By Madison Scaini
As Chantal Rapport looks out of her office window, the Distillery District in Toronto looks back at her. “Everything I have worked hard for has paid off,” she said.
Rapport is not an average 23 year old. A 2014 graduate of Ivey Business School [at Western University], she is now an analyst at Satov Consultants, as well as the corporate relations manager for Dancers for Cancer, a charity dedicated to raising money for SickKids Hospital in Toronto.
In addition, she is an accomplished entrepreneur. During her time at Western, she co-founded Tokynn, a food and beverage gifting app, and Covers4Change, an organization that sells laptop cases to fund the building of a house in South Sudan. She also represented Canada in the Global Vision Junior Team, a business trade mission in South East Asia.
“Growing up, I never thought that everything that has happened, would happen,” she said.
Coming from a poor neighbourhood in Ottawa, where she lived with her mom, Rapport was motivated to provide more for her future. Although both her parents were academics, she wanted to find her own path – her own journey – in the business world.
She applied to Ivey directly from high school, but needed a scholarship from Western in order to fund it. The need to maintain a certain average motivated her to work harder in her final year of high school, as well as every year after at Western. Slipping below it was not an option, she said.
Once at Ivey, she never looked back.
“Chantal was very dedicated and focused on the things she did,” said Krista Harris, one of her first friends at Western. “She put everything she had into it.”
Although Ivey tends to be known for its difficulty, Rapport thought it was more fun than anything. Her business education remains valuable, but she also emphasizes the importance of life lessons she took away from her experience. Those continue to guide her as she develops personally and professionally. Ivey taught her a lot about her strengths and weaknesses, how to interact with others and how to manage her stress levels.
“It was like tough love,” she said.
As Rapport reminisced about her time in university, she admitted she is still incredibly impatient, and always looking at what is next on her to-do list.
She was always involved in extra-curricular activities, including planning the Ivey graduation trip, being an Ivey mentor and an executive for Ivey Orientation Week, travelling to South East Asia to represent Canada and co-founding multiple businesses.
Tokynn and Covers4Change were started as passion projects, but became defining experiences that ignited her interest in entrepreneurship and philanthropy, she said.
Even after graduating, Rapport continues to channel her energy beyond her job.
Rapport beamed as she talked about her current involvement with Dancers for Cancer, a charity that she has been volunteering for since she graduated from university. The committee is working to raise $1 million by the end of the year to fund the development of a dance stage at SickKids hospital in Toronto.
Dance has always been something close to her heart. Although she does not dance as often now, it was a major part of her childhood. In Ottawa, she participated in a free dance class that also welcomed at-risk youth. She eventually became the teacher of that class, and was surprised with a party when she left for university, since she was the first person in that class to do so.
Rapport is not only a dancer, but also a traveler. She has travelled to more than 12 countries across four continents – Vietnam being her favourite.
“I’m naturally incredibly curious, and so I want to understand how the world and humanity works, especially in other cultures,” she explained. “I don’t want to live in a little bubble.”
With her parents being environmental scientists, Rapport grew up appreciating the world around her and views it as a learning opportunity.
Then again, she looks at everything in life as a learning opportunity.
“Take every possibility you can to learn from the people and world around you,” Rapport advised current students.
In 10 years, she hopes to have a family, travel more and own a business she truly believes in. Most importantly, she wants to know her purpose.
Despite all of the challenges she had growing up, she has managed to learn from her difficult childhood to build a future she has always wanted.
Rapport looks through her office window once more and smiles. “My two big things when I look at where I’m going next are, one, I’m doing something that matters to the world, and two, I’m having fun doing it.
“Life is way too short to not enjoy what you’re doing.”
Posted with permission, Western News / Photo Credit: Justin Scaini