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Friendly • Passionate • Quirky

Her Story

Shelby Parker

Peterborough Chamber of Commerce

You never know where life will lead you

It’s hard to put into words how different my life is now compared to how I always dreamed it would be. Even as a child, the only thing I dreamed of being is a journalist. In the fifth grade on career day I came with my pad of paper, my camera (that came in my McDonalds happy meal) and my red rimmed sunglasses (with the lenses poked out). I was going to tell the world’s stories.

Fast-forward twenty years. I had achieved my dream. Graduated a photojournalism (and print journalism) program, I had worked at newspapers all over Ontario and Saskatchewan, interviewed Prime Ministers, sky-dived with the Canadian Military, photographed some rock stars and even flew a jet. I was living my dream. And then it all fell apart.

The newspaper industry was hit on a dark Tuesday with 600 journalists laid off. I knew that my life as a reporter was over. I felt devastated. I felt that I had failed. I felt lost. I defined myself as a reporter and it felt as if my entire identify had been ripped from me.

Then an unexpected opportunity came along. A training position in communications. It taught me I still had skills to offer. I wasn’t a reporter any longer but I was still a communicator. A story teller.
Now I work at the Chamber of Commerce. I help tell the stories of the businesses in our city. I work with wonderful people in a city I love.

The road in life is never smooth and without obstacles, and mine has been no exception. I had to come to terms with my depression and anxiety. I had to trust myself as a mother. I had to let go of things I could not control. I learned a valuable lesson.

Life might not lead you down the road you wanted to take, but you might like where you end up.