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Following in Their Father’s Footsteps

Gupta Family

Five well-known members of Toronto’s building industry now share the spotlight with their daughters, as the next generation joins the company.

What happens when daughters join their dads in business?

We asked five women who’ve put on work boots and office heels to follow in their father’s footsteps in the Toronto home-building industry. And in a Father’s Day tip of the hat, we let him get a word in as well.

Turns out some of the most respected names in the business are heroes at home, too.

Reetu, Shelley and Steve Gupta

Mealtime conversation invariably turns to business for the Guptas. But daughters Reetu and Shelley, executives in the family company, have laid down the law with their workaholic father — hotel and condominium developer Steve Gupta. Once a month, no shop talk during Sunday dinner.

“Business is what we all live and breathe,” Reetu, 31, says of Easton’s Group of Hotels, the real-estate development company Steve started 30-plus years ago. Of his four children, only his son took a different path into investment banking.

Although the entrepreneur is fiercely protective of his reputation and company, he has faith in his daughters’ business acumen and abilities.

“Business is what we all live and breathe… He’s taught us since we were children, and we’ve learned from watching him.”

“My children can take the business to a totally different level,” says the India-born immigrant whose first acquisition was a truck stop in Port Hope.

The hotelier says he’s a “hands-on president,” who gives out hugs and lends a sympathetic ear to his 1,400 employees. Lessons to his daughters include the importance of honesty, integrity, fairness, and “not being ruthless.”

“He’s taught us since we were children, and we’ve learned from watching him,” says Shelley, executive director of finance and condo development.

A downside to working in the family business is that “we put pressure on ourselves because we see it as our company,” says Reetu, vice-president of sales, marketing and strategic development.

But, she adds, “We couldn’t ask for a better boss.”