By: Sami Chazonoff

Photo: Courtesy of FATMO Media Group. Sami Chazonoff at Eye Candy Toronto, Summer 2019. It’s not always easy livin’ like this at work!

As FATMO Media Group’s Marketing Coordinator, Sami Chazonoff has been with the company since May 2019. She started off her journey at Toronto’s fastest rising media group as a Business Development Assistant, and quickly earned a promotion to Marketing Coordinator. As we reflect on the past year at FATMO, Sami shares her story of working for a small entrepreneurial company- from embracing the youthful energy of an urban, remote startup to the challenges of being part of a business finding its way. Join us here at inFATuated Blog’s Career & Business section for the latest scoop on everything backstage and back office, from career milestones to personal journeys up the corporate ladder.

In the summer of 2019, I was starting my new part-time internship. I remember receiving an email description for the job I was applying for and thinking that every word and sentence was literally written for me – every detail of that email aligned and resonated with my personality and skill-set, so when I went to meet Fatima Syed for my interview at Yorkville cafe Sorelle & Co in April, I was feeling confident. The interview went successfully (clearly) and Fatima told me she saw herself in me – which I obviously took as a major compliment. She sent me home with a cupcake, already showing me her generosity, and emailed me days later to give me the good news! I would start for Fatima at the end of May and I was excited. 

I don’t think I knew at the time how challenging working for an entrepreneur would be. My previous job experiences included summer camp and retail and at the time of my FATMO internship, I was also interning at a large corporation – the contrast was almost comical. I had never worked for such a small company before – a startup, but the new challenge intrigued me and I put my heart into FATMO and my trust into Fatima.

There were days I got exhausted and felt defeated and there were other days that I felt so passionate and confident in the work we were doing. Needless to say, these were not uncommon feelings to feel at a startup. 

Fatima is hard-working, passionate, brave and strong and in those ways she makes a solid mentor and boss. She is also extremely relatable and fun, so catching up with her over coffee or drinks feels like getting together with an old friend. Fatima didn’t want my summer internship to end and she asked me to stay on. I happily accepted, warning her I’d be caught up with school, but would try to dedicate a few hours a week to her media group and our clients. 

I had one request though: a schedule. Working for a self-starter at a small company could mean that your hours are pretty irregular and scattered. Something I didn’t mind while enjoying the freedom of summer, but was nervous about balancing and juggling while being a full-time student. Fatima was accommodating and promised my “shifts” would be more organized and all she really needed me for was a few hours in the evenings and to be at events, which usually happen once every couple months. 

Balancing my time has not been the easiest, but I wouldn’t want to trade the experience and opportunities Fatima gives me. I’ve learned a lot about myself in this ongoing process and I’ve definitely acquired a lot of useful skills including: more independence, personability, time management and stress management.

Working for an entrepreneur solidified that I don’t want to be an entrepreneur myself, as not many people can do it. Fatima handles it gracefully and her passion is what drives her each and every day. If you have the opportunity to work for a self-starter, it’ll definitely teach you many skills and it also has the ability to bring your team very close. You also have the chance to grow and advance to higher positions. Fatima promoted me after the summer, something that would have probably not happened at a large company. Fatima has always seen me as more than an entry level, early career professional- she believes in me and understands me. I appreciate Fatima and FATMO for this wild and thrilling journey!

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