Today’s Notable Young Professional is TV personality and the Toronto Argos’ in-game host Jackie Perez, whose work is changing people’s perception of what it means to be a cheerleader. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her work and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I am a television personality and the in-game host for the Toronto Argonauts.
What was the inspiration for your career route?
I grew up in a household where if we weren’t watching sports on TV and recapping the highlights from the previous night, we were playing ourselves. The whole experience is fascinating to me: the game, the production around building a broadcast, and the way it engages fans. Being in the media industry, I’m able to combine my passion for writing, creating stories, sports and entertainment.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
When I joined the Argos as a cheerleader in 2011, I never imagined it would lead to my current position. In the last couple of years I’ve been able to showcase my skills and talents as a captain for the team, producing digital content, being the social media lead, and now as in-game host. The chance to grow within the Argos family has been truly special.
It speaks to what you can accomplish and breaking the ideas of what it means to be a cheerleader. I used this as an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to shape it into something I wanted to be proud to represent.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Really cementing myself as a broadcaster in Canada.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Work hard. Even harder. Take the time to learn from those around you. Find a mentor. Be a sponge, but don’t be afraid to speak up with your ideas. Have confidence in yourself, your skills, and what you can bring to the table.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I’m a supporter of Canada’s National Ballet School as well as its Sharing Dance initiative. I danced growing up. It instilled skills I used to this day (work ethic, drive, etc.) and a greater appreciation for dance and the arts.
ReThink Breast Cancer. This runs in my family and luckily both my aunts are breast cancer survivors.
I’ve also been lucky to be involved as a spokesperson/emcee for iGUTSY Walk in support of Crohn’s and Colitis, Toronto Argonauts’ Huddle Up Bullying Prevention program, and The Girls Empowerment Movement.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
When I tell people I was a cheerleader, they just think it’s cheering on the field and waving pom-poms. I used this experience as a chance to showcase my work ethic and my skills, as well as play an active role within the community.
What does the word notable mean to you?
Making a difference; in the community, in people’s lives. Standing out for leading the way for others and being a trailblazer, an example people can look up to.
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
I love going out along King West to dine. When it comes to a nice drink, SpiritHouse is one of my favourite places to go for a nice Old Fashioned.
What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson.
What’s your favourite country to visit and why?
The Philippines. I was born there but left at such an early age that I don’t remember much. I went back for the first time in 2010 and completely fell in love. There are so many islands and regions that make up the country that you get a mix of city life, island life, and provincial life. I developed a greater appreciation for the people, the culture, and the history.
What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Having my phone die when I’m about to tweet, post, or want to take a photo.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Enjoying a chocolate ganache fudge cake all to myself. Pair it with a little red wine and I am set!
What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I wish I didn’t spend so much money on Starbucks beverages. I’d love to spend more money on travelling. It’s one of the few things in life you should never feel guilty spending money on because the experiences can only make you richer in ways money can’t.
And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Whether it’s work or play, seeing your vision come to life is how I see success. That’s why it’s so important to set goals and paint a picture of what you want your life to look like. It might take a few weeks, months, or even years, but when you’re able to cross things off that goal list you’ve achieved what you set out to do.
Photos by David Lopez