Mentor Week Connie Bernardi -

Program Director, Bell Media Ottawa
Announcer MAJIC 100

Twitter: @cbernardi

At the age of 40 I’ve had had many people come into my life who have imparted great advice and words of wisdom to me. But there were two people who I truly looked up to as mentors.

First was my college teacher Iain Barrie. He’s the reason I stuck it out and pursued radio at Algonquin College.

I chose that course on a whim back on a rainy day in university. I was sitting at Roosters with my friend Jadranka and we were stuck on a third program option. We both decided ‘what the hell we both like music and we both like to talk so let’s sign up for radio’. I had no idea what I was in for but one of the best moments of that program was meeting Iain. He brought out a passion in me for broadcasting that I didn’t know existed – he made me realize that it was a cool business to be in and I could be successful.

I’m glad he took the time to guide me and develop my skills and made me change my radio name (‘Jade’ is great if you’re aim is to be a porn star not so much for radio).

My second mentor was Kath Thompson. She was the music director at the now defunct 106.9 The Bear in Ottawa. It’s the station where I cut my teeth for the morning radio slot but it’s also where I reaffirmed that my true passion was music and programming.

Kath used to let me sit in her office and go through all her CDs that lined her walls. I loved listening to her talk about all the band interviews she had done. She was a force when it came to those band/artist radio interviews.

I’ll never forget the Friday afternoon she said to me ‘if you like music so much why don’t you just focus on becoming a music director somewhere. You clearly love music to your core – that’s half the requirement and you’ve got that nailed.’

Not sure if she knows but after that passing comment, I started on my mission to do just that. And when I did land my first music director job she was the first person that came to my mind when I started scheduling my first hour of music for 101.1 Xfm.