Diana De Melo, CEO of The Delivery Group and No. 31 on the 2016 W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs, talks us through her decision to quit a steady job and start her own business—and how she manages to balance her entrepreneurial and home lives.

Photo: Nikki Ormerod

Photo: Nikki Ormerod

I’ve been working in recruiting since shortly after graduating. I was doing well, but the organization I worked for was not in line with my values, and it was really starting to bother me.

“My mother always said to me, ‘Don’t expect doors to be opened for you. If you want something, you open those doors yourself.’ With that in mind, I sat down at the kitchen table with a glass of wine and wrote my resignation letter.

“As I was leaving the next morning, my husband said to me, ‘Life is not about the individual—it’s about what you create for your family.’ We’ve been together for 19 years and have two kids, who were very young at the time. I love running a business, but I don’t do this for me: It’s for them. The stakes are high. That propels me.

“When you’re starting your own business, there is no option: You have to succeed, so you do whatever you can to do it.

“My heart always leans towards my family, but the mind always leans towards work. I strive for work life balance, but you always put your attention to the weakest link. You have to make sure you have the proper support to make sure the family is good, the kids are good, the house is OK. I try to keep open lines of communication with my husband, my family and my friends so I can do the long hours at work when I have to.”

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