Amanda Alvaro - Co-Founder Pomp & Circumstance, CBC Power and Politics commentator
"Women have an undeniable ability to rise up and lift up. It's a gift and it's been the tie that binds all the women in all the walks of my life."
Q. Amanda, to begin, what does a typical day look like for you?
The nature of my work is atypical. It’s part of the reason I left working for others to work for myself. Entrepreneurship gives me the flexibility to set my own hours, spend more time with my family, pursue other great passions, work from anywhere, and still get to lead an incredible team, doing incredible work. Now that I’ve taken the leap, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
Q. You're a regular commentator on CBC's Power and Politics, why is it important to stay up to date with political news?
Politics is my first love. I fell hard in high school and I haven’t looked back. But working in politics was a short term endeavour. I realized pretty early on that I wanted to remain involved but not in a 9-5 capacity. So, in addition to campaign work, Ive found an outlet for this passion by commentating on the show as a weekly regular. If it weren’t for the show, I’d still be a voracious consumer of political news. I can’t help it. I’m a junkie. And as much as I love a beautiful glossy fashion mag, my first choice, all day every day is political news.
Q. Can you share with us one piece of advice that you give to your employees at Pomp & Circumstance?
Be bold. In your thinking and in your delivery. I learned from my friend (and former boss) Katie Telford (Chief of staff to the PM) the importance of taking a seat at the table. And when you get there, speak up. Be bold. I have tried to pass that along to the (mostly) female team in my office, instilling a sense of passion and pride in the work, in sharing the work and taking credit for it!
In addition, the first thing we did when we started P&C was introduce a Bucket List Policy. When a member of our team reaches their fist year anniversary with us, we award them with a contribution to knock off an item from their bucket list. Because nobody is one dimensional, And whether you’re a closet photographer or have always wanted to explore the art in Marfa, we’ve got your back. We WANT you to dream big, have a curiosity for more than what’s within the four walls of the agency and then bring those collective experiences back to the team to inspire and motivate.
Q. You wear many hats: mom, business owner, entrepreneur, political commentator, speaker - how do you balance it all and what keeps you motivated?
Forget about balance. Life doesn’t work in perfect balance. And the more you strive for it, the more frustrated you can become when life is off kilter. So my life is balanced-ish. And I’m ok with that. More importantly, my life is full. I am inspired. I love what I do and who I do with. And I’m happiest being busy. The more I have on my plate, the more I want to do, to try, to experience. So balance? Meh! I haven’t mastered that one yet.
Q. Tell us where you get your confidence from?
My parents would tell you I was a major ham as a kid. Clearly, I never shook it.
Q. And finally, how important are the women in your life? How do they support you?
For my entire life, women have played an enduring and critical role in who am I and who I aspire to be. My first soulmates, my friends, are a large, talented, successful group of women who are fiercely supportive. And the (almost) all female agency we’ve created is compable to that. Women have an undeniable ability to rise up and lift up. It’s a gift and it’s been the tie that binds all the women in all the walks of my life.