One of the things I get the most excited about in YWiB is the tremendous energy, enthusiasm and learning gets passed on. Last week was one of those beautiful moments in which there was an intersection between those things and self-discovery. It was at our first YWiB Dinner Series Event - The Way of the Entrepreneur: Hacking your Personal Brand. The event was inspiring and wonderful.
Entrepreneurs are an amazing group in society that challenges the status quo. Last Wednesday, Vancouver’s best shared stories of their challenges faced on their individual journies ranging from getting kicked out of business school to running an executive coaching company to being the chocolate guy.
For those of you who missed the event, here’s an insider’s look on Lara Kozan, Co-founder of Yyoga and one of our mentors last week.
(Note: the interview below has been paraphrased. It’s hard to keep up with Lara’s enthusiasm, write and listen at the same time!)
1) What is the start-up story behind your business venture?
I had grown up with entrepreneurs all around me – grandfather, father and older brother. I have been exposed to it and seen it in my family. As a little girl, I used to draw our pictures and diagrams of a wellness centre, although, looking back, at times it could have been a strip mall or dance studio!
The first day I practiced yoga, I knew I was going to open a studio. I was hooked. I did yoga everyday until I went to teacher’s training. This was all about 10 years ago. I taught in many different studios, different cities, all the way from Vancouver to Halifax.
At that time, interestingly enough, Yyoga was born from a conversation that had nothing to do with yoga. My grandma has just passed away and I had gotten together with a dear friend, Terry McBride, to speak about life. He had been teaching yoga at his company for about three years at that time, and the conversation blossomed into a new creation – how we felt when we practiced and how it would be possible to expand the yoga community and get more people to do more yoga. From there, it was about a year until we started Yyoga.
2) What number 1 advice would you give to aspiring young women entrepreneurs?
It’s time to share it; the world needs your gift. The only difference between a normal person and an entrepreneur is that entrepreneur steps forward to do it.
3) Who has influenced you most and been your greatest inspiration through this process?
Two people: my business partner Terry. He has been consistent and inspiring. Optimistic could not describe him powerfully enough.
The second would be one of my most powerful teachers in my yoga practice – Baron Baptiste. He was my most inspiring yoga teacher and really has a way of inspiring me to be empowered, and to be a creator through his classes and teachings. I did his training and taught with him. He was the one who taught me to connect and give back.
5) How do you achieve balance in your life? How do you define balance?
Balance for me is like a daily check in. To see how centered I am. I step on the mat and meditate everyday. If I’m not centered, then I look for what is out of alignment. When I mean centered, it is in the context of yoga – in yourself. Grounded. When the body is fit, the mind feels calm. As a whole, and collected. Coming and moving from deepest intention and being very in tuned.
4) In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Grateful, abundant and inspired are the words that are coming to me right now…but if I had to pick one, it would be:
Speaking to Lara and meeting all the incredible entrepreneurs during the dinner was a reminder on how empowering your life can be when you share your passion. So those of you who weren’t there, here’s our challenge, with love:
It’s time to share your gift. The world needs it.