This week’s person to know Margot Grant Witz, Founder of The Big Give and Vice President of Creative Global Direction for Elizabeth Grant.
A typical day?
Every day is different but consists of the same backbone: Work. If it’s in the office, there’s a balance of pr projects, r&d development, meetings, etc, for my grandmothers skin care company. And if work is out of the office, it involves being, more or less, a living informercial. Add drinks and dinners in with my fabulous friends and a gym class and next thing you know it’s time to wake up and do it all over again.
Your major career influence?
My grandmother and my mother. They both took chances and they both committed to working harder than they thought they could, yet were still able to be soft and nurturing. I find a lot of women feel they have to be aggressive to be taken seriously in business. I think having the title CEO/President is a balancing act – being strong and intelligent while still being approachable and likeable.
Best advice you’ve received?
From my grandmother: Never let the word “no” be what you have to accept… at least without asking “why not” or “how can we make it work?” And if one door closes go through a window!
If you weren’t working at Elizabeth Grant, what w0uld you be doing?
If I was playing it safe I would go with my degree and become a therapist or teacher. But since I am not one for the safe route, I would say event planner or personal shopper.
Something only your closest friends know about you…
I will genuinely take the shirt off my back for someone. I don’t play games and have no agenda. Sometimes people feel it’s disingenuous, but I legitimately enjoy being kind and helpful where/when I can.
The Big Give
The Big Give will be the first event at the new Ripley’s Aquarium… what can guests expect?
I’d like to try and redefine the ‘charity event.’ It doesn’t have to be so stuffy or expensive. We have some incredible food creations by Barque Events, Oyster Boy, and Yamchops. On the beverage side, we have some delicious creations by Three Olives, Steam Whistle, and Rosehall Run Vineyard. In terms of entertainment, we have three incredible DJs, a live art performance from Jessgo, and finally our Revlon Beauty Booth – the only place you can get Marchesa Nail Appliqués and the perfect red pout. On top of it all, guests will have a chance to win some incredible prizes from our raffle table!
This year’s Big Give has already sold out! Will you be looking to expand next year?
Every year we expand and grow. But the capacity only grows if we can maintain the level of awesomeness our guests have come to expect. If I can’t match or surpass the same level of experience – I haven’t done my job. And, of course, if my head chef Alex Burgess says he wants more people – then we grow!
A place in Toronto you’d be proud to take people?
The AGO is always a good time. Classy and ever changing.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Flo’s Diner for brunch and Guu for dinner.
Your favourite Toronto neighbourhood and why?
The Beach. It’s a great place to wander and enjoy a small town feeling in a big city.
Least favourite thing about Toronto?
I find Toronto is very business orientated and I feel we sometimes miss out on the ‘heartbeat of the city’ – something more easily found in other cities like NYC or Montreal.
A Toronto resident, other than yourself, who’s making a positive impact on the city?
I feel there are a lot of people who are redesigning our city (and giving it a heartbeat). I love Kelsey Cole (Revlon), who wants to make beauty companies empowering for women again. I love Halla Rafati (Four Seasons), who is such a beautiful person inside and out and makes the business of PR feel genuine, approachable, and obtainable. A,nd above everything, I love Esther Garnick (EGPR). She’s a force and an incredible supporter of mine, no matter the project. I love these women because they work and live from a place of YES… it’s infectious! Change happens when you’re inspired.