Meet Alyssa Hrycyshyn

In honour of International Women's Day, Grayes will be dedicating the month of March to celebrating women. We will be posting a series of interviews featuring inspiring Grayes women driving change.

Tell us about your career journey.

I literally walked off the podium with my undergraduate degree and straight to my new employer to collect a box full of product literature to review before I started “day 1” at what is now one of the largest global medical device organizations. At the time it was smaller, and entrepreneurial in nature, so I had the benefit of wearing multiple hats and getting a lot of exposure to many facets of business. While progressing through roles of increasing scope and responsibility I found myself working full-time and taking evening classes in Toronto to get my MBA. After 2 years of burning the midnight oil, I decided to finish off the degree in a single, full-time term on an international exchange – I was off to Italy! There, I was able to continue my studies and sharpen my business acumen, while feeding my interest in art, design and fashion. When I came back home, I thought I would leave the med device industry all together, but found myself immersed back in medical devices focussing more on the acute care setting in Canadian healthcare with the lens of trying to do things differently. I have continued to stay in the industry taking on progressive roles within the marketing realm, most recently, moving back to my roots of an entrepreneurial organization – this time, as a global marketing leader. I have always found it exciting to be a part of creating a vision, a culture, and a team. It must be the creative side of me that sees the opportunity to put my mark on an organization and build from the ground up.

Tell us about your personal style and how it has evolved over your career.

Ha! I would like to say that I have eclectic taste that dabbles in a bit of everything and that I never fell victim to the latest fashion trend, but I am sure that is not 100% the case. I will say that in the past my wardrobe was filled to the brim and I rarely thought about how I could utilize pieces in different ways to create multiple looks. As I have grown in my career, so has my taste. I aim to try and find higher quality classic or unique pieces to anchor my wardrobe and pull in other smaller pieces to add a ‘pop’ or accent to my look. I am also a fan of versatility – items that have multiple ways to be worn are always a great addition – especially when travelling! Additionally, shoes have always been a way for me to express myself and my collection was large! But even then, I have really managed to streamline my assortment without sacrificing self-expression. I think that in my short time living in Italy, meeting people and travelling in Europe, I observed how many of my friends from outside North America preferred to save a little more, or wait a little longer to purchase something that they really loved and would wear vs. spending less and purchasing a lot. I suppose it is a bit of a movement away from fast fashion as “staples” in a wardrobe, to fast fashion as a supplement to the higher quality clothing that I love. I can’t say that I am always great at it myself – but I am definitely more conscious and aware when I am adding to my wardrobe.

What's the best style advice you've ever received? What's the most important piece of style advice you would offer young businesswomen?

It is important for me to stay authentic to who I am. I don’t want to ever feel like I am wearing a uniform because I am wearing clothing that was meant to be worn by someone else. That being said, in a casual conversation when I first started working, I heard a coworker say: “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” And it kind of stuck. For me it was a statement that not only provided carte blanche to my personal taste and style – i.e. don’t limit how you dress in the workplace to your job scope or title. But it also in a sense made me realize that it was a way of being my own personal cheerleader. With this mindset of dressing for the job I wanted (no matter what I was currently doing); I was essentially removing any limitations that I may have inadvertently put on myself and thus unconsciously on my career. I try to wear what makes me feel confident and empowered to not only do my job, but do it amazingly well, and comfortable in my own ‘skin’.

What items of clothing or ‘looks’ make you feel the most powerful and like your most authentic self?

I prefer looks that makes me feel confident, yet comfortable, with a clean, crisp look. There is nothing worse than being in a meeting or at an event and constantly feeling the need to readjust something or feeling like you are “off”. There is enough to think about and focus on to be in the moment and present at a meeting or event - your wardrobe shouldn’t be one of them! And probably just as important as comfort, is ensuring I add some additional element of uniqueness to make the look my own. Accessories like scarves, jewelry, and of course heels/boots can make all the difference. If I can stand tall with my shoulders back and feel good – with a little bit of flair, it’s a good day!

What do you love most about the Grayes brand?

I do love the Canadian-made and locally owned aspect of Grayes. It isn’t very easy to find a women’s wear organization like it, (let alone in my own backyard), that allows busy professionals the opportunity to purchase and try pieces in a way that doesn’t require me to figure out how to fit getting to a store in my schedule. The added benefit is the quality and the versatility of the clothing that really extends the life and use in my wardrobe.

What's your favourite Grayes piece and why? 

Only one??!! If I have to choose, it would be my first Grayes purchase, the Structured Top – in Camo. It is an unexpected pattern that you just don’t see often in professional pieces. The uniqueness is why I love it so much, and it can be layered too! Of course, I need to disclose that the Blazer Dress is a very close 2nd! It can be worn in so many ways, the versatility is endless. And I must confess that I have yet to explore all the different options of this blazer – I am waiting for warmer weather before I wear it as an actual dress!

What is your philosophy when it comes to your wardrobe, and particularly your work wardrobe?

Bottom line: I need to feel comfortable yet confident, and appear professional yet authentic and unique to my own personal style. If a piece can’t check those boxes, then I won’t be happy wearing it. In Marie Kondo’s words – my wardrobe needs to “spark joy”! 

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