Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Fashion to Finance: A Strong Woman in Business

John Smith

In 2018 the FDM Toronto Centre witnessed a record year of growth across all areas of business. Exciting new opportunities allowed our team to launch hundreds of careers for young tech talent across Canada which was spearheaded by a dedicated team of Account Executives.

We sat down with one of Toronto’s fastest rising stars, Account Director, Kat Turchik, to learn about the secrets to her success.

Q: You’re pursuing new business as an Account Director. How did you find yourself in this role?

KT: Before joining FDM four years ago, I was working in fashion and advertising, which is a slightly different path than my current colleagues. I worked at a modelling agency, artist’s agency and then an advertising firm, connecting talent with photo and video projects. What really got me excited about FDM was the business model. I love the idea of helping young people coming out of school find career opportunities. Having had challenges myself as a new graduate, not knowing where I wanted to go and feeling a little bit lost, it is rewarding to support others in navigating their career path.

I worked to develop some of our current and new Canadian clients. I moved from Junior Account Executive to Senior Account Executive, which led me to a passion for building client relationships. I wanted to expand from the banking and finance industries to go after new industries such as retail, government and energy. I’m looking forward to seeing what other sectors FDM’s business model will complement.

Q: What motivates you to get out of bed, come to work every day and put your best foot forward?

KT: I am a firm believer that to feel fulfilled means you need to be contributing to the success and happiness of other people in some way. What motivates me every morning is knowing that I am solving problems for clients and finding opportunities for new graduates. Now in an Account Director role, I’m also mentoring members of a junior team and passing on the knowledge that I’ve learned to help guide the next generation of FDM Account Executives.

Q: Do you have a mentor who stands out in your mind as a key motivator in your career? 

KT: Charlie Drewett, SVP North America, is and has been my mentor since day one. He was the first person to really see potential in me. Charlie offered more opportunities and support than anybody else has professionally or otherwise, despite any of my shortcomings. He saw that I was eager, passionate and willing to work hard. To this day he remains my greatest mentor and a person that I count on to be a source of inspiration and motivation in my career.

Q: What are the top qualities you need to succeed when working in Accounts? 

  1. Hustle and a sense of resilience. You’re going to have a lot of downfalls and rejection, so you really need to celebrate your wins and be persevere in the ability to keep going despite challenges.
  2. Passion. If you lack enthusiasm towards your work, it will be difficult to maintain momentum.
  3. Emotional Intelligence. You can be very smart, but if you don’t know how to connect with your clients and form relationships with your talent then you’re in trouble. It’s all about creating effective relationships.

Q: Work-life balance is a popular topic lately. How does one achieve this, and what do you do to relax?

KT: I was thinking about this recently and I’m really lucky that I love what I do and don’t feel the need to escape. I don’t find work daunting, an annoyance or a means to an end. I really enjoy what I do. My work motivates, energises and inspires me. Though, I am an introvert by nature and do need time alone to recharge. Sitting down with a good book or record recharges my batteries so that I can succeed in both personal and professional relationships.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another woman entering the workforce?

KT: One of my favourite things about being a woman in business is proving people wrong. I have often been labelled as sensitive and emotional. I have learned to view these qualities as strengths instead of weaknesses and not allow them to limit my opportunities or define my potential.

The number one piece of advice that I would give to women is: if you want something badly enough, and you’re willing to do what it takes to get it, then you truly are capable of anything you put your mind to. In the end, you create your own future. You need to believe in yourself, trust yourself and work your hustle because that’s the only way you’re going to succeed.

Q: How do you define success in your career?

KT: What matters most is that I feel like I am making a difference and improving the lives of others– to me, that’s a success.

Keen to start a career in business or IT? FDM could be the next step you need.

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Featured image credit: Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash