I am just happy with it all!
Do you know someone we should feature in this segment? Send an email to [email protected]