Being a successful entrepreneur in today’s economy is definitely not easy – being a woman trying to run your own business is event more of a challenge. Many people have tried their hand at starting their own business, but unfortunately most of them don’t succeed or aren’t able to withstand the test of time.
It takes strong will, determination, persistence, hard work and a good team standing by your side to truly make it – and for Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, all that hard work has paid off as she has made the W100 list of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs.
PROFIT and Canadian Business unveiled the 18th annual list and ranked Goldblatt-Sadowski, rock-it promotions‘ founder and president, No. 85. Published at PROFITguide.com, the W100 ranks female entrepreneurs using a proprietary formula that considers the size, growth rate and profitability of the businesses they own and manage.
“The members of the 2016 W100 each possess the talent and tenacity to start and grow a successful business,” said James Cowan, editor-in-chief of PROFIT and Canadian Business. “Their remarkable achievements serve as proof that ambitious, risk-taking female entrepreneurs are integral to the growth of the Canadian economy.”
“It is an honour to be recognized alongside such an impressive lineup of inspiring female entrepreneurs,” said Goldblatt-Sadowski. “Over the past 16 years running rock-it promotions, the PR industry has gone through so much change and we’ve taken that opportunity to adapt, capitalize and grow. I’m very humbled by this honour, and owe much of my success to my team and my clients.”
Goldblatt-Sadowski’s company rock-it promotions has grown to be a significant player in the PR industry since its inception in 2000. Starting out from her parents’ spare bedroom armed with a phone book, fax machine and immense drive, Goldblatt-Sadowski has built the agency into a powerhouse lifestyle firm that is now recognized as one of Canada’s leading mid-sized lifestyle PR firms. The agency’s team of nearly 30 PR professionals manage an impressive roster of clients that include adidas, Etsy, GUESS, IMG and Toronto Fashion Week, Oliver & Bonacini, Mackage, REDKEN, Taste of Toronto, JENNY BIRD, Tommy Hilfiger, TOMS and Consonant Skincare, among many others.
rock-it also operates two complementary divisions: Tastemakers, a product placement company that pioneered the celebrity gifting suite concept in Canada and that has been running its much sought-after Tastemakers Lounge for the past 12 years; and Fourth Floor Management, a social influencer management arm that represents top Canadian online influencers, which was launched earlier this year.
Below is a Q&A with Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, someone I am proud to have worked with on many articles, features and projects over my 13 years in the media industry and will gladly continue to work with in the years to come.
Sandy – So right off the top, I have to ask you what does it feel like to have made the W100 list of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs?
Debra – “It feels surreal! But it also feels pretty great. I’ve worked really hard and this award meant a great deal to me.”
Sandy – What does it mean to be recognized with such an honour as this?
Debra – “The award is based on a composite score tallied from the size, growth rate and profitability of a company, so it is completely about numbers which felt really good. As the W100 is Canada’s largest annual celebration of entrepreneurial achievement by women, it is an amazing honour to be profiled among some incredible peers and hopefully inspire other women in business.”
Sandy – What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your own business? How did you overcome it?
Debra – “I often say that I am an accidental entrepreneur – I didn’t have a business or a PR degree and both would have been helpful! Through determination, an amazing team around me and pure tenacity, I’ve overcome many challenges.”
Sandy – What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given in terms of running your own business?
Debra – “Don’t get into debt.”
Sandy – With the constant change in the PR industry over the years, how have you and your team adapted to change and been able to continue to grow?
Debra – “Change is good for all business. We have to adapt and learn and grow or we wouldn’t stay inspired and challenged. At rock-it, we keep up with these changes by immersing ourselves into our industry. Reading all forms of media, participating in lots of events and being active on social media has been an amazing addition to our world.”
Sandy – “As a woman in the business world, what challenges do you face when it comes to balancing your career and the rest of your life? What’s your secret to ‘keeping the balance?'”
Debra – “The secret is that there is no secret to balance! Being a female entrepreneur and a wife and mother are both full-time jobs without adding anything else into the mix. Having a supportive husband is pretty incredible and I try to book off small windows of time for myself regularly. I have a weekly ‘date night’ at home with my husband that I really look forward to every week. Sometimes balance is getting a quick pedicure or facial, but stepping away from my phone or computer for an hour can really recharge me. And wine and laughter with my best girlfriends is pretty key.”
Sandy – What tips can you offer other women who are strive to keep the balance in their lives?
Debra – “Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes. If you are completely burnt out, you won’t be able to be a good leader, or wife, or mother. Something will suffer – so make time to laugh, love and think about yourself sometimes. If I accepted every coffee/lunch/dinner date, I’d literally be out every night of the week.”
Sandy – What’s your guilty pleasure or secret luxury, something that is yours that you use as an escape from your everyday stresses?
Debra – “I online shop late at night. Or watch the Kardashians with a big bowl of popcorn. Best.”
The full W100 editorial coverage will also appear in the June 2016 issue of Canadian Business and online at Chatelaine.com.