Passion, Motivation & Drive: What’s Your Thunder?



The only people for me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk,
mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time.
The ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing,
but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles
exploding like spiders across the sky.”

–Jack Kerouac


I’ve always been drawn to passionate people. I love meeting them at parties, reading about them in magazines, watching them on TV. It’s why I started This Renegade Love in the first place – to be inspired by the stories of passionate people and pass them on to others.

But more than that, I’m intrigued about what motivates those people to follow their dreams and achieve their goals. What gives them that drive, that belief in themselves? How do they keep on pushing when the world gives them roadblock after roadblock? And what lessons have they learned from failures that have motivated them more than their successes?

So when I saw the first episode of CBC’s newest drama, 21 Thunder, I was like, “YAAAAASSS!” On the surface, 21 Thunder (which airs at 9PM/9:30 NT) is about an elite soccer team in Montreal, but it’s the themes of the show that have me hooked. Besides all the sex, crime, race and drama (not to mention the super attractive and diverse cast), the show focuses on the lives of young athletes who are following their dreams and will do whatever it takes to succeed  – something I can absolutely relate to in my own career. The characters deal with struggles and roadblocks that aren’t unlike many of the things we all deal with in our lives – there’s a female coach who has to work harder to prove herself because of her gender, a rising star whose personal life is holding him back, and a fresh player from the Ivory Coast who feels like an outsider in a new place… but all who are determined to succeed. Not hard to see why I love it, huh?

To kick off the launch of 21 Thunder and explore the show’s overarching theme of chasing glory, I reached out to a group of driven young Torontonians, ranging from creatives to entrepreneurs, to hear more about what motivates them to follow their dreams, to get back up when they’ve fallen down, and to constantly be trying new things.


Sara Koonar

Co-Founder, Platform Media


You’ve worked as an editor in the past and now have your own influencer agency. What are your career goals going forward?

Platform Media & Management is almost a year old and for the past month we’ve been looking at how that year went and what the future looks like. I want to keep growing the brand we’ve created. I’ve always been inspired by the story of Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel and the Chanel business. Unlike many other luxe brands, Chanel has never been sold to a large conglomerate or compromised any of their manufacturing. And while I am in a very different business, I want my business to have that longevity and prestige. I think it’s important to stick to your guns and never compromise quality.

I totally agree! So what motivates you to achieve those goals?

I am two things in this life: a perfectionist and extremely competitive. I need to be the best and I need to do it right. These needs can sometimes drive me mad, but they drive me nevertheless.

Have you had any mentors? What have they taught you?

My family is all entrepreneurs. Both my brothers own successful businesses and so did my father, so anytime we have family gathering it ends up being a big brainstorm session. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll call my dad or my brother, Michael, and just unload. They help me take the problem apart and put together a solution.

Do you have a quote that inspires you in your career?

I don’t know if it’s an actual famous quote, but I remember reading, “Always be an original, because it’s worth more than a copy.” I love that!


Kate Chippindale

Sr. Manager of Marketing + Business Development, Drake Hotel Properties
Co-founder, Bad Girls Collective


When you were a kid, you wanted to be a teacher, but you’ve come a long way since then -what are your career goals now?

Well, I currently work in marketing for Drake Hotel Properties, but I also recently co-founded a passion project with my best friend Kara called Bad Girls Collective and I’m really looking forward to developing it down the line. It’s a work in progress, but we’re thinking it’ll be a mix of brand & marketing consulting, inspiring, supporting + bringing together badass women, and giving back to worthy causes. It has been an exciting ride so far in the past few months since we launched the project and we can’t wait to see  how it will grow over time.

You’re a busy lady! What motivates you to achieve those goals?

I think I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit – the excitement that comes with building something from scratch and having the autonomy + control to create your own mantra and culture are all factors that really excite me.

The best part of Bad Girls Collective for me so far and what motivates me to keep going has been sitting in front of a room of hundreds of women, engaged in real life/in person conversation sans cell phones/email and thereby creating a safe space where people feel empowered, brave and comfortable sharing their stories – feeling vulnerable and making new pals. It’s amazing to connect with new people through discussions about real shit and to give back to some very deserving causes in the process.

Do you have any mentors in your life?

I am so lucky to say that I have many, but my #1 mentor is Marlene Hore. I met her when I worked at Indigo and the rest was history. An unlikely duo of best pals – my 20-something, 5’8, super young, naive, inexperienced coordinator self and a 70-something, 4′ nothing, absolute LEGEND.

As Canada’s first female creative director, living in a ‘Mad Men’ world, Marlene set the trail on fire for women in the creative industry. She’s brave, brilliant, kind, hilarious and a true inspiration to me (and so many others). Even though she’s retired from her VERY successful career, she mentors other, teaches, and rallies the government to make a difference. She taught me to break the rules, scare myself, and never play it safe…and never EVER wear ripped jeans to a meeting.

Yasssss – awesome. Lastly, any quotes that have inspired you in your career?

Work hard and be nice to people. Maintain your morals, treat the people you work with/for with appreciation and respect + try to have fun in the process. Give praise every day, say thank you, and make people feel good.


Matthew Machanda

Musician & photographer


So, you always wanted to be a musician growing up – do you have the same career goals now?

That desire to be a musician is always there and I still continue to play music, either on records or tours across Canada. But I’ve also recently started my own photography business which I ‘ve seen take off quickly and in such a beneficial and gratifying way. It’s led me to hone in on my artistic skills and to see where this career of photographer and musician could take me.

Double-threat creative! So what motivates you to achieve those goals?

Family – my biggest motivator. I’ve seen my parents start with nothing and head back to school for more education, I’ve seen them climb from changing oil at a Canadian Tire to being the head of a Human Resources team at a major bank. I want to make my parents proud and create something amazing that will also make my future kids proud. I’ve been blessed with parents that tell me they’re already proud of me, but there’s a burning in my belly to make their statement ring true.

Do you have a quote or words of wisdom that inspire you in your career?

Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the f*** you were gonna do anyway.” I don’t necessarily think this works in every scenario, but I do believe as an artist who has read many books on the rules of photography, studied the do’s and do not’s of writing a classical score, and witnessed creativity coming from nowhere, this quote just works. Let others give you advice, but my goodness, never let it stop you from exploring or trying new things.

LOVE. IT. What would you say has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

One of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had was when I shot a wedding and had the bride and groom so overjoyed with my photos that they hugged me and cried. I realized then that what I had done was less of a service and more of a gift to a new couple. It felt human and genuine and it meant more to me to be appreciated than to just have an invoice paid. To really get to know two people and have such a great experience with them left me in awe and totally humbled.


Amy Pearson

Co-Owner, Stole My Heart


When you were younger, you wanted to be a figure skater – amazing! How have your career goals changed since then?

I’ve had a few careers since my Olympic dreams as a kid – I was an actor, a marketing professional, but now I own a lingerie boutique called Stole My Heart with my best friend, Ashley. We set out to create a safe and encouraging space for women to shop for their undies, lingerie and, now, swimsuits! It’s a place for women to come and find pieces that make them feel sexy, beautiful and empowered… and, most importantly, have fun while doing it. We’re a ‘good vibes only’ place and want our ladies to see the beauty in themselves whenever they visit.

The first shop has been open for just 9 months now and we are already planning next locations and dreaming up some designs for a soon-to-come house label 🙂

So exciting! What motivates you to achieve those goals?

I find there’s a level of built-in motivation when you own your own business – the mentality of, “If we don’t get it done then no one will and the shop fails and our lives are over”. There’s an element of pride there and wanting to succeed and be the best.

Do you have a quote that inspires you in your career?

“What’s the worst that can happen?” It sounds trite, but it’s so true! What is the worst that can happen? I fail? Well, then I start again. I lose all my money? I can make more another way. I think life and growing a career is about taking chances – they lead to the greatest wins. And if they don’t, you will have learned so much that you’ll carry with you on your next adventure.

Such good advice, girl. Preach! So, what’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?

I produced and starred in a production of Miss Julie while I was living in London – it was an epic task but seeing it all come together and getting good reviews made the months of stress so worth it. But, on the very top of the list would have to be opening Stole My Heart.  It was 10 months of really hard work from conception to launch – opening day was like holding my breath and also letting go of everything at the same time.


Jake Mossop

Registered Nurse and Content Creator


Health care has always been something you were interested in from a young age, but you’ve also been on several TV shows, too – quite a vast career!  What are your career goals now?

Every year my career goals shift! Since moving back to Toronto from out west, I ended up working in broadcast media, and was on-air talent on a number of shows (both as a regular featured guest and a host). I’ve learned that it’s something I love to do – to reach wider audiences and engage with different communities of people. As a result, one of my biggest career goals is to merge my passions for healthcare and media. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have my own health show!

I’d definitely tune in for that! What motivates you to achieve those goals?

I’m very competitive by nature – not so much with others, but with myself. For example, when I set a goal and achieve that goal, I quickly find a new benchmark to surpass. I’m motivated by the challenges I set for myself.

Are there any quotes or words of advice that have inspired you in your career?

Something my father used to say repeatedly and has been ingrained in me from a young age, which was simply to never give up. That has stuck with me in all facets of my life, whether it be personal life or career.

You’ve done a lot in your life so far – what’s been the proudest moment of your career?

My latest role working in Senior Management at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has afforded me some of the most profound moments of realization that yes, I’m in the right profession. This field constantly reminds me that there are many Canadians that require care, support and assistance, and that I have the means to help provide that.



21 Thunder airs Monday nights at 9PM/9:30 NT only on CBC!

This post was done in partnership with CBC, but all words, opinions and photos are mine and those of the inspiring people featured.


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