On the Mark: with Sherri Gallant (Communication Arts 1986)

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Mark Campbell (Communication Arts 1975) shares the stories of fellow Lethbridge College alumni Sherri Gallant graduated in 1986 from what was then called the Communication Arts program at Lethbridge College. She says that the college courses and her work on the Endeavour each week set her up nicely as a way to hit the ground running. After a short stint at the Lethbridge and District Exhibition in advertising and promotions, she was hired by the Lethbridge Herald as a reporter. She became the first female city editor in 1997.

In 2002, Sherri was a runner-up for a National Newspaper Award for exposing a self-proclaimed 9/11 hero as a fugitive. He showed up in Lethbridge saying he had worked as a Manhattan fireman for seven years and was on stress leave after losing 11 crew members in the collapse of the twin towers. While doing a little extra research, Sherri discovered that this “hero” had never been a fireman and was wanted in Oregon for parole violation on other fraud-related charges. He was arrested and sent back to the U.S., putting an end to his charade.

In 2011, Sherri was looking for a new challenge and was concerned about the continual rounds of layoffs at the Herald. She felt she would rather leave on her own accord than be laid off after 25 years and so switched industries and started work as a Senior Communications Advisor with Alberta Health Services.

Part of the job includes being the editor of the monthly South Zone News, working with media on AHS stories, supporting AHS staff with internal communications, and facilitating community engagement.

The same year she started to work with AHS, Sherri won the college’s “Career Virtuoso Award,” which is given to a graduate who has shown a steady rise toward success in his or her field and is recognized by industry peers. Sherri says she was “pretty bowled over” by the honour.

For those thinking of a career in journalism Sherri offers this bit of advice: “If you love to write and take photos, if you have a curious mind and believe everyone has a story to tell, don’t be deterred by the current job market. There is always work for talented people – especially writers. Online opportunities are fertile now as well. Follow your heart.”

To read more interviews by Mark, visit his blog greetergrammer1.wordpress.com.

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