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Follow My Lead: Lourdes Juan

Follow My Lead: Lourdes Juan

Meet this leading local entrepreneur, food activist and urban planner

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

Lourdes Juan: I’m a Calgary based entrepreneur. I work as a planning consultant with Hive Developments, Director of Soma Hammam & Spa, Executive Director with the Leftovers Foundation, Fresh Routes and Moonlight Market Foundation. These are all businesses and non-profits that I have founded.

Why did you start your businesses?

Lourdes Juan: I’ve always wanted to have my own business, just like my dad! I knew that I needed to spend the time working for someone else, having mentors, and learning from others before I ventured out on my own. I worked at an architecture firm for 12 years before starting Hive Developments and I worked at a medi-spa for 8 years, before I opened Soma Spa.

From working at the medispa, I observed that many women were looking at self care from a cosmetic perspective. But I knew there were women like myself, who wanted self care to be about how we feel rather than chasing a perfect appearance. I started my spa business because I believe that everyone needs a regular dose integrated into their lives.

“But I also think it’s important for women to be bold — to not ask for permission and to go for it.”

What does a day in the life of Lourdes look like? 

Lourdes Juan: Everyday is different. I’ve had my companies and non-profits for almost a decade now, but every day is still a full schedule. I always call my ‘top five’. These are people that are involved in my ventures and they are my family. We chat to check up, make sure things are running smooth, and if they aren’t, we problem solve together.

I wake up fairly early, so I get out all my emails and computer work done in the morning before 8-9am so I can spend the day in meetings (I’m on 3 boards).

I try to sweat once a day. I’m obsessed with hot yoga, so if I’m not in front of my computer, or at a meeting, I’m likely sweating it out.

How do you keep yourself motivated? 

Lourdes Juan: I love what I do. Most days it doesn’t feel like working.

The Leftovers Foundation [a non-profit that rescues leftover food to get to people in need instead] has taught me a lot about the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ in society. I’m truly passionate about problem solving for the greater good. I believe that communities need to thrive and they need people to support them. I stay motivated because I know there is a lot of work to be done and I’ve never been scared of the work. It’s inspriing to work alongside people who also want a brighter future for everyone.

What advice would you give to other women looking to turn a passion project into a business? 

Lourdes Juan: A few years ago, I would have said “Don’t do it!” Entrepreneurship is hard when you first start out. It’s important that entrepreneurs think through their ventures and their decisions.

But I also think it’s important for women to be bold — to not ask for permission and to go for it. Work hard and know that failure is informative and understand that entrepreneurship is an education. You’ve not ‘made it’ or are a ‘boss’ just because you venture out on your own. These are things that we prove to ourselves everyday rather than labelling ourselves.

“I’m truly passionate about problem solving for the greater good. I believe that communities need to thrive and they need people to support them.”

What is your favourite Calgary pastime, place to visit, eat, do? 

Lourdes Juan: There are so many! I love Calgary. I love the grand architectural gestures that Calgary has like the Peace Bridge and the Jaume Plensa public art in front of the Bow. I love spending time in the walkable neighbourhoods like Inglewood, Mission and Kensington. I love the Grain Exchange Building (where my offices are).

I could seriously write a book on my favourite places to eat.  Dosas at Madras Cafe, anything and everything at Ten Foot Henry. Namo on Edmonton Trail is one of my new favourite places  as they have a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. Halo-Halo at Max’s Filipino Restaurant, Brunch at Big Fish, and anything Eric Hendry makes at the Lukes Central Library. He makes oatmeal taste delicious, who does that!?  I could go on.

But what I love most about Calgary are the people. People make or break cities and I’m proud to be a Calgarian among so many others!

Article by Irene Seto