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Profile 2 - Melissa Eapen

By Christine Hamelin with photography by Randy deKleine-Stimpson

Gene O'ReillyAt just 27, Melissa Eapen, co-founder of Improbable Escapes, is a successful entrepreneur. Raised in a rather confining environment, she is a self-made woman whose thirst for adventure, travel, people and creativity continually guides her to seek out new and stimulating experiences.

An only child, Melissa, a bubbly but pensive young woman with curly black hair, was born and raised in Brampton. Her father, Premod Kanjirappallil, is director of operations for Ryerson Canada, Inc., a metal distributor; and her mother, Betty Kanjirappallil, is a credit management and accounts receivable accountant. “They’re hard-working immigrants,” says Melissa. “They moved here from Kerala, India, in the ’80s. I was born shortly afterwards.” Most of her father’s family — his parents and siblings — had already immigrated to North America, and Melissa is close to some of her cousins. Her parents “identify strongly with Indian cultural norms and are fairly religious Anglicans; I don’t identify with their lifestyle. They think I have to get married and have children in order to be successful.”

Growing up, she remembers being “a really quiet kid.” Her parents strongly encouraged her to excel academically, but, she says, “I really wanted to be creative and wasn’t allowed to pursue that. . . .

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