With the three-year anniversary of Everleigh, one of Toronto’s favourite clubs, coming up on May 12, we’ll be featuring Owner and CEO Ralf Madi’s top five young professionals to know in Toronto. Today we’re talking to etalk segement producer Laura Ward…
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m a segment producer for etalk, which means I write stories, interview celebrities, produce content, direct field shoots, and entertaining!
What was the inspiration for your career route?
I never stop talking and have always been extremely nosy, so studying journalism at Carleton University for my undergrad seemed like an obvious choice! Back in seventh grade, I impersonated Barbara Walters for a school project, and it seemed to be a good fit. The rest is history.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
I couldn’t pick just one so I’m going to double up on this one.
Back when I was still in university I got the chance to meet Donnie Wahlberg when he was in Ottawa for a New Kids on the Block concert. I told him I was in school for journalism, and was hoping to one day get into entertainment news. Fast-forward a few years, I was assigned an interview with Donnie and his brother Mark at the opening of Wahlburgers in Toronto. When Donnie walked in, he recognized me and said, “Wow! You really did it.”
My first major sit down interview was with Will Smith. I had conducted plenty of interviews before this, but to sit down with someone I grew up idolizing was a bit daunting. In the middle of the New Mexican desert at Spaceport America, I sat down with the Fresh Prince to discuss his new film, After Earth. The four minutes I was allotted flew by, and I felt as if I could have sat and chatted with him for hours. Definitely a memorable milestone and he’s just as charming in real life as he is on the big screen.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
In five years I see myself still working in this industry, as television is a medium I’m truly passionate about. With the new area of technology and the shift in the way we consume media, there is no way to predict the direction in which Canadian programming will go. I hope in 10 years to be working on my own show, with my own original concept. In 20 years, I hope to have retired and volunteer rescuing dogs within an organization full time.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
No never means no. Be persistent. Always put yourself out there and don’t be discouraged by rejection. Meet as many people as you can, and don’t be offended to start at the bottom. If you’re good at what you do, your work will speak for itself.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I’m extremely passionate about animal welfare, especially dog rescue organizations such as Save Your Scruff and Dire Woofs. Educating potential dog owners to #adoptnotshop, getting the word out on how many abandoned animals are up for adoption, and supporting these charities financially and through volunteer work has become a top priority.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Getting your foot in the door in the television industry if you don’t have an immediate connection is extremely difficult as jobs are becoming fewer and far between. After leaving my position at Global News Vancouver as a news writer, and moving to Toronto, I had to take a few steps back and take on an internship.
As most Torontonians know, living in the city trying to work a full-time internship while juggling a part-time job to make ends meet can be overwhelming. At one point, I considered going to teacher’s college and giving up my dream. I’m so happy I made the decision to stick it out, and shortly after my internship I was offered my dream job! From that I’ve learned to never have a “Plan B.”
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Notable means someone or something worthy of the attention and celebration.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I absolutely can’t say enough about Foxley on Ossington; a tiny, unpretentious, cozy spot with a private little patio. O can promise anything you order on their menu will not disappoint, but make sure to try the arctic char ceviche!
What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Most visited websites: Facebook and Twitter. Social media is our number one source for news at etalk, and staying glued to these sites is essential to getting the lead on any story.
The most played song on my phone right now is Sam Hunt’s Break Up in a Small Town. No judgment, I’m from a small town and I like country!
Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Me, of course! If you want to keep up to date on the on-going craziness that is my life, follow @lauraward23 on Twitter and Instagram and @misslauraward23 on Snapchat!
What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
My favourite country to visit is France. My girlfriend lived in Bordeaux for some time, and I can totally understand why she made the move! Of course, the fact that the city has some of the finest wines in the world makes it all the more obvious.
The next country I plan on travelling to is Italy. I have wanted to go to Italy for some time now, and never seem to make my way there when I visit Europe. But 2016 is the year!
What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Most of my family lives in Ottawa, and although it’s not far, it is hard to get home as often as I would like. My greatest FOMO is not being able to attend all the birthdays and anniversaries I would like. Thank goodness for Skype!
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. On a Monday night, I am busy for two hours (three if it’s the finale). No calls, no emails, no Instagram, no Snapchat, no Facebook, just glued to the TV – and clearly I’m not afraid to admit it!
What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
My closet! Working in this industry almost forces you to always look your best as you never know who you’ll run into or what assignment will be thrown your way. Saying my online shopping addiction is out of control would be a bit of an understatement and finding a place to live in the city for me really means finding enough closet space.
I wish I spent more money on travel. I have never regretted a single trip I’ve ever taken, and hope to make my way to South East Asia sometime soon.
And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success is getting up and doing what you love and are passionate about every day, regardless of the paycheque. Who cares to be rich if you’re miserable?