With little more than a week to go before the election, George Smitherman’s right-hand woman gives us candid access to the man who might be mayor.
Election time is closing in. What’s the climate like at HQ?
It’s buzzing. I would have to say that people have a new sense of energy because we’re coming into the last week and everyone’s giving it all they have. It’s been a very long campaign and we’re ready to hit it home. There’s a lot of very positive energy.
What’s the exact nature of your job?
George would call me his handcuffs in that I tend to make sure he’s everywhere he needs to be on time, that he’s got everything he needs, that he’s staffed appropriately. I drive with him in the car, so I’m with him every day.
Most challenging part of your job?
I’m working with a politician who is extremely informed and knows every detail about everything, so the challenge for me is making sure that I’m up to par and that I’ve got the information he needs to do his job properly. It keeps you on your toes all the time.
George has been called a bully by media. What do you think of that accusation?
I think bullying is the wrong word. Every single time I see that I don’t see that as the George that I know. The George I know demands a lot, but it motivates people like me. I’ve learned so much because of his enormous breadth of knowledge and you feel you’ve got to live up to that.
How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
There are definitely days when I get home, I’m in bed, and I’m still getting emails from George for the next morning. I think I get around six and he goes on about four or five. I’ve never seen anyone with more energy.
So, do you get any downtime at all?
Not really. We have been working so hard and going so hard every day, by the time I get home I’m so exhausted I just pass out. Our downtime is sometimes George and I will grab a tea and we’ll sit in the car and have five minutes, and we’ll crack a joke, have a laugh and go off to our next event.