Never underestimate the power of sharing your story from the heart

On April 21, 2013, I had the opportunity to speak as a guest panelist alongside some of Canada’s top lifestyle television producers, including Jennifer MacLean, Senior Producer of CTV’s Canada AM; and Sara Lynn Cauchon, Show Producer of CBC’s Steven and Chris and the Live Well Network in the U.S. Held at the fantastic Baka Gallery Lounge in Toronto’s west end on a lovely Sunday afternoon, the event was hosted by Moxii Pro, networking group for women, and Gwen Elliott, host of Start Something Big, which airs on Rogers TV.

Left to right: Gwen Elliott, Jennifer MacLean, Sara Lynn Cauchon and me. Photo: Moxii Pro

The purpose of the event was to help entrepreneurs understand how to pitch to media and to provide insight for those who dream of being a television producer. I was honoured and humbled to be included with these remarkable women. We all were asked by our moderator, Gwen Elliott, to talk about our careers and how we got to where we are today — and the stories were interesting, intriguing and inspiring.

While I had not previously met any of these women, I was aware of Jennifer MacLean’s work at Canada AM, from my PR days. Jennifer talked about her role on Canada’s premiere television newsmagazine, how she sort of landed in her career, made light of having a short attention span, and shared some insight on how the week of the Boston bombings was the craziest week in news in her experience while there. I couldn’t help but have a deep respect for her and what she does because live television is tough — and Jennifer does it well.

The energetic and humorous, Sarah Lynn Cauchon, talked openly about the “highs and lows” of her career. Her message is that of perseverance and never giving up. We share something else in common: we both have a PR background and dreamed of doing something else, although our experience differs.

Gwen Elliott, Host, Start Something Big, and me. Photo credit: Gwen Elliott

Moderator and host, the funny and easily likeable, Gwen Elliott, who has that “girl next door” quality, shared her personal story of having “analysis paralysis” and how, at a pivotal point early in her career, she found herself stuck in the energy of thinking and dreaming — and not doing. Today, she is dedicated to helping others get into action.

I talked about my journey of following my heart and some of the challenges I have faced along the road, and how and why I got Extraordinary Women TV off the ground. To my surprise, after the panel was over, four people came up to me and asked me for my advice on how can they follow their hearts. One young gentleman approached me and thanked me for my “gift” — now he is thinking about what is in his heart.

What I learned from this experience is the importance of being authentic. All the guest panelists spoke with honesty and sincerity, and people seemed to appreciate it (I certainly appreciated hearing my new friends share their stories). And I realized that whenever we share our trials and tribulations, what inspires us, those low points in our lives and how we overcame them, people seem to want to listen and discover something inspiring in it.

I also learned that when I am humble, I speak from the heart. Conversely, when I am in fear, I am more inclined to speak from a place of ego — a heady state — not that this is necessarily bad, but it is not coming from the heart. When we come from the heart, our stories are more relatable.

I am grateful for Sara Lynn, Jennifer and Gwen for sharing their wisdom and insights, because I also learned what it takes to be a good television producer: one must have the attention span of a nat, abundant energy and a great sense of humour for when it all goes awry — because it surely will.

As well, special thanks to the wonderful souls who came up to me after (you know who you are) and shared your hearts and vision, for you, too, inspired me to continue to follow my heart.

More information about the event, details, click here.