Kat Stefankiewicz, the in-game Toronto Raptors and NBA TV Canada host, is wrapping up her most successful season yet.
After a busy year of hosting Open Gym Fastbreak, delivering the social and community segments for Raptors Game Day, and covering the excitement at Jurassic Park during the 2016 NBA Playoffs, we caught up with Kat to find out what it’s like to be one of Toronto’s most familiar sports personalities.
Walk us through a day in your life.
One aspect of my life that I absolutely adore is that every day is a different blueprint from breakfast to bedtime. I was born a restless soul and knew that the 9-5 lifestyle was not for me. Hello, creative field! My mornings take place in the digital world as @matterofkat. I sort through emails, tweets, replies, regrams, catch up on player and NBA activity (and sometimes a little celebrity gossip!) and memorize scripts. The afternoons are usually spent in production meetings or on set shooting Raptors Rundown, Open Gym Fast Break or MCing an event in the city. Evenings are filled with the high of being on the mic during Raptors games and hanging out with the incredible fans. Sprinkle in teaching at Spokehaus, multiple cups of java and watching sports highlights with a bowl of popcorn and that is my 24-hour recipe. And then the next day flip it and reverse it.
When did you know this was the career for you?
“What you do when you procrastinate is what you should be doing for the rest of your life.” I love that saying because it’s the ultimate truth. I would never have been able to tell you that this is where I would be if you had asked me ten years ago, but when I was able to turn my passions for performing, creating and storytelling into a career (because this was my procrastination ensemble), there was a feeling in my stomach that I was in the right place. You could call it satisfaction. I also knew that making others happy was something that I wanted to accomplish daily. I am currently able to do that by bringing fans closer to their NBA idols and that is very rewarding.
Best advice given to you?
“Good things take time, but there is always someone better than you.” What a emotional rollercoaster of advice but I refer to it daily (and it is scribbled on the inside cover of my planner). In any competitive field, hard work and patience are important and the latter reminds you to keep that hustle alive, stay humble and never stop learning.
Any tips for young women getting started in this industry?
To start, accept the reality of the ride. You will be judged on your talent, your looks, your voice, your delivery and sometimes your lifestyle by people you know and people you don’t know (the power of social media!) and you will have to work hard at it all. If you’re okay with that, keep going. I also encourage you to be multidimensional. Coming in with five swords instead of one means more preparation on your part. If you’re okay with that, keep going. Finally, support is legit the s#!t! when the realities of the business can be exhausting. One: be happy for the success of others (it’s good karma). Two: have a good support system to refuel your confidence. My girlfriends and I have Whine Wednesdays, a vent sesh over a glass of wine and we are refreshed and ready to get back to kickin’ butt! I know you’re okay with this, so keep going!
What are the most challenging aspects of your career? Most rewarding?
Many people immediately refer to the challenge of being respected as a female in a male-dominated sports world. With more successful women making a statement in the sports scene, I honestly feel that this cliché is fading. My challenge, however, was definitely gaining respect when I transitioned from the crop-top clad world of captain of the Raptors Dance Pak to the suit and tie world of reporting for NBA TV Canada and other outlets. So the cliché rang true for me. As for most rewarding, the obvious is breaking stereotypes (I love a good challenge!) and as mentioned earlier, closing down the day knowing that I was able to contribute to someone’s “best day ever!”