Morning Rituals: Learn How This Chief Executive Officer Starts Their Day

By Christina Flores-Chan

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Whether it’s a piping cup of joe at an independent Toronto café, a sunrise jog by the ocean in Vancouver or cosying up with a book once you’ve boarded your daily train to work, our morning rituals set a precedent for how the rest of the day will unfold. 

The Bay Street Bull spoke to key players in Canadian business, each one a leader or rising talent in their respective field, about how they set themselves up for success for that morning and beyond.

Loren Shifrin, Chief Executive Officer of REV Capital

Loren Shifrin, Chief Executive Officer of REV Capital

Every night, Loren Shifrin sets his alarm for 6:00 AM and every morning, his one-and-a-half-year-old son beats the clock to it, waking him up at 5:40 AM.

“I go upstairs to his bedroom to negotiate with him, and my four-year-old daughter starts calling me from across the hallway,” he says. “At which point, I realize there’s no point in setting an alarm for 6:00 AM.”

Shifrin is sitting in his office in the REV building in Vaughan, Ontario, home of the leading full-service factoring company in the country. He is recounting to Bay Street Bull how he begins his morning routines. 

The wakeup is followed by teeth-brushing, diaper-changing, and taking the kids down for breakfast, which his wife has already prepared before Shifrin has a chance to get ready himself. 

Once he comes downstairs, he downs a protein shake – sometimes opting for a protein bar instead – and then takes his children to daycare. Three days of the week, his morning rituals will see him squeeze in a one-hour workout; the other two he spends at Nava Social, a coffee shop in the neighbourhood.

If he has time, he orders a cortado, reads through daily headlines, checks emails, and begins responding to text messages. If he doesn’t, he orders 16 ounces of drip and heads straight to the office.

What does successful corporate culture mean to you?

I’m a firm believer that corporate culture is top-down. No matter how many levels removed the bottom employee may be from me, my behaviour, actions, outlook, and the way I handle conflicts or issues directly translate downwards.

It’s important for me that my staff see that I’m here every single day, unless I’m travelling for business, and to handle issues when they arise with compassion and empathy because mistakes happen. All the time. And I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of beratement, and it’s not fun. Most people don’t respond well to that. 

So I try to use every issue as a teaching moment and I think my managers and the C-suite at the company do the same thing. I try to spread positivity everywhere I go at the company, I’m always smiling or trying to get somebody to laugh. Every little thing, every small interaction, helps to build a larger feeling of positivity and connection to the company and to its people.

What’s one thing you’re excited about in your professional life?

There’s quite a bit.

Our company is still relatively young. […] We’ve grown so fast in the last five years and we’ve got all this momentum behind us. We’re constantly starting new projects. We’re actively looking at acquisitions. We’re bringing in team members and expanding very quickly and very heavily in the U.S.

We’re also gonna be starting a charitable foundation. The REV Foundation will be implementing programs that will support our local communities where we have offices, and we’re still working out exact details, but we want to provide funds for college tuition, grants, interest-free loans for minority-owned startups, and more. REV Capital has actually committed to donating one percent of its gross revenues to the foundation in perpetuity, so by 2023, I think we’ll have a decent amount of capital to do some good next year. And I’m very excited about that.

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Flora Xue, Management Consultant Intern at RSM Canada and Schulich Business student

Flora Xue, Management Consultant Intern at RSM Canada

Flora Xue’s typical morning rituals begin with an hour-long GO train ride at 7:00 AM, a travel mug of instant coffee, and a really good book.

She gets to RSM Canada around 9:00 AM, a leading business advisory and consulting firm, and has a second cup of coffee with her coworkers before settling into work. 

When Xue interned at KMPG throughout the winter school term, its vending machine gave her a world of coffee selections to choose from, she says.

“I’m lactose-intolerant, but sometimes I would take a lactose pill just to try the different flavours and brews,” the intern says. Now, at RSM, she mostly just takes it black. 

What advice would you offer to new interns who are struggling with imposter syndrome?

I think, especially in the business world, imposter syndrome happens a lot. If you networked your way in, you might feel unqualified or like you don’t deserve to be here, but it’s too late because you’re already here. So it becomes about what you do with your opportunity now that you’re in. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, work hard to be good at your job, and be confident while you’re doing it. The more time that you spend working in the corporate world, the more confidence you gain until one day you realize that you belonged all along.

What’s one thing you’re excited about in your professional life?

I’m working as a marketing manager for F3 Ventures right now, a women-based innovation hub that provides funding to female-led companies in web3, a blockchain-integrated internet. Less than three percent of founders in the space are women, so the company’s goal is to educate, support, and empower more female leadership in blockchain technology.

Madeleine Nicholls, Senior Managing Director at Colliers

Madeleine Nicholls sets herself up with a series of morning rituals for each day with a 5:00 AM run in Point Grey, a Vancouver neighbourhood with scenic green landscape and waterfront that she calls home. 

She runs along the University of British Columbia’s endowment lands, making her way to Jericho beach and Spanish Banks, and then trucking up the steep hill to her front door.

Depending on the season, sometimes it’s pitch black in the early hours, and sometimes the sun has just risen. No matter, Nicholls makes a point to take that time to herself. 

Throughout these morning rituals, she reflects on the priorities and potential problems that she may encounter at work, and then brainstorms potential solutions while she’s making the round of the neighbourhood.

Nicholls manages a team of 35 advisors at Colliers’ Vancouver office, as well as leading the National Retail Group, a 40-person team of retail specialists across Canada.

The manager is also Co-Chair of the Women’s Network at Colliers, which was founded in 2020 and has since accumulated 460 members across North America, with 200 Canadian members.

“We make sure the network is accessible to any woman or man that wants to join,” Nicholls says. “And our goal is to empower women to enable them to have a fulfilling career at Colliers, and to help them develop in their personal and professional lives.”

What’s one thing you’re excited about in your professional life?

The most exciting part is being at Colliers at a time where there is a lot of advancement and progression happening in all aspects of the workplace, whether that be the physical workplace itself or championing the development and career opportunities of all our advisors. I feel very fortunate to be at Colliers, a place where I can grow and develop myself as an MD and also as a leader of the national retail group.

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