Ask Randene Neill what the best part of her job is, and she’ll tell you that it’s meeting interesting people and telling their story. Addicted to the fast-paced world of daily news, Neill has been a reporter and anchor for more than 15 years.
The award-winning reporter’s career began as a writer for BCTV news. Her subsequent role as a news anchor resulted from determination, hard work … and a lucky break – Neill filled in at the last minute when the weekend morning news anchor called in sick. Today, she is one of BC’s most popular broadcasters known for her strong work ethic, outstanding journalism and engaging personality. Her sense of humour has also served her well, especially when she found herself at the receiving end of a head-to-toe tongue bath live on air from an overly affectionate pit bull named Ginger. The clip became a media sensation.
Neill is a committed volunteer who dedicates her time to several organizations, including the BC SPCA, BC Children’s Hospital, Variety Club Telethon, Turning Point Recovery Centre, Autism Speaks, United Way and the Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don’t Hide fundraiser for women’s mental health, inspired by Neill’s fellow UBC and high school alumnus, Michael Schratter, BSc’96, BEd’99, MEd’07.
When she’s not satisfying her news addiction, Neill’s either hiking on the North Shore, spending time with her husband or walking her “goofball” three-legged dogs, Eileen and Homer.
What is your most prized possession?
My dogs. They shouldn’t really be a possession – but I love them, and they are the first thing I’d grab in a fire.
Who was your childhood hero?
I loved Mahatma Gandhi when I was a child. I have no idea why. I must have read a book about him when I was a kid.
Describe the place you most like to spend time.
I love to spend time in the wild – forests, oceans, lakes…
What was the last thing you read?
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller – amazing book!!!!
What or who makes you laugh out loud?
I spend more time with my co-workers, like Squire Barnes, than with almost anybody else. He makes me laugh at least once a day.
What’s the most important lesson you ever learned?
Be kind to every living thing. There is never, ever any excuse to treat anybody as less than you.
What’s your idea of the perfect day?
I have so many ideas of perfect days. My husband is in each and every one of them.
What was your nickname at school?
If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?
To find the reason I was put on this planet. Sometimes I think I am figuring it out … other times, not so much.
What item have you owned for the longest time?
A Raggedy Ann doll my uncle Kenny gave me when I was six.
What is your latest purchase?
Whom do you most admire (living or dead) and why?
I am going to go with Mahatma Gandhi again. He inspires me to be a kind, grateful person – with strong beliefs and convictions.
If you could invent something, what would it be?
A car-like device to get all of us to work and back with zero delays and no emissions
In which era would you most like to have lived, and why?
I wouldn’t change the era I live in.
What are you afraid of?
I have conquered my fear of snakes and spiders. Scorpions still scare me … working on that.
Name the skill or talent you would most like to have.
I would LOVE to be able to skillfully pick up any instrument and blow people’s socks off!
Which three pieces of music would you take to that desert island?
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Elton John’s Rocket Man, and anything from the ‘80s.
Which famous person (living or dead) do you think (or have you been told) you most resemble?
Corky Evans from Murphy Brown, or Andrea from The Walking Dead
What is your pet peeve?
People with a sense of entitlement
What are some of your UBC highlights?
Oh my gosh – studying in the stacks in Main Library, hanging out with my “sisters” in Kwak House in Totem Park in first year, those muffins from the SUB… I could go on….