Our own Susan McIntee was interviewed for an article for Toronto Storeys honouring powerful women in Toronto Real Estate. (and anyone who knows Susan will agree that she is a powerhouse!) The article was published (see link below) on International Women’s Day. Susan was asked 5 questions, and we think you’ll find her responses very interesting and inspiring.
The Five Questions:
- What was your dream job as a kid and why?
As a child, I had health issues that required a number of surgeries – so naturally I dreamed of becoming a surgeon. But as I got older, I drifted more towards the creative – with an initial career in retail that led to a return to school to learn graphic design. That’s when I really hit my stride. So from aspirations to curing people with a scalpel, I changed focus to curing marketing challenges with a pencil!
- What woman inspires you and why?
I have had the privilege of working with some extremely fine women in my life. But the one who probably influenced me the most was our very first client at 52 Pick-up – Donna Dooher from Mildred’s Temple Kitchen. When we first came onboard, Donna had the restaurant and a cooking school called Cookworks. Donna, together with Mildred Pierce and Kevin Gallagher introduced Toronto to a unique dining experience and established brunch as a culinary trend in the city. She also wrote one of the first chef-authored cookbooks, which my partner Nick and I designed.
We worked closely with her to rebrand Mildred’s Temple Kitchen as well as Cookworks, providing a memorable new image for the brands and collaborating on many marketing initiatives over the years. Cookworks spun off into a TV show and Mildred’s Temple Kitchen on Queen West is now MTK in Liberty Village.
What impresses me the most about Donna is her perseverance, her tenacity, her courage and her inability to take no for an answer. She has a keen eye for the next trend – trailblazing in neighbourhoods like Queen West and Liberty Village years before they became hot spots. She has broken ground by hiring women as head chefs, becoming a vital mentor for women in a predominately male industry. Donna is the former Restaurants Canada President and CEO. She is extremely focused on success and achieving her goals but she is also very human.
- What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
The biggest challenge facing the present generation of women is their own attitudes. Women handle things differently than men – and their ability to multi-task is a great asset in the workplace. However – many women need to rebrand themselves; ditch the bitching and moaning and concentrate on doing a great job – give it 150%. Conduct yourself professionally. Be authentic. Be kind. Be a champion for other women. And above all work hard.
- What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position in the industry?
To be a leader in marketing new real estate, my advice is to think first about the work, not the money. The money will come if you’re good at what you do. My business partner Nick Monteleone and I run 52 Pick-up by being extremely attentive to our clients – listening to them, strategizing with them, creating winning brands collaboratively and taking pride in everything we do. I also believe strongly in creating exceptional teams and then getting out of their way and letting them do their jobs. Trusting your team is vital to your success.
It’s also important to be passionate about what you do – but not in an ego-centric way. You have to able to take negative feedback positively; you need to foster a safe environment that encourages honest feedback. We all come up with bad ideas every now and then – and we have to have tough skin. One of our clients’ motto is “It’s not who’s right, it’s what’s right” and that is a mantra that I’ve also adopted. (Thanks Hunter!)
And finally, when it comes to marketing new real estate, dare to be different, dare to think differently, dare to think outside the box and dare to stand on the ledge.
- Tell us about your hobbies outside of work.
Well if the truth be told, my work is my life. I live, eat and breathe advertising and there are never enough hours in a day or days in a week to accomplish everything I want to do. But when there is a break in the action, the things that occupy my time are my family, my dog Gymmy, cooking, dining out and the occasional jigsaw puzzle.