Sun News reporter/anchor Mia Gordon tells us you have to go out and make your dream job happen because no one will give it to you when we ask her what advice she would give other young professionals. She definitely speaks from experience, as you’ll see in today’s profile…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I don’t really know how to describe being a reporter/anchor. The thing is, every single day is different. I have to wear a different cap every day. But I guess you can say my job is to be a storyteller. It is my responsibility to inform viewers what is going what is going on in their country that could affect them.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I have been with Sun News since January; still the new girl here, but before that I was working at CHCH and KRIS in Texas. As for what inspired me in this career route, I wish I knew. I know my parents inspired me to be a hard worker. They came to Canada from South Africa with just a couple hundred dollars and really built their own career. Now my dad is a successful commercial director. I never thought I would become a reporter but I knew whatever I did in life I would give it 110%… cheesy I know. It was actually a college professor who told me he thought I would be good at this. I took one news writing class and I was hooked!
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my day-to-day basis is being able to interact with people. I love working at Sun because it gives a different angle and story, and to hear people say they really love the work we do, or to hear them want to share their stories with us, is so rewarding.
The most challenging part would have to be trying to be an expert at everything. One day I will be working on a business story, the next day sports, the next day politics. I have one major, not 10, and I have deadlines. It’s a huge challenge to get all the information and make sure that your story is accurate and on point, but it’s also the most exciting. I never know what my day has in store and I can honestly say I learn something new every day.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I know my work/life balance is off when I am constantly looking for a story. It doesn’t matter if it’s Saturday night or early Sunday morning, I am always on the lookout for something unique and different that I think our audience will care about. Plus my work phone is surgically attached to my hip!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
The exciting part about this question is I have no ideas I have a dream: I would love to have my own television show. I have always dreamed about doing feature stories on Canadian athletes because I don’t think our Canadian athletes get enough attention. But if you had asked me five years ago where do I’d see myself, I don’t think I could have dreamed I would be reporting and anchoring at Sun News Network! So honestly I don’t know but I cannot wait to find out.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge was not giving up when everything seemed to come to an end. What people don’t know is before the news world I was a professional tennis player. I wanted to be the next Steffi Graf. However, I tore my shoulder and wasn’t able to continue that dream. I could have felt sorry for myself, I could have given up, I could have quit. Instead I decided to work even harder. I never thought I would be able to say at 25 that I get to report across Canada. This is because I never gave up even when the going got pretty tough.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
I think success is not having any regrets. I make sure I live my life to the fullest. Whether it’s taking on volunteer work or extra assignments, my life is constantly moving and I love it. I think success will be me looking back on my life in 50 years saying I did everything I could to reach my dreams and I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
How can I pick just one? Getting the job at Sun News and being able to anchor across Canada was huge. Winning awards for my work was also big for me. But I would have to say the biggest moment for me was a story I did when I was in Texas. It was my first year on the job and there was this family going through some very tough times. The dad had lost his job, mother had a rare heart disease, and son had just been randomly attacked and was told he would never work again. I have had to deal with some pretty intense stories, but interviewing this family was the first time I cried on the job. Anyway, the story aired and we were able to help the family raise over $10,000 for medical bills. It was the first time I realized that my job isn’t just going on air and telling a story. My job is actually helping people, and it was amazing.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Network, network, network! I cannot say it enough. You never know who may know someone who has this connection, who knows this person. Just because someone isn’t in your industry doesn’t mean they don’t know someone who is. Another big thing is never take ‘no’ for an answer. I have heard time and time again I am not ready, or they don’t have an opening at a station I applied for. Well, guess what? In six months I will be asking them again, and six months from then. No one is going to give you your dream job – you have to go out and make it happen.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Toronto, in my opinion, is the most amazing city in the world! There are so many options. I am so fortunate to live right downtown and love exploring. Right now I am really into Cibo, Weslodge, Wvrst, Soho house. Also the country girl in me loves to get a two-step on down at Rock N Horse.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I really need to learn how to relax but my mind is always on the go. I love to be active. I love running (I am training for my first marathon). I love trying new things like taking improv classes. I love going to concerts; there is no better place to be than the amphitheatre with good friends and good music.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
My whole family is from South Africa and I love going back to visit there. I honestly think Cape Town is the most beautiful place in the world. It has beaches to relax on and mountains to climb. But if I need a little weekend getaway with some friends, I love New York. The city has so much to offer from the amazing Broadway shows to the amazing shopping (I have an addiction to both).
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
I would like to say “Sexy and I know it.” Totally kidding. I would have to say Pink’s F-ing Perfect. I think this is the perfect theme song because it reminds you that even if you have made a mistake, taken a wrong turn, done something you are not proud of, that doesn’t mean you are any less than anyone else. You are who you are and you should never compare yourself to anyone else because you are perfect in your own way.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I think I would be a feature sports producer. I love being involved in finding a story and putting it together. I think what ESPN has done with 30 for 30 is amazing and I would love to be responsible for gathering the elements. Well, that and the fact that I have a terrible singing voice so I can’t be on Broadway.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I love supporting Watercan. I am so appreciative that my family allowed me to travel from a young age. I was able to see how fortunate we are living where we do. I remember being around 14 and seeing how kids my age had no food and no clean water and I knew I wanted to help out.
What to you is notable?
Notable to me is someone who isn’t afraid to go after what they want. It is so easy to make excuses for why you can’t do something, but it’s not so easy to go after it and even if you fail, or it doesn’t work out, you can at least say you tried, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. There is something so beautiful with someone who is confident and not afraid to live their life.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone (although we get into a good fight now and then).
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)