Did you ever dream of running your own business? Having a family? Finding your soul mate?
Notice how I use the word "dream" because to many of us, it seems impossible to achieve one of these things, never mind all of them in real life. Well, today I spoke with Sonia Zarbatany Elmaleh, a young mother, loving wife AND successful entrepreneur who proves that you can do it all - while looking good doing it.
Sonia was born in Casablanca, but raised in Montreal. Her business ventures have moved her to L.A, Vegas and Vancouver before bringing her back home to Montreal at last. Now, at the age of 34 years old, Sonia proves that you can get everything you want if you are willing to work for it.
What made you get into the fashion industry?
I grew up in the fashion industry, so from a very young age I was taking on little jobs around the office. From one job to the next, I learned my way through the business. I always loved fashion, but it felt as though I hadn’t chosen it, that it had chosen me. So, I moved to L.A. and started on my own; I quickly realized that I wanted to make a difference and help people. I discovered my true passion and gift was to help and inspire people to achieve their greatest potential. I became a life coach and keynote speaker across the US and worked at it for years.
I realized I wanted to live my life surrounded by people I love, so I moved back to Montreal, and I brought all my life’s lessons with me. I now run Zarby International with my father and our amazing team, I also continue to work in a charitable capacity for the community, and as a life coach and motivational speaker. I get to do all the things I am passionate about. How many people get to say that!?
What drives you?
My family! I am motivated by the people around me: my kids, my husband, my family, my friends. But I am also largely motivated from within. There is an internal drive that energizes me everyday; I’m a very passionate and positive person, so motivation just kind of goes hand in hand with who I am.
What advice can you give a young business oriented woman?
Work hard, and be devoted to what you believe in. Be efficient and persistent. Thrive in adversity; believe in your own network. Never let go of the bigger picture: your true passion and dreams. Believe in yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously. Stay humble. Always give back, because everything you give will always come back to you tenfold.
With so much going on in your life, how do you stay motivated every day?
I always want to be the best I can be. That may not be perfect, but it’s my best. So everyday is another chance to do better and be better. I’ve achieved a great balance in my life, and so everything I value gets its time and energy. I want to be a role model for my children, especially my little girl. I want her to know that, contrary to what people say about how women can run the world, we do in fact run it! I want her to grow up with that confidence and strength; I want her to see her mommy kick ass everyday and for her think, “I can do that, too!”
Did you have any mentors growing up?
My mother for always being so positive and seeing everyone in such a loving light. My father for teaching me how to be tough, strong and how to run a successful business. Tony Robbins, Tony Litster, Myrna Nieves for getting me on my first stage and helping me develop my gift and fall in love with coaching. Bruce Makowsky for showing me how to sell and brand in the most powerful way.
What do you believe defines a woman in today’s day and age?
There are still a few things us women need to work against, but there are some pretty amazing things we can own: women today are fierce. We are strong. We are smart, smarter than ever before. We are beautiful. We are empowered. But, I think the best change we’ve seen recently, is that women are sisters; we lift each other up, we strengthen one another, we motivate and inspire each other. If we could kick that into gear, we could change the world.
What would you have wanted to know 10-15 years ago, that you know today?
Persistency, Integrity and patience are the pillars of my greatest achievements. When I was 20 I was always so impatient. I wanted everything now and if things didn’t show up for me fast enough, I’d move onto the next project. Today, I still struggle with patience, but I have learned that if I stay on course, if I just work harder and smarter and keep hustling, the merit and the satisfaction of the achievement will come; it always does.
My main business is fashion—distributing the best brands to the North American market—so my focus is to keep developing Sanctuary clothing and Vince Camuto to be household names in Canada.
My love for fitness brought me to want to build the FlexMeal revolution. Where healthy delicious meals are delivered across Canada right to your door. We want to change the way people eat, taking their health to the next level and my goal is to take the FlexMeal brand to a new dimension.
My passion and purpose has always been to be a vehicle to empower and help others achieve their goals and dreams in their lives, so this year is all about keynote speeches across the country. In the past months, I have spoken on 3 stages and getting ready for so much more.