The Famous 5 Foundation hosted an event Nov. 19 aimed at cultivating leadership skills in women.

Women face a range of professional challenges, but according to one successful Calgary broadcaster, working hard and developing your skills is the key to success.

On Nov. 19, news anchor Linda Olsen spoke about her experience of 26 years in broadcast journalism at the Calgary Palliser Hotel, as part of the 14th Annual Enbridge Famous 5 Foundation Annual Speaker Series.

Olsen is one of the lead anchors for the Global Calgary Early News Hour at five o’clock and the six o’clock News Hour segment.

“When I started early (in my career), I never said I want to be the 6 o’clock news anchor. I just knew that I loved the process of writing, the creating side of it and to be able to tell stories. When opportunities presented themselves, I happily took advantage of them,” says Olsen.

In 2002, Olsen received the AMPIA Award for best anchor and a year later, she accepted the best host award for the Woman of Vision Special. Olsen discussed issues such as gender bias in her career field, the challenges she overcame, the importance of ethical responsibilities and actions for climbing the career ladder.

Linda Olsen recalls reporting on the Alberta floods happening in 2013, and upon the resiliency of Calgary’s residents.

Photo by Nicole Schafei.During her empowering speech she recounted upon on how she would start work at 2 a.m. in the morning until 9 p.m. in the evening, doing weekend shifts, and depending on the scenario — spending 10 hours straight on air. In contrast to her career ambitions, she also had to find balance in her life at home.

“From my work, there are always stories I take home with me at the end of the day. It can sometimes be challenging professionally and personally, but there are also moments when you get to see the resilience and power of people in a community like Calgary.”

Olsen continues to be heralded as a beacon in the ongoing struggle for gender equality, nevertheless confirming that in the broadcast business there are no boundaries for one’s success. She claims that it solely depends on one’s skills, and how much energy and time one invests to accelerate in the profession.

“When it comes to male and female hiring, in my experience, it was always based on the skill set. The upper management in companies are proactive and improving positions for women’s leadership roles.”

Lea-Michelle Crompson, 36, a guest on this lunch commented: “I am absolutely delighted to see husbands and men attending this event as well. Men are welcome to join the conversation about gender equality. Let them start by listening to what women have to say.”

nschafei@cjournal.ca