Shari Graydon’s keynote address was enlightening and convincing, and her passion was contagious. She also conducted a workshop chock full of practical advice for women on how to stand in their power and speak up. Her authentic style and down-to-earth storytelling brought the theory to life. Proving the wisdom in her message, attendees universally said, “this was exactly what I needed right now”.

Betty-Ann Heggie, founder of Womentorship Program, Edwards School of Business, University of Saskatchewan


I fully credit your workshop and subsequent support and encouragement with giving me the knowledge and confidence I need to participate in public dialogue. One of the most surprising and rewarding outcomes of has been hearing my op eds and media comments read or mentioned in the Ontario Legislature, which has occurred several times. One of my op eds was read nearly in its entirety during the critical autism debate and the Leader of the Opposition led a question period by quoting me. He later saw me at a rally and came right up to me and thanked me for my powerful words. So, getting your voice into the public debate really can make a difference. It is very empowering, just as you said it would be!

Janet McLaughlin, Professor of Health Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University


This was one of the best trainings I have ever done at IDRC. The experience of being interviewed in front of a camera, and then seeing the replay, was particularly valuable.  

Let me add my thanks….and to all for helping to create a really safe space for learning. I agree this was a very high quality training that provided really practical tips but also the motivation to seize and seek out opportunities to engage and share the good work we help to support.  

Was one of the first real comms trainings that I have had that left a positive impression. Would welcome a follow-up course if available.

Participants in a full-day media training session at the International Development Research Centre

 

Well-prepared and well-spoken, Shari was an excellent wrap-up for the Women in Nuclear one-day conference. We received a lot of positive feedback and would heartily recommend her. 

Laura Machan, Partner, Recruitment Solutions

 

Your helpful session with us at the Council of Women Executives gave me much encouragement to participate in a CBC Ideas program. Thank you for the important role you play in broadening the pool of those who shape public opinion.

Elly Vandenberg, Senior Director, World Vision Canada


I have only gotten positive feedback about the presentation… We had a phenomenal turn-out and great audience engagement – I have actually never seen that many questions in a webinar before! I am feeling so inspired and I know many of my colleagues around the country are as well.  

Rachel Vanneste,  Genetic Counsellor

Informative, pragmatic and hands-on, the workshop was a great 4-hour investment in learning how to reach new audiences with my research.

Pamela Robinson, Associate Professor, School of Urban & Regional Planning,  Ryerson University


My first commentary in the
Ottawa Citizen received more than 10,000 hits and over 500 Facebook recommendations, making it the paper’s most read op ed all month. It’s great to discover there’s an audience for something I feel so strongly about.

Kelly Grindrod, Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo

 

I have taken to heart your message of encouragement to speak up and speak out, agreeing to several TV and radio media interviews lately. I also wrote a commentary for an online news site and heard back from people all over the country as a result. This is stepping way out of my comfort zone! But what you are saying is making a difference in encouraging women to agree to offer their expertise.
Joanne Wright, Professor of Political Science, University of New Brunswick

 

I just did a media interview that I KNOW I would have said no to before… your important work is really making a difference.

Angela Cameron, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa Faculty of Common Law
I’ve gone from avoiding the media at all costs, to doing 16 media interviews in 3 years since being convinced by Informed Opinions that we do need women’s voices in the media and I am in a position of privilege and power and as such, have a responsibility to do my bit.
Jehannine Austin, Research Scientist, BC Mental Health and Addictions Institute, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

 

I would not have done the op-ed had I not attended the Informed Opinions commentary writing and media interview skills workshops. And yet my efforts resulted in an op ed published online in the Vancouver Sun, a radio interview, front page profile with 24 Hours, and a TV interview with CBC news. I feel like I have managed to make more of a conservation difference with one 600-word op ed than I have with all my scientific publications put together.  Great way for me to celebrate World Ocean’s Day. 

Sarah Foster, Research Associate, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia

 

Thank you very much for the media training seminar.  It was so good and I learned a lot. You are doing a really great job in your efforts to promote women’s voices in the media. I’m going to make a conscious effort to be one of those voices (no matter how scary the prospect may be).

Dr. Anna Esselment, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo

 

I have received a lot of positive feedback from people who said that I packaged a lot of good directions into a short, easy-to-read article.  The points you covered in the workshop seemed to work. 

Penelope Gurstein, Director, School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia

 

My article on racism on the Ottawa Citizen website got more than 1700 Facebook recommendations, so it seems to have generated some interest. Thanks again for all your help; you made it a much stronger piece.

Rakhi Ruparelia, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

 

After I attended the Informed Opinions workshop, the ideas and tools shared took a year to percolate. But last month my first op-ed was published in four newspapers across Canada, generating interest from politicians, non-profits and community members. I never imagined that commentary writing would be a way to make my voice matter, and I’m so grateful Shari planted the seed.

Joanne Cave, Rhodes Scholar

 

The research communications workshop was a valuable source of training and inspiration… The knowledge and mentoring you provided equipped the Top 25 Storytellers with important tools and insights…

  Chad Gaffield, President, SSHRC 

Shari’s public lecture at UVic was a tremendous success. It attracted female faculty and graduate students from all across campus and was informative, interactive and inspiring. Shari is a dazzling public speaker. We look forward to bringing her back to campus to lead the Informed Opinions Workshop.

        Maneesha Deckha, Associate Professor, University of Victoria

Shari’s keynote was brilliant. She provided context, substance and hope, all wrapped up in humour and punchy imagery. An absolutely perfect close to our conference, I’d give it an 8 out of 5.

Merryl Bear, Director, National Eating Disorder Information Center

Shari’s presentation at the Vancouver Public Salon was deeply human, engaging, iconoclastic, witty and so in touch with the issues of today.

Sam Sullivan, MLA, Former Mayor of Vancouver

Shari did a fabulous job… and made it incredibly relevant to our group. Impressive and thought provoking.

One of the best presentations on the topic I have ever seen. Inspired, evidence based and authentic. A real call to action. As a result of this presentation, I will respond differently to invitations. 

Very enlightening and thought provoking. 

Amazing – thought provoking – inspiring call to action for women leaders to speak up for change –
please have her back! 

Great engaging speaker with compelling content and a specific call to action. Funny! 

Absolutely outstanding. Invite her back. Stretched me to think from a different perspective. Great speaker.

Participants, Rotman School of Business Judy Project retreat

I had the pleasure of attending your workshop in Halifax and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the exact right balance of motivational and practical instruction. After your session, I not only feel more confident about giving public voice to my concerns and opinions, but feel a responsibility to do so, as a feminist.

Cheryl MacIsaac, Program Manager, Adsum Centre

Inspiring and fun, the Informed Opinions workshop demystifies the process of writing and submitting an op-ed, delivering hands-on tools and mobilizing participants to engage in one of public discourse’s most influential sources of information.

Kathleen Cross, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University; Co-Director, Newswatch Canada

Informed Opinions provided concise and useful information about how to draft an op-ed and get it published, making the workshop one of the best investments I have ever made. The whole experience was morale boosting and confidence building.

Catherine Morris, Director, Peacemakers Trust, and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria

Shari is personable and shares her expertise generously. I left feeling more prepared and confident to share my perspective.

Robin Cox, Professor, Disaster & Emergency Management, Royal Roads University

The Informed Opinions workshop gave me the push I needed to get my thoughts on university science out into the wider world, as well as practical tips for how to accomplish the task.

Claire Cupples, Dean, Faculty of Science, Simon Fraser University

I received a beautiful phone call in response to my op ed from someone who was personally implicated in the issue I wrote about. He called to say that my comments had empowered him to speak up for himself.

Rebecca Johnson, Professor of Law, University of Victoria

The Informed Opinions Project works exceedingly well on two levels: it convincingly tells us why women should contribute to public commentary and how to effectively go about it. 

Nicole LaViolette, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Informed Opinions brings together groups of brilliant and articulate women and is expertly facilitated to develop and enhance participants’ skills in writing and contributing to public discourse.

Kim Pate, Executive Director, Coalition of Elizabeth Fry Societies

The Informed Opinions workshop offers impressive editorial support for any organization seeking to extend its reach. I received invaluable insight into how to effectively communicate Equal Voice’s message in op ed form.

Nancy Peckford, Executive Director, Equal Voice

An energetic presenter, Shari brings a keen sense of humour and knowledge of how media work and why women need to speak up about what they know. The workshop gave me confidence to write an op-ed, the publication of which generated a substantive radio interview on CBC.

Elisabeth Gugl, Department of Economics, University of Victoria

Good on so many levels. Should be required instruction for ALL female graduate students!

Julie Ovenell-Carter, Public Affairs and Media Relations, Simon Fraser University

Outstanding expertise PLUS a warm welcoming style PLUS good control of the clock and ensuring everyone was heard! Thank you!

Diane Harris, Canadian Women’s Foundation

It was invaluable to hear Shari’s perspectives and to learn from her experiences. Her personable and personal storytelling really made the subject approachable.

Jennifer Breakspear, Executive Director, QMUNITY

The workshop was a great mix of practical application, teaching and actual writing. Thanks!

Krissi Bucholtz, The People’s Foundation of Sierra Leone

The Informed Opinions workshop has been an inspiring day. Thank you!

Sherry Baker, Executive Director, BC Association of community Response Networks

How often have experts on a broad range of issues affecting not only women but Canadian society generally, been frustrated by the lack of diversity of opinions and voices in our local and national media? The Informed Opinions Workshop provided the inspiration and the tools to turn that frustration into action.

Professor Martha Jackman, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Not only did Shari (Graydon) inspire us to speak out on issues of public import, she taught us what it takes to be heard, pulling back the curtain to reveal the prerequisites of publication as seen by the people who matter.

Michelle S. Lawrence, LL.M., Trudeau Scholar, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University

The workshop was a great primer, and really inspired me to get thinking about how I can contribute to public debate in my area of study.

Amanda Clarke, Trudeau Scholar and DPhil Candidate, Oxford University

Working through the steps of writing an op ed and meeting an editor from the Ottawa Citizen were both very useful.

Erin Williams, Executive Director, Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women

The workshop was very practical; the group dynamic and sharing of creative ideas openly was hugely beneficial.

Helen Hirsh Spence, educator, author and consultant

The Informed Opinions seminar was brilliant. Shari not only taught the participants with skill and insight, she also encouraged and inspired them. By the end of the day, several were already planning to draft their own opinion pieces and submit them for publication. A superb writer, Shari manages to combine her professional experience with personal warmth to produce a unique learning environment.

Allan Rock, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Ottawa

You have a wonderful and inspiring approach that added tremendous value to the Ontario Skills Institute.

Chanel Grenaway, Canadian Women’s Foundation

Shari did a fantastic job and the group was a delight to work with.  I would not hesitate to recommend Informed Opinions for more of this type of training/education/facilitation.

Marcia Cardamore, Executive Director, PeopleSense Foundation

I would absolutely recommend the Informed Opinions workshop; it was extremely engaging, positive and and informative.

Janet Ronsky, Professor & CRC in Biomedical Engineering, University of Calgary

Practical takeaways, smart and accessible. No bullshit.

University of Waterloo workshop participant

I left the Informed Opinions workshop with the framework for an op ed, and then received detailed, helpful editing advice from Shari on my completed draft. The Globe and Mail published my piece the following week. I’m excited to continue engaging with the media as a way to disseminate my research.

Stephanie Ben-Ishai, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Inspired by my participation in the Informed Opinions workshop, I subsequently began accepting print and broadcast interview requests, and have since published commentary in several newspapers and online sites. The opportunity to provide context and analysis that’s often absent has been extremely rewarding.

Dr. Janni Aragon, Chair, Academic Women’s Caucus, University of Victoria

Although I’ve been comfortable doing media interviews for a while, the Informed Opinions workshop I took at Queen’s inspired me to expand my reach to newspaper commentary, which gave me more scope to say what I wanted.

Jill Scott, Associate Professor, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Queen’s University

My published op ed generated 7 interview requests, including two local TV tapings and national print exposure. I would not have responded to these (let alone written the op-ed) without the motivation, guidance and support provided by Informed Opinions.

Maneesha Deckha, Professor of Law, University of Victoria

Shari’s session was part motivation but mostly hands-on instruction and feedback. By the time it was over, I had a general outline, and within a few weeks, I’d published my first op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen.

Hilary Young, Sessional Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

It was an inspirational session, filled with brilliant insights and superb strategies.Fascinating. Focused. Funny. This offers just about everything women could possibly need to know about how to get our important ideas out into the public realm.  

Constance Backhouse, Canada Research Chair and Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

Whenever I read an op ed by a woman and informed by feminist knowledge and experience, I am deeply gratified that Informed Opinions is reminding women that our voices matter.

Liz Sheehy, Professor, Faculty of Common Law, University of Ottawa

The workshop was informative and empowering — one of the best I’ve attended. It took the mystery out of writing an op-ed and the editorial and pitching support outside of the workshop is second to none.  

Penelope Simons, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

The Informed Opinions workshop gave me an opportunity to meet the editorial page editor of our local newspaper and our university’s manager of media relations — valuable experience giving me more confidence to write a newspaper commentary, subsequently published in the Victoria Times Colonist.  

Elizabeth Marshall, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University

Very informative – not a minute wasted. Very useful ‘take aways’ for next steps. In What Can She Know? Lorraine Code asks, “out of whose subjectivity did the ideal of objectivity emerge?” How great a question is that! Thanks to Informed Opinions for reminding me just how exciting women’s ideas can be!

Professor Özlem Sensoy, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University

I would definitely recommend this workshop. Women need to know that there is a pressing need for their opinions in the news. NGOs often fear, and do not understand, mainstream media operations which results in their declining to commentate.

Alexandra Tse, PR Coordinator, CJSF 90.1 FM

Informative and inspiring. A real confidence booster.

Michelle Rupp, Chair, The Minerva Foundation for BC Women

It was very useful to learn from someone with SO much current experience, and who is so dynamic!

Rachel Tutte, Co-chair, BC Health Coalition

It was a terrific session – one of the most valuable professional development sessions I’ve ever had in the course of a long career.

Dr. Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law, University of Ottawa

Shari’s workshop offered a useful and relevant overview of the motivations and means for engaging in public discourse. Using case studies and participants’ own interests, we worked through all the steps necessary for writing forthright and resolute op-eds.  Thank you!

Sarah Kamal, Trudeau Scholar and PhD Candidate, London School of Economics

I now have the insider knowledge that I sorely needed to write for a newspaper audience.

Anu Bose, Option Consommateurs, Ottawa

The workshop exceeded my expectation because of the caliber of the host and other participants. It offered concrete tools that I will use in the future. I would highly recommend this to others.

Samantha Dumas, Sevec

The explanation of how an op ed is constructed; the in-depth knowledge of how opinion journalism works; and the resources to help us get started were all most useful.”

Well-organized, thought-provoking, stimulating – the workshop was well worth a day’s investment.”

I feel much more empowered with regards to sharing my knowledge/opinion in media contexts.”

The workshop was fantastic — very practical, focused, fun and collegial. It exceeded my expectations.

The instructor was outstanding — clear, organized, engaged and responsive.”

Participants in the pilot workshops held at the University of Ottawa