RSVP Yes: Rosemary ThompsonPublished on July 11, 2011

  • Rosemary Thompson with Pierre and Jasmine, at home. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

  • Rosemary Thompson, the National Arts Centre director of communications and public affairs. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

Life is always a balancing act. No matter what your gender, career or family status, we all strive for balance. Some people will tip the scales less evenly than others and then stop and reevaluate which direction they take.


Laurie Oppenheimer works with women all the time who struggle to find the right balance for a happier and healthier home life.

"As a Life Coach, I work with successful people who are juggling career and family and help them to make it all possible."

She offers that women who are up to a lot in their lives are typically striving to find a bit more balance and fulfillment along the way.  

Laurie says that it actually is possible to have it all and keep your life in balance.

"Not only are women allowed to have their own lives, but they also need to realize that they are much better parents, partners and colleagues when they are taking care of themselves as well."  

I like to have my clients ask themselves the following 3 questions:    

Should I do it? 

Do I want do it? 

Do I get to do it? (i.e., am I excited about it, do I get to choose to do it?)

Fourteen months ago, Rosemary Thompson made the decision to re-invent herself. Having covered Canadian politics for more than 20 years as a CBC and CTV journalist, a career which took her around the world, the pull to stay closer to home became strong after adopting her daughter Jasmine from China. 

With a second chance at motherhood Rosemary wanted to be around more for her daughter and her family. Her husband, Pierre Boulet, and 16-year-old son Louis supported her decision to find the perfect balance.

As the daughter of hard working parents, Rosemary was taught the importance of entrepreneurship and standing solidly on your own two feet. She was encouraged to live life to the fullest. She took their advice seriously and it paved the way to crafting a future with determination.

Rosemary loves to work and is now the new National Arts Centre Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Corporate Secretary. It's a dream job that lets her fill people's lives with beauty and it allows her to achieve a real balance between a career and family life. 

Why did you go into journalism? I loved politics and being in the middle of things. I grew up in Quebec during a very difficult period in its history and politics had a huge impact on my own family life.  I needed to confront this and understand it, and I thought what better way than to be a journalist. My cousin Shelagh Rogers (host of The Next Chapter on CBC radio) is probably the reason I went into journalism and this choice has had a big influence on my life. Journalism can make a difference. You can make things change. 

What was your first job after graduating from Carleton University with a degree in journalism in 1987? I was an editorial assistant at CBC Winnipeg and answered the phones. This is the best job in the newsroom because all the tips come in on the phones. I started reporting when there was nobody left in the newsroom to send out. My goal was to be a foreign correspondent, so I kept working hard towards that.  

What was it like being a Canadian television correspondent in Washington on September 11, 2001? It was another one of those "I can't believe I am here" days where you pinch yourself. I wanted to be outside to see what was going on. People were in shock, but not panicked, and were quietly walking out of the city as transit was down and traffic was gridlocked. My mother called telling me to get out - she and my dad had decided I should take up farming! I felt extremely privileged to be a Canadian on that horrifying day and to embrace the Americans in a period of vulnerability because you never see them as vulnerable.

How do you plan on promoting the NAC to ensure continued growth? It's all about demographics and how to engage young people. One of the ways is to shake it up like the Royal Visit event. I understand mass media and how to mobilize and engage people. We did the Genie Awards this year with lots of glitz, paparazzi, and media. It is very hard to create that kind of synergy of mass media, but if you do it a few times a year it creates all this excitement around the building.

The NAC has such varied and unique production offerings. Do you have a favourite genre? My core is music, in all of its forms, and I have been exposed to so much since I took the position. The first few concerts that I took my husband to we sat in the audience holding hands. I never had time to go out before and now it's my job.

Best advice you have ever received? I was 21 years old when I met Peter Jennings and talked to him about working at ABC News. He told me it would be a huge mistake to work for him and said to go back to Canada, to the regions, and learn my craft and work my way up as a journalist. And that is what I did. He was a wonderfully generous man who reached out to many young journalists and gave them advice.



Day of the week:  Sunday

Teacher:  Grade 4 teacher Mary Lindsay

Childhood memory:  Whale watching ?on a sailboat with my father in Tadoussac 

Summertime activity: Swimming in a lake

Christmas present: My engagement ring

Thing to do alone:  Snow skiing

Historical figure:  Nelson Mandela

Travel destination with the family:  China

Midnight snack:  Vanilla ice cream ?with chocolate sauce

Fashion accessory:  Earrings

Ottawa landmark: Parliament Hill

Place to shop: Montreal

Romantic evening:  NAC date nights

Family time activity:  Skating on the canal

NAC production so far:  Kirov Ballet



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