Today’s Notable Young Professional is Raina Douris. At 20-something, she’s already the afternoon host of one of Toronto’s top radio stations, Indie 88, after spending her early on-air years at The Edge and CBC. We caught up with her to find out how she took the radio world by storm, and what advice she would like to share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I share stories, music, and opinions with Toronto and the world on-air and online.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be *ON* – but I wasn’t sure exactly how. I was a loud-mouthed, opinionated high schooler, and one day my economics teacher asked me if I wanted to be on a radio panel for the CBC about the Iraq War. I said yes, did it, and loved it. That, combined with a love of acting, performing, and writing, was the beginning.
I went to school for radio & television broadcasting, got into Toronto’s music scene, and then put it all together.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
I was one of the first people hired at Indie88, and was fortunate enough to be there on launch day when we pressed the button to start the whole thing. That was pretty mind-blowing. I cried. Being part of a brand new radio station is a once-in-a-career opportunity.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
This is always such a tough question. I could never have predicted where I am now – and the media landscape is changing fast. I want to be hosting and writing and creating more, in all matter of media. Radio isn’t just radio anymore, it’s the internet. You have to be able to create content across all platforms. I see myself working on a bunch of different creative projects, from radio to TV to the internet, taking it further than just spinning songs; to use my voice to create change and educate, entertain and challenge.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Work hard and say yes. It sounds cliché, but it works. I used to keep a pillow and an alarm clock in my desk at work for long hours. Take on responsibilities. Challenge yourself and do the things you’re afraid to do. Be there, so that when the higher-ups are looking for someone who can do a bigger job, you’re already there. Make your own projects and don’t wait for them to appear.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
We support Sketch Working Arts through Indie88. It’s a charity that helps street-affected homeless youth through the arts. They do some really amazing, wonderful things. It’s incredible how being given a chance and the resources to be creative can change your life.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
When I was younger, at one of my first on-air radio jobs, I was very irresponsible and got fired for it. I deserved it, but it was really hard. I thought I would never do radio again. I got a job at Starbucks to make ends meet while I tried to figure everything out… it was humbling, and I was broke, and it was embarrassing to admit that I screwed up. But I kept working, made a website, started a series, and ended up clawing my way back into broadcasting with a very important lesson learned about taking things seriously.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Standing out and going beyond the status quo.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Ohhh, man. This is tough. There are a few: Chantecler and Miss Thing’s in Parkdale. Indie Alehouse in the Junction. Rhum Corner. Ronnie’s.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Other than Facebook? I spend a lot of time on Reddit. The nature of my job means I always have a million tabs open. The most played song? This summer it’s been Major Lazer’s “Lean On.” WHAT. A. JAM. But other than that, I’ve probably listened to Father John Misty’s album I Love You, Honeybear more than anything else this year.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Aside from me? @dril.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I love America. The vastness. The variety of cities, cultures, people, the landscapes, and the desert.
But the next place I want to go is Europe; the UK, and eventually Italy, where parts of my family are from.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Everything. EVERYTHING. I get terrible FOMO. I could be the guest of honour at a birthday party at Buckingham Palace and if I saw someone jumping off their dock at their cottage I’d be like, “aww, man, why didn’t they call?”
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I didn’t have a television for almost nine years and just got cable recently. It’s embarrassing how much terrible reality television I watch now. I’ll seriously watch anything. Real Housewives, renovation shows, Chopped, shows about teens making bad choices. I watch it, and I yell at it.
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I hate buying lunch everyday but I hate MAKING lunch so much more. I wish I spent more money on travel. And maybe cool furniture or art. Still working on making my apartment look like an adult lives in it instead of a first-year university student.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success, to me, looks like some level of freedom. In work, it means you can work on the projects that inspire and excite you. In play, it means you can explore and create and have fun without (too many) limits. In love, it means feeling truly free to be yourself and to support who you’re with.