As host of Entertainment Tonight Canada, the nation’s entertainment powerhouse, Cheryl Hickey greets over half a million loyal viewers each night as she delivers breaking news coverage, in-depth profiles and behind-the-scenes exclusives. Between hosting ET Canada, supporting several children’s charities, and winning some of Canada’s most prominent media awards, Cheryl is an expert in balancing life as a working mom, entrepreneur, dedicated wife, and mother of her two kids, Jaxson and Nyla. But where did her journey to becoming one of the most recognizable faces in Canada begin? You might be surprised.
Meet Cheryl Hickey when she hosts the 25th Annual RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards on November 22 — tickets available now!
My first job ever was… A mannequin at a closing store in a mall. I would put on an outfit and then stand in the mall like as a mannequin for twenty minutes. And all my friends would stand there and try and make me laugh.
I chose my career path because… My dad said, “You know you can make money talking, right?” I was always talking and very inquisitive, so he suggested we go check out the local cable station and I was fascinated by all the different jobs. I volunteered one year and fell in love with media and everything you could do with it. I was kind of hooked immediately!
My proudest accomplishment is… Landing a hosting job at ET Canada! I really didn’t think I was going to since so many fantastic people auditioned. Another proud accomplishment I think was our team setting the foundation for some really fantastic live shows in Los Angeles for the Grammys. And of course, becoming a mom!
My boldest move to date was… When I made the leap and moved to Toronto from Barrie when I was offered a job here. I was really nervous about it because I had never really had much experience in the big city.
My best advice to people starting their career is… There will be a lot of people that will tell you that it’s a really tough time in the industry. Realistically, I would say it’s quite the opposite now, thanks to the internet and social media which has changed the game. So there’s a wider landscape for work for those who are hungry and willing to look at different methods of storytelling. Keep going.
My best advice from a mentor was… Personally, the best advice comes from my mother who says, “don’t borrow worries from tomorrow.” And the best advice professionally is to keep networking and keep learning because life changes and things happen, sometimes there’s more opportunity to build on what you’ve already accomplished.
I would tell my 20-year old self… All those late nights, all that working for free, all those volunteer hours, all of that was worth it. And for people who say you can’t do it and that it’s not possible say, “thank you very much” keep going.
My biggest setback was… A previous employer wasn’t exactly encouraging for my career or professional development, which made it difficult for me to believe in myself. But when I moved to Toronto opportunities opened, which allowed me to not only pitch ideas but also have people listen. So my setback many years ago propelled me into this.
I overcame it by… I just kept going, I buckled down. I knew what I wanted to do, I knew it was going to take a lot of hard work and kept going, just kept going.
Work/life balance is… Realistically, it’s not something that happens every day in this industry. There’s times when I have to work my butt off, and then there are times when my family needs me more, but you somehow make it work. When I’m with my kids, I’m incredibly present, and when I’m at work I’m incredibly present.
Being a woman in the spotlight is… A privilege. It gives me a platform to speak about really important topics. It’s given me an opportunity to work with some really amazing charitable organizations, like Sick Kids Hospital, Plan International Canada and Covenant House. I’m able to reach some younger girls and talk about personal opportunities and experiences that could possibly guide and help them in their careers.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I can wiggle my ears.
I stay inspired by… My natural curiosity and genuinely loving what I do. And becoming an entrepreneur by starting a business is just like going back to school again. So it’s really fun and inspiring to build my family brand, Cheryl Hickey Family, which began as a passion project and became a real business. It’s great!
The future excites me because… It’s unknown and it hasn’t be written yet. I get to decide what direction to take and how it looks. There will be surprises along the way, of course, but as long as I have my family and friends with me, I believe it will be great!
My next step is… To continue to grow my family brand and lineup of products, including my featured product for new moms and family alike, Arm for You. With regards to the show, I think continuing to connect with our viewers in the unique way that we do, by creating more engaging content.