Women of Vancouver is an editorial series featuring stylish and professional women in Vancouver. WofV producer and stylist, Jason Sarai of Style by Sarai, recently interviewed Genevieve Duford for this exclusive in-depth photo editorial.
What do you do for work?
I am a media account consultant with the Yellow Pages Group, and we sell media solutions for small-to-medium-sized businesses across the country.
How did you get involved in this career?
The week after I graduated from Capilano University, I ran into Sophia Cuccione, an old acquaintance of mine who worked at Yellow Pages. The last time I had seen her was years ago at BC Children’s Hospital in the oncology ward where her brother and I were undergoing cancer treatment together. When I saw her again, she mentioned she was working for Yellow Pages and suggested I apply, as they were hiring. I interviewed a week later and the rest is history. That chance meeting turned into one of my favourite jobs to date, and I’ve been here ever since.
What do you enjoy most about your career and company?
The day to day changes and the willingness to be innovative are what I find most stimulating about my work. We have a new CEO and his vision is always focused on looking ahead, not looking back. The best parts of the job are my customers and the trust they put in me to help grow their businesses. It’s great to help in the growth and success of their companies, especially when you know your input had a little part in it.
Where do you see your career in five and 10 years?
All I want is to be with a company I believe in. Growing up, I was always told, “don’t try and plan too much because when you are planning the guy upstairs is planning something different.” I have grown up with a huge belief in faith. I know I can only control so much, so I continue to work hard, stay healthy and have faith that my life and career will all fall into place. It seems to have worked really well so far.
How do you balance work and play?
I’m a workaholic but that’s how I have always taken on the things in my life. I work hard and play hard. My life never feels out of balance when I am dedicated to my health, fitness, religion and work – it all seems to balance itself out. The key to balance is putting your happiness first and trusting that you alone must decide to be happy. I find people search for a quick fix to find happiness and balance, but the truth is it all starts with ourselves.
What are the challenges of advertising in today’s world of business?
Businesses have so many options with advertising. Today’s overabundance of choice has created confusion as to what is the right or wrong way to market one’s business. It’s important for businesses to really look at who you are your target market, not what medium is popular.
What has been your greatest business challenge to date?
Gaining trust with our clients, and explaining that we are now a digital company and not only print-based.
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
I have always pushed myself to be the best at whatever I do, be it sports, work or life in general. But the one accomplishment I’m most proud of is being a two-time cancer survivor. Regardless of the awards or honours I might ever receive, this to me is my greatest accomplishment in life so far.
What’s the best advice/mentorship you received when building our your career?
To believe in yourself and work as hard as you can. I was told from the start there is always someone working as hard as you, so if you want to stay on top you’ve got to work harder.
How do you balance/manage your personal and professional life?
I have always been blessed to have a supportive group around me during the hard times in my life. This support helped me maintain balance in my professional and personal life. For me, that balance is directly related to living in service to others. I’ve found that the more you give, the more your life is fulfilled. Sitting on the board of the Michael Cuccione Foundation is a constant reminder for me that my life is not to be taken for granted.
Outside of work, what do you do in your spare time?
I’m an avid traveler, I grew up with two parents in the airline industry so travel has always been apart of my life, and I am on a plane any chance I get. When I’m traveling, I try and plan where I can go scuba diving. My faith is something I dedicate a lot of spare time to as well. I grew up going to church and I now go to Coastal Alliance Church, which is a wonderful place to go any Sunday I’m in town.
What are your favourite hobbies?
I am a huge jock. I love all sports, I make it a point to work out and play squash. I grew up playing every sport I could, especially basketball, volleyball and squash, so my hobbies have always been sports-related. When I was in university, I started a clothing business buying directly from manufacturers and selling through home parties. I have always loved clothes so be it modeling, selling clothes or now dressing up, fashion is always a favourite pastime for me.
What charitable organizations/programs do you work with?
I’m a board member of the Michael Cuccione Foundation, and being part of the foundation is an honour as I’m a survivor of childhood cancer. My goal in this role reflects that of the foundation, which is to raise funds to support the Childhood Cancer Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital. Michael and I met in the hospital when we were both receiving treatment, and he unfortunately passed away from the effects of the disease. It was then when I started to really dedicate my life to charity. While on my last trip to Tanzania, I worked with an orphanage in the capital and worked to help bring running clean water to the housing on site. This was my first international project and I will soon be starting another water program in Africa as well.
Why is giving back important to you?
I am blessed in so many ways to be here. Giving back is the least I can do for all the support I have been given in my life.
What does a typical weekend look like for you?
I have two extremes: I love to be at home hanging out with my family, watching movies and simply enjoying life. My brother, Alexander, lives on the island so I make a point of going to see him as much as possible. The other side of me loves to dress up, dine out and go dancing in any city. Depending on the city I’m in, all I want to do is explore.
What are your favourite places to eat at in Vancouver?
I have a few favourite foods but top of my list is sushi – I love Minami or Toshi. On the other hand I love Burrata, which is something that I fell in love with when I lived in Italy. Glowbal was where I tried it after I moved home. Now with the new Glowbal, I love all their food. I actually have never had anything I don’t like there.
What do you recommend someone to try at Glowbal?
Burrata Salad – it has heirloom tomatoes, grilled peaches, duck prosciutto. It’s to die for!
What do you like most about your experience at Glowbal?
They stick to great food with a great atmosphere and regardless of how long the different locations have been open, they still maintain freshness and quality.
What do you recommend someone to try when at Seasons in the Park?
Miso Marinated Sablefish – it’s amazing, always my go-to.
What do you like most about your experience at Seasons?
The restaurant itself is iconic to the city, the view is amazing and the food is always wonderful. But my favourite part is the memories I have with Queen Elizabeth Park. My grandparents use to take me to this park, and it’s got everything – a top quality restaurant, golfing, gardens – a great place for a family day.
How do you think people would describe your style?
I wear a lot of black, but I think I would describe it as classic and elegant. I then go the total other side and get into neons. The word I hope people would describe me is classy.
What does style mean in your world of business? How has it played a part in your career?
Style isn’t the focus, I would say, for most sales reps, but I think that it’s the most important part. You need to first sell yourself before anyone will buy anything from you.
What does style mean to you?
It’s an extension of how I feel and how I want to be perceived, it’s the ultimate extension of my personality.
FEATURED WOMAN OF VANCOUVER
|GENEVIEVE DUFORD||Michael Cuccione Foundation
WOMEN OF VANCOUVER TEAM
Producer & Stylist
|STYLE BY SARAI
Hair & Makeup Stylist