Alumni series: Pearls of wisdom
For CTV’s Pearl Tsang, Calgary has always been a big part of her life, so what better place to begin her career than in the city she was born and raised?
The Mount Royal alumna graduated with a diploma in broadcasting in 2001 and since then has been pursuing a career in journalism within Calgary.
“Lucky enough, I never had to move away. This is where I’m from, this is where my family is at and I’ve never had to move away, so I’m thankful,” said Tsang.
Before landing her current job as the host of the CTV segment, In Touch, Tsang explored other career paths.
Growing up, Tsang said she always knew she wanted to be on television and that she was passionate about writing, but she didn’t know exactly how to make that dream a reality.
After high school, Tsang went to the University of Calgary with the goal of becoming a businesswoman or perhaps a lawyer, but she soon realized that wasn’t the right fit.
A year off and a little research led her to Mount Royal where she was accepted into the broadcasting program.
“I had no clue that there was something like that in Calgary,” explained Tsang. “I didn’t have that information coming out of high school. No one really said ‘Ok well maybe consider going to Mount Royal and learning all the technical stuff.”
After two years, Tsang left Mount Royal with a diploma in hand and an understanding of the broadcasting industry, but despite her education, she didn’t head for the camera right away.
“I always wanted to (work in broadcast), and I couldn’t get a job for the life of me,” she said.
In 2001, Tsang was named Miss Chinese Calgary and headed to China to compete in Miss Chinese International.
While she didn’t win, the experience of meeting delegates from all over the world and connecting with her heritage was well worth the trip for Tsang.
During her year-long reign as Miss Chinese Calgary, she worked as a receptionist until one of her co-workers suggested that she apply for an opening at the Calgary Herald.
While it wasn’t the career direction she initially had planned, Tsang got the job and became the Herald’s cultural reporter.
“I actually started off in print which was really weird because I wasn’t expecting at all to be in print.”
Using this as a starting off point, Tsang turned back to her passion for broadcast and began to freelance for Shaw TV before she was eventually hired on at CTV in 2006.
“A lot graduates probably think this as well, they come out and they don’t really know what they have to offer,” she said.
“For me having that (broadcast diploma) really taught me how to focus and say ‘Ok, this is what I want to do and this is what I’m going to do.”
Becoming a part of the CTV family and reaching her goal of being on camera taught Tsang to always pursue her goals and never lose focus.
“I’d much rather try and go through all these obstacles at something I know I’m passionate about then sit back and be content at something I don’t enjoy,” she said.
This is just the beginning according to Tsang who said she hopes to one-day fill the anchor seat of someone like Darrel Janz or Barb Higgins.
“Being a part of such a successful company that has made such a good reputation for itself and has a great impression on Calgarians, and Canadians as a matter of fact, is great.”
What high school did you attend, Pearl?