As founder and CEO of 1Milk2Sugars — a marketing agency with clients that include L’Oréal, Nivea and Centrum — Priya Chopra, BComm (marketing) 01, is constantly reinventing herself.
“It’s the biggest challenge when you’re an entrepreneur. You have to be able to move really quickly and trust your instincts,” explains Chopra, a member of the Forbes Agency Council, an invitation-only group for senior-level agency executives.
“Right when you feel like you’ve hit a rhythm and finally mastered something, everything changes. You need to have a lot of foresight to make the changes you need to sustain and survive. I’m always thinking ahead.”
‘I have Concordia to thank’
With offices in Montreal, Toronto and New York, 1Milk2Sugars specializes in digital marketing and communications, social media and influencer relations. Chopra says the firm is the result of her Concordia experience in the Co-operative Education program at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB).
“I loved marketing. I always knew I was going to work in the field because it has both the business and creative sides, which fit me perfectly,” she says. “Yet, I fell upon PR by accident and I have Concordia to thank for it.
“I was in the Co-op program and had a PR placement at L’Oréal. It was really eye opening and interesting for me. Years later, when I was forming my own company and thinking about what I wanted to focus on, I went back to that experience.”
As a student, Chopra divided most of her time between Crescent Street, where she worked at L’Oréal, and Guy Street, in class.
“I hate routine, so it was really good for me to have the mix of school and work. I loved my experience at Concordia and was so happy to be a part of the program.”
Chopra, who is of East Indian heritage, moved back to her native Montreal after spending one year at a university in Ontario, where she struggled with the lack of diversity.
“I did not feel included there, but I felt really welcomed at Concordia,” she says. “It was so international, so multicultural and I remember having friends from every walk of life. I felt at home.”
“He was my favourite and is definitely the one that stands out to me,” she says. “Even after I graduated, I kept in touch with him. He was always pushing you to think beyond the obvious and always stirred up great conversations in class.”
Chopra went on to complete her MBA at Bocconi University, in Milan, Italy. One year later, in 2004, with an MBA in tow, Chopra returned to Montreal where 1Milk2Sugars took shape.
“I was unemployed for the first time and thinking about what to do,” she says. “I started consulting for one or two clients and slowly but surely, I founded the company — the first time with partners and then again on my own, in 2012.”
Since then, Chopra has been featured as a thought leader by Forbes, Bloomberg TV and The Globe and Mail. She won PR In Canada’s Women In Communications, Marketing & Technology award in the Founders category in 2018 and in 2020. 1Milk2Sugars was also named one of Canada’s fastest growing firms in 2020 by Maclean’s and Canadian Business.