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Four Lessons from the Life and Advocacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

One of the wonderful things about truly inspiring people is that their influence outlasts them. The power of their actions and words can continue to change minds and motivate choices well beyond their time among us. It requires no prescience to predict that this will be true of the just-passed Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  Yes, the […]

Replace negative phrasing with positive imagery for more effective media interviews

Can you spot the strategic communications error in this Calgary park signage? (And do you know why it’s relevant for your next media interview?) I’m not talking about the graffiti’d objection to the ownership of wild bunnies and birds signalled by the possessive “our” — although I agree with the correction.  No, I’m referring to […]

10 Lessons from listening to Chrystia Freeland, a seriously “good talker”

The prospect of being interviewed on live radio or television makes many participants in our workshops nervous. But none of them have had to negotiate the kind of high-wire crossing in real time performed by our newly appointed Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland. And she has, time and again, demonstrated her qualifications as — in radio […]

Redefining success and failure in academia

This article was originally published by University Affairs I’ve failed more often than I’ve succeeded, but you wouldn’t know that from reading my CV. Last year, I failed to get a postdoctoral grant from the Social Science Humanities and Research Council. Two years in a row, I failed to get a postdoctoral fellowship from the […]

My first op ed… on the Miss Canada beauty pageant

Don’t stop me, even if you have heard this one before: It’s 1992. I’ve just joined the board of MediaWatch, Informed Opinions’ predecessor. A TV reporter calls to say the Miss Canada pageant has just been cancelled and he needs someone who is not a beauty contestant to come on TV to talk about it. […]

Justice for _ _ _ _ _

When these deaths are followed by hashtags instead of convictions, I often wonder when the murderers will tire of being fuelled by hate. When our peers and our friends and our families and their cops and their government will shout loud enough to be heard over 400 years of white noise. I should not know […]

You Don’t Have to be Quoted to Wield Influence

Let’s say you’re a beleaguered advocate who is part of a national network of women’s shelters that constitute the thin and vulnerable line between daily brutality often leading to death, and escape to safety. No day, or week, or month are ever going to give you enough hours to do the job necessary.  Now let’s […]

Tell your mentors how much you appreciate their impact while you can

Meg moved quickly behind me to close the door to her office not wanting her staff to overhear.  I had showed up in advance of the MediaWatch board meeting in 1990 to let her know that even though I’d only joined the board six months previously, I would be resigning at this, my second meeting.  […]

How to Cope with the Coronavirus Shutdown

Is it possible to eat your weight in popcorn?  I appear to be trying.  The pandemic lock-down has also given me permission to double my chocolate intake, consume cookies at breakfast and microwave chunks of cheese on a plate so I can scrape the stuff into my mouth with a fork. The grapes have become […]

“Poet, can you write this?” We need to write the post-coronavirus reality we want now

In Stalinist Russia, poet Anna Akhmatova’s husband was shot and her son imprisoned. Every day for months she stood outside the prison walls begging for word about her son’s fate. Recognizing her, one of the other women in similar circumstances called out to ask, “Poet, can you write this?” She responded, “I can.” And then […]

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