Julia Knox, senior vice-president and chief purchasing officer, softgoods and hardgoods, Giant Tiger Stores

Julia Knox

Each year, OBJ and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce choose 40 of the region’s top young entrepreneurs and business executives and recognize them for their professional achievements, expertise and community service.

 

In these profiles, OBJ highlights some of this year’s recipients – their impressive accomplishments, what drives them and how they like to spend their downtime away from the business world.

 

See the full list of recipient profiles here and be sure to check out OBJ’s coverage of the 2018 gala here.

Birthplace: Burlington

Company: Discount retailer with 242 stores across Canada and 8,400 employees

Education: Honours in business administration, Ivey School of Business at Western University (2004)

Charitable involvement: Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

Biggest biz achievement: Developing Giant Tiger’s brand repositioning strategy and implementing it through an extensive store renovation program, developing new marketing channels and relaunching our private brands in apparel.

Biggest obstacle: Achieving success and strong levels of sales and profit growth in a very tough industry. The discount retail environment has been extremely challenging over the last several years, due to increased price competition and store growth from Walmart and Dollarama and the significant impact of e-commerce. Several great retailers, including Target, have failed and exited as a result. The key to success has been remaining focused on the customer and making notable investments to change our business to better meet their needs.

Biggest influences: My two young children. They have changed my perspective for the better on life and balancing priorities – not to mention improving my skills in time management and exercising patience!

Biggest lesson learned: Join an organization that is a strong cultural fit with kind people, and focus on topics that you are truly passionate about. Then, a job or volunteer activity is not “a job” or “a commitment” – it is fun and part of living a full life. In business, I have been fortunate to have worked for three different organizations over the course of my career that ticked all the boxes. This has been key to my success and staying energized.

First job: Server at the local greasy-spoon diner

Advice I’d give the younger me: Have confidence, and don’t be afraid to ask for more and take on new challenges.

What’s left to do: Personally, the focus is on my family; my husband and I are focused on raising our children in an environment with lots of love and support, while also enjoying life and staying fit in the great outdoors. On the career side, there are so many exciting opportunities ahead, some known, but many not yet known – how high is up?

Favourite pastime: Cross-country skiing

I’m currently reading: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Favourite movie: Good Will Hunting

Favourite song: What A Good Boy by Barenaked Ladies

Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa Redblacks

Favourite local summer event: Ottawa Bluesfest

Preferred social media platforms: Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram