What intrigued you about the field of Media and Communications to pursue it as your career?
I have always enjoyed writing and working with words because I realized from an early age that words, particularly those placed in public platforms, can be a powerful way to bring volume to your voice. I always loved to read so during high school, I volunteered to read the announcements. While still a teenager I hand wrote an opinion piece protesting a decision not to bring a Black radio station to Toronto. I mailed it to The Toronto Star, and it was later published. The experience of seeing my views in black and white in Canada’s largest daily paper gave me a boost of confidence that allowed me to always believe that it was possible to have your voice be heard.
After university, I put myself forward for a hosting a program focusing on the Black community that was heard on CHRY York University. I also wrote a column in Pride News Magazine and then features for the Toronto Star. That then later led to a career at CBC Radio and other news outlets where I could funnel my passion for storytelling on radio and television, as a writer and reporter. I’ve been blessed to be able to use words to create stories and narratives that are seen and heard by local and national audiences. My Mom had me reading at an early age so I think the initial intrigue to be part of this industry was my love for words and reading.
What was the most rewarding part of your role as the Media Relations Manager for the TORONTO 2015 PanAm /Parapan Am Games?
It was rewarding to work for such a big event that created such positive change in the city, while learning something new too! Although I’ve covered a lot of stories in my career, and worked in a lot of sectors, sports was new for me and I really enjoyed the experience. I learned a lot about what it takes to go for a goal; what it takes to own the podium; and what athletes go through to get there. I saw how the spirit of stories about artists (which I’m more familiar with), and athletes are similar and how businesses and organizations really rally behind events that bring the values and benefits of health and community to so many people.
Working with the Games really expanded my personal knowledge and I was glad to be a part of the team that helped tell the stories that captured the excitement many people felt during the summer. I got to see my city and the city’s potential in a whole new way. And what’s been especially rewarding is that the experience at the Games will blossom to other great opportunities in the future.
What words of wisdom do you have to offer to those interested in entering the world of Media and Communications?
Try everything and write a lot! Everything you do in your life can inform your experiences and make you a better writer. I’ve had many memorable opportunities, and in media, I would name my time at CBC Radio and a reporter with Rogers Television’s Toronto Living as key. In communications, for sure working at the University of Windsor, with the Toronto District School Board on behalf of the Africentric Alternative School and the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games were highlights. But none of it would have happened without the support of family, community, and the drive to learn through continuous writing, interviewing and volunteering. The years that I spent as a volunteer host at CHRY Radio, learning how to talk and engage with people made it easier to feel comfortable at CBC.
Over time I realized that as I’ve grown in my career, each opportunity had me using the total sum of experiences. Whether it’s writing, creating pitches to media, editing and approving copy, liaising and engaging with media contacts, reporting and finding facts, and coaching junior staff on how to do interviews and craft creative stories – it’s all part of being a better communicator. When you’ve had a career where words have been such a priority, there are many ways to make it fun! Although I do less radio pieces now– the passion for being clear, concise, informing and interesting remains. So if you’re interested in getting into the industry: write, write, and write again! Keep talking and interviewing and improving. Because once words hook into you, the hold is secure and it’ll be hard to let go!