NADIA STEWART - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Tell us a little bit about yourself? Well, I was born and raised in Toronto, by parents of Caribbean descent. I got my start in community television, as a Reporter and Anchor for Rogers TV Peel. From there, I spread my wings, exploring the world of weather as a news writer for The Weather Network. I joined the CBC family in 2010, as a multi-platform Reporter/Host in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador--and what an adventure that was! Aside from my work on air, I'm also a contributor and the former Editor of Planet Africa Magazine, a Toronto-based quarterly publication that celebrates the achievements of the Black community across the diaspora.
Tell us something not many people know about you? I used to be a competitive public speaker...but before that, I was a competitive runner! My specialty was the 60 meter sprint.
What's your inspiration or how do you get motivated? I'm always striving to be my best self, and that's really all the motivation I need. In my career, I'm challenged daily: with new problems, with new stories, with tackling different issues--it's never the same thing every day. That pushes me to work harder and to be better at what I do on a daily basis.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect? I got here through faith and by working hard--and I never allow myself to forget that. In the years to come, expect to see me reaching higher heights.
What would you like to be remembered for? I don't know yet. I'll have to get back to you on that one in a few years!
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure? It's not easy! Over the last several years, my mantra when it comes to friends and family is that 'I will always make time for the people in my life.' These are the people who love me, support me and are always there for me. No matter how busy life gets, I never allow myself to be too busy for them...and I never allow myself to be too busy for me! At least once a week, I try and set aside some personal time. It really goes a long way.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
My favourite food: I don't really have one! I enjoy Caribbean foods just as much as I do Indian or Italian. If it tastes good, I'll eat it!
My favourite book: Tough question! I loved The Book of Negroes (Lawrence Hill) and The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell).
My favourite music: Growing up, I was surrounded by Gospel music and that very much still influences my musical taste.
My favourite movie: I'm not much of a movie watcher.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada? As is the case with most Black Canadians, my experience has been largely positive. I haven't been the victim of racism or discrimination; the colour of my skin hasn't kept me from following my dreams and achieving my goals.
What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada? As a community, we are definitely headed in the right direction: I'm meeting more and more young, Black professionals who are excelling in their careers and setting a new standard for the next generation. However, I wish there was more unity within the community. I often feel as though we could achieve so much more if we weren't so fragmented. I think it's something my generation and generations to come need to focus on.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada compared to the US? I think Canada differs in this regard. I don't feel as though race is a primary or deciding factor when opportunities arise. In my career with the CBC, the playing field has been even: I don't feel as though I've missed out on an opportunity because I'm a Black woman. It's a great feeling knowing that I work for an organization that values diversity both on and off camera. Are there more opportunities for broadcast journalists in the US? Yes, because there are far more stations and markets, by comparison to Canada.
When will Canada have several role models and institutions like Obama, Beyonce, Oprah, Tyler Perry, BET, etc.? We will have those role models when people decide that they want to be those role models.
What’s your understanding of Black History in Canada? It's limited, as is the case for many young Black Canadians my age. As I travel across the country working for the CBC, I have the unique opportunity to learn more about Canadian culture...and Black Canadian culture and history along the way. Had I not moved to Newfoundland, I probably never would have learned of the powerful story of Lanier Phillips. Had I not moved to Calgary, I wouldn't have have understood why John Ware was such an important figure in Black Canadian history.