As host for the Canadian Football League, Brodie Lawson is one of Canada’s most recognized sports and television personalities. From interviewing the league’s top players and coaches to sharing behind the scenes moments with fans, she has a front row seat to all things CFL, reaching 12 million fans nationwide. Most recently, she is the host of #CFLTHISWEEK, Twitter’s first live partnership in Canada using the new Twitter Live platform. Get to know the inspiration behind her career, and how football is more than just a job – it’s in her blood.
My first job ever was… Babysitting! I babysat for years and worked as a nanny for two summers. My first ever paying media-related job was working for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the host of Ticats TV Live, an in-game panel show and I felt like all my dreams had come true (little did I know…).
I chose my career path because… There were two primary reasons I chose sports reporting/hosting. The first is that I love the pace and pressure of being on camera, especially live. I had the opportunity to intern at TSN for a summer and I got to see how live TV worked and the amount of energy and effort that went into putting a show together. I loved how that energy felt back then and I knew that sitting at a desk 9-5 was not going to work for me.
The second reason I chose this career was that I am passionate about telling athletes’ stories and am driven by the opportunity to bring guys out of their shell. The CFL players have great stories to tell. Getting to know the players and their personalities and bringing their authentic selves to CFL fans, that to me is what it’s all about.
My proudest accomplishment is… Being the host of the Canadian Football League. Like…is this real life!?
My boldest move to date was… I can’t think of anything that bold, since I have always made career moves that felt like the right fit. Ask me in a few years.
I surprise people when I tell them… That my grandfather played for the Ticats way back in the day and my great-grandfather was the president of the team for a time (even more WAY back).
My best advice to people starting their career is… Be unapologetically yourself. Authenticity and honesty are so critical in your career because people will want to hire you for YOU. Don’t be a chameleon and shift into how you think people are expecting you to act. Stand by your values, recognize what you’re good at and lean into those attributes and whatever needs work – be honest about it and commit to getting better.
My best advice from a mentor was… To be really, truly, terribly confident in yourself and to do what you love. I think one of the many great things about mentors is that they’ve adopted the role because they see something special in you. My mentors have kept me in the game during times I wanted to quit and have encouraged me to think HUGE/ENORMOUS/BIG when I was just thinking.
“Don’t be a chameleon and shift into how you think people are expecting you to act. Stand by your values, recognize what you’re good at and lean into those attributes.”
I would tell my 20-year old self… To really enjoy and learn and not to worry about it all working out. I know it sounds cliché but it’s the honest truth. I was close to quitting and got so down on myself. It was all going to be okay and I knew that, I just wish I had trusted my gut a little more and enjoyed what I was doing.
My biggest setback was… Being without a job for several months after a contract ended without any real leads for another job. The days felt like months and the months felt like many months – I was embarrassed and confused. I hated going out because I couldn’t stand being asked “what do you do?” when I didn’t have an answer. It was rough and something I know many young people are struggling with right now.
I overcame it by… Maximizing any momentum I picked up. If someone, anyone, offered to have a coffee or take a meeting with me to talk to me about my career, I would do it. I knew it probably wasn’t going to lead to a job, but it kept my days full and gave me purpose. I spoke to people in different industries as well to keep my mind and my options open. Even though I (wrongly) felt ashamed for not having a job, I was bold about telling people I wanted to be a sportscaster and this would sometimes lead to them setting me up with a friend for a meeting. You need to be bold about what you want and really go after it, even when it feels like the door has closed.
Work/life balance is… Committing to making it happen. At 26, I feel silly even speaking about this; that said, any time I have had issues with work/life balance I schedule it into my calendar and I commit to making it happen. It just has to – commit to working and commit to family time. When all else fails find moments; send that e-mail or call your mom. Moments are powerful, let’s not get hung up on creating perfect balance.
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is… Something I try not to think about – we have a very balanced office at CFL HQ. It’s only when you get onto the sidelines when you’re reminded you’re a little out numbered. When it has become an issue in the past, I am lucky to work with both men and women who have stood up for/with me and made it right.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I am a bit of an introvert. I re-charge and prepare in quiet moments. I love connecting with fans, players and being in a rowdy stadium, but also know when it’s time to chill.
I stay inspired by… Our players and our fans’ creativity and passion for the CFL — a great play, an awesome touchdown or sack celebration, a funny sign in the stands. I am also inspired by my colleagues who write/produce/edit and pull together our weekly show and all our content on CFL.ca. We have a lean team of wildly talented people whom I feel lucky to work with and even luckier to call friends.
The future excites me because… I can’t wait to watch the Canadian Football League continue to grow and evolve. There is so much cool stuff happening in our league right now and I genuinely love watching my colleagues make bold moves to grow our game.
My next step is… To continue to work hard and get better at what I do. I always want to be improving my skills, learning and taking risks. If those are always the next steps, everything else will follow.