The 6 Tips I share with every young woman I meet.

I don’t remember too many of the guest speakers who came to speak to my classmates and I when we were in high school. So, whenever I’m invited to a school, I seize the opportunity to give to them what I wished someone had given me: honest advice.

For the last couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of speaking at an all girls Catholic school in Vancouver. There’s something about speaking to a room full of smart, beautiful young girls: they’re at a critical stage when they need to hear nothing but support, encouragement and wisdom from the generation before them. My hope and prayer is to be one of those voices.

Life itself is full of ups and downs but, in this industry, the highs are high and the lows are low. Over the years, I’ve learned to enjoy the highs and survive the lows—but it hasn’t always been easy. Most of the students I speak to don’t plan on pursuing a career in journalism, but the principles I share with them are timeless and transcend the sector I’m in. I’ve boiled them down to my top 6 tips:

Be Good at Networking. Sometimes, it really is about who you know. Don’t be sleeping on that LinkedIn profile! Don’t ever let fear hold you back from introducing yourself to that person in the room who you think is at a level much higher than you! You never know who might be the divine connection to help you get from where you are now to where you need to be.

Be A Risk-taker. Step outside of your comfort zone. Do it early and do it often. So many people limit their success because they’re too afraid of the what if’s. Don’t be held back by a fear of the unknown.

Be Fearless. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. Don’t shy away from change or challenge. Don’t dwell in mediocrity because you’re too afraid to go, to do or to be. Start something new. Do something no one else has done before…and do it boldly.

Be Focused. Most people don’t know this, but I begin my day with prayer. In this life, there are so many things thrown our way and I have no idea what tomorrow holds. My faith in God through Christ is my firm foundation: no matter how rough the storm, I know I will *always* come out better on the other side. Prayer keeps me focused on what matters: connecting me with my divine purpose and keeping me on the straight and narrow path.

Be Prepared for Setbacks. They are going to come—I can guarantee it. Something will be thrown your way and, if you aren’t ready for it, it could destabilize you. One of my favourite Bible verses is Romans 8:28: “all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.” All things—even the bad things—work out for my good. I learned this lesson firsthand after I lost my job, but got a new one that I didn’t even go looking for: they came looking for me. So, have faith in God: your setbacks could be setting you up for success.

Be Your Biggest Investor. Your teachers will invest in you, your parents will pour into you…but make sure you are investing in yourself. Upgrade your skills by taking a few courses, go back to school for that degree, or take that much needed break you’ve been postponing (because resting is investing!). Spend the time, money and energy needed to ensure you’re the best you can be.

Questions for Toronto’s future mayor

 

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Toronto hasn’t been home for me for the last few years, still I always keep an eye on the city’s municipal elections–particularly, the candidates vying for Toronto’s top job. Mayoral races in the city are always exciting: closely watched, hard fought and full of surprises. This year has been no exception.

There are just two months to go before Torontonians will choose their next mayor–October 27, 2014, to be exact. I’ve been poking around, asking friends of mine whether or not they’ve made up their minds. The short answer: some have, but many haven’t. I’ve had friends tell me they’re ready for change–that the city’s current leadership (Mayor Rob Ford) is overdue for removal. On the flipside, I’ve had friends tell me there’s nothing wrong with the status quo.

I also have friends who are still on the fence enjoying the view… 

…And over the last few days and weeks, there’s been lots too see: accusations of ‘dirty politics’ between candidates, dust-ups at other mayoral debates. The candidates have discussed heritage preservation and the all important topic of transit.

Also ahead on the agenda: diversity. Mayoral Debate

This week (Friday, August 29), the Diversity Advancement Network will host it’s own mayoral debate. I’m told the three leading candidates in the race–Olivia Chow, Rob Ford and John Tory–will all be there, along with Dewitt Lee, one of the mayoral long shots. I should point out that while she is on the poster, Karen Stintz won’t be there as she’s dropped out of the race.

Last week, I was contacted by Paul Ade with the DAN to help them come up with a few questions. As a voter, I think debates are key in helping people make up their minds. As a reporter, debates are exciting to cover… but are always a challenge: there are always more questions than there is time.

Still, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this debate. In addition to questions I have, I canvassed my Facebook friends for questions they also would like to have answered. Here are the 5 that made the list:

 
  1. TRANSPORTATION: What is your plan for transportation across the GTA? Will other municipalities play ball with Metrolinx? More importantly, for any of your proposed plans, how will it be paid for?
  2. YOUTH: What are your plans to help at risk youths in vulnerable communities?
  3. COMMUNITY AND POLICING: How will you work with law enforcement in Toronto to foster an open and healthy relationship between the city’s many diverse groups and Police?
  4. LEADERSHIP: The city of Toronto hasn’t always had a mayor who reflects the entire city. In the past, mayors have appealed to voters in the suburbs, but not in the inner-city–and vice versa. What makes you a leader whom all Torontonians should support?
  5. OFFICE OF THE MAYOR: Over the last few years, the office of the mayor has suffered a few blows to its reputation. While Toronto remains a well liked and popular city, it hasn’t always been cast in the best light. What will you do to bolster this city’s reputation?

So, what do you think–anything missing? There’s still time to get a few more questions in.

 

Nadia