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EPISODE #29: FIVE Questions for
Amber Mac


In the age of COVID travel restrictions, which city do you most look forward to visiting again & why? 

My hometown of Charlottetown, PEI. I’m biased, but I think it’s the prettiest place in Canada.


What piece of advice do you wish you had received at the beginning of your career? 

I think having a good night’s sleep before an important decision is good for everyone. The phrase, sleep on it, is true for a reason.


You quit drinking when you were in your early 20s. What advice do you have for other women contemplating the same decision?

I think drinking - and quitting - alcohol is a very personal decision. If it makes your life better, keep doing it. If it is stopping you from reaching your full potential, it might be time for a break.

What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn? 

The hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is that business is not emotional. I’m not saying that I’m not passionate about what I do, but I certainly don’t see my business as separate to me and that allows me to have a healthy relationship with it. Also, I don’t expect anything from anyone. I feel very much in control of my actions and don’t let other dictate how I feel.


What has been the most memorable project of your career?  

I really love hosting podcast series. There is something so special about audio-only conversations. It’s a unique way of telling a story and quite intimate.

EPISODE #27: FIVE Questions for
Elizabeth Dowdeswell


What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

My parents always encouraged me to live each day to the fullest.


What one book would you suggest every person read?

I love to read – anything! But there is nothing like poetry to quiet the mind and take one deep into your own thoughts and out into the greater world all at once. And this week during such troubled times I am drawn to the words of Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. He has published a beautiful collection:  Living in the Tall Grass: Poems of Reconciliation.


You love to sew. What is your favourite item to sew and why?

Sewing is my outlet for creativity. I love to work with my hands. In my current role, I am often having to dress for business, black tie, and formal all at once. I love using fabrics from my travels around the world that tell a story and can work in many environments!


Who is your hero or heroine of history and why?

My heroes are the everyday people who do the right thing when no one is watching. There has been so much of that during COVID and I know that quiet dignity is a trait in so many of the people who have kept our world turning at its darkest moments.

How would you like to be remembered?

She listens!

EPISODE #26: FIVE Questions for
Marnie McBean


Is it true that a Coffee Crisp ad inspired your love of rowing?

Yes… (that and the movie Oxford Blues in which Rob Lowe rows around in a pair of jeans). I wasn’t a huge fan of Coffee Crisp bars… but it had rowing in it, and made me curious.


You have competed all over the world. What one destination remains your favourite?

Lucerne Switzerland. It’s beautiful, well run, and the food was great. I also loved Auckland…it was a fun place to be and the people are awesome.

Who is your role model?

I struggle with this one. I tend to work with composites…. So many people that I meet have at least one amazing trait that I admire and aspire to.

What’s your favourite movie of all time?

Hmm… so many. Comedy? Adventure? Bull Durham – great sports lessons? The Notebook- great cry? Sliding Doors- life vs fate (and it has rowing in it)? Books are easier.  The Power of One, Bryce Courteney and Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy are two that I’ve read at least 10 times each. I come back to them every couple of years.


What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Work doesn’t have to be dreaded. Find something that you love to do.

EPISODE #21: FIVE Questions for
The Honourable Jane Philpott 

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If you could choose one other career, what would it be?

A musician.


Who is the most inspirational person you’ve met, and why?

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler Filder (Nishnawbe Aski Nation) because he is surrounded by challenges and spends every waking moment working to improve conditions for his community.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Stay flexible so you don’t get bent out of shape (from my Dad!)

You have been through a great deal in your life, but you seem content.  What keeps you positive?

Recognizing the enormous blessings that I have received.


What one piece of advice would you give to a young woman graduating high school today?

Pursue your dreams.

EPISODE #20: FIVE Questions for
Annamie Paul


You have lived internationally. Other than Canada, what was your favourite place to call home?

I try not to play favourites! I have had the good fortune to live in several countries with my family, including Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands, and Morocco. In every country, I have learned a lot and made wonderful friends.


What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

That I have a hard time picking favourites!

You just announced that you’re running again in the riding of Toronto Centre – what led to this decision?

My roots in Toronto Centre run deep - I was born there, and it’s where my mother and grandmother began their careers in public service - and I believe we can win in this riding. “Be Daring” is not just a slogan to me. I asked Toronto Centre residents to be daring and vote for me in the 2020 by-election, and so many of them did. I am going to repay that trust by running in this riding again -- if they can be daring, so can I.

You’re very candid in our interview about the fact that there is no balance in your life right now – why is it important for you to ensure other women know this?

The more information women have when making decisions about their careers, the better. Nothing can truly prepare you to be a federal party leader, but going into this with an idea of how much work it would be allowed me to make the decision to go down this path at the right time in my life. I hope that by sharing my experience, I can demystify a role like mine and support other women in deciding if and when to get into politics.

If you could choose to have one skill or talent, what would it be?

I would choose to be a FIFA referee! I love soccer and I think it must be a very challenging and rewarding thing to be a referee at the highest level.


FIVE Questions for Erica Ehm 

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Which person do you most admire and why?

There are so many Jann Arden, Dr. Christine Chambers, Amber Mac, for starters. Each of these women do what they love, never compromise what they stand for, and always support other women.


What one book would you suggest that every person read?

My sister’s book which comes out in May 

Swagger: Unleash Everything You Are and Become Everything You Want

What was the first music album you remember listening to and how did it impact you?

Partridge Family. I fell in love with David Cassidy. I chose ‘I Think I Love You’ as our wedding song.

If you could choose any other career, what would it be?


You note in the interview that you are an introvert – what has that quality taught you about yourself and about others?

Being at large social events is very draining for me, so I’ve learned to pick and choose when I will put myself in those uncomfortable situations. COVID lockdown has probably been easier on me because I’m okay on my own most of the time.


FIVE Questions for Julie Nesrallah


Coffee is a mainstay of your mornings – what’s your secret to achieving the perfect cup?

For me, the perfect cup of coffee involves having it brewed by slow drip, and then adding a ¼ cup of 1% milk to the cup first, and then filling the rest of the cup with a piping hot, fresh brew.

As host of CBC Tempo and as a celebrated singer, you listen to a lot of music. Who is your favourite composer and why?

Beethoven, without question. Ludwig van Beethoven unshackled himself from the chains of patronage and kicked open the door of possibility for personal musical expression which, decades and decades later, allowed for people like Billie Holiday, Elvis, Madonna and John Coltrane to express themselves in their own, deeply personal ways. Because Beethoven existed, we are all musically free.

What city do you most look forward to visiting – or seeing again – once the pandemic is over, and why?

I’ve never been to Venice, Florence or Milan, and I’d like to rectify that! I imagine that when the plane touches down in Italy, after being cooped up in my own small corner of the world for so long, it will be extra magical and extra glorious.

Other than singing, which talent would you most like to have?


You are a highly optimistic person. What advice do you have for others about how to keep a positive approach in difficult times?

I am a highly optimistic person! But even when it’s challenging, I believe staying positive is the only way to go. A lot of times, staying positive for me is more about  finding joy in the perfect cup of coffee, in The Beatles, in a clean house, etc.  Not staying positive robs you of everything, including yourself.  And to quote Beware of Darkness by George Harrison, “That’s not what you are here for.”


Mary wrote a novel called Crying For the Moon – and you can find a link right here

If you’re interested in a walk down memory lane to see some of Mary’s television shows and movies, or even if you just want to get a sense of the causes she supports, you can visit her website – here's a link

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Pam has just released her latest book, Warrior Blood. It is her second collection of writings from her Indigenous Nationhood blogs, from newspaper op-eds and from magazine articles which reflect on issues impacting Indigenous peoples - here's a link

Pam’s first book is called Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity -  you can buy it here

Pam is an active podcaster – she hosts both the Warrior Life and Warrior Kids podcasts, both of which can be found on her website here

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Pam also writes a blog called Indigenous Nationhood. It’s housed on her website, and you can follow this link to read it


Pam is the Chair of Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.  If you’re interested in more information on the program, you can click on this link


Pam’s website houses her podcasts plus links to her books and blog, but it’s also filled with information on human rights, public inquiries, inquest and Coroner’s reports and annual reports – this link leads you to her Resources page

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Susan’s most recent book, Shopping for Votes was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for non-fiction


Susan explored the uncomfortable relationship between Jean Chretien and Paul Martin in Juggernaut – Paul Martin’s Campaign for Chretien’s Crown


When her close friend, MP Shaughnessy Cohen, died on the floor of the House of Commons, Susan grieved and then memorialized her friend in Shaughnessy: The Passionate Politics of Shaughnessy Cohen


Susan covered the Charlottetown Accord consultations and negotiations as they moved across Canada in the early 1990’s – her experience resulted in United We Fall: The Crisis of Democracy in Canada


At the end of our interview, Susan noted that one of the most popular articles she ever published was the one featuring the friendship between Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland – you can find that article here


Want to learn more about the FCM?  

Click here to learn more about the

national voice for Canada’s local governments. 


Carole’s on Twitter! Click here to follow her engaging feed.

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If you own a business that’s looking to go global,

Ailish and her team can help – visit the Trade

Commissioner Service website here


If you or someone you love is struggling with infertility

or pregnancy loss, these resources may help guide

you on health your journey:


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Here is a link to Amanda’s book, Love Lives Here


Amanda writes a blog where she conveys her honest, raw and sometimes very funny experiences of daily life – read it here


If you or someone you love is looking for resources, here are a few organizations which might be able to offer the support you need:

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Minister Gould spoke passionately about getting women into politics and what changes need to happen on Parliament Hill to retain the women who do run and get elected. She supports the Women in House program and continues to host students in her office. 

To learn more about Minister Gould and her work, check out her website or follow her on Twitter.

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Perdita has a highly engaging personal website – you can find it here

For an overview of Perdita’s Olympic career, check out this Team Canada link 


Perdita is hosting a new TV series called

All-Round Champion. You can take a look here


Here’s a sneak peak at the cover of

Perdita’s soon-to-be-published memoir 

My Mother’s Daughter

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Beverley McLachlin’s remarkable memoir Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and Law has recently been nominated for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.  You can find a link to the book here

Not only is she a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, she’s a successful mystery writer too! Beverley McLachlin’s first crime fiction novel, Full Disclosure, was published in 2018 and the next installment is coming soon.

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Chief Justice McLachlin remains an international jurist through her work with the Singapore International Commercial Court and the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.  She also works as an arbitrator and mediator in Canada and around the world. More info.


You can watch episodes of Next Gen Den with Nicole here 


If you’re interested in learning more about Nicole’s company OMX, you can check out their website


Nicole was named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by Startup Canada, which has chapters across Canada to support entrepreneurs of all kinds – if you need more info, visit

As a child, Nicole was inspired by Robert Munsch’s iconic children’s book Angela’s Airplane, which made her want to become a pilot.

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Marci co-hosts THE SOCIAL, which airs live weekdays at 1 p.m. (2 p.m. AT) on CTV. THE SOCIAL is also available on demand across CTV’s digital platforms including, and the CTV app.

Exciting news!  Marci mentions in our conversation that she has a book coming out this Fall… it’s called Off Script – Notes on Living Life to the Fullest and you can find more info here

Marci is passionate about ending racism and discrimination in Canada. She co-hosted a recent special on CTV called Change in Action: Racism in Canada – if you missed it, here’s a link

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For more information on Catherine McKenna,

please visit her website here


To learn more about Level Justice click here

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For more information on Michelle Valberg and to buy one of her books click here.


To learn more about her Planet Hope click here

For further information on Project North click here

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In Episode #3 of The Honest Talk, Bree Jamieson Holloway talks about the profound impact of the racism she faced growing up.  As #BlackLivesMatter discussions and demonstrations take place around the world, Bree provides us with a list of books that help her own three children feel empowered while celebrating diversity and inclusion. 


Additionally, we wanted to provide you with two news links we thought you might find important.  The first article is written by Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History, and puts the history of racism in Canada into context click here


The second article is by business leader Wes Hall, and addresses the lack of diversity in Canadian board rooms and corporate offices click here

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Episode 2 guest Ann Douglas sparks conversations that matter about parenting and mental health. She is a best selling author and a commentator for all things parenting.

For more information on Ann, and for a list of her many books, please click here

If you’re looking for a link to Ann’s latest 

book Happy Parents, Happy Kids, here it is

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In Episode #1 of The Honest Talk, Lisa Raitt speaks to a book that changed her life, called Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth, written by American journalist Mika Brzezinski. The book was recommended to her by Caroline Mulroney and takes a deep dive into why women should stand up for what they’re worth and be their own best advocate in the workplace.  

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