Name: Kat Stefankiewicz
Job title: Toronto Raptors In-Game and Digital Host
From: Burlington, Ont.
Currently lives in: Toronto
Education: Bachelor of music theatre performance, Sheridan College
First job out of school: Dancer in the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak
If you were to ask Kat Stefankiewicz what she does for a living, she might jokingly reply, “How much time do you have?” While she’s best known as a host and personality for NBA TV Canada and Raptors.com, in the off-season she wears several different hats as an actor, a content creator (@matterofkat) and a spin instructor at Spokehaüs. “Every week is different, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Stefankiewicz started her career as a dancer for the Raptors Dance Pak and served as captain for three out of five seasons. But even with a musical theatre background and a love for dance, she never actually wanted to be a professional dancer. Nevertheless, the time she spent with the Dance Pak led to other on-camera opportunities with the Raptors. “Dance got me into the field,” she acknowledges. “If I hadn’t made the team, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Going from the dance floor to hosting duties wasn’t an easy transition (“It wasn’t comfortable at first, but I kept throwing myself into the fire,” she says), but tapping into her theatre background quickly set Stefankiewicz apart. “I started telling myself, ‘Don’t be like other people.’ I’m very expressive because I have a theatre background. A lot of people would say tame it down a little for broadcast, but I kind of just went with it. Early on, something that always stuck in my head was you gotta be yourself because that’s what got you there.”
Believing in her talents, and acknowledging that not everyone was going to like her, also helped her overcome the challenges that were thrown her way. “I made it a habit to flip a negative as a positive and really digest the positive feedback, because we always focus on the negative,” she says. In fact, she even has a folder on her phone with screen grabs of positive feedback she’s received from the public. Stefankiewicz may not be cheering on a national team anymore, but she’s become her own cheerleader.