They were movers and shakers when they first appeared on the cover of our magazine, and they’re still movers and shakers today. Catherine Marion, Carrie Irvine, Kathie Donovan and Janet Podleski were all featured in Ottawa At Home magazine in its early years and they exemplify some of Ottawa’s amazing local talent. Here’s a snapshot of where they were when they were our OAH cover girls, what they’ve been up to since then (Q1), their thoughts on our growing city (Q2), and their hopes for the future (Q3).
September 2005 was a significant turning point in Catherine Marion’s career. She had just left Rogers’ Daytime Ottawa show and was about to start the first of five seasons as co-host of Life Network’s The Mom Show. She was also the proud (and busy) mom of four kids under 10 years old.
Q1: I now have four teenagers — 18, 16, and the twins are 14 – so I’m exponentially busier. Business-wise, The Mom Show opened so many doors for me. I’m a regular on The Marilyn Denis Show, which is such a treat, and Derick Fage over at Daytime Ottawa has invited me back a few times as well. The big news is that I really fell in love with fitness and coaching and decided to go back to school to be a personal trainer.
Q2: I love how our city is growing. I remember, way back before I’d started on The Mom Show, I did a voice-over for an LRT (light rail transit) promo and they were just starting to push the idea. It was like this little seed of any idea they were hoping to do one day, and now it’s happening! And I love the new Ottawa Convention Centre. It does justice to Ottawa’s beauty.
Q3: Somehow, I’d like to find a way to marry my passion for television and fitness. But, if television isn’t something I can do here in Ottawa, then coaching and inspiring people to reach their goals keeps me just as happy. But you know, I was a teacher, then I was a stay-at-home mom for nine years, then somehow I landed on television. I say to myself that if something so out-of-the box can happen to someone like me, then who knows what the next 10 years have in store?
In September 2006, Carrie Irvine was on our cover as the proud owner of the home décor destination, Laura’s Corner. As a central point of the town of Navan, Laura’s Corner drew clientele from around the region and beyond, a testimony to Carrie’s great design sense.
Q1: I was in corporate marketing before opening the store and that was my passion, so it just seemed right to combine that and my experience as an entrepreneur to help other businesses. So when we sold the store in 2008, I started my own company called Blackbird Communications. I’ve also worked with Karen McClintock, a designer from Ottawa, and that’s taken me to the Oscars, the Gemini Awards, and the Toronto International Film Festival. I also have a new role coming up, as I just accepted a position as marketing director at St. Laurent Shopping Centre.
Q2: I’ve been travelling in the last three years all over North America. Honestly, we are so lucky here in Ottawa. I don’t think I realized it until I was on the road so much. I think it’s growing, it’s getting there, and I love supporting things like Ottawa Fashion Week. I feel there are people in this city who are really trying to make things happen on the fashion scene.
Q3: If you love fashion and you love design, it translates into everything in your life, so I want to continue marrying those things together with marketing. I really can’t imagine doing anything outside of that. I’m passionate about it. I love building things. I love creating something and being inspired by it – turning nothing into something. So, I imagine and hope that will continue.
In November 2006, Kathie Donovan was a well-known face in the Ottawa area as co-host of CTV’s show Regional Contact. We visited her in her beautiful home in the Gatineau Hills, to feature her life and style.
Q1: During my last two years at CTV I’d been working on a secret passion. I’d always wanted to write a book and I’d connected with some ideas that I wanted to pursue about the Law of Attraction – the idea that what we focus on expands in our lives. I realized there was a lot that I could share with people. So, when I left CTV Ottawa in 2012, I put my head down, finished my book, and began teaching a course called the Course in Happiness. My mission now is really to help people do more, have more and be more in their lives.
Q2: The thing that stands out for me is the amazing restaurants. I felt Ottawa was always on the map, but in a very quiet way. But now, there’s so much more to access. It’s just fantastic – these world-class, world-renowned chefs calling Ottawa home. This is just how we roll now. I think we’ve become quite sophisticated.
Q3: That’s a difficult question to answer because I’m following a path now that I don’t see that far along. I hope there will be more of what I want: more abundance, more joy, more peace and more beauty for everyone. My mission is to share my message with as many people as possible. If I’m blessed to be alive, I’ll be doing whatever I can to make a difference.
When Janet Podleski was on our June 2005 cover, she and her sister Greta Podleski were well-known for their best-selling, low-fat recipe books Loonyspoons and Crazy Plates. They had just written their third book Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! and were about to do a TV pilot for the Food Network.
Q1: Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! ended up being our third No. 1 bestseller. And in 2011, we launched Loonyspoons Collection, which is our favourite book by a lot. That one was successful beyond our wildest dreams, going to No. 1 as well. We filmed three seasons of our Food Network show and now it’s in reruns. And we recently filmed eight webisodes for YouTube called Health Nuts with Janet and Greta. We’ll see if that ends up becoming a television show too.
Q2: Ottawa has always embraced natural health. There are great vegetarian and raw food restaurants now. And people are becoming even more receptive to natural health. I find that more and more people are adopting natural strategies and taking their health into their own hands. Ottawa seems to be really good that way.
Q3: I’m finally going to start my own holistic wellness practice called Imagine Health with Janet Podleski. I combine holistic nutrition with advanced energy medicine. It’s really meaningful work, to see the “before and afters,” and how excited people get when they see changes. I hope I’ll still be doing television appearances with my sister and speaking engagements as well. Do I have another cookbook in me? Gosh, who knows? You just have to put one foot in front of the other and go where your passion leads.