ANDI PETRILLO | Sports Host + Broadcaster | No. 13
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HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
If you live in Canada, chances ARE you've heard of Andi Petrillo.
To save you a full bio, she's worked as a host and a reporter for Leafs TV covering the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies, after which she moved to a coveted position over at CBC to host the iDesk portion of Hockey Night in Canada, becoming the first female to serve on a full-time basis with the HNIC studio team. She's anchored CBC's coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and will continue to act as one of their hosts for the 2018 Winter Olympics.. She's worked for the NHL Network, and most recently, Andi became the new radio voice for Leafs Lunch on TSN 1050, becoming the first-ever woman in Canada to have her own daily sports talk radio show.
Suffice it to say, Andi is a leader. She's paved the way for many women in sports broadcasting continuously breaking the glass ceiling and taking it one step further by making it a point to help others along the way.
“I have a saying: would you rather be a lone token or would you rather be part of a treasure chest full of gold. And I always remind myself of that because to be surrounded by strong and powerful women I think is such a beautiful thing.”
I first heard of Andi when I auditioned for a gig with CBC. Andi got the job. I didn't. In full transparency, I was majorly upset and started questioning myself: 'what did she have that I didn't'. I've monitored her career from afar, watching her gradual rise. It all seemed easy. Andi took one step in front of the other. No hiccups. No hesitations. Why wasn't it as smooth for me, I thought.
This year, when I published my essay on my Anorexia Nervosa, Andi was one of the first to retweet in support. I was shocked. She knows me? Likes me? Supports me? I immediately reached out and asked if she'd come on as a guest of my podcast. Within minutes she agreed.
I wasn't sure what to expect at the start of our conversation but Andi could NOT be more kind, humble, and Confident. She's a fighter. A gentle warrior. She stands up for herself and for others. THAT is rare in our industry where you'd sooner find a woman compete with another woman rather than support.
Andi SHARES. She speaks her truth. She goes in deep telling stories from her uphill battle. We speak about fraternizing with players.
“People that I thought were my friends I find out that there was a bet going on that I would be caught sleeping with a player by all-star break. I remember going home that night and just balling my eyes out.”
Why she's full Woman and not one of the boys.
“If I love sports then it’s said ‘she’s one of the guys’. Well no I’m not. I’m a woman. I’m not one of the guys.”
The many pep talks she's received from bosses on behavior and appearance.
“I did a feature with this one athlete in particular and someone who was overseeing it said ‘great job. We need to do more of these. That’s fantastic’. And then he looked at me and was like, have you ever thought about doing a feature with a player in a hot tub? And I froze. And I waited for the punchline and it didn’t happen.”
Why she believes wholeheartedly in the importance of supporting other women in the industry, making it a point to mentor the new generation.
“As a woman working in sports you see yourself as a token - you’ve made it, you’ve been accepted - and sometimes you covet that spot and when another woman comes on board, instead of helping her, you want to push her away because she’s going to take a spot.”
There's a lot here. And it's all good. Andi is tweetable. Relatable. Quotable. I released a heavy sigh of relief after speaking with her and thought, hmph...we're not that very different after all...in fact, we're much of the same. I want to support her. I want to be on her side. On her team. That's the power of Andi. She's a team player. And that's why she wins and will keep on winning.