Women Who Win – Reetu Gupta
The Easton’s Group of Hotels and the Gupta Group have struck gold with COO Reetu Gupta, who was recently crowned one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. From her tough, get ‘er done attitude to her charismatic charm, see what makes this successful (and humble) boss lady one to watch.
The orbit around Reetu Gupta is one of sizzle, substance and an unmistakable vibe of success and style. As chief operating officer of the Easton’s Group of Hotels and the Gupta Group, Gupta is one of the emerging group of new leaders in Canada poised to take her generation to even greater heights. It is, therefore, not surprising that Gupta was recently named as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 — a dynamic awards program that identifies outstanding and inspirational achievers, visionaries and innovators in Canadian business that are changing the way business is being conducted in this country.
This is an extremely prestigious award, as many of Canada’s best-known corporate leaders have been among the roster of past award winners. To be nominated is an accomplishment in itself, but to be selected is indeed one of Canada’s top corporate achievements.
There were more than one thousand individuals from across the country in the running for just 40 awards. Each nominee completed a gruelling application, wrote an essay and was subjected to interviews. The advisory and selection board was comprised of many of the most respected CEOs from some of the largest companies in Canada. We recently sat down with Gupta for an exclusive interview, where she shared her thoughts on the award, her business philosophies and her vision for her company.
Q. Congratulations on this award! Do you take this as a personal accolade or perhaps more as recognition of the good work being done at the Easton’s Group and the Gupta Group?
A. I would say neither; I feel this is all God’s blessings. It is only with His guidance that I received this, and so I cannot take credit for this. With this recognition, I can only hope to inspire others, especially women, to aim high and always have faith in the universe.
Q. Canada is unique in having this award that recognizes under-40s. What does that say about this country?
A. If you take a look at the award winners, they fall across so many industries and have various backgrounds. Our unique group is like a stained-glass window, and Canada is the light allowing us to shine so bright! This shows you how united and supportive our country is.
Q. Do you consider yourself a role model for other business leaders under 40?
A. Ha ha ha! I always laugh when people say to me, “You are a role model,” because I do not feel I am one, and I still see myself as this little kid who loves hotels and believes in magic. I do wish to inspire others to believe in their dreams and believe that anything is possible!
“I am a sum of everyone I have ever met; I feel that everyone I meet has something to teach me.”
Q. Being a member of the Gupta family and a daughter of Steve Gupta, was there ever a time you considered a career outside of real estate?
A. When I was a child, rather than play house like most little girls, I liked to play office. So this business has been in my blood. I did try working outside the company, in the IT division of an insurance firm. It was so slow-paced and not at all something I found I could blossom in.
Q. Is there a person in your life or business career that you consider a mentor … and if so, what have you learned from that person?
A. I am a sum of everyone I have ever met; I feel that everyone I meet has something to teach me. The most important people in my life are my parents and my siblings. My dad taught me never to give up; my mom taught me confidence in all situations. My siblings have taught me strength and the meaning of unconditional love.
Q. What are your guiding business philosophies?
A. The Gupta Group and the Easton’s Group are family businesses and will always be at the heart. I treat everyone as family: team members, clients, guests. These are the people who keep our business running. I also believe that when you have sincere motivation and compassion, you will always be successful.
Q. For those under 40, technology and screens have been a dominant force in their lives – but isn’t it just as important to develop strong and solid face-to-face interpersonal skills?
A. I remember the days where we only had landlines and payphones. Once we got cellphones, as much as it disrupted society at first, it also progressed us into the future. Technology can change, but human relationships will always be based on sincerity and compassion. Maybe this is done on the phone or in person, but those vitals will not change, and each relationship is unique.
Q. You as a COO have a pressure-filled job and many responsibilities. How do you achieve that elusive work-life-play balance?
A. I feel that you will always make time for activities that you enjoy. When you find you are constantly out of time, this is when you start to feel burned out. I will always make time for the things that I enjoy in life.
Q. What is one key piece of advice you would give a person just graduating high school and about to enter university?
A. University is just high school in a bigger building; it’s nothing to be afraid of. Education is the one thing in life that no one can take from you; knowledge is power. Take advantage of the education and also get involved with the community at the school. The life experience you get from being involved in those activities will shape who you are.
Q. Where do you see yourself in 20 years, and if you could look back over that period of time, what would mean “success” to you?
A. Success is not about wealth and riches for me. Success for me is: am I happy, is my family happy and have I bettered the lives of others? For me in 20 years the answers to all of those questions will most certainly be yes. Because I believe in living life with happiness, not for happiness.
Photo by robin gartner
Interview By Michelle Zerillo-Sosa