Sarah is the editor in chief of Toronto Life magazine.
What is your morning routine?
I drink coffee, check the news, make breakfast for my kids and pack their lunches. My best mornings also involve a run outside. While I run, I plan the logistics of my day. I have ideas for things I want to accomplish. My time at the office is almost always more productive, and definitely more joyful, if I’ve exercised first.
Tell us about your career path.
I studied classics and philosophy in university. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after graduating, so I lived in Jerusalem for a year and studied ancient Judaism. I worked at a few different now-defunct magazines, wrote freelance for several publications and luckily landed at Toronto Life in a fairly junior role and worked my way up. Toronto Life’s longtime editor, John Macfarlane, was my mentor and encouraged me to think about running the magazine once he left. I took him up on the advice.
What challenges do you or women face in your industry?
Women in media face the same challenges they do in many professions: they get stuck doing busy work while the guy down the hall does the more rewarding, attention-getting projects. They don’t ask for raises as often as men do, so they don’t get as many. They aren’t taken as seriously in meetings.
What advice would you give to young girls who want to be the NEXT you?
I would encourage them to set their goals high – maybe even higher than they think is reasonable. I would encourage them to take risks, like accepting a job far away. Travel is always a good idea when you’re young. I would also encourage them to become experts in something. In journalism, you have an advantage if you can report on a particular subject with deep knowledge. It might be Russian history, health science, architecture or anything.
How do you separate work life from your personal life?
I’m married to a writer and we recently worked on a book together, so there’s a lot of overlap there, in a good way. We love talking about ideas and projects. With my kids it’s different. They get my undivided attention when I’m home. The big challenge is finding time for activities outside of work and family, which aren’t quite as urgent but are still important to my wellbeing: yoga class, drinks with friends, classical music concerts, and so on.
What inspires you?
Professionally, I’m inspired by really great non-fiction storytelling. Obviously long-form magazine articles are my first love but I can be just as impressed and inspired by a brilliant podcast, documentary or book.
When you’re off the clock, what are your indulgences?
I’m binge-reading novels by Ann Patchett at the moment. She’s terrific. I love TV detective shows, especially when they’re set overseas — in Norway, Israel, Iceland or somewhere else exotic.