Today’s Notable Young Professional is all-around media maven Toula Drimonis, who’s writing, editing, hosting or punditry on Canada’s hottest issues you’ve probably come across at one point or another. We caught up with her to find out what inspired her career and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m a Montreal-based freelance writer, editor, opinion columnist, and radio and TV pundit who routinely guest hosts on CJAD, the city’s top English talk radio station.
What was the inspiration for your career route?
Ever since I can remember I’ve loved to observe, question, and, of course, write. Writing makes me figure things out, allows me to inform people of issues that I think matter, and enables me to advocate for them. As a freelancer, I can tackle a variety of topics dear to me (feminism, racial and religious discrimination, political transparency, etc.), wear different hats, and not feel tied down to one trajectory.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Having a borough mayor send me a ‘cease and desist’ letter because I wrote repeated columns about their apparent conflicts of interest, and watching that same mayor get arrested five years later.
Having the opinion piece that I wrote on Jian Ghomeshi and rape culture for Ricochet literally crash their site because of too much traffic was gratifying.
This coming September, I will find myself involved in three separate projects, working in all three of my languages. I’m really excited about that.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Hopefully doing exactly what I’m doing now. I hope to be able to continue writing about things that matter to me. I would ideally like to be doing even more radio, a medium that I am very much enjoying, and I really hope to have published a book by then.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Be smart about your choices, but don’t betray your values and main interests. It’s not a sacrifice worth making. You will wake up hating yourself one morning. Life is too short not to be passionately excited about what you’re doing.
Also, be real. There is nothing I hate more than listening to someone talk about their “brand.” You are not a brand. You are a human being – serious and silly at the same time. It’s ok to be both. People respect and are attracted to authenticity. Don’t wait to see which way the wind blows before expressing an opinion. Playing it too safe makes you boring and predictable.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I’m a huge supporter and admirer of Shield of Athena, a non-profit organization for victims of domestic violence. They offer emergency shelter and professional multilingual services to women – particularly immigrant women who don’t speak either of Canada’s official languages.
What does the word notable mean to you?
Notable to me stands for someone who’s making some sort of notable difference in their community and in their chosen field – no matter how small. Someone who is living their truth and following their passion with integrity and drive. I don’t care what you do and I don’t care how much you make. Do something you love and try to do it well.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I’m spoiled because I live in St. Henri, one of Montreal’s most exciting neighbourhoods in terms of food. Tuck Shop, Campanelli, Sumac, Grumman 78, Le Vin Papillon, Liverpool House, etc… they’re all within walking distance of me.
As far as drinks go, nothing beats Bar de Courcelle’s low-key, friendly neighbourhood vibe and McAuslan Terrace (in the summer).
What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser?
Oh, my internet browser is a nightmare. I have 100 tabs open at any given time, but I’d venture to say my own website Headspace because I’m always checking stats. Also, Mother Jones. They do investigative journalism and social issues really well.
Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
That’s hard to narrow down, but Justin Ling (@Justin_Ling) from Vice Canada right now if you like your federal electoral coverage with a heavy dose of snarkasm and laughs.
What’s your favourite cocktail?
I seem to have developed a real affinity for Gin & Tonic these days. And no, it’s not just a summer drink.
What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Probably seeing other people’s pictures and suffering from severe wanderlust. I always fear I’m not travelling enough these days. But as you get older, FOMO becomes less of an issue because you’ve realized that most of what’s happening out there isn’t nearly as exciting as social media is making it out to be. Decide what’s important to you and prioritize it. You can’t waste valuable time thinking about what you’re missing because any given choice automatically entails a choice not taken.
What would be your last meal? And don’t hold back…
My mom’s Greek Egg Lemon Chicken Soup. It’s my comfort food, what she would make when I was sick as a child. No one makes it like she does.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Stupid reality shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. They go against every feminist fibre in my body and insult my IQ, but I seem to get sucked in every single time.