Q&A with Michele Romanow
The youngest Dragon on Dragons’ Den and listee on Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, Michele Romanow talks about how higher education laid the foundation for her career success.
Mediaplanet: How did your higher education shape your career path?
Michele Romanow: In school you learn how to learn. That’s really powerful. You learn how to constantly find answers and solve problems— those are essential skills for any entrepreneur. Civil engineering at Queen's University gave me strength with numbers and problem solving. During my time there, I realized I was better at building businesses than I would be at building bridges. So I started my own business— the Tea Room on Queen's campus, which still exists today.
I’ll always be grateful, more than anything, for my education because I met my business partner, Anatoliy Melnichuk, in my third year and we've worked together for over 10 years. Anatoliy taught me about risk taking and selling door-to-door. During our MBA, we decided we had to go into business together and started Evandale Caviar with Ryan Marien. We went on to start Buytopia and SnapSaves (acquired by Groupon). None of that would've happened if it hadn't been for my engineering degree and MBA from Queen's.
MP: What would you say to an individual considering continuing their education?
MR: Never stop learning. You are never the smartest person in the room. Investing in your learning is one of the smartest things you can do, whether that is reading or learning from friends, colleagues, and mentors.
MP: As a role model displaying career success, what advice do you have for adult professionals in the workforce?
MR: Don't worry about being perfect. Success comes from failing, learning, and iterating. Businesses are built on 5 percent great ideas and 95 percent execution.