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Q&A With Diane Francis

Diane Francis, editor-at-large for the National Post, columnist, broadcaster, speaker and author of nine best-selling books.

Who are your favourite business people?
Those who are both ethical and successful.

Who were your role models?
Great journalists in the U.S. where I grew up, such as Eric Sevareid, Edward R. Murrow, Mike Royko, H.L. Mencken, Sinclair Lewis and great writers such as Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and, of course, Shakespeare.

What career would you have if you weren’t doing what you are doing now?
Likely law then politics.

What is your strength?
Analysis and verbal dexterity.

Who was your favourite Woman of Influence this past year?
Hillary Clinton.

What is the most incredible journey you’ve experienced so far?
This life.

What are your words of advice to young women starting out?
Work hard, work smart, work decently.

What skill or trait are you still working on?
Analysis and verbal dexterity.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My confidence.

What do you wish you knew 15 years ago?
Everything I know now.

Whose life would you like to live for a day?
Nobody’s. I’m not into danger or pretending I’m someone I’m not or putting anyone on a pedestal. But if asked what day of my life would I like to re-live, there are quite a few, particularly those involving decisions or actions that, only in hindsight, would have taken me down a different, more interesting path. Then again, we do what we did because that is simply where we were at.

What is the key to balancing career and life?
Synthesizing both.

What is the trait you least favour in professional women?
When women try to be what they think men are like. We’re different. That’s a good thing.

What is your happiest work-related moment?
When a new book is first delivered to my door.

What was your first job? 
Working at Benjamin Franklin, a five-and-dime store chain in the U.S. stocking shelves and at the check-out. I made 50 cents an hour and was thrilled.

How do you celebrate success?
Joyfully, but sometimes the definition of success is simply ducking failure.

When are you most happy? </strong
Writing, playing tennis or bridge, being with favuorite people and travelling.