Ladies in the Lead: Global TV Creates New Series with All-Female Team of Writers, Directors and Producers

The spotlight is shining on diversity and inclusion in the North American film industry and though we’re not where we should be in gender equality—Natalie Portman recently admitting that Ashton Kutcher made three times more than she did in No Strings Attached—there have been steps in the right direction. Ashton Kutcher backing Natalie’s choice to speak out, putting a focus on men to help close the gap, is one example. Another, is the recent collaboration of an all-female team of Canadian film industry talent to write, cast and direct the upcoming Global TV series, Mary Kills People.

The controversial drama follows the story of Dr. Mary Harris (played by Montreal-native, Caroline Dhavernas), a single mother and ER doctor living a double life helping terminally ill patients with assisted deaths. She works outside of the boundaries of the law, so that her patients can go out on their own terms.

It’s not the first time a team of women came together to create incredible TV, but it was important for the executives at Corus Entertainment and Global to put not just the right people, but the right women, in the roles to make this show truly come to life.

Watch the Ladies in the Lead Featurette

Lisa Godfrey, VP of Original Content at Corus Entertainment says:

“When we first read the Mary Kills People script we were blown away – it was nothing we had seen before and we immediately greenlit the series. We saw this as an ‘event series’ – an original show – something that Global had never done before. The marketplace is very crowded, so we did something very different and unexpected by bringing what felt like a premium cable drama to Global.

What we loved was the unique voice and vision that the Creator, Tara Armstrong brought to the project. Right from the get-go, we felt this was a strong female-lead drama that deserved a strong female team. Together with eOne, we committed to pairing Tara with the best in the business, so we knew Tassie Cameron was the perfect partner & mentor for the project and Holly Dale, the perfect Director. From the top down, in front of the camera and behind it, we also added a strong female writing room and creative expertise in many other key creative and business roles.

As a company, Corus has been leading the charge on ensuring our productions are well represented with strong diversity and we will continue to commit to foster production teams that embrace this approach.”

According to a 40-page report prepared for the Canadian Unions for Equality on Screen by Dr. Amanda Coles, a Canadian scholar in cultural management, women make up less than 20% of all directors in Canadian film. This stat is echoed by a 2015 study titled Women in View on Screen by Rina Fraticelli.

According to Fraticelli, in front of the camera, women are also severely under-represented, with only 36% of leading roles occupied by women when a man is in the director’s chair. When a woman takes the chair that number jumps to 55%.

The good news is the stats are climbing as female talent in Canadian film and TV are stepping into the spotlight.

The six-episode series premieres Wednesday, January 25th at 9pm ET/PT on Global TV and you can catch the first five minutes of the show, here:

Enough with The Mommy Guilt!

Once a week, my husband picks up our girls at school instead of them taking the bus home. On these afternoons, my family likes to linger longer at the school playground with some of their friends. During one of these occasions, my eldest daughter was playing with a friend when this little girl asked, “Did your Mommy die?” My daughter told her I was still alive. “Well, she never picks you up from school. I thought because I never see her, she’s dead!”

Later that evening, my daughter told me what was said by her friend. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. After that comment sat with me, I felt this sharp pang of guilt in my stomach. It was the dreaded “mommy guilt” that most working moms experience at some point or another.

I felt like a bad mom. I “should” be picking up my daughters more often. But notice whenever we use the word should in a sentence, the action becomes more about what we think other people expect of us versus what is right for us and our families. No one knows what life is like for each family.

How do we deal with “mommy guilt”?

  1. Extinguish your superwoman beliefs

We really can’t do it all. We know in business that it’s not a smart strategy to try to be all things to all people. Remind yourself that this is not smart to do at home either. If you are working out of the house, outsource your cleaning, shopping—whatever you can. Most moms I know have two major priorities: family and fulfilling work. Try to eliminate all of the little stuff from your life so you can spend more quality time doing the things you love.

  1. Focus on quality moments when you are with your family

When was the last time you looked deeply into your children or partner’s eyes when they spoke to you? This allows them to feel like they have your full attention and it also keeps your brain present rather than thinking about your to-do’s for work or the little things at home that don’t really matter in the long run.

  1. Speak up

If you’re feeling your schedule is unmanageable, consider if it’s time for you to share this with your leader. There may be options you can explore around working from home a few days a week, reducing travel, getting a coach to help you deal with the feelings of overwhelm or even working part-time.

  1. Working is not a bad thing

Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed by life’s demands, it can feel like work is the devil. You may begin to feel resentful towards your job and the time it is taking away from your family. In these cases, you have to be responsible for finding a way to set boundaries for yourself and the job, knowing you will burnout if you don’t. But also, work can be a positive thing from the perspective of your children. It teaches them independence, the value of work and that you are a strong woman who has a big impact on others. We need more women leaders in the world to show the younger generations what is possible for girls!

  1. Mommy guilt could be a sign of a bigger problem

If you feel like you are going off the rails in your life with high demands at work and home, mommy guilt might actually just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The real issue may be around working in a career that isn’t fulfilling or having an over-scheduled life outside of work. In this case, the mommy guilt may be a gift: feeling uncomfortable forces you to reflect on what you really want out of life and work. This reflection may lead you to make some changes in your life that feel more in tune with what you really want. Remember, feeling discomfort is not a bad thing. It often prompts us to make some of the biggest changes towards a deeper level of growth in our lives.

  1. Cut yourself some slack

Remember you can’t do it all. Tell yourself you are doing the best you can. When you go home from work tonight, look into your child’s eyes. Hug and kiss them, tell them you love them. Laugh with them. Forget about the details and organization in life for a while. Just be you: a woman who loves her child, and for that time all the rest of the world will slip away.


Blogger Carey-Ann Oestreicher, MBA, BA (Hons.), Chief Engagement Officer, Potential Unlimited

Recipient of a Top 40 Under Forty Business Achievement award, Carey-Ann Oestreicher, owner of the career development firm for women, Potential Unlimited (, holds a MBA and has worked in a variety of senior positions including vice-president level. Her focus is her family and helping women in business find true peace and happiness in their lives while achieving new heights in their careers.

Carey-Ann has been featured in a variety of media because of the success she has experienced with her holistic approach to developing women leaders and entrepreneurs. Her appearances include: CTV’s Canada AM, TSN, CBC News, Global Television, City TV News, The Globe and Mail, Canadian Business magazine, The Toronto Star and The Canadian Press.


Making Meetings Fun!

Everyone is “meeting-ed” out these days. High on the list of complaints about meetings are the sheer number people must attend, preventing them from getting their work done, and that many are long, boring, unproductive and disengaging.

Meetings don’t need to be painful events! Yes, there are some types in which a level of formality will always be required. However, as shown over recent years by a number of high profile companies, people are more engaged and productive when the creative and playful side of their brain is engaged. Here are some fun simple tips you can try:

  • Play happy music which contains an upbeat rhythm and positive lyrics in the background during team/project meetings or brainstorming sessions when the group work and group think is critical.
  • Have small hand held toys available for people to play with as they listen, think or chat. The concept of play lightens the mood and stimulates the creative centers in our brains. Inexpensive items from local dollar stores such as playdough, soft squeeze gel-critters, pipe cleaners, magic wands, funky toy sun glasses and crayons are perfect for this. Choose items that are considered acceptable/aligned with your corporate culture, explain the purpose of them to the group and encourage people to have fun as they work.
  • Use large flip charts to record ideas and encourage people to draw pictures to express their ideas visually if they wish to do so.
  • Provide a wide range of coloured markers to further stimulate creativity. Using scented markers can add extra fun, but be alert to the possibility of allergies.

People are more easily engaged when they have the freedom to be creative, so provide them with the opportunity to incorporate this playful side of their nature into their work and then stand back and reap the rewards!


“Shifting the spirit of leadership, one conversation at a time.”  ©

How to Avoid Unproductive Surprises

Unforeseen surprises could trigger an alarm, stalling progress and potentially bringing a critical initiative to a halt. Their insurgence is caused by communication gaps and a lack of attention to rising issues. Here are three unproductive surprises you could avoid.

  1. Missed deadlines

Meetings throughout the day leave little time to do the work. As a result, many employees resort to doing the work during off-hours. When persistent heavy workloads reach a threshold, you get employee burnout. The overworked employees become reluctant to put in more hours. Deadlines are missed. In some cases, employees choose to put aside work they deem less important without informing their manager. Be mindful of allocating an unreasonable amount of work as it could backfire.

  1. Last-minute roadblocks

A day prior to the launch of a new application, a key stakeholder refuses to support the launch for the reason of lack of knowledge. It might be unexpected since the stakeholder has a representative on the project team. Somehow, there is a communication gap. While it’s a sound assumption to think the project representative has the duty to keep the stakeholder informed, it’s worthwhile to do periodic one-on-one check-in on understanding and alignment.

  1. Excuses for non-performance

Misunderstanding accumulated over time leads to landmines waiting for detonation. An unhappy employee feeling mistreated tends to act normal. Deep down, they might seek opportunities to create problems, using excuses for not doing their job or making things difficult for colleagues. When in doubt, it is better to take the effort to clear up misunderstanding and perceptions so that potential grudges are dealt with.


To avoid these unproductive surprises, communication and attention play a big role.

Communication opens up a two-way dialogue for voicing concerns and addressing conflicting views. In that face-to-face conversation, you have the opportunity to understand the other person’s perspectives and convey your position. It is best to be open so that both people have a chance to voice what bothers them, why there are conflicts and come to an acceptable resolution. The worst tact is to assume that things will clear by themselves and do nothing. By burying the differences, it is just delaying the inevitable, and hence, the unexpected surprise.

Finally, pay attention to the signals: behaviour that demonstrates dissatisfaction and uncooperative demeanor are cues for trouble ahead. By watching these signals and responding accordingly, you’ll defuse the situation before it has a chance to truly manifest.


Blogger: Connie Siu, President, CDC Synectics Inc.

Connie Siu is passionate about building high performance businesses through strategic clarity and optimal resource utilisation. She helps companies streamline processes to improve productivity and efficiency, leverage technology to drive sustainable results, and align roles and responsibilities to optimise performance. Her clients include companies in healthcare, transportation, utility, finance, high tech, education, and government organisations. She is a frequent speaker at association conferences and corporate events. She has been featured in The Globe and Mail, The Sounding Board, Update Magazine, and Alltop. Her latest book Get Results that Count is an excellent guide on using sound results measurement to expedite results. Visit her website for insights and ideas on how to better leverage your company’s resources.

Twitter: @ConnieSiuCMC