International Women’s Day – Denise Wong shares the stories that matter
This year, for International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the amazing women who are turning possibilities into realities. Today, we’re shining a spotlight on Denise Wong, Managing Digital Editor for NEWS 1130 and CityNews Vancouver.
We asked Denise a few questions to learn more about her both personally and professionally, where she shared her thoughts on double standards and how work-life support has helped her to become a successful digital storyteller.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
To me, International Women’s Day is about celebrating how far women have come in a historically and currently male-dominated world – and how much further we have to go. When I was a child, society kept trying to tell me – through toys, TV shows, and even some people flat-out saying so – that there was a long list of things I was not allowed to do or that I wouldn’t be good at. Because I was a girl. I “asked too many questions” and was “bossy” because I knew what I wanted. Things are very different today. Girls and women have more value in society and are allowed, if not encouraged to work, study, question, advocate, wonder, and dream. But women still aren’t seen as equal to men. Earning 69 cents for every dollar a man in the same position would make, the numbers speak for themselves. The double standards women see and experience on a daily basis are still there. International Women’s Day is about reflecting on that and finding ways we can continue to move towards real gender equity.
Tell us about your role at Rogers.
The news industry has been shifting towards digital for the past decade, and we now live in a digital-first world. I am proudly on the frontlines and in a leadership role in that world. As the Managing Editor of Digital for NEWS 1130 and CityNews Vancouver, I oversee all of the stations’ digital news content, including the website and social media channels. I lead a team of digital editors and producers to tell compelling stories that matter to people and make a difference. My job is to make sure people are informed with fair and balanced news coverage. In these days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is so much misinformation and disinformation out there. And I know people rely on me and my team to help them navigate these unusual times with accurate and reliable information. I take that responsibility seriously. It’s an extremely fast-paced job, with decisions being made almost every minute. It’s never boring!
Can you share any details around how Rogers has supported you, this last year or over the course of your career?
When I came back from an extended maternity/parental leave, I was very nervous. Nervous about the prospect of suddenly being away from my children all day, juggling the work/life balance again, and whether I could do the job as well as I had done in the past. I was so grateful that Rogers allowed for a gradual return to work. Easing back into work made things easier on my kids — who were very attached to me — and also made the transition less daunting for me. This shows how Rogers values how challenging life can be for a working parent – especially a working parent of young children. Because Rogers supported my return to work, I was set up to succeed.
Who has been an inspiration in your life, and why?
As a woman with pretty feminist ideals, it might be surprising that the person who has given me the most inspiration in my life was a man. When I was a child and teenager who never seemed to really fit in, my uncle was the person who always patiently listened to and really heard me. He never talked down to me and never dismissed the things I had to say or the dreams I had. An RCMP officer, he was later diagnosed with cancer and one of his legs was amputated. He became the first RCMP officer to return to general duty with a prosthesis. I was, and still am, in awe of his bravery and determination to continue pursuing his dreams despite the major hurdle that appeared before him. The cancer ended up taking his life. But the memory of him reminds me that with a little listening, kindness, and motivation, you can make a difference and do great things.
What would you say to young girls of today?
Lift each other up. The reality is, we still live in an unfair world. There are a lot of people working hard to change that for you. But in the meantime, don’t make things harder for other girls or yourself. Help create the change you want in the world.
Tell us a little more about yourself, and any personal interests or details you’d like to share.
I met my husband almost 20 years ago in Vancouver, just weeks before he went home to Ireland. Six months later, I took the biggest leap of faith of my life and booked a flight to go see him. I ended up living there for a year. We’ve been together ever since, and now have a four-year-old son and one-year-old daughter.