Meet Leah McGillivray Palko

Until a year ago, Leah would have defined herself as a professional and an athlete, but now family life has added a third role to the mix—being a Mom. “I have a new daughter born in May 2018,” she explains. It’s safe to say her busy life just got a lot busier, and that’s why it’s important to remember her passions as she navigates this new chapter in life.

Fitness and Training

“I’m trying to be a competitive distance runner again,” says Leah. She’s actually been running most of her life. She has trained with two running groups coached by world class running coaches who are former Canadian marathon champions. “I have met many likeminded people through running and have loved the social element of the sport. Toronto has an amazing running community. But, I also really love the element of mindfulness that comes when running alone.”

Leah counts cycling as her number two sport, since it supplements her running regimen and she can still do it if she’s injured or recovering from her long runs. She’s competed as a cyclist as well, including races at Mont Tremblant and Collingwood, in addition to a cycle-run duathlon.

The Road Less Travelled

When it comes to travelling, Leah hasn’t always settled for what’s advertised on the travel brochure. She’s backpacked solo in Africa, Europe, South America and Central America. But the toughest challenge was living several months in rural Nicaragua, in the mountains near León. “It was literally off the grid in every way,” she explains. “If I needed the internet, I had to run to the main town that was 12 kilometres away and 1,000 meters down the mountain.”  In Nicaragua, she immersed herself in Spanish, while taking classes and volunteering. “It’s hard to imagine how tough it is to be completely isolated like that. I was surrounded by people, but I couldn’t communicate above a five-year-old level until I was able to learn the language.” In retrospect, though, she considers it an amazing experience, both for self-reflection and for an appreciation of how much we have here at home in our careers and daily lives.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Focus on the Process

Her experience has taught her not to get fussed about things she can’t control. “I’ve always been a perfectionist,” Leah admits, “but I’ve learned to be more patient (and more present) and to use my energy wisely.” That attitude has also shaped the way she defines success. While some people talk in terms of major milestones and sales targets, she focuses more on the process of achieving daily goals, even if they’re small. “It’s like training for a race—you have to have fun along the way, strive for the small wins and be consistent and the larger wins will look after themselves.”

Her philosophy of focusing on the process translates to her work life. “People at B. Riley Farber share the same values around caring about clients and candidates in everything we do. That’s how we’ve been able to grow.” In Leah’s view, as long as that’s your daily focus, referrals will naturally lead to more clients and candidates; and business goals will wind up being met, “I just focus on developing relationships and treating people well.” It’s an approach that’s worked for Leah and she has no plans to change her philosophy anytime soon.

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