6 Questions with Caroline Rouben


Caroline Rouben

CEO and Director of Strategy and Creative

Straticom Group Ltd.
What’s your favourite thing about doing business out of Toronto?

Toronto is the best of all possible worlds, and everything one needs to support business is here; great office space options (both long and short-term), a bustling innovation community, and of course accessible transit and free health care that strengthens quality of life and attracts talent. It has the characteristic ‘North American City’ ultra-convenience of having everything anyone could need or want at any time day or night, while being simultaneously more ‘global’ in appeal which is expressed in our diversity of restaurants, streets, and people.

What is the one thing you’d like to see the City of Toronto accomplish for businesses in 2018?

Under John Tory’s leadership, I think Toronto is already doing a good job at positioning itself as world class and the place to do business, so for 2018 I think it’s more about fine-tuning our cultural direction by placing a higher value on novel expression rather than only following validated trends. Having worked with people from different countries, it’s fairly evident that Torontonians tend to be more on the trepidacious, risk-averse side, being followers of trends rather than the makers of. Certainly more than our U.S. counterparts. If we want to be true change-makers, we need to put value on those who take the first courageous step into unmapped territory without being 100% certain in advance about how habitable it will be.

What is the one buzzword or trend you’d like to see die in 2018?

External blame. It’s becoming extremely trendy to point fingers at perceived external barriers like “the system”. The most advantageous path forward is to look within and improve oneself incessantly.

What is your favourite curse word?

Chingarouwa! This is my attempt at phonetic spelling for the Korean word meaning ‘gross’. Courtesy of my best friend in junior-high (thank you Mi-Rha!)

Where do you go in Toronto when you need to focus and allow your mind to work through complex business challenges?

I have the advantage of sharing a great space in The Artisan Building on Geary with my husband and his business partner who deal in vintage-modern furniture. Being surrounded by beautiful mid-century pieces has a way of both inspiring and calming the mind at the same time, which is the optimal state of mind for problem-solving.

Top 3 Favourite Things to Do in Toronto
  1. Eat Swiss mushroom burgers and drink Caesars at Allen’s on the Danforth
  2. Wander the streets and sit on patios in the summer time
  3. Attend Jordan Peterson lectures (gasp!) at the Isabel Bader Theatre