RYERSON UNIVERSITY: Q&A with Deborah Brown

Source: Ryerson University  

Ryerson University issued the following announcement on March 16.

What’s your home town?

I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Man. I now live in Burlington, Ont.

What’s the last book you read?

Where Are You Really From?, which is a biography by Tim Brannigan. Tim is a journalist who grew up in Belfast beginning in the 1960s. It’s a story about his struggle to find his own identity.

What’s a vivid memory or lesson from your time at university?

I am a proud journalism grad from Ryerson. The biggest lesson I took away from my program was the power of the media to tell a story. There is a tremendous responsibility to get it right, to look at all sides of an issue, to hold people accountable but to also treat them fairly.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received as a student?

I received an “X” (not an F, it was worse than an F) on a story that I wrote in first year print journalism, because I misspelled the name of a police officer who was testifying in a court case. My professor instilled in me the importance of getting a person’s name right - it’s their identity and if you don’t double-check something like that, how are people going to have confidence that your facts are correct in the rest of your story?

To this day, I am a stickler for punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Thinking back to your student days, what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

I was an introverted student, and growing up, I had a speech impediment. The biggest obstacle I experienced was in the radio and TV broadcasting part of my program. I was self-conscious and shy. I was much braver in my written work. I learned to overcome my shyness and I am now someone who is comfortable speaking in public.

What teacher or professor changed your life/ had a profound impact on you?

Loren Lind was the journalism professor who gave me my first (and last) “X”. He was a tremendous professor who cared deeply about the craft and his students. He ensured that quality and accuracy were paramount in everything we did.

In high school, I had a geography teacher, Mr. Bob Worrall, who greatly influenced my interest in urban geography, because he brought real-world situations to the classroom, and talked to us about how proper urban planning could affect social change and create healthier communities. He helped me become interested in government, which is a place that I ended up working for 15 years.

Why did you become a public sector executive?

I have always been interested in politics. When I saw an ad in the Toronto Star that the Ontario government was hiring a writer, I applied. I wanted to mix my love of writing with my interest in politics. From there, I went on to be an issues manager in government, then went into policy development, among other areas. I spent 15 years in government because there is so much you can learn and do, and I believe it made me a well-rounded executive.

What attracted you to this opportunity at Ryerson?

Ryerson is my alma mater. I have watched it grow over the years, and I have admired its innovation agenda. I knew my skills would be a good fit, and having enjoyed working at Mohawk College, I knew I wanted to stay in the post-secondary environment. It’s all about leading the way into the future, and I wanted to be a part of that.

You’ve been at Ryerson since the end of January, what’s the best/ most surprising thing you’ve learned about Ryerson in that time?

The best thing is that the focus on experiential learning hasn’t changed since I left as a student.

Of all of your personal and professional accomplishments, which one are you most pleased with/ meant the most to you?

My biggest accomplishment (and it’s still in progress) is being a mother to my son, Liam.

When you think about Ryerson alumni what comes to mind?

Ryerson alumni are smart, brave and creative. They know and understand theories, but can also apply them to practical and innovative purposes.

How do you start an average day/ what’s an average day for you?

Every day starts with walking my dog Tye, at 5 a.m., and then reading the newspapers.

Favourite place to travel?

As a child of Irish immigrants, I love to visit Ireland. Aside from my immediate family, all of my relatives are in Ireland.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

My son plays hockey for the Burlington Eagles. When I am not at work, I’m usually at a hockey arena.

What’s your favourite part of the Ryerson campus?

The Rogers Communications Centre holds a lot of great memories for me, as I spent four years there as a journalism student. I also love the vehicle-free area on Gould Street in the summer.

What’s the one thing you’d like the Ryerson community to know about you?

I want them to know that I consider it a true privilege to be able to work for the university that provided my education.

What’s one thing you’re asking Ryerson employees to do this week?

Please complete the external,employee survey which you will receive via email on March 19. Your input will help us to determine what we are doing right at Ryerson, and where we need to improve.

Original source: https://www.ryerson.ca/news-events/news/2018/03/q-and-a-with-deborah-brown/

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