Tanya Dodaro is the co-founder and managing director of On Q Communications, a boutique Toronto PR agency.
Though her career started in journalism – spending three years hosting and producing a national health and beauty show – she couldn’t deny her entrepreneurial drive.
On Q was was founded in 2005, and was the start to Tanya’s business ventures. In 2011, shortly after the birth of her second daughter, she started Bizzy Beez Child Care Centre, hiring an operations manager but still overseeing the business side of things, it has been successful for 5 years now. Opening a childcare facility in the vacant space next door to her agency office, allowed her to uphold an ideal work-life balance; creating strategies for clients while being close to her children. With OnQ’s 11th year anniversary coming up, and Bizzy Beez in it’s 5th year, Tanya will be celebrating by opening a third business this September.
Tanya spends her days writing proposals and initiating industry leading ideas with her team, while always being available to tend to the needs of current clients. On Q is constantly growing and adding to the impressive list of clients, which has includes names like Baskin Robbins, Sunnybrook Health Sciences, FitFlop UK and The MBA Tour.
How did you get involved with the work you currently do?
I started an internship at CTV when I was still in school and it was all uphill from there. Before I graduated I was hired to host and produce a beauty show, that aired nationally across Canada on a Global Network for 3 years. While hosting, I would often find myself offering advice on how to get media attention to the brands I worked with — I was practising PR without even knowing it! During a summer shooting hiatus, I decided to take the plunge and pursue my entrepreneurial drive. I co-founded On Q Communications shortly after and that paved my path for future entrepreneurial endeavors.
What is your WHY?
Early in my career I had several internships at prominent corporations. During that time I realized that the layers of red tape for approvals, although necessary at times, hindered the ability to pursue ideas for quick turnaround, big payout type campaigns. I soon realized agency side was more my speed. I tend to thrive in environments where I can work face to face with the client and we can make campaigns happen within the hour if need be.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to face?
Navigating the work/life balance as an entrepreneur and mother was much more challenging than I anticipated. On Q Communications was everything to me before I had children and letting go of responsibility was difficult. But because my business partner Livia Grujich and I had children at different times, I was able to have a wonderful year of maternity leave with both of my two daughters, while having a thriving business to come back to. I also took the opportunity to see the challenge of daycare as an opportunity.
After maternity leave I opened Bizzy Beez Child Care Centre beside my agency office. This allowed me to focus on growing my agency while still being near my children. I am proud to say that seven years after my first child, a business predominantly led and managed by women, has collectively seen the birth of six children and we are still stronger and more successful than ever.
Whats piece of advice would you give to someone trying to do what you do, or trying to follow their own dreams?
Have a clear vision before you start any venture. Know your end goal and visualize in your mind what success would look like for you, see it and feel it. Once you have full clarity, your entire being will be focused on making that vision a reality. Keep your vision top of mind, live it and breathe it daily and there is no way you can fail.
Who (person or organization) inspires you?
As far as I can remember, my father was always my biggest inspiration in life. He nurtured an environment where I was taught that there are no limits in life and reaching your highest goal doesn’t have to be a dream but can be a reality. My father regretfully passed in 2003, but I am proud to say his confidence and his positive outlook on life still keeps the fire burning inside of me.
I have to say that these days, I also draw a lot of my inspiration from my two little girls. I strive everyday to show them that it is possible to be a mom that is always available for her children and at the same time hold down a successful business/career. I want to teach them that learning the life lesson of how to bridge the worlds of motherhood and career woman is key in order to achieve a fulfilling life.