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Why are some people such jerks online? And how do you respond to social media attacks?

Is social media snark the gateway drug to full-on trolling? I wondered this a lot last month, scrolling through the hate-tweets directed my way. Had I condemned a respected religious leader? Body-shamed a feminist icon? Described COVID as a viable form of population control?  No, I’d had the temerity to confess in a Toronto Star […]

I can no longer celebrate Canada Day

NOTE: This piece was originally published on the Toronto Star’s website on 23 June 2021, and in the paper’s print version the following day. It became the site’s most-read story, and generated significant response. Although I knew my thesis would be controversial, I was still taken aback by how incredibly hostile many people’s defensiveness made […]

Four communication lessons from Doug Ford and Jason Kenney

Doug Ford’s mis-management of the COVID-19 crisis has put the Ontario premier in the crosshairs of parents, teachers, restaurant owners and frontline workers alike; it’s caused health care leaders to publicly weep in frustration. Governing effectively in uncharted pandemic territory is like leading a country in wartime: the challenges are legion and unpredictable. Addressing them […]

It’s not radical to expect political parties to field as many women candidates as men

(Originally published in The Hill Times 15 February 2021) When Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet in January, he retained the gender balance that earned him headlines back in 2015. No one commented, because six years on, it’s become the default for the federal Liberals. That’s good news for the roughly 50 percent of the population […]

Reframing Imposter Syndrome

and Sweta Rajan SHARI: Sweta, when we spoke for the first time recently about how we might collaborate, you vented a bit about the whole notion of “imposter syndrome”. This is something that comes up in our workshops all the time — the extent to which many educated, experienced and competent women feel like they’re […]

Should journalists quote women as often as men?

Do you think journalists should be compelled to quote women as often as they quote men? The proposition sounded a bit radical, even to me, back in 2014 when Edelman CEO Lisa Kimmel invited me to defend it in a public debate.  Seven years on, it’s no longer a radical idea. Journalists and newsrooms across […]

6 tips for editing your own work — and why you should solicit feedback from others

Be honest: if you sent me a piece of your writing, and I sent it back marked up like the page at the right, would you feel insulted? I know it’s sobering to see words you’ve carefully committed to paper marked up in red ink by a critic who deems your prose something short of […]

So you have reservations about declaring yourself an expert…

I often joke that I became president of MediaWatch (Informed Opinions’ predecessor) by going to the bathroom at the wrong time, and returning to discover I’d been elected president.  The line reliably nets me a laugh and a lot of “been there” nods from audiences of women (because a lot of us have been volunteered […]

How to reduce your dependency on speaking notes

A woman once told me about having attended her thesis supervisor’s presentation at an academic conference. It took him almost 20 minutes to read his research paper aloud. When he looked up at the end, she was the only one remaining.  Everyone else had bailed from sheer boredom — and he hadn’t even noticed. (She […]

4 incentives to liberate you from reading your speaking notes

“I’m trying to sound smart.”  These words broke my heart when I heard them from a workshop participant last week.  The young woman who uttered them is so accomplished that she earned a coveted academic research grant usually awarded to PhD students even though she’d just completed a bachelor’s degree. She also speaks three languages.  […]

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