Q: What is your motto?
Cybele: From two of my favourite quotes:
Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you have to keep moving – Albert Einstein.
If everything seems under control you’re not going fast enough – Mario Andretti.
Q: What do you like to do in your leisure time?
Cybele: Hang out with the family.
Q: What is your all-time favourite movie or TV show?
Cybele: I’m a fan of action and smart dialogue like Tarantino movies such as Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill or plot twists like The Usual Suspects.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
Cybele: Pretty eclectic: Punk and 80’s/90’s alternative rock/grunge with a mix of jazz/funk/Velvet Underground/Patsy Cline.
Q: What was your career aspiration when you were 20? How close did you get?
Cybele: I switched from commerce to a psychology degree, but ended up back in business as an entrepreneur in a variety of businesses (pharmaceuticals, construction and technology).
Q: The best thing you did or the most important experience you had to help prepare you for your career was...
Cybele: While attending UBC, I also worked through the temporary placement office at the university. I was placed in a variety of different departments throughout the campus and at the hospitals to fill in for people on vacation or leaves. From Human Resources, Finance, Graduate Studies, the Eye Care Centre at VGH, the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, President’s Office and even the Garden Shop doing landscaping for a summer. I learned a variety of different skills and to be able to adapt and be flexible to any environment, managers with different personality types and numerous new processes and procedures across numerous disciplines. As an entrepreneur, you have to do everything in the beginning, so I had no fear of just diving in to learn something new and figure it out along the way.
Q: What is the best business book you’ve ever read?
Cybele: Three of them: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, Scaling Up by Verne Harnish, Playing to Win By A.G. Lafley, Roger Martin.
Q: What was the best decision you’ve made in your working life?
Cybele: Buying out three business partners including UBC.
Q: What’s your advice for achieving work/life balance?
Cybele: I think balance is a concept people continue to strive for but rarely achieve if they want to be successful. Success comes with hard work and sacrifice so if you want extraordinary success, often that takes extraordinary sacrifice and tough choices. With a young family, as CEO of a technology business that continues to grow after 18 years, serving on 6 boards/advisory boards including the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, Vice Chair of the Small Business Roundtable and more, a couple dozen or more speaking engagements per year, my advice is to surround yourself with amazing people at work and support at home then to become an expert in juggling chaos and be okay with it.
Q: What are the most important character traits for being a successful entrepreneur?
Cybele: Grit and resilience.
Q: What is the biggest challenge being an entrepreneur in today’s economy and rapidly changing technological environment?
Cybele: Lack of focus. Entrepreneurs are always chasing the new shiny object. Successful ones have a dogged tenaciousness to focus on and get their team aligned on executing the strategy for the business.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would offer to an entrepreneur who is setting up their business for the first time?
Cybele: Two of them: Get a mentor and seek out the services of Small Business BC (speak to a business advisor, market research, seminars, etc.)