Woman across Canada are kicking butt in the workforce, all while maintaining their cool and doing the things in life they enjoy. “Motivation Monday: 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 Alexandra Diaz - host and producer of the tv show Cuisine futée, parents pressés, as well as co-author of Cuisine futée, the magazine.
Can you describe what you do?
I’m an octopus. The only difference is that I use two tentacles like I had eight of them. I co-chair a business whose mission is to invite people to cook more often and cook healthier. With my colleague Geneviève O’Gleman who is like a sister to me, we produce the TV series Cuisine futée, parents pressés, airing on Télé-Québec for the fifth season. We’re also the co-authors of two books: Famille futée one and two. The next edition is currently in production. Last August, we also launched Cuisine futée, the magazine, a new platform that allows us to expand on topics that are closely linked to our brand: offering healthy and tasty recipe ideas that are easy to make during the week and low cost, never more than $5 per portion. Between our projects, we also offer two types of conferences on nutrition and entrepreneurship. Geneviève is a nutritionist by training, while I’m a journalist and animateur. She creates the content and I package it. I’m responsible for the growth and artistic direction of our brand. She ensures that our recipes are original and to my great relief, she also manages the finances.
What does a typical day look like for you starting from the moment you wake up?
I wake my kids up 15 minutes before they have to be up by playing a song of their choice. Then I cover them in thousands of kisses and words of love. They like it so much they often ask me to wake them up 30 minutes earlier. Eh, no thanks. We eat breakfast all together, while we gather the lunches that I prepared the night before. Once they’re off to school, my chaos begins. I’m picking up texts, emails, and attending phone meetings with my headphones in my ears, while finishing the last sips of my coffee. Generally, all simultaneously. Once I get to the studio, I review the day’s priorities with my team and then we attack. I installed a Sonos music systems that all my colleagues have downloaded on their phone that they go and listen to based on their musical preference. Besides being highly proficient, I work with people who have an infinite kindness. Our setting is smooth. We have lunch all together where we discuss the dozens of recipes we test during the day. By the time I leave work, my hair either smells like coconut milk or spaghetti squash, it make me laugh. My job makes me feel fulfilled.
What are some challenges you face as a career woman - personal or professional?
Maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Starting your own business forces you to work day and night during the first years. I’m not saying anything new. I like to take on more projects than necessary, that’s my nature. I like to see my friends, I like to work out everyday if possible, and I don’t do anything halfway. I’m a mom of two young kids who follow me everywhere, so I’m constantly managing my priorities. My decisions have a lot of impact because I started a business. My colleagues and I weigh all our decisions rigorously. We’re well informed and we validate everything ten times instead of one.
How do you overcome these challenges?
I know how to surround myself. I would have never founded a business on my own. Geneviève is extraordinaire where I am not. I work with my best friends. Our director, the editor of our mag, my right arm, our show’s script editor, and so many other of my colleagues form the core of my best friends in the world. I work for people that I deeply love and I deeply love the people that I work with. And my kids spend their days off and the end of their days at my work. Jack pot.
Do you have any other tips that help you juggle work-life, balance?
My work is my life and my life is my work. The pleasure of others is my job. The joining forces between those two is the gym. I’ve been running for the last 5 years. My trainings regulate everything; my appetite, my sleep, my joie de vivre. Naturally, I have an energy reserve that is pretty phenomenal, and running is rest. When I start working out less or if I get a cold that prevents me from working out, my whole life feels the effects. Running is the strongest natural drug.
How do you like to unwind?
Besides working out, I like to not have any plans. I’m a big expert at doing nothing if I don’t have plans. I can easily sink into an exquisite idleness. I’ll go do my nails with my daughter at the spa, all while arguing with my son about a game of chess. Or I’ll even bring them to get a message with me. Three beds in the same room with three massage therapists. But the ultimate way to unwind is to travel alone, with your family or friends.
When you go out do you choose wine or cocktails?
I’m surrounded by a lot of admirable wine connoisseurs. For that reason, I can’t name a single wine, vine or I don’t know what. But I’ll know in three seconds if i’m drinking cheap wine. I discovered during a trip in Spain a Cava, not awkward at all, that costs next to nothing, and I have it at home all the time.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I don’t know who said it or even if someone told me it, but I know for sure that ‘happiness is right now’.
How do you define success?
The odds have been in our favour for Geneviève and I. We’re aware and we always pat ourself and our team on the back because we earned it. We took a chance and we still have big dreams. But no matter what success we might reach, nothing matters more to me than the process to get there. You need respect, communication, and you have to enjoy it the whole way through. Then, let’s celebrate as much as possible.
Do you know someone we should feature in this segment? Send an email to [email protected]