Finding Her Voice: Rachael Courtemanche’s WorkStory

By Erica Pulling, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University & Rachael Courtemanche

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Rachael Courtemanche is the Communications Coordinator at the London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC). LEDC is the lead economic development agency for the city of London, Canada. Rachael’s role focuses on content creation for the LEDC and local small-to-medium businesses to help tell their stories, as well as implementing communications, marketing, and social media strategies.

With a strong desire to help others, Rachael completed the Social Service Worker (SSW) program at Fanshawe College (2011-13). During the program, however, she realized the hands-on, high stress environment an SSW can face was not the right fit for her. Rachael was up for a challenge, but felt this wasn’t the kind she was looking for. It wasn’t until Rachael took a step back and re-evaluated exactly what she wanted to study and what she felt she could excel at that she realized what her calling was: writing.

At the time, Western University was one of the only nearby educational institutions that offered degrees in Creative Writing. With a love for living in London, it was a clear choice for Rachael. From 2013 until graduation in 2016, she studied English Language and Literature and Creative Writing at Western. While at first Rachael  didn’t know exactly where the program would take her career-wise, she knew pursuing her passion for writing was worthwhile.

During her time at Western, Rachael took part in the work-study program where she worked as a Copywriter for the Faculty of Science. In this role, she interviewed faculty, alumni, and current students and created articles about their research and initiatives. With no science background, it was a true test for Rachael to take complex, scientific information, and boil it down to what mattered most: why what they were doing is so important.

It was this opportunity that opened her eyes to the field of Communications and Marketing, which to her was the perfect fit for leveraging her writing talents and helping others better share their stories. It’s where she found her voice and discovered how it could be used to help others.

Following her work-study role, Rachael began her current role as Communications Coordinator at the LEDC during the summer of 2015. The role was a summer student position and Rachael had one final year of school left, so she knew her job search wasn’t over yet. However, the skills gained from her work and educational experiences proved valuable to the corporation, and they wanted to keep her on the team. Rachael continued her role in a part-time capacity during the school year which evolved into full-time upon graduation.

Just over two years later, Rachael continues leveraging her writing, editing, communications, and creative skills every day at the LEDC. A typical day for Rachael starts with a media scan for interesting stories about local businesses in London to share and promote.  She also spends her mornings focusing on any big, on-going projects or high priority items. Her day changes often, which keeps things interesting and keeps Rachael on her toes. 

One of Rachael’s favourite parts of the job is that she has learned so much about London, the businesses here, and can help many different companies share their stories within and beyond London. It has reignited her love for the city in which she lives and makes her appreciate the innovations grown right here in London.

Rachael’s advice for current students is to start thinking about what you want to do as soon as you can!  Once you know, you can start gaining relevant experience in the field you are interested in pursuing, which will help you find a job after graduation. Whether it be through work or volunteer experience, Rachael recommends getting involved through school programs and faculties.

“Seek volunteer, work-study, or committee experiences that will build your resume and give you hands-on skills you may not gain in your program. And of course, study what you love and love what you study – and let that approach spill over into your career choices too” said Rachael.

Annamaria Perruccio…Vaughan lawyer move in leaps and bounds

By Marisa Iacobucci

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  Photo by Guilio Muratori

Photo by Guilio Muratori

While most unsuspecting little girls can easily succumb to fairytale dreams of becoming princesses, Family Law lawyer Annamaria Perruccio, 29, was far too busy for tiaras. 

She heeded, instead, to her future call of litigation. “As a child, I would defend my younger sisters whenever they got into trouble or were being scolded by my parents. I distinctly remember a time when I was arguing contributory negligence on behalf of my sister and was insisting that it wasn’t her fault that she had broken the lamp in my family room. Instead, it was my parents’ fault for placing the lamp too close to the edge of the table,” recalls Perruccio, whose family lovingly nicknamed her “the little lawyer with backwards shoes” because of her childhood habit of wearing her shoes backwards. 

Perruccio, who grew up in Vaughan and now works for Sutherland Law in Vaughan, was always interested in law and languages. She pursued an undergraduate degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from Glendon College (York University), which allowed her to combine her interests in languages (Italian and French) and law. The trilingual Perruccio then went on to complete her Masters coursework through York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, focusing on social environments, specifically, the discrimination faced by Italian-Canadians in Toronto after the Second World War. Her research was put on hold while she pursued a law degree at the University of Windsor, but she plans to complete it.

For now, Perruccio is focused on practicing family law and is committed to assisting her clients during what might be the most challenging periods in their lives. “I am passionate about what I do – everything from the initial client meeting, to mediation, court attendances and the completion of a file. I love being able to find creative solutions to meet the individual needs of my clients,” she says.

While the demands of her career keep Perruccio working long hours, she longs to spend time with her parents and her two younger sisters (Daniela, 28 and Alessandra, 25) even if that means sharing at least one meal together on weekends. Perruccio’s father was born in Argusto, Catanzaro in Calabria. Following in his brother’s footsteps, he immigrated to Canada in 1973 in search of a better life. Perruccio’s mother, also from a Calabrese background, was born and raised in Toronto. 

Perruccio’s Italian upbringing is something she is fiercely proud of. “Italian traditions and culture are an important part of my life and have played a significant role in shaping me as an individual. My strong work ethic is rooted in the values and morals my parents instilled in me at a young age.” Some of Perruccio’s fondest memories of growing up in an Italian family include always being surrounded by family, friends, and food of course.“Whether it was sitting around the lunch table on a Sunday afternoon, making sugo over the Labour Day weekend or buying an entire cantina full of panettone and visiting relatives at Christmas, Easter and other times, the love and laughter that filled my home cannot be understated,” she explains.

“Italian traditions and culture are an important part of my life

and have played a significant role in shaping me as an individual”

While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Perruccio was lucky enough to be able to study abroad at the University of Bologna for one of her Italian courses. Thus began her love affair with Italy. She found a reason to return every summer, while working as a supervisor and assistant teacher with the Centro Scuola e Cultura Italiana Summer Exchange Program in Italy for Canadian high school students.

Besides her career and family, volunteer work is also very important to Perruccio. “I maintain my commitment to volunteerism as a mentor to youth and [am a] strong advocate and supporter of various organizations, such as Camp Oochigeas, Parkinson Canada and SickKids® Foundation,” she says.

Perruccio is currently president and chair of La Rocca Memorial Society, a non-profit organization, whose mission includes inspiring volunteerism and engaging young people to become change makers in their communities. A past bursary recipient, Perruccio is living proof that the next generation can be encouraged to become involved and make a real difference in the lives of others.

Her career, family life and volunteer work show no sign of slowing down anytime soon, just as Perruccio likes it. If she could give any advice to future leaders, it’s this: “Be true to who you are and never compromise your values or beliefs for anyone or anything. There is nothing greater than one’s integrity. Work hard and persevere in order to achieve your goals and never forget your roots and where you came from.”

Reprinted with permission from Panoram Italia    

Painting the Town Red: Carly’s Work Story

By Abigayle Walker, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Ottawa

We last saw Carly Silberstein in her first WorkStory back in 2012, when the Western University grad was working as a corporate event coordinator at KCI Management. Now, Carly comes back to share her journey on becoming a successful entrepreneur. She is the CEO and cofounder of a startup company, based in Toronto, called Redstone Agency . Being active members of industry associations, Carly and her business partner noticed that there was a gap in the market – younger generations were just not being represented or engaged by these types of organizations.

Redstone–  the youngest-run association management company in Canada– was created to fill this void.  

The agency provides its clientele with a well-rounded assortment of services that include event and association management, digital and technology solutions, and consultations. The business works with organizations such as TalentEgg, the Women’s Business Network, Women in Nuclear Canada and the Planning Standards Board to name a few.

Carly is truly passionate about her career and company! She especially loves the team that she works with and interacting with clients. Since Redstone represents a wide array of companies in different fields, Carly has the opportunity to wear many different hats and is required to perform a wide variety of tasks. She enjoys that every day is new and exciting.

The team at Redstone is constantly hard at work. Some days, they work on client events while other days are spent in the office, brainstorming and strategizing. Being a startup company, the Redstone team works vigorously to increase professional development and acquiring networking opportunities. The priority, however, is always to serve the client.

The success of Carly’s business is dependent not only on the hard work the team does, but also their ability to build and foster relationships. They always make a conscious effort to stay up-to-date on the constant pulse of the trade. The team also contributes to the field by volunteering, writing in industry publications, and participating in industry and non-industry events.

For aspiring event planners and entrepreneurs, Carly strongly recommends joining professional associations to create professional ties. She also stresses the importance of volunteering and internships/co-op, which she says are crucial because the experience gained is invaluable. Volunteering one’s time is a great opportunity to learn from others in the business. Carly’s closing remark was to always say “yes”…you won’t know what you’re going to love until you try it!

No “Usual Days” for this Publicist: Meghan’s story

By Abigayle Walker, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Ottawa

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   Meghan holding a baby python while hosting a press junket for a show called Python Hunters.      

Meghan holding a baby python while hosting a press junket for a show called Python Hunters.

 

Meghan Hardy works as a publicist at Proper Television, one of Canada’s largest production companies.  Proper Television is responsible for producing numerous television series including Master Chef Canada, Storage Wars Canada, Four Weddings Canada, and Canada’s Worst Driver, to name a few.

For Meghan, no day is a usual day. Every day is different, which is exactly why she says she loves her job. The majority of her days are spent on the sets themselves –taking the press on set visits, facilitating media interviews, overseeing photo shoots, doing media training with the stars and ensuring that shows she is working on are receiving the most and best publicity possible.  When she isn’t on set, Meghan is in the office creating communication and social media plans, writing cast biographies, setting up photo shoots, and pitching interviews to the media. She explains that even though every day is fun, the job can also be also stressful and challenging. It forces her to think quickly on her feet, but she says that it makes her job that much more interesting.  She says she is constantly learning. 

Not only does Meghan love what she does, she also loves the people with whom she works, describing them as “some of the most creative and brilliant people in the entertainment industry”.  Meghan says she looks forward to work every day with people she loves being around.

As awesome as Meghan’s job is, it did not come to her without years of hard work.  Meghan began with an undergraduate degree in Media Studies/Public Relations and a Diploma in Public Relations from University of Guelph-Humber.  After graduating, she accepted an internship at Rogers Media with the publicity team under their television umbrella which includes City, OMNI Television, OLN, and FX Canada. Eventually, Rogers hired her as a public relations coordinator. From there, Meaghan was able to move into her current position at Proper. Meghan says that it was the combination of her 10 years of experience in the entertainment industry, networking, and creating good working relationships that helped land her current role at Proper Television. 

Although Meghan says she learned a lot of fundamentals from her post-secondary education, it was her experience that taught her much of what she knows about public relations. Her advice to others is to network, intern, and volunteer as much as possible!  She also advises those entering the communication industry to try to get a taste of several different sectors (government, entertainment, corporate, non-profit) before deciding which one seems the best fit.

Knowing You Make a Difference in Someone’s Life: Jessica’s Nursing Story

By Abigayle Walker, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Ottawa

Jessica Cuco is a registered nurse at Montreal General Hospital in the Orthopedic and Trauma units. She encounters several different cases from minor to serious injuries and ailments.  Hearing her describe some of her cases, it would be safe to conclude that her job is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart!

Typically, Jessica’s shifts are either 8 or 12 hours long. At the beginning of a shift, she debriefs with the nurse who worked the previous shift to get updates on her patients and to find out what she has to get done.  She then checks her chart for medical orders that need be picked up. After this, Jessica starts her medication run – delivering and administering medication to her patients, as well as checking their vital signs.  Throughout the rest of her shift, she answers call lights, puts patients on bedpans, and gives out pain medication if needed. When her shift comes to a close, she passes her charts on to the next nurse who is clocking in. 

If another nurse calls in sick and is not replaced for the next shift, Jessica either teams up with other nurses on her shift to lighten the load for the next wave of nurses or works overtime to cover the next shift. As one may guess, hospitals have a constant flow of patients whether they are ICU (intensive care unit), emergency room, or post-operative patients. Nurses, like Jessica, are needed around the clock to tend to them. Jessica says that “there are two sides to unusual days.  There are days where it can be extremely busy, where there is no time to sit down for two minutes, and other days where we can sit for most of our shifts.”

Jessica loves knowing that she can make a difference in someone’s life. She says that the best feeling is seeing a patient from the start to finish…”being able to admit the patient and a week or two later being able to send them home or to rehabilitation to continue their care.”  

When asked about the path to her current role, Jessica described it as a long journey, but that she had always known she wanted to work in Healthcare. During high school, she volunteered at one of the local hospitals.  While at Cégep, she decided that she wanted to get a nursing degree.  Jessica did not get into the program right away; instead, she was placed on a waitlist for the intensive program. Happily, she was accepted into the program and studied for 2 years, even throughout the summer months. At the end of her 2 years, Jessica received her DEC (Diplôme d' étude collégiale), allowing her to be a nurse in Quebec.  She worked for another 2 years to gain practical experience in the field, then went back to get her Bachelor of Nursing ­–  studying online and part-time – while still working full-time. She completed her degree in just 3 years. Jessica had explained that going back to school for her degree expanded the opportunities in her nursing career.  For example, she can now be an assistant head nurse or a clinician nurse. For now, Jessica has decided to remain a bedside nurse, but has been thinking of teaching nursing at the Cégep level.

Jessica’s advice for those who are interested in entering the Healthcare profession?  She stresses that one has to have a passion for caring for others. She goes on to say that someone interested in nursing should not limit oneself to a single area of nursing as “there are a lot of different types of nurses out there and there is a fit for everyone”. Some find their fit right away, while “others need to use trial and error when looking for somewhere to work that fits. That is the beauty in nursing: there is a lot of opportunity to expand your learning.” 

Healthy Balance with Tara Antle

By Mariana Hernández-Hernández, WorkStory Ambassador at Memorial University

Tara Antle’s work story is an excellent example of initiative, proactivity, and of how one experience (whether it be volunteering, work or school) can take us to the next one. Her work story also shows us how it is possible to do what we love as a job and even turn it into an entrepreneurial endeavour.

Tara is a Nutritionist whose weekly activities include private nutrition consultations, providing grocery store tours, hosting kitchen parties, giving cooking lessons, and organizing seminars and workplace wellness programs.

She’s also a regular guest on Rogers TV’s Out of the Fog (monthly segment called “Healthy Bellies”), Cross Talk on CBC’s Radio Noon with Ramona Deering, the CBC Morning Show with Anthony Germain, The NTV Evening News and Here and Now on CBC. Moreover, her articles and interviews have been published locally, provincially and nationally in The Telegram, NL Wellness Guide, The Downhomer, Fresh Juice Magazine, Atlantic Law Enforcement magazine and The Newfoundland Herald.

How did she get here?

When Tara graduated from high school in the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, she didn’t know what type of work she wanted to do, so she took a few years to find herself. She devoted her time to volunteering with Helping Hands and The Community Services Council, working full time in retail, studying General Medical Sciences and taking evening courses at Memorial University of Newfoundland, which eventually evolved to full time General Studies.

Five years after being involved in these activities - and mainly because of her volunteer experience - Tara realized that she wanted to do something related to health care. She chose the Applied Human Nutrition program (BSc.AHN) at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax and was able to transfer all her credits from Memorial University. During her full time studies in Nutrition, she took elective courses in Business, worked as a Residence Assistant, and helped raise funds for scholarships and bursaries with the Alumni Association.

Every summer, Tara returned home to Newfoundland and held different jobs. The summer before graduation, she had the chance to work for the federal Public Works and Government Services as part of their student program, and after university graduation, she was offered a full time position. This experience led to an opportunity working in finance with the federal government in Newfoundland, and it, in turn, led to a government position in Ottawa as a Financial Officer! While working in her new role in Ottawa, Tara studied full time during the evenings at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and earned her Diploma of Natural Nutrition (Holistic Nutrition).

Later, Tara became one of the three Nutritionists that were hired by Shoppers Drug Mart for a pilot project.  She was responsible for the Ottawa region and her duties involved helping build a clientele, developing and delivering health and nutrition seminars in the community, acting as a liaison and team member with local physicians and pharmacists, creating in-store educational displays, and facilitating sampling of products.

After being away from Newfoundland for ten years, Tara decided to move back with the intention of eventually starting her own business. Once in St. John’s, she worked as a Nutritionist for a company for a couple of years and then left to develop the business plan for her own private practice. Seven months later, her dream became a reality as she began Healthy Balance. With more than 15 years of experience, six years of formal education in Dietetics, Holistic Nutrition and Health Studies, Tara’s private practice has been successfully flourishing for the past six years.

When Tara was studying nutrition as an undergraduate student, she was often questioned about her choice and was told by some that she was wasting her time. She stayed firm with her decision, however, and continued doing what she loved. Now, nutrition is gaining more and more attention and is even considered something ‘trendy.’ Today no one would question its importance as a field of study and interest.

When I asked Tara if she had any advice for students seeking the ‘right’ career path, she said: Do what you love and the rest will follow as long as you take the right steps to find an employment opportunity that works for you. Skill sets are transferrable to each new opportunity that exists. Be patient, persistent and keep a positive attitude. Her career path is good proof of that as Tara enjoys her job so much that it doesn’t feel like work!

To learn more about Tara and what she does, check out her website at www.healthy-balance.ca.

 

 

Making Connections! Erika Faust’s Communication Story

By Erin Annis, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Guelph

One of the most inspiring quotes I have heard in regards to careers is “You’re most powerful where your passion is.” Erika Faust has followed this guiding light to grasp her personal career success.

Erika is currently the Corporate and Internal Communications Assistant at Toronto Community Housing.  She is also a freelance writer and editor.  The path to follow her dreams began with her love for reading and writing.  Throughout school – at the University of Guelph-Humber – she had recognized her passion for writing and began editing her friend’s papers (even later on, editing her friend’s university thesis!).   Recognizing her love for editing, Erika became the go-to editor for her friends and family for whom she reviewed reports, resumes and more.

Her writing and editing skills became a key part of Erika’s career journey during her fourth year at Guelph-Humber, where she took Media Studies. During that year, she landed an internship in the Advertising department of her hometown newspaper, the London Free Press.  Her boss recognized such talent in Erika that when she left to start her own communications firm, she hired Erika right away to do freelance writing and editing for her (and has been doing so ever since!)

Prior to working at Toronto Community Housing, Erika worked both as a staff writer for the Fanshawe College newspaper “Interrobang” as well as an Internal Communications Coordinator at Goodlife Fitness.  These roles gave her integral skills pertaining to her career.  Her job as a staff writer allowed her to gain management experience once she was promoted to editor, managing a team of 20 students.  Her experience at Goodlife was a refreshing change as it involved duties such as administering the intranet site and even some event planning. 

The game changer for Erika was the big move from London to Toronto after her husband found employment there.  Although this involved “abandoning” the place she grew up in and jumping into a situation of uncertainty, Erika viewed this experience as a “big adventure”.  During this time, she didn’t lose sight of her passion and continued to do freelance writing as she searched for a new job. 

Periods of unemployment are a major struggle for young people.  As Erika put it “It’s scary not knowing if you’re going to be able to find a job, and it can be really disheartening.”  Here is what she focused on to combat this period of unemployment:

• Networking with people with interesting jobs. “I set up informational interviews to get advice from different people. We chatted about my options and they told me what they thought I could do to shine as a job seeker.”

• Continuing education. “I tried to use the Duolingo app to learn French – I didn’t get very far with it, but I did practice every day during the summer! I also attended several communications-focused webinars and took an online class in WordPress through Udemy.”

• Doing some freelance and part-time work. “It kept my skills sharp, expanded my writing portfolio and gave me something to talk about in interviews.”

• Volunteering. “I signed up to help out at some local events, and I became a regular volunteer at a local museum. Volunteering helped me get acquainted with my new city, and I got to meet lots of like-minded people – people who just like to help out and get involved.”

Starting September 2015, Erika began her current communications role with Toronto Community Housing.  One of the most rewarding parts of her job is the non-profit environment.  “Toronto Community Housing serves about 6 percent of the population in Toronto.  I really like knowing I am part of an organization that helps so many people.”

Erika’s key to success?  Making connections!

“My boss during my London Free Press internship gave me my first paid writing and editing gig. Connections I made while working at Fanshawe College have hooked me up with freelance work. A reporter I met while attending an event in 2013 eventually became a managing editor at Metro newspaper in Toronto and gave me a part-time copy editor job. My mom – who is truly a master networker – has introduced me to some really fabulous people who gave me a ton of insight and helped prepare me for future job interviews.”

Reaching out can be the most difficult, yet beneficial, move that you can make to enhance your career- but it is 100% recommended.

“If you see someone on LinkedIn who works at a company you admire in a role you’d love, reach out to them! It may seem a little awkward at first, but I promise, it gets easier every time you do it. People are usually flattered when you ask them for advice, and they often want to help you out – maybe their company isn’t hiring, but maybe they know another great place that needs someone with your exact skill set. Even if the connection doesn’t help you find a job, it can be a really valuable learning opportunity.”

The ability to put yourself out there is integral for making the best out of your career journey.  Erika is an exemplary model having followed her passion, staying open minded and continually making important career connections. 

Doing What Comes Naturally

By Karli Steen, WorkStory Ambassador

Developmental Service Worker Amber Whayman was introduced to helping disabled children through an elementary school co-op program.  With the original goal of being a teacher, all it took was one question to change her mind: "An EA in the class asked me if I wanted to learn about autism. I of course said yes, and if it wasn't for her asking me, I don't know what I would be doing now. I fell in love with working with the students as an EA and learning about disabilities and how to support people".

However, it wasn't just a question that inspired Amber's path: "I also believe that my dad had an influence on my career. When I was 8 he was in a car accident that left him with an acquired brain injury. I watched supports come into the house to help him recover, and I took on the role of helping him from a very young age. Helping people is just my nature! It's what I have always done."

Amber followed her natural instincts by going into Fanshawe College's DSW program. When asked what she found most useful about the program, Amber says that she took a little bit of knowledge from every course, but the most useful were the stories of first-hand experiences shared by the professors, because they  provided insight on what to do and what not to do in important situations.

Amber recalls that in school she was shy and reserved. Now that she is working with Forward House, and has gained more experience, being shy is a thing of the past.  When asked what a typical day on the job would look like, Amber had this to say: "Well it depends on the day. I work in  supported living houses where there are at max two people living in each location. I assist people with the activities of daily living such as showering, dressing, meal prep, feeding, and medications. Basically anything you do for yourself in the day, I assist people with those things.We go to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and fun stuff like hockey games, the fair, and festivals."

Amber is unsure of where the road will take her, but says she is happy where she is now. She shared the best part of her job: "Just being able to do what I love every day and seeing the people I support being happy. Knowing that by helping the people I support complete the daily activities that most people take for granted every day is so rewarding."

Finally, these words of advice were shared for those interested in the field: "VOLUNTEER. Get a volunteer position working with people who have disabilities. I volunteered at a day program in my hometown before I started at Fanshawe. I also think it is very important to keep an open mind. With this career there are many places you can work. For example, a group home, the school board, or a day program; and you may be surprised where you like and don't like to work."

Volunteer Soars with Wild Ontario

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Samantha “Sam” Manner works as volunteer Team Leader for the Wild Ontario program in the city of Guelph, where she is also attending university. Currently, Sam is working towards her Bachelor of Science. Her major is animal biology and her minor is in nutrition. Her future plans include either to attend the Ontario Veterinary College or to “work in the field of animal behaviour and welfare”. Although Sam has a very busy student life, she is still able to volunteer with the Wild Ontario program at least 4 times a week! Part of why Sam finds volunteering so rewarding is that she gets to educate the public while working with her team at Wild Ontario.

“I manage the daily health, training, and nutrition of a non-releasable American Kestrel, named Artemis, while also overseeing three of her other handlers. With our ten non-releasable birds of prey, Wild Ontario travels across the province delivering educational programs to the public on a variety of topics ranging from: ornithology, [the study of birds] ecology, conservation and stewardship.”

Artemis is considered to be “non-releasable”, which means that she will never be able to live in the wild. Now, with the help of Sam and her other handlers, she “is serving as an ambassador for her species through her story.” Sam relates Artemis’ story below:

“Artemis is a 5 year old female American Kestrel, the smallest falcon species in North America. Unfortunately, Artemis was taken from the wild at a young age and was likely being kept as a pet by someone. Housing wildlife without proper licensing is illegal. As a consequence of people taking her from the wild, she did not get the opportunity to learn the skills she would need to survive in the wild. In 2009, Artemis was surrendered to the Toronto Wildlife Centre. Here, they do tests to determine the bird’s fear of humans. Artemis was not afraid of humans and willingly took food from [them], which means it would be dangerous for her and for humans if she was released back to the wild.”

Sam has a few favourite things about volunteering with Wild Ontario and they involve working with others in the program as well as with the public. She tells us that, “One of my favourite things is working with my team towards a training goal for either the bird or the handler and seeing all that hard work come to fruition. At the programs we deliver, one of my favourite things is sharing information about the birds with members of the public and having them get really excited and wanting to share what they learned with all of their family and friends.”

For anyone who is interested in getting involved with Wild Ontario, Sam advises that it is a “big-time commitment”. Potential volunteers should be mindful that they will be required to dedicate a certain amount of their time to the program. If you wish to apply, you should either live in Guelph, Ontario or “have the ability to travel to Guelph at least 4 times a week.” The volunteer application and more information about the program can be found on their website, www.ourwildontario.ca .

Reigniting an Old Passion: Gareth, CHRW, & the Argonauts

By Karli Steen, WorkStory Ambassador

In high school, Toronto Argonauts reporter Gareth Bush had always seen himself as a Canine Police Officer. However, in mid-pursuit of his Criminology degree at Western University, his passion for the world of sports media was reignited. Gareth attributes the re-ignition to his time spent volunteering with the campus radio station CHRW: "My time at CHRW Radio completely changed my life.  They gave me so much freedom to explore the sports broadcasting world.  I started hosting my own sports show, colour commentated the football games, and covered many mainstream sports events for the station.  It's the reason why I'm where I am."

After the rediscovery of his passion and the completion of his undergrad, Gareth went for his Masters in Journalism, which helped him attain his position as Digital Media & Communications Assistant with the Argonauts. While Gareth has always known that his passion has been within Journalism and the world of sports, he also has a passion for music.  He admits that both passions have been closely intertwined, as his music gigs helped pay for his education.

A day on the job has never a dull moment, and when asked what his job entailed, Gareth had this to say: "Every day is different.  If it's during a regular day of practice I'm with the team.  Putting together videos, interviewing players, filming lots of stuff.  Also running the social media accounts and our website.  If it's a game day I'm writing the recap, making/printing all the stat sheets, and a bunch of other little jobs."

Although Journalism isn't among the highest paying of jobs, Gareth says that the experience is priceless: "You meet new and exciting people with new stories to tell every day.  In my case being a sports-focused journalist, you get to see some of the most exciting and historic sporting events take place worldwide.  Plus you get paid to watch the game and tell the world about it.  It's great."

His current position with the Argonauts is the beginning of a long and rewarding adventure, and Gareth says he's on the right track.  He's where he wants to be, covering pro games and athletes every day.  And, like every newcomer to a career, he looks forward to climbing the ladder.

For those interested in joining the field, Gareth shared these words of wisdom: "Get as much experience as you possibly can.  Whatever it is you want to do, just stick your feet in as many doors as possible.  Volunteer like crazy.  Sports journalism relies very heavily on young and aspiring interns to do a lot of the dirty work.  Take on as much as you can.  When I started, I was hosting my own show, reporting, producing, colour commentating, writing, etc.  All for free. But it got me tons of experience and built up a heck of a portfolio.  Also, shake every hand you can find in the business.  Word of mouth is strong in journalism.  The more contacts you make, the better your odds are of getting in."

Catch Gareth in action at
www.argonauts.ca
Listen to his other passion here: www.youtube.com/gareth9