Jennifer Podemski: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is award-winning actress, writer and film and television producer Jennifer Podemski, who took some time out of her busy TIFF schedule to chat with us about what inspires her work and where she sees herself in five years…


Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am a storyteller, harnessing all mediums and platforms both in front of and behind the camera.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I opened my first production company when I was 25. After five years of working 18-hour days and supporting a team of staff, I determined that I wanted to slow down a bit and rebrand myself as an independent producer with a home office. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of every day is being able to work in a creative space and being able to pick up my kids from school by 3:30 p.m. The most challenging part has to be the same. This lifestyle and career choice can work for or against you depending on the day and my mood.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
If I get agitated. That’s means I am not balancing the two properly.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Healthy; being an active and engaged mother with more time on my hands because the work I take on will accomplish more in less time.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
As an actor, when I had to overcome Lyme disease, which practically halted my on-screen career for three years. Acne, weight and the like were also issues when I was younger. As a producer, I have had so many challenges over my career, but overcoming them is a part of the job and what makes me so good at it.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success is waking up every day with a positive outlook on the day and going to bed at night not regretting your choices. Money has nothing to do with it.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Being nominated for a Gemini Award for best dramatic series as a producer. It was the first all-Aboriginal television drama in North America and that felt like a dream come true. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Learn to fail with grace and come back with strength.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
My house. If I was to go out, which is a more of rarity these days, I would say that Hudson in Barrie on Dunlop Street has been a nice place for a glass of wine and girl talk.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I am a mother to a three and five-year-old, so I don’t think I know the meaning of ‘me’ time anymore – but I am totally fine with that. Even when I go to get a facial or manicure, all I can think about is “I wonder how my kids are.”

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I love road trips, going anywhere with my kids and husband. BUT… New York City will always take the cake.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
FAME – I’m gonna live forever, IM GONNA LEARN HOW TO FLY!!!

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Reiki. Healing. Counselling.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Lots. I believe in active charity. My time is worth something and I like to work on charitable projects. Right now I am working on a Christmas dinner at Enaahtig Healing Lodge in Orillia that I will be sponsoring.

What to you is notable?
Kindness. Very. Extremely. Notable.

BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I was a die-hard BlackBerry user for a long time, but then I went to the iPhone and was surprised to find how much I love it!