Pay it Forward

Helping someone in need can take many forms. There are many individuals who need help, be it financial, physical or spiritual. Some people are dealt some pretty rough cards in life, and I have always felt that it’s important to be there for people who need a helping hand. For someone who is sick, impoverished or disadvantaged in some other way, I don’t need someone to help me first in order to push me to help someone else. I just do it. The concept of Pay it Forward comes from the idea to create a ripple of kindness. One person can influence the next person to be kind, and it just spreads.

I’m all in support of that, and I even see that an international Pay it Forward Day has been established. It’s coming up on Saturday, April 28, 2018. But that’s not what I want to focus on today. I want to talk about how to pay it forward in other ways.

Sometimes you help someone just because it’s the right thing to do. The person you help doesn’t have to be ill, short on money or lost in any way. It can be your sister, your friend, your cousin or your current or former colleague. You can help your friend who has been close to you for 30 years or the person you met last week.

I have been the beneficiary of this concept many times in my life, and I appreciate the helping hand I got. In particular, I want to thank the many people who have helped me develop and grow in my career.

My first mentor was a tremendous man named Michael Ludlum. He was my “Writing for Broadcasting” professor during my first semester of Journalism School at New York University almost 20 years ago. I was the one student in our small class of graduate students with no experience in journalism. He recognized my raw talent and spent hours working with me, training me and giving me the confidence to be a good journalist.

Professor Ludlum, I believe, recommended my name to be a Graduate Assistant, which ensured the rest of my graduate school tuition was paid and that I secured a salary to teach young undergraduate students with him. He taught me the importance of mentorship and leadership and how to manage people in a way that helped them grow. I have passed that on to my colleagues and people who have reported to me throughout my 15 year plus career. I hope they learned something from me, via Professor Ludlum, and guide people in the right direction.

I worked with a talented group of people early in my career, in radio, at the Team Sports Radio Network. The ownership shut down the sports concept less than two years after we launched, and yes, we all lost our jobs. But my boss, and another one of my early mentors, Shawn Lavigne, stuck his neck out for me and secured a job for me at Sportsnet. He didn’t have to do that, but he just did. He recommended my name to a hiring manager, and that’s how I moved from radio to TV.

The day I got my job at Sportsnet I promised myself that I would pay it forward and help other people secure a job if they needed my help. I have to say, one of the greatest ways you can pay it forward, and get a ripple moving, is to use your influence to help someone in his or her career. It is something people do not forget, and it keeps the pay it forward momentum going.

As I have changed paths in my career there are many more people who have guided me and really helped me. But people haven’t just helped me with my career. When I faced years of fertility challenges, people offered me advice and support. When I have been overwhelmed with life (ever had a day like that?!), my friends and family were quick to reach out to be there for me. I have and will continue to pay it forward and be there for them.

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