Tea with a Titan, Episode 55: Pamela Martin, Broadcasting icon/philanthropist

Tea with a Titan, episode 055 Pamela Martin, Broadcasting icon/philanthropist

Guest Titan: Pamela Martin, Broadcasting icon/philanthropist.

Tea of choice: Vancouver’s Steam Tea House.

What we cover: “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few weeks ago, I was speaking on a panel for the organization called Dress for Success. Dress for Success is a fantastic enterprise designed to empower women to get back into the workforce by providing professional clothing for job interviews and the first few weeks of employment, as well as providing a support network and tools for them to thrive. Because I was raised by a bum-kicking single mom who not only pulled herself up by the bootstraps, but who would then go on to “pay it forward” as they say, by serving as a beacon for others, it was an honour for me to speak at their event.

While I was on stage, I noticed Pamela Martin in the crowd. And because I have been a longtime admirer of her work in broadcasting and subsequently in politics, I was sort of giddy at the thought of having the chance to meet her. Not like an obsessed fan, but more as a woman in awe of another woman for her work-ethic and her contribution. I live in an area of Vancouver called the North Shore – and within the North Shore, more specifically a tiny little seaside village called Deep Cove, and previous to our Dress for Success encounter, I was sure I had seen Pamela Martin around my neighbourhood. Turns out, her granddaughter and JouJou are in the same class at the same Montessori Pre-school. So, in the days since I pounced on her at the Dress for Success event, I have connected with her a number of times at school events. I’ve always said that there is nothing better than meeting someone who you hope and think will be awesome, and they end up being exactly that. Similarly, there’s nothing worse than meeting someone who you hope and think will be awesome, and they end up being exactly the opposite. Pamela is the former. She is a delight, she is an inspiration, and she knows the secret of success. It comes down to two words: “Hard work.” And even she admits that she’s sorry that’s what the secret is – but alas, that is what it is.

Pamela was the first female reporter and on-air personality in her early days at top-rated stations and channels. And it was a role – to be the first woman – she took very seriously. To say that she has been a pioneer for women in broadcasting, would be an undeniable understatement. This is a person who talked about issues like breast cancer when it was actually not even permissible to say the word “breast” on-air, because it wasn’t considered good manners. (“Breast! Breast! Breast!”)

Ultimately, she would over the years, end up in the coveted seat of News at 6 anchor, alongside the esteemed Bill Good, on Canada’s CTV network’s west coast affiliate, where she would remain for the last near-decade of her broadcasting career – scooping up her fair share of awards and accolades along the way.

For nearly 40 years, the name Pamela Martin was synonymous with respect and integrity and likability in the field of communications, and perhaps at no time was she more front and centre than during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games when she was not only a carrier of the torch, an interesting metaphor for someone who has been carrying a torch for decades – but she was the trusted face of the games, here in the host city.

And while she most assuredly could have chilled for a while after a career as illustrious as her own, in 2011, after her retirement from the media, she announced the next chapter of her career — in politics, alongside now BC Premier, Christy Clark and the Liberal Government, where, in true Pamela form, she would go on to be a force yet again.

And after all this trailblazing, while many of us would seek the serenity and ease of the all-inclusive holiday, where the only decision we have to make is whether or not we want a mini-umbrella in our drink, Pamela recently took off to Africa for the better part of a month, where she would roll up her sleeves with the good people of Create Change – an organization dedicated to educating girls so that they are better equipped to rise out of poverty. Even in Africa, she was leaving a trail for girls and women, in the classes she taught while there. I love this woman and it is my goal to be her when I grow up. Or at least my own version of her.

This is a woman who, when she decides what it is that she wants, does what it takes to go and get it. And really, couldn’t we all commit to a little more of that in our lives? To being the kind of people who make life happen.

How you can learn more:

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