Executive Director of Angus Reid Institute
What does being a woman mean to you? How do you define the word?
What has been your biggest achievement, personally and professionally, as a woman?
I don’t know that I can define a single biggest achievement. For some it is easily empirical. An award. Being the first to do something. But often the hardest working, most committed individuals are not the ones with shelves full of trophies. They are simply too busy pursuing their calling on behalf of the communities they serve to “toot their own horns.”
Tell me about a milestone that defines your journey.
My journey is about more than one milestone or event — but I would point to my transition away from journalism and into a new career path. It was not an easy decision. You leave a career you love, a career you think you’ll be in for the entirety of your working life. Being headhunted out of the news, trying something entirely different, was terrifying. It was also the best decision I made because I would never have been able to explore new horizons if I hadn’t.'
Did you ever face a challenge simply because you were a woman?
Professionally, even in 2020 we face challenges as women many days. They are too numerous to count. Some obvious, some very subtle to the point where one doesn’t realize that gender may have been a factor at play until much later. I do not dwell on it. It is others who may have a problem with my gender. Not me. I keep my focus on what I am trying to accomplish. It’s a much healthier way to go forward.
What's your advice for women who wish to follow your path?
Some very simple rules to live by:
1) Know your own worth. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t experienced enough, that you aren’t ready, and that you aren’t worth the raise or the promotion you’re asking for. If doors are being closed in front of you — look for other places where they will open. Don’t accept anything less than your own value.
2) Know when to say “no”. We as women have a tendency to always say yes to everything, more work, more responsibility, offering more help. In our community we are conditioned this way, it is what we have been taught. All this will lead to is burnout.
3) Never ever be afraid to say “yes” to something that holds possibility for you.
Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that will happen? That it won’t work out? That you’ll make a mistake? Big deal. Don’t let fear hold you back.
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