Articles Inspiring Conversations – Dana Levenson

Dana Levenson – Universal Womens Network™ National Ambassador | @DanaLevensonTV

.Dana Levenson is a Television News Personality with  20+ years working in broadcast TV News and information programming. Since 2000, Levenson worked as a news reporter and anchor at CTV News in TORONTO. Her role varied but, namely as a general news reporter and weekend weather anchor. Levenson has interviewed some of the biggest names in politics, entertainment, sports, and health & education. Including, Kawai Lenoard, Wayne Gretzky, Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Short, and Richard Branson.  Levenson was also an on-air contributor to CTV’s Canada AM, Your Morning, News Channel, and The Social.  Levenson interned in New York City at CBS News with Dan Rather before joining the CTV team.

UWN: Every woman has a story. Tell us about your story!

DL: 20 years ago it felt as if I won the lottery. The news director for CTV News in Toronto spotted me on tv. He cold-called every Levenson in the white pages (google that if you don’t know what it is ) until he found me. Fast forward a month later and I had landed a job as a general news reporter at the number one news channel in the country.  For years I was breaking news stories, interviewing some of the most influential newsmakers in our city, and working tirelessly to continue to rise in the journalism world. Somewhere along my journey life took over and my dreams had taken a black seat.  My life plan was greatly altered when I became a single mom with a then 1 year and a 4-year-old. I wanted more than anything to keep my kids safe and thriving but, I also desperately wanted to remain working in news. The schedule was grueling for a single parent. I was on an 8-day rotation schedule, without the stability of knowing when my days off would be and it was a free for all – working nights, days, early morning 4 am shifts, and weekends. It was impossible to plan a life and I was completely, emotionally and financially alone with two children. I outsourced childcare to anyone capable and lived on a shoestring. Life was very lean.  Inside I was struggling to keep my head above water and I never ever wanted anyone to know what was happening below the surface.  It was just around the time when I was nearing my breaking point when my new boss (not the same boss who hired me) asked me to take on the weekend weather anchor job. I didn’t particularly like this idea as a career move but I was being presented with an option  – take the weekend night shift that also included working 3-day shifts during the week and have a more stable work schedule. I embraced my new weekend role and the BONUS of a somewhat stable schedule but, with that came only 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night. I was exhausted indeed but grateful – the weather position saved my life because if I hadn’t taken that job I would not have been able to stay in the news and support my family.  However, what started off as a stop-gap in my career turned into a 9-year challenge to get back to where I originally was at CTV. I was always grateful for all the good that has come my way. The problem is that gratitude turned into complacency and gratitude without self-agency can be a handcuff that will only be unlocked through intense introspection. I had a cement ceiling. There was no way up so I had to go out. After years of asking management for a change, I decided it was time to leave a career I loved to  I am currently on my change journey 

UWN: Are you finding inspiration in stories of courage, bravery, perseverance to support you through this time?

DL: Yes.

UWN: How does it feel to be acknowledged as a National Ambassador for Universal Womens Network and Women of Inspiration?

DL: It a tremendous honour. For a very long time, I felt I didn’t have a voice and I could by no means share my personal story and struggles. With this honour I feel as if the choices I have made are to be shared with other women as well. 

UWN: We are honoured to have you part of our journey. Why did you make the decision to become a National Ambassador?

DL: I am very honoured to have been chosen as a National Ambassador. It is an incredible opportunity to connect with other like-mined women from different industries that I would not have had the opportunity to do so. As well, it is exciting to be a part of a team that will seek the most inspirational women in the country.

UWN: Why is recognizing women in leadership roles critical? Why now more than ever should we recognize the achievements of leaders at all levels, including the unsung heroes.

DL: Women bring empathy to the most diverse situations. We have made great gains in the world but not enough. Together we rise and will help elevate each other. The more we do for each other the more potential we create for each other.

UWN: How has your adversity, and journey prepared you to lead through a crisis? What is one thing that you swear by that has helped you when faced with uncertainty or a challenge?.

DL: Change can be extremely difficult. I had to pivot many months ago and at the time that created some internal chaos. I learned copings new kills to become more resilient and more adaptable to change. I have also become a real believer in HOPE.

UWN: Has this time of PAUSE given you time to gain a new perspective? What are some of the realizations you have made?

DL: I’m hoping this time has given everyone everywhere some pause. The time and hours I have spent with my family have been invaluable and the most precious. That said, I had just launched my new digital IGTV / Youtube series OnTheDL and I was extremely excited about this new show. It all came to a grinding halt when the Covid19 crisis began. 

UWN: How has the Global Pandemic affected you personally and professionally? Tell us how this has changed, motivated or inspired you?

DL: After taking some time to figure out how OnTheDL can continue landed on a format that will include both candid conversations and also informative discussions. I am still very motivated to connect with as many people as possible. People are craving connection more than ever before but they are also craving as much information as possible. I want to be that conduit of information.

UWN: What words of inspiration and wisdom would you offer for leaders to through this historical time?

DL: This is just for now and not for forever. Words I have lived by and told myself over and over again to help me through some of my most challenging times.

UWN: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

DL: The Entertainment field. 

Article Written by

Monica Kretschmer

Monica is the Founder and CEO of Universal Womens Network™, Women of Inspiration™ Awards, Women of Inspiration™ Podcast, Women of Inspiration™ Book, UWomen Magazine, and SupportHER™ champions for women in their networks, workplaces, and communities.

Filed under: Interview

1 thought on “Inspiring Conversations – Dana Levenson”

  1. I loved interview and conversation with Dana Levinson – very inspiring, specially coming from such a wonderful established woman on surface but going through difficult challenges underneath. Well done Dana. All the best with continuing your aspirations for OnTheDL

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