Today’s Notable Young Professional is all-around media maven Martine St-Victor, whose work spans from writing in some of Canada’s top publications to humanitarian work in Haiti. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her career and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m a communication strategist in pop culture, which includes politics. PR on steroids. I’m an architect of ideas, a connector, a behind-the-scenester.
I occasionally write blog posts for various sites.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
To bring stories to life and share them with as many people as possible. To show that what may look ordinary is, in fact, very often extraordinary.
To say I have a love story with the world of media would be an understatement. I’m inspired by it and have crafted my career based on that. Good journalists know how to find the good stories even when they’re buried. They know how to bring them to life and show that these stories have themes that are common in the human experience: love, loss, triumph, resilience, activism. That’s why I love shows such as PBS’s Frontline and the American Experience, Envoyé Spécial on TV5, 60 Minutes and interviews by Charlie Rose, Oprah and the late Ed Bradley. It’s not about the interviewer, it’s about the story. I made a decision 12 years ago about my carrer: whatever I took on had to have an international flair, make me learn something every other day, and be fun.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
That’s a bit like asking a mum who her favourite child is. If I had to pick one, I would say playing a role in Haiti’s rebranding: from its politics to its image abroad. I think my Haiti-related work, which I started 15 years ago, will have the most lasting impact. It’s the one that comes closest to what I believe my purpose to be. If you ask me that same question in 2-3 years, maybe the answer will be working for Barack Obama at his Foundation. I’m throwing it out to the universe.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Still at the head of JeLoveHaiti Apparel Company, hoping its items will be distributed all over the world. We have new partnerships that will surely take the line to its next level. And still making moves behind the scenes – behind the scenes in television, in communication, in politics, in diplomacy. Or a mix of all of that and executive-produce NBC’s “Meet The Press” or CNN’s “GPS With Fareed Zakaria.”
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Worry about what feels good, not what looks good.
Stop looking at the clock, stop rushing. Trust and respect the process. Things that matter take time.
Trust that if you work hard, are rigorous, and are good to people, success will happen when you’ll be ready for it. But I’m still learning so I need to be asked again in a few years.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
Yes, the Montreal-based Kanpe Foundation, for which I’ve done public and media relations. It is co-founded by powerhouses Dominique Anglade (now candidate for Québec’s Liberal Party) and Régine Chassagne (of Arcade Fire). Kanpe means “stand up” in Creole. The foundation targets villages in Haiti. It progresses families towards financial autonomy. Their success rate is both impressive and admirable. Kanpe’s business model should be copied and pasted.
7. What does the word notable mean to you?
An influencer. Someone whose acts make a difference.
But like everything else, it’s relative. I have a new measure for things I take on; things I care about. I ask myself: “Will this matter in one year?” If the answer is no, I move on. Notable is someone who has an impact, and impact is measured in time.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Ah. Another “favourite child” question. I like Leméac, Enfants Terribles on Bernard Avenue, which are my neighbourhood restos. I’m a fan of Le Filet, Ferreira’s, Milos, Jun I, and Maison Boulud at the Ritz-Carlton to glam it up. All these eateries are culturally/culinarily diverse, which is emblematic of Montréal and what is so great about this city. I also have a list of mom and pop eateries that are my “go-tos,” which I selfishly only share with very close friends.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser?
These days, probably oneworld.com for travel. But my browser always has at least six news sites open. Al-Jazeera, New York Times, Le Nouvelliste (Haiti), the CBC, the Guardian, Twitter, L’Express, and Pitchfork. And all this needs a soundtrack, so Spotify, Apple Music or NPR.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
I rely on many (many) SM feeds. One of my favourite is NPR’s Scott Simon (@NPRScottSimon). It makes the pleasure of his radio show last. Locally, one shouldn’t miss The Gazette’s Basem Boshra (@BasemBoshra). Smart, funny, to the point.
4. What’s your favourite cocktail?
Bubbles: Champagne, Prosecco, Kir. I’m not big on mixes, except for the Kir, but if you have a cocktail that is Barbancourt-based, I’m in.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Watching the White House’s Correspondents’ Dinner.
6. What would be your last meal? And don’t hold back…
Torchon de foie gras, guinea fowl, cherry tomatoes, pommes frites, Djon-djon rice, smashed sweet patatoes. And there would be some raw fish in there. And conch with other seafood. And charcuterie, cheese. And to top it all, Lipitor.
I imagine a giant oval table with the food served on Mediterranean-inspired plates. My closest friends and family would be there with a perfect playlist, drowned by laughter.
7. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Dinners that turn into early breakfasts. Oh, and online shopping for absolutely everything.