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Linda Olsen — 2022 Distinguished Alumna

 

Linda Olsen turning over shoulder to look at camera wearing a black dress

Linda Olsen
2022 Distinguished Alumna Award recipient
News anchor/reporter, Global Calgary


 You don’t always have to go far to go far.

Every weekday, as Linda Olsen takes a seat and clips on her microphone at the Global Calgary news desk, she takes a moment to think about who she’s about to talk to. 

“It may sound cliche, but my work comes from my heart. A big part of how I identify as a broadcaster – and how I present myself and the news – is by literally talking to the people of my hometown.”

Olsen’s connection to Calgary runs deep. Other than her first job after graduating from SAIT – a six-month stint in Saskatoon – her 34-year career has been spent in the city where she was born and raised by supportive, community-focused parents. She still lives 20 minutes away from her elementary and junior high schools. She raised her three adult children here. But spending decades producing and anchoring means that she has seen her city at its best, worst, and in full-on crisis.

What keeps her going?

“I know that local news is important. Being in the middle of it all and giving people a bird’s eye view of what happened in their city that day – whether the story is touching, gripping, sad or inspiring – really means something to me.”

But it isn’t always easy. Covering the 2013 flood for days on end, rushing into the station to report the loss of a first responder or breaking stories of incredible loss that hit close to home are just a few times that have given Olsen pause.

“Sometimes, for a split-second, I’ve felt like I couldn’t do it, but I push on because this isn’t the kind of job where you can mail it in. People are counting on me, and it’s just what I have to do.”

Highlighting other women who also care deeply about serving this city was Olsen’s focus during the 15 years she spent hosting and producing Global’s Woman of Vision series. In that time, she asked close to 200 women about their influence. So we asked about hers.

“I’ve got goosebumps. I never think of myself that way – I’ve always been just plugging away, learning, growing and doing my job. But after 34 years, if I have influenced some people in some way, I hope it was to leave them with a sense of how much I truly care about this city. To have spent pretty much the entirety of my career here has been a gift that I appreciate every day.”

The power of story

This year’s SAIT Alumni Awards recipients are all well versed in the power of story. Whether they’re breaking them from the news anchor desk, uncovering them rinkside at an NHL game, spinning them behind a trendy cocktail bar or using them to connect with students in a classroom, they know exactly how sharing stories shapes, challenges and connects us.

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