Last Tuesday morning Sister Leadership had the joy of attending a Women’s networking event featuring Sangita Patel of ET Canada in conversation with Janice McDonald, of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. The timing of this conversation couldn’t have arrived at a better time during our Logical Smart series that sees the analytical mind combined with Spirit and purpose.

Passion vs Practicality

‘I live by passion, and I go for things where I think this is interesting, I need to try this. I had a passion for doing journalism. I knew there was something there that I absolutely loved, and I do live by the word passion. I live by that every day in everything I do. So when I applied, I secretly applied for journalism – most of it was engineering – and I got a scholarship in both.

At that point, I thought what do I do? I sat down with my dad, and he goes: where are you going to make money? I go, journalism! He goes, you’re not going to make money in journalism. You have to do engineering.’

The Pivot Point:

‘There was a point when I was working as an engineer – this was my last job when I was an engineer, I was spending maybe five million dollars in a year for this one company that I worked for. I used to go to out west and I would stay there for months in the cold, and was working, spending all this money, and this one engineer, a guy I worked with, would not look at me in my eyes. He would not communicate with me. He would talk with my senior engineer who was a guy, but he would not look at me. At that point I really got fed up. That was the moment I quit engineering. I was done with it. That’s when I went, when am I going to get the respect that I deserve?’

‘Things started changing for me. I applied to the weather network where I met a man who said, well you like math and science, why don’t you do the weather?’

Mentoring:

‘I stay very connected with a lot of engineers. Girls do email me. What’s been great, social media has been phenomenal – Twitter, Facebook, people have connected with me and I still get those questions. Luckily I got an award, I was really excited, on Sunday at the ReelWorld Film Festival, and there was a moment this girl came up to me. She goes, I was reading your bio, and she started crying. And I say, oh what did I do? And she goes, no, you helped me find my path. She didn’t want to be an engineer. She wanted to be in movies, she wanted to do film. She said, I’ve always felt this pressure that I needed to become an engineer because I was so good at this and this, but I realized what my real passion was.

And she is living it. I thought to myself, I affected you. That was definitely a moment I’ll never forget.’