Sunday, June 7, 2009

Big Night Out: Celebrating Big Brothers and Big Sisters......AS FIRST PUBLISHED ON WOMAN.CA

Big Night Out: Celebrating Big Brothers and Big Sisters
Friday, June 5, 2009 Posted in Career - Mentor Profiles
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Co-Host Debra McGrath Gets Personal with

altWhat's better than a big, beautiful summer night out of "pay-it-forward" fun with Deb McGrath and Colin Mochrie?

Generations of young Canadians have benefited from the tireless work of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto (BBBST).'s Career Section Columnist Deborah Mecklinger connects with Debra McGrath on this big festive occassion. The exclusive annual event took place June 4th 2009 at the Liberty Grand in Toronto. McGrath and her husband Colin Mochrie lent their talent as hosts of this spectacular event. The gala celebrates the organization’s stars – the adult volunteers and their Little Brothers and Sisters.

The dazzling event glittered with celebrities and paparazzi. Some of the stars that walked the red carpet in honor of BBST were: Michael Labinjo (Calgary Stampeders), Sony recording artist Eva Avila, ET Canada Host Cheryl Hickey, Recording Artist Sean Jones, Olympic champion Donovan Bailey, CFL Player Mike Labinjo and Gemini and Genie Award-Winning Canadian Director Peter Raymont. Honours Big Brothers Big Sisters

Our own Deborah Mecklinger meets the multi-faceted actress, comedienne, writer and performer extraordinaire over coffee.

There's only one problem, one cup of coffee is not enough – I now want Debra McGrath to be my friend and so would you. Deb is a woman’s woman. She's warm, engaging, real, intelligent, soulful, witty and anchored. Rooted in family, community, friends, marriage and motherhood – Debra takes all that to her writing, television and the stage. She also brought it to our meeting at Starbucks. Lucky me.

Among McGrath’s accomplishments are: Women Fully Clothed, Paradise Falls, Getting Along Famously and Little Mosque on The Prairie. Writer, director, actress and comedienne are only some of Deb’s hats. As local evidence of Debra’s talent, she recently received her star on the Scarborough Walk of Fame. Debra described the overwhelming emotion she experienced as she received this honor with her life-long friends, extended family, son and husband there to celebrate with her.

I decided to take the interview to a place that Google did not steer me to. McGrath, a very open and wise woman’s woman, was gracious enough to open up and share. Here are some words of wisdom we can all benefit from.

On living your best life: “Take a good look in the mirror and be so appreciative of your body and how it looks and how it feels and love what you see. I promise you will look back and say, why the hell didn’t I know how good I looked?”

On risk-taking: "Go for it, take chances. Don’t be afraid. Take risks. I do it now in my way and am no longer afraid of making a fool of myself. Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t play it safe – don’t settle for middle ground."

On happiness: "Give yourself permission to do what makes you happy. I am no longer doing anything in my life that makes me miserable, and if it does, I am getting out of it. I am doing what makes me happy.”

On friendship: “Surround yourself with those who bring something positive to your life. I have weeded out or been weeded out by those that don’t bring me pleasure or add to my life.”

On marriage: “I am proud to say that I have a stupendous marriage of quality and joy. We laugh all the time. Say what you like and don’t like, apologize, accept criticism if it is done constructively, do things together and change it up. A good marriage involves falling in love over and over again with the same person.”

On laughter: “Laugh at each other, laugh with each other and laugh at yourself.”

I left my meeting with McGrath feeling positive and empowered as she shared her approach to living her best life. I could think of no better woman to share the stage as host of the Big Night Out Gala than a woman who is a role model and mentor for learning how to live their best life. 

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