Uber-stylish Lisa Tant is an award-winning writer and editor, and media personality who is one of Canada’s loudest voices promoting fashion and Canadian style in particular. From 2004 to 2012, she was the Editor-in-Chief of Flare Magazine, Canada’s best selling fashion magazine at the time. She joined Holt Renfrew in November 2012 and was there for four years, finishing up as Vice President Exclusive Services. Today, she is splitting her time between Vancouver and Toronto where she runs a creative communications consulting business.
How do you define success?
In my 30s and 40s, success to me was a major job with a big team and constant “wins” on my career path. I’m fiercely competitive and thrived on the relentless pace of travel and social events. I was rarely home and loved it. Now success to me is finding the time to do things (like write and teach, collaborate with friends) and be with my family – that gives me joy. The best way for me to achieve that now is to continue my quest for creativity – while learning to relax. I drive myself crazy a lot of the time. I have to stay in the moment and take every day as it comes.
What ignited the spark in you to live a life with zest?
Not what but who … My late mother has always been my spark. When I was starting my freelance career in my early 20s, she told me how much she envied my lifestyle and the fact that I could choose my own direction (a career without children, for example) – something she felt she could never do. She always encouraged me to soar and try new things. She was feisty and opinionated – me too! She’s been gone more than 20 years and I hope that I have become the woman she saw in me.
What motivates you to make change?
The fear of boredom or growing stale has always motivated me to try something new. When I started my freelance creative writing career, I said yes to lots of things that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Write for radio? Present fashion on tv? Produce a fashion show on a cruise ship? Yes, yes, yes! I just went through several major upheavals in 2016 – left my corporate job and bought a second home across the country – because I craved creativity. I missed writing (I’ve always been a storyteller) and creatively working with people. I seized an opportunity to trigger all that change and I’m in the midst of it now. Some days, I am completely freaked out but I needed to press pause and take the time for a creative re-set.
How do you generate new business ideas?
Social media is one terrific way to brainstorm. I’m active on Twitter and Instagram primarily, and by listening and watching what so many different people are doing – from young women launching special event agencies to mature women changing career directions – I become inspired. It’s also a place to find communities that can connect you to different people and industries. I love social media – it’s my window on a world that I would otherwise not know much about.
What advice do you have for other women looking to take a big step?
Take your time and make change on your own deadlines, not to anyone else’s expectations. Ask advice from those you love and value. Be realistic, but don’t let fear hold you back. Be good to yourself through any major step. I don’t often take my own advice (everything I’ve just written) and it usually bites me in the ass. I keep in mind that I’ve got one life to live so I want to be sure that I try different things – from small stops to major detours.
WHAT NEXT FOR LISA TANT?
“Promoting Canadian fashion talent has always been a big focus for me. Our arts communities reflect the heart of our country and many small businesses struggle to be heard. As part of my mission, I’m on a variety of advisory boards, and I’ll be lending my voice during Canada’s 150th about Canadian style.”