She has followed her own path; broken down gender and race barriers to become one of Canada’s media leaders – Adrienne Batra is a trailblazer inspiring us now!
A child of Indian immigrants, Batra grew up in Saskatchewan in a home with traditional South Asian values. Breaking away from convention while looking for new adventures and challenges she joined the Canadian Reserves after High School. Upon obtaining a degree in political science and public administration she joined the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, where eventually with her smarts and hard work she became the Manitoba director. A move to Toronto introduced her to Rob Ford. This led to her being his campaign communication advisor, which brought her to the forefront in the media. Once he was elected she became press secretary. A dynamic and confident communicator Batra left the Mayor’s office to pursue a career with the Toronto Sun, Sun News Network and CFRB radio.
In May 2015 Adrienne Batra made history as the new Editor-in-Chief of one of Canada’s largest Newspapers. In the words of James Wallace, Postmedia’s Vice President of editorial;
“Adrienne brings tremendous energy, political acumen and experience to our leadership team.
She is a perfect fit for the Sun – tough, outspoken, informed and committed to sticking up for the little guy!”
How would you define Adrienne Batra?
Like most people, my professional career and my family define me. I’ve worked hard and taken chances to be where I am today.
I’m most happy that my son gets to see mom in a role of prominence and knows anything can be achieved.
You didn’t become the Editor-in-Chief the traditional route…Do you do anything traditionally?
I’m the first South Asian man or woman to run the countries largest Newspaper – that’s not traditional!
I have always been unconventional. An Indian girl in the armed forces, politics – all traditionally thought of as male dominant industries.
When I first moved to Toronto a friend was working with Rob Ford and said they needed a communications director. I got on board. I would go to the office for the first few weeks with my baby! I was a new mom new to Toronto and jumped right in.
My journey has been exciting and exhausting – but I wouldn’t trade it for a second.
Who have been your idols growing up?
I have always admired Margaret Thatcher, a strong female that led a great nation. She took on the unions, an entrenched political culture and came out on top. Thatcher was determined and stuck to her strong roots.
Condoleezza Rice, not only a political groundbreaker and one of the most powerful women in the world, she is also a professional level classical pianist.
How or did your South Asian roots affect your career or career choices?
My parents are very traditional Sikhs. If it were up to them I would be a doctor. Coming from such strong group of people I do feel like the core values I learned in my youth are instilled in who I am and everything I do.
You have accomplished so many things, what are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my son. Raising him as a true gentleman.
What advice would you pass on to other young women?
Everyday I strive to be an inspiration to young women and men. It’s important to do good in life and for society.
I think young women need to ask questions, push authority and never be afraid to speak their mind. Opportunities are challenges; nothing worthwhile comes easy. Be confident and move down your path with passion. Its your life – your future.
What’s next for you?
That’s a good question; I never thought I would be here so honestly, I don’t know what’s next!