Meet the woman who leads the original programming at Rogers.
By Juliana Dalla | Translated by Loretta Murphy
Regardless of the country, the media market is still dominated by men, especially in leadership positions. But this gender barrier was no obstacle for Luso-Canadian Nataline Rodrigues to obtain one of the most prestigious positions in Canadian media: Director of Original Programming at Rogers Media.
Born in Toronto, Nataline is the daughter of Portuguese immigrants from the village of Arcos Valdevez, located in the north of Portugal. Though far from their homeland, her parents always made sure to keep the Lusitanian heritage alive in Canada : “I do not speak much Portuguese on a daily basis, but Portuguese was the first language I learned… At home, we listened to Portuguese radio, TV shows and all kinds of Portuguese music from Portugal, Brazil and Angola. On weekends, we participated in Portuguese cultural events and, in the summer, my favourite thing was to go on holiday to Portugal. ”
The cultivation of the Lusitanian culture within her family and the intimate relationship with the adversities that all immigrants undergo, caused Nataline to learn to respect and value cultural differences. My Luso-Canadian heritage has given me a richness in perspective. I am more open minded and respectful of differing points of view,” she reveals.
Career in Media
Nataline began her career in media as an intern in Journalism. Her hard work and strong work ethic have allowed her to achieve leadership roles in reputable companies such as Canwest, CBC and, currently, Rogers. “As a first generation Canadian with Portuguese parents who came here in pursuit of a better life, there was a pressure to study and be successful. I was lucky that I was encouraged to pursue studies… I wore many hats when I first started and was willing to do whatever it took to get my foot in the door and rise the ranks,” explains Nataline.
She makes sure to attribute much of her strength and her belief that anything is possible, to her mother: “I grew up in a family business where my mom ran a grocery store that catered to a small neighbourhood, which included the Portuguese community. She was very independent, resourceful and great with customers – a real people person and very social. She inspired me to be a strong confident woman… She instilled in me a sense of confidence that I could do anything I put my mind to.”
Professional Hardships and Pleasures
For those who don’t know what is involved in being a Programming Director, Nataline reveals a bit of her daily routine: “The day can be quite hectic given the volume of reading, writing and meetings involved. Time management is key, as is good cup of coffee first thing in the morning, in my case, which I absolutely need to get me going. The day involves answering emails, meeting requests, having creative and business meetings, reading pitches and scripts, watching cuts of shows, giving lots of notes, visiting sets, reviewing auditions for cast, reviewing resumes for crew positions.” According to Nataline, such responsibility also offers rewards such as the ability to work with creative people; putting her own creativity into practice; and exploring different things with each new production.
And for young immigrants who wish to follow a path similar to hers, Nataline says foreign experience provides a unique view of the world, a differential for these individuals. She also comments on the importance of developing strong communication skills, as well as to study and persevere. Advice from a woman who believed in herself, overcame barriers and turned her dreams into reality.