This week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY is a woman who lives by her own rules! We are so excited for you to get to know the renowned SiriusXM Canada radio host, media personality and former comedian Allison Dore. This amazing woman reminds us that there are still very real stereotypes engrained into our subconscious beliefs as a society for women pursuing careers in male dominated industries. Allison is so inspiring because she is determined to provide a space for women to create their content and be surrounded by a community of women who are underrepresented. Her experiences have allowed her to gain a heightened awareness of the self-limiting beliefs women can unconsciously assume. We love that she’s taking progressive action to change that reality by providing a safe haven for women to create unapologetically.
Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Allison began her career in the entertainment industry as an actor. Her brother and well-known comedian, Jon Dore, introduced her to stand-up comedy later down the road. During her time in stand-up, she met comedian Ward Anderson, and together they started the Ward and Al Show. They approached SiriusXM Canada Radio and were eventually offered their own time slot on Canada Talks (Ch. 167). This is where Allison discovered her true passion for interviewing people and storytelling. Currently, Allison hosts the new and popular SiriusXM Canada Radio show. She is also the host and curator of Allison Dore’s Broadcast on Canada Laughs (Ch. 168) which celebrates women in comedy all over the world (the show airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM EST). This incredible woman is launching a female-centric comedy record label called Howl & Roar Records aimed at empowering artists in Toronto on September 19th at the Bad Dog Theatre and will feature a stellar line-up of female comedians including Michelle Shaughnessy, Aisha Brown and Kate Davis. Additionally, this lady boss has her very own podcast called Diggin In, where she has conversations with people about their life philosophies, how they overcome obstacles, and what their lives are like. Be sure to click on this link to check out more: www.diggingin.libsyn.com.
We admire how Allison shares her story of battling mental illness and addiction in order to bring hope to those who are currently struggling. She reminds us that we shouldn’t feel like we have to hide behind the issues we are facing. In fact, we should look deep within ourselves to understand our hardships, find the courage to share them and unearth our power by connecting to them. It is so motivating to see how Allison acknowledges her responsibility as a leader. She clearly shows us that making a difference starts by recognizing where there are injustices and doing everything in your power to educate others so that they don’t have those same experiences. Thank you Allison for reminding us that the tough situations in life are always handed to us with purpose.
Written by Alessia Rotino (@a.le.ssi.a)
What challenges have you encountered as a female in a male dominated industry? What obstacles did you have to overcome being a female comedian?
There is still a subconscious idea in society that women aren’t funny, so it feels like you constantly have to prove that you are. Comedian Allyson Smith once described it as, “When a man walks on the stage the audience thinks, ‘I bet this guy is funny’, but when a woman walks on stage it’s ‘oh no, is she going to be funny?’”.
Every comic who is a woman has stories of audience members coming up to her after a show and saying, “I don’t usually think women are funny, but you’re hilarious!” I do think this attitude is slowly changing, however it does make it feel like an uphill battle.
Tell us about your passion for storytelling. Why do you believe it is especially important for women to share their stories?
Storytelling is so monumentally important so we know we’re not alone. I’ve found time and time again that when I am struggling with something and I share it, someone always says, “I’ve dealt with that too!” That’s why I am so open about my struggles with mental health and addiction. Not everyone is in a position to be open about those things, so because I am, it’s vital to me that people know they aren’t the only ones.
On a different note, an interesting thing I’ve noticed in this #metoo era is that many men want to be allies; they simply did not realize the pervasiveness of the issue. It’s made me realize I need to listen more and ask more questions of friends of different races and cultures. When we share our stories, we CONNECT. Life is a team sport, we need to understand and help each other.
What are three essential qualities you believe female leaders should embody?
• I’m a big believer in leading by example. Don’t treat the people under you like garbage because you were treated that way. Raise the bar. If you value and respect people they will be even more committed to the goal, because they know they’re an important part of the team.
• Confidence! I have moments when I am overwhelmed by the big picture and think, “I have no idea what I am doing!”. But then I take a deep breath, remind myself that I always get it done, whatever it is, and focus on the next step. The finish line can seem very far away, so just focus on the next step.
• Communication is so important, and it includes being open to listening to your team. As a leader, you need to clearly define roles and objectives, but I think you also need to be willing to hear feedback.
If you could go back in time and give your 10-year-old self some advice, what would you say to her?
I was so afraid of growing up, and of life. I would say, “You don’t have to be afraid. Life can be hard and scary, but it’s also magical, and you are so much stronger than you think. You got this!”
What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?
She is curious, positive, and supportive. She knows she’s not in competition with anyone else, because she is a unique being in this world. And she knows it’s okay to be nervous or afraid, but she feels the fear and does it anyway.