It’s hard to know how Sophia fits everything in given that she spends 20+ hours a week in her Rotman MBA program on top of her full-time responsibilities as an executive recruiter with Farber. “Efficiency is very important in my life,” she explains. For Sophia, that applies to the use of technologies—automation tools that make life easier—and even to meal prepping which she makes and then freezes for fast deployment through the week. “I still manage to find some time to relax whenever I’m not working,” she says. “To be honest, I think people always have time to check out and spend time with friends.”
Sophia admits that managing life has a lot to do with setting priorities. “I embrace minimalism because its detoxifying,” she asserts. “I try to remove the unnecessary things and keep it simple.” She refers to Marie Kondo, the decluttering guru whose books and blogs on tidying and organizing have been a recent sensation. “Before I left Beijing to move here, I threw out 90% of my stuff. It was a good cleanse to get rid of things.” She applies that philosophy to everything from physical objects like clothes, to limiting the number of apps on her phone, and even to social obligations. “I truly value good relationships but I’m not afraid to say no, and that helps in my professional and personal life.”
Art Has a Part
But there’s also an artsy side to Sophia. She happens to be a big fan of 17th and 18th century European paintings. “I like the details of the paintings and the techniques employed.” That’s taken her to art galleries in Toronto as well as New York and Washington—with Paris and London on the ‘to-visit’ list. She confesses that she’s less a fan of some modern art. “I don’t always appreciate the abstract aspects and all the back stories needed to explain modern art.”
When she can, Sophia enjoys reading and she’s even joined Farber’s Book Club to expand her reading repertoire. Her real interests are more in nonfiction, she admits. “I prefer business books and journals to make sure I’m keeping up with latest management concepts. That’s important when you’re in executive search.”
Always Learning Something
And that brings her back to her studies at Rotman. “My passion is continuous learning and discovering. In business, I try to take the higher level view of how the world works and it’s really about the people.” Like many of us who return to school after working for a while, there’s a bit of adjustment needed. “I find it harder to focus now and my attention span is shorter because I’m working at the same time. But on the flip side, I thoroughly enjoy be able to apply things at work on a real-time basis.”
Sophia’s been at Farber for almost a year, but already finds it to be a great fit. “Farber is like a family”, she notes. “I’m not a ‘large organization’ type—in a big machine, nobody knows anyone. Here, you can get to know most of the people well and, since it’s a multi-disciplinary firm, there’s still great variety of mindsets and styles. I like the fact that the culture is both professional and personable.”
It’s safe to say, whether she’s in classroom or the office, Sophia is always taking the time to learn and develop—for the betterment of herself and her clients.
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