Driven by passion

by Leslie Foster

anastasia-valentineOttawa CEO and mom of three Anastasia Valentine is equally passionate about her family and career, which has brought her much fulfillment, if not balance

Anastasia Valentine has a rather eclectic background.

She is a mom of three children, ages three, 11, and 25. She’s also an ordained minister. She used to run an indie record label. She plays classical guitar and electric violin.

And she has 20 years’ experience bringing products of all types to market, winning awards, and working for large companies, as well as startups.

But after her last baby, Valentine decided not to go back to the corporate world, and started her own business.

Valentine founded Sandbox PM, an idea-to-launch company, of which she is CEO. She has assembled a formidable team to offer solutions for her clients. “We put our clients in front of perfect-fit customers,” says Valentine.

How does she make her demanding life work?

One of the greatest benefits of being an entrepreneur, she says, is that she can always be there for her family without having to get permission from anyone.

“My kids know that I’ll be there,” she says. “Being there when they need or want me is one of the best investments I can make as a parent.”

She is as passionate about her career as she is her family life. Valentine works with all sizes of organizations to tap into their talent, invest in their culture and help them look within themselves for the “next big thing.”

She has also built a career of speaking appearances designed to inspire, motivate and educate. She hosts a weekly show, @AVV Biz Talk Radio, debunking business myths in a sassy style, with special guests.

She is also the creator of the award-winning 3..2..1.. Launch BOOTCAMP, as well as PR & Publicity Workshop, and the Business Accelerator Lab community.

She acknowledges that she works harder now than ever, but says realizing the fruits of her labour and the success of her staff and clients is incredibly rewarding.

But, she adds, everything would fall apart without her family’s support.

“It’s important for the kids to see the realities of the business and the support, appreciation, and respect of my partner.”

“I let them see what I’m working on so they feel that they’re part of it.”

Her 25-year-old son, a graduate of Algonquin College’s Entrepreneurship program, is working with her. “To share that with him, not in a mom capacity, is really interesting.”

Valentine says she doesn’t believe in the traditional sense of balance.

“Life is more fluid than that. I give attention to things when they need it. Attention flows where it needs to go.”

Valentine offers many lessons for the aspiring mom entrepreneur, including:

• If you work from home, make sure you regularly get out of the house. A change of scenery will do you good.

She heads to Hub, a local communal workspace, to be around other entrepreneurs. “It feeds me, creatively and professionally.”

• Recognize when you don’t want to do something. You don’t have to say yes to everything.

• Being happy isn’t selfish, and more importantly, it allows us to be at our best for everyone else.

• Believe you can do it. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day, commit to yourself.

And for moms who don’t feel like they can pursue their dreams because they’re too busy with other commitments, she has two words. “Start now.”

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Photo: Anastasia Valentine