We chat with local entrepreneur Jackie Perez to learn more about her path, goals and what she'd do if we gave her a time machine.
(Full disclosure; we do not have a time machine)
1. What are the three most rewarding aspects in your professional life today?
I get to work in sports doing what I love. I not only generate exciting content for home games and through the Argos digital platforms, but I get to meet and know the amazing CFL fans. It doesn’t feel like work. I've been with the Argos since 2011 and contributing to building the football culture in Toronto has been exciting. In 2016, I had the unreal experience of being an in-game host for the 104th Grey Cup. In 2012, we won the 100th Grey Cup, and in the last two years we moved from Rogers Centre to BMO Field. Every season is different, every game day is different. That's what makes it great. I get to be part of a team: There is a lot of work that goes into producing a home game beyond the game itself and I am surrounded by an amazing crew- from the director to producer, mascot and cheer team to the double blue crew. They help bring the game day experience to life for fans. I may be the one on the mic, but there are so many elements and people involved behind the scenes in making sure everything is executed successfully and on time.
2. Looking back at the path you took to get here, is there anything you'd change?
I've had some pretty amazing experiences professionally and it's led to opportunities that's pushed me outside my comfort zone and has allowed me to grow not just professionally, but personally as well. Sure, there have been times where I thought to myself, I should have gotten that job or, I should have been more aggressive in pursuing that opportunity. It's cliche, but timing is everything. I think if certain things had happened a lot sooner, I wouldn't have appreciated them as much as I do now. In short, I wouldn't change a thing because I wouldn’t have these experiences or have met the mentors and people who have helped me grow in my career.
3. What words of encouragement and advice do you have for anyone who's looking to taking a similar path to you?
When you're first starting out, volunteer for any position in the industry or environment you wish to work in, no matter how small you think the role is. I volunteered for two seasons for the shows CBC's Royal Canadian Air Farce and Canadian Idol as an audience staff crew member. This exposed me to a live audience television production, which I found is similar to the production involved at game days. I saw how a show is executed and what roles people played from the crew, hosts, guests to audience. It allowed me to see what roles I could see myself doing. A tip for pursuing on-camera work? Practice, practice, practice. Videotape yourself speaking in public, critique it, ask for feedback because that’s the only way you’ll improve and get better. Whether it’s speaking to one person, or 50,000 people, be energetic and engaging and look at everything as an opportunity to show your talent.
4. You've accomplished quite a bit so far; what do you want the next 1, 3 and 5 years to look like for you professionally?
I feel like I'm still carving my way through my career, but a year from now? If the right opportunity presented itself, I’d love to be working in another part of Canada -maybe the West Coast. I’m very lucky to have gotten my start in broadcast in Toronto, but working the CFL Grey Cup Festivals in different cities across the country, gave me the opportunity to go to places I never thought of visiting and realizing that wow, we live in a diverse, beautiful country. When I see what Melissa Grelo (Your Morning, The Social) has done with her career: starting out as a video journalist, anchoring a breakfast show, producing and hosting a daytime show- it’s really inspiring. Three to five years from now, accomplishing even half of what she's done would be the dream.
5. How do you stay motivated?
I am a perfectionist at heart so I'm constantly looking for ways to improve as a storyteller, when producing shows or taking the game day experience to the next level. The energy of a live show and audience and production- I thrive off it. If an audience can walk away from a show, a game or an event where they are engaged, entertained and informed then I've done my job.
6. If you weren't doing what you're doing now, what would you be doing?
I've always seen myself working on-air in broadcast, but if I really couldn't do this, I would be a producer or director for live television on a show with a format similar to The Social or The View. When I first started at Rogers TV some of the roles I held were as a camera operator in the studio, and various roles in the control room during their Daytime show. This experience showed me all the elements and all that's involved in bringing a show to life.
7. If I gave you a time machine, would you go forwards or backwards and to what year and why?
April 15, 1947. Ebbets Field, Brooklyn. I would have loved to been there for Jackie Robinson's debut as a Dodger.