"For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes." - Dag Hammarskjold

Sunday, April 7, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: giacomo panico

I am happy to welcome today's grateful guest, Giacomo Panico.  Giacomo is a reporter in the CBC Ottawa newsroom; you can hear him these days as interim host of CBC Radio's In Town and Out on Saturday mornings.  More importantly, we met in his pre-reporter days and he's been a buddy of mine for several years now.  There are few people who can make me laugh like Giacomo does... and his sense of adventure and storytelling ability always keep me hooked. He was instrumental in helping me shape the gratitude project when it was little more than an idea.  Glad to have you here, my friend!  (You can follow the informed and always-entertaining Giacomo on Twitter.)
What LIFE EXPERIENCE are you most grateful for, and why?

I’m grateful for second chances.

Years ago I was working in a safe, stable and secure setting. I had gotten there mostly through a path of least resistance. And in return, I was bored and unsatisfied. I was in a cubicle, attending meeting after meeting. Although I believed in the work I was doing, my heart just wasn’t in it.

And a scary feeling had started creeping up on me. A feeling that maybe, just maybe, there was a career out there that could capture my mind, and my heart. 

So I started volunteering at the community radio station CKCU. It felt great researching a topic, interviewing people, then putting it all on air in a presentable fashion. Eventually, I quit my cubicle job and I took the plunge. I felt scared, but I was also lucky to have people around me who encouraged me to go for it. I’m grateful to them, and the amazing people at CKCU for trusting me and giving me a chance to screw up, week after week.

About a year later I was beginning to feel a little frustrated. My radio skills had been improving, but all my calls and emails to CBC Radio had gone unanswered. Then, through a contact, a couple of radio producers at CBC Montreal gave me a two week internship. This was special because, as I’ve since learned, interns come through a formal college or university program. My degree is in mechanical engineering, and my radio background at that point consisted of volunteering as a community radio host once a week. I gobbled up every second I spent there, asking to see every aspect of the production. I felt so privileged to be inside the shop for 2 weeks, like a giant sponge absorbing every ounce of knowledge. I’m grateful to the producers for accepting to help me out, when they could very easily and reasonably have said no.

Two months later, I met CBC Ottawa’s Adrian Harewood, at the time the host of the CBC Ottawa afternoon radio show All in a Day. I just walked up to him following an event he was emceeing. What I’m about to tell you might surprise you, until you realize, like I have after working with him for several years now, that Adrian is arguably the most generous person in this business.  Based only on my work at CKCU  and my 2 weeks at CBC Montreal, Adrian offered to be let me shadow him for a day at CBC Ottawa.

It gets better. On the day of the visit, Adrian gave me the opportunity to pitch a story idea to the news producer, Andy Clarke, who not only liked the idea, but also offered to pay me that day as a freelancer to do the story.

I’m grateful to Adrian and Andy for being open minded, and for being willing to risk their time and credibility to give me a chance to prove myself.
Overall, I’m grateful that I realized early enough that I was not happy in my previous career, and that I was letting the better things in life, including an enjoyable career and an active lifestyle, slip by in exchange for security. And I’m especially grateful for the people who, through their support, helped me find a place where I feel I belong, and where my heart sings. 


  1. How can Giacomo Panico say he is grateful for second chances when he never gave his adoptive sister a first chance? He blames her for his family's problems.

  2. He's not even grateful to his mother who conceived him, birthed him, kept him & cared for him. He avoids his parents, as he is too busy for them.