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Hometown Hockey Host Tara Slone on Building an Unconventional Career

<I>Hometown Hockey</I> Host Tara Slone on Building an Unconventional Career

Tara Slone worked as an actress and musician (she was the lead singer of the Juno-nominated band Joydrop) before becoming a TV host. In her current role as co-host of Hometown Hockey, she visits hockey-mad towns across Canada every Sunday night on Sportsnet. She told Canadian Business about her best and worst jobs, building confidence and working alongside a broadcasting legend:

First job

“My first paying job was at a Second Cup in Halifax when I was in high school. I was a barista in its very early form—kind of before coffee was in. It only lasted for a few months, though. My main job in high school was actually working at Sam the Record Man. I got to hang out with lots of music lovers and indie musicians, and I think it really influenced my taste in music.”

Worst job

“A little bit later in life, in between high school and university, I worked, once again, at Sam the Record Man, this time in Montreal. But since my French wasn’t good enough to be on the sales floor, they put me in the warehouse. I was the only woman. I was 18 years old, surrounded by men, and it was a challenging work environment for me. It was really before there was a general awareness of sexual harassment, so it was a bit of an unkind environment for a young woman at the time.”

Best job interview

“A long time ago, when I was doing theatre, I auditioned for a summer play in Kingston, Ont. I nailed the audition, but what I remember afterwards is that I told them that I really wanted the job, and that I felt like I was the right person for it. It was the first time I felt comfortable talking about myself with confidence, without being embarrassed. That was a defining moment, something I’ve kept with me, and that has really helped me since.”

Best boss

“I haven’t had a conventional career and I haven’t had a lot of conventional jobs, but everyone who has nurtured me along my path in television has given me a lot. My executive producer currently, whose name is Alison Redmond, is a really amazing balance between being someone who is very precise and passionate about the project that we’re working on, but who also, I think, really cares about the individuals she’s working with more than the product we’re producing. She’s gentle and tough at the same time. As someone who has a small child at home, I really appreciate that combination.”

Best mentor

“I have two. First, I have to give credit to Paul Schmidt. He works for Breakfast Television Toronto now, but he gave me my first job at Sun TV and had faith in me even though I had almost no experience. He taught me a lot in the few years I spent there. Second, I now get to do my job alongside Ron MacLean, and he is the most generous broadcaster I have ever had the opportunity to work with. He’s so accomplished and naturally gifted. And he sees me as a peer, as someone he trusts, even though I’m so much more junior than he is. To me, that defines true leadership.”

Sarah Niedoba/Canadian Business/March, 2017