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Stephanie Townsend: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today's Notable Young Entrepreneur is CC Lounge and Whisky Bar director of corporate events and customer relations Stephanie Townsend, who's work has turned the new Front Street space into one of the hottest spots in the city

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is CC Lounge and Whisky Bar director of corporate events and customer relations Stephanie Townsend, who’s work has turned the new Front Street space into one of the hottest spots in the city…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m the director of corporate events and customer relations at CC Lounge and Whisky Bar – Toronto’s trendiest new venue. This job involves developing new business with individual parties and corporate events, tailoring reservations to specific needs, and building lasting relationships with corporations.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Originally, this was not my intended career path. But one thing lead to another with a previous part-time bartending gig and I learned other sides of this industry, which were very well suited to my personality. I was given the opportunity to enter a senior management position and took it on full force, enjoying the challenges and fast-paced environment.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Working with a great team. We have so much fun day to day. The laughter doesn’t stop. Also, random wine and whisky tastings aren’t too shabby. We live in a city with incredibly high expectations. From a hospitality standpoint, I would say the most challenging aspect of this job is simply getting the word out there and having new patrons walk through our doors. Getting people to step out of their comfort zone and try something new can often be difficult, especially when there are so many options available to them.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
As I am an individual that eats, sleeps and breathes my career, personal relationships in the past have taken a backseat. I have learned that making an effort for the people I care about should be as much of a priority as my career. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Here, at CC Lounge and Whisky Bar with the same crazy and determined team. Our goal is to open new niche hot spots around Toronto, the GTA and perhaps other great cities, and manage multiple event spaces that cater to everyone.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
In my previous role, I often felt complacent and that I wasn’t growing in my career. When you start to feel like you aren’t growing as a person, both personally and professionally, it is time to move on. The biggest challenge I faced was not walking away when it was time. Overcoming this obstacle took a great deal of thought and determination; maintaining the status quo is a much easier path than change.

Also, working in this industry exposes one to many different personalities. Having the ability to work with so many personalities is one of my best assets.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Waking up Monday morning and feeling good about the week ahead is a good start. It’s hard to not sound cliché when answering this question. Obviously, money allows you to do things that can make you happy, but there are many other factors that lead to one’s happiness.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Leaving a successful establishment, convenient paycheque, and risking the unknown to start a new business.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Network as much as you can. You never know who you’ll meet inside or outside of work. Trust me, it happened to me on a flight to Chicago. Also, ALWAYS go the extra mile. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make the biggest impression.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Toronto has so much to offer. It’s hard to choose one, but a few of my favs would be Chantecler, Bent, Libretto, Playa Cabana…but I don’t limit myself to these kind of places. You can also find me at Sneaky Dees at 3am eating a King’s Crown.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time? I love “me” time but not alone time, so I always surround myself with family, friends and my dog Bowie. I also love to run and practice yoga. Going out to other places, checking out restaurants and observing the changing trends in the industry are also “me” time well spent.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Italy, in particular the Amalfi Coast – over and over again. The culture, food and wine, mixed with the ocean views, are a dream setting.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
I would probably have a different theme song for every morning, noon, and night. Most likely anything by Beyoncé.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Probably teaching. Kids are adorable and there’s something cool about teaching an army of children and watching them grow. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I’m a big advocate of Save Our Scruff. Their focus is on rescuing and rehoming neglected dogs into loving homes here in Toronto and the GTA. They rescue puppies and dogs from all over the world; fly them in, get them adjusted and find them the perfect forever home. It’s an unbelievable and selfless organization. Check them out on Instagram and Facebook.

What to you is notable?
Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.

– Anonymous.

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