Making Connections in the Music Industry

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Tim Fraser has been the Events and Activities Programmer for the Fanshawe College Student Union for the last three years, taking over the role previously occupied by Pat Maloney. Tim mentioned that he is still referred to as “The New Pat” all these years later, however he has been successfully making the position his own by booking big name acts for the college such as Dallas Smith and Fred Penner. Tim has often been a guest lecturer for the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe (where he was once a student) and more recently he has also helped Sheridan College book performers for their events.

In addition to his work as the Events and Activities Programmer, Tim is the owner and Creative Director of Murdoch Music Management, a company he runs with his wife, Tanya Chopp-Fraser.  “We are an artist management and music industry consulting business. I kind of started it myself, as I come from the music industry.” Tim jokingly added that he made Tanya join him as a business partner. However, her marketing skills proved to be a real asset to Murdoch Music. “My wife is very, very smart. [Tanya] works in marketing…. She came up with the name of the company and the logo… so really, I kind of think it’s her company and I help her with it. That’s probably how it should be, but yeah, it’s just the two of us”, he explained. Together they have interviewed artists such as Frank Turner and Northcote for their Murdoch Music podcast, available on iTunes.  

Not one to be star-struck very often, Fraser said that his most memorable guest on the show so far was children’s entertainer, Fred Penner. Penner did a show at Fanshawe in 2015, and much to Tim’s surprise, he also agreed to an interview.  “I [got] an email from Fred! It was just like, ‘Hey Tim, looking forward to the show! I would love to sit down and chat with you!’…. I lost it. I screenshotted it, and posted it, and texted it to my brother and my parents! I was like, ‘Oh my God! This is weird! I can’t believe I’m at that point now where I’m getting an email from Fred Penner!”

In addition to Fred, Tim noted that having done interviews with people like Lindi Ortega, Eric Alper and the President of FACTOR have added credibility to his podcast and so it has become easier for him to interview other people in the industry. All he does is ask, usually via email. Fraser tries to reach out to the publicity contacts listed on an artist’s website, especially if they are on tour in London. “The worst they can say is no, and then you don’t get to interview them.”

On the managing side, Tim acts as the booking agent for singer-songwriter Ken Yates and the two-man circus freak show, “Monsters of Schlock”. Although he couldn’t mention the artists involved, Fraser is excited to expand his roster very soon, because for him, it’s the best part of his job! “I really love the artist management and consulting and helping people write grants. That’s the whole reason I started that company… to help artists with the monotony and the business side, because a lot of really creative people aren’t good at business. It’s a completely different mindset and work ethic, too.”

A life-long musician himself, Tim grew up playing classical violin and was involved in the Suzuki music program. At one time, Tim could be found playing in orchestras but he now only “dabbles” with the violin. He traded it in for the guitar, and later, a saxophone. “…High school hit, hormones started kicking in and I thought to myself, ‘I can’t land a girlfriend playing the violin! This is so nerdy!’ …So I taught myself how to play the guitar. I’m now in my 30s and look back on it, and I see people like Tim Chaisson who plays violin very well, and my wife wishes that I still played the violin.”

Fraser began writing and singing his own punk rock and ska songs in high school and eventually toured Canada as a member of the band, Angry Agency. Now as the person who is responsible for bringing acts to Fanshawe and other venues, Tim has been both the performer and the promoter. He uses his personal experiences to help make better events for everybody involved.  “It helps a lot coming from the performing side of things just because … I’ve been on the other side of it. So it helps with all the hospitality stuff and the planning of it. I know that when I was an artist touring around, what I would’ve wanted to know from the promoter…. I really do pride myself in how I treat artists and performers when they come on campus. I make a concerted effort to make sure they’re comfortable and having a good time…. A lot of people don’t realize [the performers] are actually people and they’re providing a service so you’ve got to treat them well,” Tim explained. Part of making an artist comfortable involves following their rider and using common sense. For example, Tim said that if someone asked him for a Diet Pepsi, he wouldn’t give them a Coke Zero.

Tim Fraser’s advice?  “Take any opportunity that you can get, work your ass off, do a good job and just be nice to people. Treat people with respect and don’t burn your bridges-- the entertainment business is a very, very small world where a lot of people know each other and a lot of people talk.  I’ve seen people lose clients and lose work.”  Tim gave up three well-paying jobs to work as an intern for True North Records six years ago in order to get a foot in the door. He has no regrets because the connections he has made helped him become “a viable member of the Canadian Music Industry”.

Organizing change: Sarah LeBlanc helps organizations reach full potential

by Laura Dillman Ripley

Sometimes you just have to try things. That’s a mantra Mount Allison University grad Sarah LeBlanc (‘06) lives by and one she is helping non-profits and other public and private organizations benefit from. 

“I really believe in the value of public organizations and non-profits that serve our communities,” says LeBlanc, a social and organizational change strategist based in Montreal, QC. “My works seeks to help these organizations find strategies that can make them more efficient and innovative with limited resources.”

Some of LeBlanc’s roster of clients includes, the YWCA, and the Government of New Brunswick.

Prior to moving to Montreal in early 2016, LeBlanc, who is originally from Dieppe, NB, worked as executive director of le Regroupement féministe du Nouveau-Brunswick (RFNB), an organization that aims to represent francophone women in the province.

LeBlanc was one of the first staff members at the RFNB, established in 2007. Along with lobbying for change on behalf of New Brunswick women, she was also tasked with establishing the new organization, and working to form relationships with government officials and other non-profit organizations in both the francophone and anglophone sectors of the province.

“In the early days, it was just me in the office (of the RFNB),” she says. “We grew to include a team of six people.”

Under LeBlanc’s mandate, the RFNB saw many milestones, including the establishment of the New Brunswick Voices of Women Consensus Building Forum, as well as the provincial government’s adoption of a gender-based analysis for new government policies.

“I’m proud of the roles we played in these changes in New Brunswick, along with several other lobbying groups and organizations,” says LeBlanc. 

LeBlanc also worked on Parliament Hill for two years in the office of well-known Senator and celebrated humanitarian Roméo Dallaire. During this time (between 2006 and 2008), Dallaire’s office handled many high-profile files including the Omar Khadr case, child soldiers, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the adoption of Bill C-293, concerning the provision of official development assistance abroad. The aim of the bill was to center Canada's official development assistance abroad around poverty reduction.

 “Working on Parliament Hill was an amazing experience, you learn so much,” says LeBlanc. “I am grateful for my time in Ottawa as an administrative and legislative assistant for Senator Dallaire.”

 LeBlanc also credits her alma mater for its impact on her budding career.

“As a student, I always felt that everyone at Mount A was out to change the world. It was a wonderful environment to be part of, and one I’ve grown to appreciate since leaving there,” she says.

Coming to campus from a francophone background, LeBlanc says both students and faculty played key roles in her education and future career choices.

“As a student I started a discussion and action group on gender issues, which received a lot of support from my peers. Academically, I worked with so many great professors including Dr. Loralea Michaelis in political science and (the late) Dr. Marie Hammond-Callaghan in what was then women’s studies. Both had a huge impact on my career choices.”

LeBlanc returned to campus in 2015 for the first Women in Leadership conference at Mount Allison where she facilitated a panel discussion and participated in a mentorship event.

“It is always great to go back to Mount Allison and be part of this community again,” she says.

Learn more about Sarah LeBlanc’s consulting company 

This article appeared in the Winter 2016 edition of The Record, Mount Allison University’s Magazine for Alumni & Friends. Reprinted with permission. /  Photo credit: Louis-Philippe Chiasson.




Drive Keeps Young Alumna on Right Track

By Madison Scaini

As Chantal Rapport looks out of her office window, the Distillery District in Toronto looks back at her. “Everything I have worked hard for has paid off,” she said.

Rapport is not an average 23 year old. A 2014 graduate of Ivey Business School [at Western University], she is now an analyst at Satov Consultants, as well as the corporate relations manager for Dancers for Cancer, a charity dedicated to raising money for SickKids Hospital in Toronto.

In addition, she is an accomplished entrepreneur. During her time at Western, she co-founded Tokynn, a food and beverage gifting app, and Covers4Change, an organization that sells laptop cases to fund the building of a house in South Sudan. She also represented Canada in the Global Vision Junior Team, a business trade mission in South East Asia.

“Growing up, I never thought that everything that has happened, would happen,” she said.

Coming from a poor neighbourhood in Ottawa, where she lived with her mom, Rapport was motivated to provide more for her future. Although both her parents were academics, she wanted to find her own path – her own journey – in the business world.

She applied to Ivey directly from high school, but needed a scholarship from Western in order to fund it. The need to maintain a certain average motivated her to work harder in her final year of high school, as well as every year after at Western. Slipping below it was not an option, she said.

Once at Ivey, she never looked back.

“Chantal was very dedicated and focused on the things she did,” said Krista Harris, one of her first friends at Western. “She put everything she had into it.”

Although Ivey tends to be known for its difficulty, Rapport thought it was more fun than anything. Her business education remains valuable, but she also emphasizes the importance of life lessons she took away from her experience. Those continue to guide her as she develops personally and professionally. Ivey taught her a lot about her strengths and weaknesses, how to interact with others and how to manage her stress levels.

“It was like tough love,” she said.

As Rapport reminisced about her time in university, she admitted she is still incredibly impatient, and always looking at what is next on her to-do list.

She was always involved in extra-curricular activities, including planning the Ivey graduation trip, being an Ivey mentor and an executive for Ivey Orientation Week, travelling to South East Asia to represent Canada and co-founding multiple businesses.

Tokynn and Covers4Change were started as passion projects, but became defining experiences that ignited her interest in entrepreneurship and philanthropy, she said.

Even after graduating, Rapport continues to channel her energy beyond her job.

Rapport beamed as she talked about her current involvement with Dancers for Cancer, a charity that she has been volunteering for since she graduated from university. The committee is working to raise $1 million by the end of the year to fund the development of a dance stage at SickKids hospital in Toronto.

Dance has always been something close to her heart. Although she does not dance as often now, it was a major part of her childhood. In Ottawa, she participated in a free dance class that also welcomed at-risk youth. She eventually became the teacher of that class, and was surprised with a party when she left for university, since she was the first person in that class to do so.

Rapport is not only a dancer, but also a traveler. She has travelled to more than 12 countries across four continents – Vietnam being her favourite.

“I’m naturally incredibly curious, and so I want to understand how the world and humanity works, especially in other cultures,” she explained. “I don’t want to live in a little bubble.”

With her parents being environmental scientists, Rapport grew up appreciating the world around her and views it as a learning opportunity.

Then again, she looks at everything in life as a learning opportunity.

“Take every possibility you can to learn from the people and world around you,” Rapport advised current students.

In 10 years, she hopes to have a family, travel more and own a business she truly believes in. Most importantly, she wants to know her purpose.

Despite all of the challenges she had growing up, she has managed to learn from her difficult childhood to build a future she has always wanted.

Rapport looks through her office window once more and smiles. “My two big things when I look at where I’m going next are, one, I’m doing something that matters to the world, and two, I’m having fun doing it.

“Life is way too short to not enjoy what you’re doing.”

Posted with permission, Western News /  Photo Credit: Justin Scaini

Getting the Right People in the Right Job! Danielle’s Recruiting Story

By Craig Leonard, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University 

Danielle Giannattasio is a Recruiter for Aerotek, a leading company in the recruiting and staffing industry. As a recruiter Danielle’s job is to place suitable candidates in positions assigned to her on a contract basis. She specializes as a Technical Recruiter within Aerotek’s Engineering Services division. Specifically, she pursues engineers –  technologists, mechanical and electrical designers, and a wide range of specialized engineers.

This is far from the typical 9-5 job. Danielle’s schedule is mostly based around that of her clients and contractors. Typically, she begins the day by meeting with the other recruiters in her office to discuss the most urgent positions that they are working on. After prioritizing business, Danielle begins the recruiting process by using job boards and the company’s own database to screen for candidates, depending on the type of position she is trying to fill. Much of the workday is spent interviewing applicants to uncover what they themselves are looking for in a career and what their interests may be. Danielle also coaches selected applicants on their interview skills to help increase their chances of landing jobs.

Danielle thinks of herself as a subject matter expert in the engineering field, and because of this she is able to act as a consultant to her clients. While her primary objective is to provide the most qualified candidates, she also offers business and industry advice based on her daily interactions and findings in the market. Once she is successful in getting a candidate hired, her job is far from done. She continues to work with the contractor throughout their employment to ensure that they are satisfied, and moving towards accomplishing their own goals. When asked what it takes to be successful in recruiting, Danielle says, “A competitive and hardworking attitude…recruiting is about generating results under pressure.”

To get to where she is today, Danielle began by earning an undergraduate degree in Political Science at McMaster University. After completing her degree, she was unsure of what direction to head. She knew that she enjoyed working with people and had always excelled at sales, which fueled her decision to enroll in a Human Resource Management Post-Graduate program at Humber College. Danielle loved the one-year program but was not convinced by the end of it that she wanted to pursue a career in human resources. A requirement of her program was to complete an internship and she began inquiring about various companies and sections of human resources that she wanted to work in. She begun looking into recruiting companies and realized that given her interpersonal skills and passion for sales recruiting was a unique field that she could see herself working in. She then reached out to a number of individuals who were working as recruiters to learn more about what the staffing industry is like.

Funnily enough, after speaking with a number of recruiters she was approached by a recruiter at Aerotek for an opportunity to work in the company. The interview process for Aerotek is unique. It involves a 3-step interview, followed by a “half day”, during which the interviewees work at an Aerotek office for a half of a day to fully submerge themselves in the Aerotek way of life. After successfully completing this rigorous process Danielle was hired in June 2015. Although Danielle entered the staffing industry in order to complete a program requirement, she is fiercely passionate about her job and continues to love it and excel at it. When asked whether she would take the same educational path to her career in recruiting Danielle says, “Absolutely. While I don’t think that a background in human resources is necessary to do my job, I’m not sure that I would have ever entered the staffing industry and come across Aerotek if I didn’t get into it.”

What Danielle loves most about about her job is the fact that she is doing something different and learning something new, every single day. Although she was initially nervous to enter the engineering field without any prior knowledge of the industry, Danielle, as a naturally curious person, didn’t have a hard time networking with industry experts to gain some insight. “During any given week, I talk to at least 100 engineers, all from different backgrounds, with different educations and experiences.” One encounter Danielle remembers fondly is when she met one of the men who took part in designing the Mars Rover!

“Working in engineering has opened my eyes to so many things that I wouldn’t have paid attention to before. You wouldn’t believe how much you can learn from simply listening to other people’s stories.”

Danielle explains that the most satisfying part of her job is hearing that a client is pleased with their employee. “People rely on employment for their livelihood and it feels good being a part of that for someone.” Staffing is a competitive industry, and Danielle loves the competition involved in hiring the best people to the best companies, along with the challenge that comes with the pressure to make deadlines. She states that staffing is a unique industry; “You are dealing with the most unpredictable product – people.”

Danielle’s advice for people searching for employment? “Recruiters look for people that know what they want from a job or an opportunity. Although this may be difficult with the vast number of opportunities out there, it is important that you begin with an end goal in mind.”


Applying Outside the (Online) Box: Daniel's Engineering Story

By Daniel Fensom      Facilitated by Elyse Trudell, WorkStory Ambassador

Dan Fensom.jpg

I was quite amazed reading the stories of young, talented people on this site. In thinking of what to write for my post, it took many hours to determine how my story compared to those of successful entrepreneurs, brilliant artists and activists for social change. So I thought I would begin, from what I remember to be the first thing I wanted to become when I grew up; a professional hockey player. Upon realizing just how realistic this dream was by the young age of 14, I thought it would be time to explore other career paths; perhaps an avalanche hunter in BC, guide in Yukon or a lobster fisherman on the east coast.

I settled on attending the University of Guelph for environmental engineering. I had no idea what to expect prior to the start of second year. I always knew I had a deep passion for nature and exploring the wilderness so I figured that with my math and science credits from high school, environmental engineering would be a suitable subject. I initially thought that I would be designing wind turbines and solar panels but I was gravely mistaken. Much of what I learned in school was about water quality and treatment, air pollution and soil quality.

Although I liked and appreciated the new material I was learning, I often thought that maybe engineering wasn’t for me; maybe attending law school or completing a master’s degree would better suit me. The choice became especially difficult in my final year of university when several of my friends decided to pursue a master’s degree. I came to the conclusion that I should test the engineering job market first and if it did not pan out, I could always return to school. So I scoured the school’s job posting website, recruiting websites and top engineering firm job sites; applying to every applicable job I could. It then occurred to me that there are probably thousands of recent grads applying to these same positions with more experience and higher final grades than me. I then started to search out the smaller firms; ones not listed in the top 100 engineering firms. Although there weren’t necessarily job openings posted, I sent in my resume anyways as a general application.

My hunch worked and soon after graduating, I was lucky enough to have been offered a job at a small engineering consulting firm – XCG Consultants Ltd. It happened to be for a position that I was very intrigued by and enjoyed learning about in school. I have been at this firm now for almost a year and a half and I have really enjoyed my time there. The projects are extremely diverse and I’ve yet to work the same day twice.

The projects I am involved with are mostly water related where I simulate what happens to municipalities under extreme storm events. We then recommend solutions based on our results. As a smaller consulting firm, we do get our share of larger projects but we also get quite a few smaller projects. The smaller projects are really what provide with valuable learning experiences and the opportunity to work in a range of disciplines.

I think the variety of my work is a result of the culture surrounding smaller engineering consulting firms. Smaller companies don’t often employ many junior staff and as a result, junior staff are often assigned a number of projects of a wide variety rather than specializing in one specific task or project. Another intriguing aspect of smaller companies is the hierarchal structure. As a junior staffer, you’re often dealing directly with the senior partners and associates, thus minimizing the distance between you and the final decision makers.

Just recently I learned a valuable lesson for all job seekers. Senior managers don’t like posting job openings online. They seem to find it difficult to differentiate the people who are really passionate about the work from those who have used the same cover letters for the hundreds of other job postings. Senior managers prefer those who take the initiative of sending in their applications even though a posting online may not exist. I’m not saying applying to all the postings on a recruiting website is a bad idea, but rather diversify your applications to firms who don’t post openings online.

If you are truly passionate about a position or field of work, show it and apply where you want to work, regardless of online postings.

For a student of history, it doesn’t get much better….

By Marcus Kaulback

So you think you can dance? No, me neither. And so I’m not a dancer. Instead, I have the privilege to call myself a historian.

I got a job four months ago with a research management company in Ottawa. Clients come to us for a slew of reasons, but most of our work includes providing specialized research services, whether for litigation support, community development, or a person’s simple interest in the past. But whatever the reason, we’re the background workers giving our clients the information they need to succeed in their projects. We try to make hindsight even clearer than 20/20.

But enough tooting the company horn…

I’m working now on something called the Unexploded Explosive Ordnance and Legacy Sites Program (we’ll just call it the UXO Project) which is an attempt by the Department of National Defence to clean up all their old military sites, especially as urban centres grow and encroach more and more on previously out-of-the-way training sites. My job is to research the military activity of past DND sites across Canada to help determine the probability of there being unexploded ordnance still in the ground at these places.

My boss, the senior researcher, sends me lists of files that contain information on a specific site. I spend my days, then, after I’ve ordered these files from Library and Archives Canada (big Soviet-style building in downtown Ottawa with itty-bitty windows), sifting through them looking for any and all mention of live firing having taken place there. I’m looking at primary sources, things like Inspection Reports of camps and armouries, War Diaries of specific units, and even personal letters of the soldiers themselves. For a student of history, it doesn’t get much better.

Once we’ve fully looked at a site, we write reports on them and submit those to DND, which help them in turn determine whether or not there’s a point to actually going down to these places and surveying the land to find these bad things that might still lurk under it.

It’s a quiet gig, solitary too, but it satisfies my passion for the past. And really, how many jobs would do that? Like I said, I studied history in university, more specifically military history, so this job ticks a big box. I get paid to handle real-deal documents that speak to our country’s military past, and by doing it contribute to tidying up the sites that played such a huge role in that past, and I’m happy and lucky to do it.

As you can imagine though, I didn’t come roaring out of uni and into the interview. As most of us 21st-century job seekers know, there is rarely such a thing as a conventional path to employment anymore. No longer do we decide in childhood what we want to be, pursue it at some type of finishing school, and get the job right after graduation. As for me, I skipped town after I graduated, went to Asia where I spent nine months slumming around Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, India, and Nepal before landing in Busan, South Korea to teach kindergarteners the Queen’s English for a year. From Korea, not eager to get back home, my girlfriend and I took the long way ’round, travelling overland to England, five of those seven months spent in a 1981 VW campervan crisscrossing Europe.

I got home to Canada, moved to Vancouver, and continued my slumming. I took a few courses, among them editing, worked a few jobs, among them editorial assistant for a couple of magazines, but moved back to Ottawa after three years of overall professional nonfulfillment. Then the scramble for a job really ramped up. Kid on the way, bills to pay, no job to light the way. Six months came and went with no meaningful work, so I went to an alumni function – something I had never done – at the behest of my mum, “to network”, she said. It was here that I met my future boss.

I don’t have a lesson for anyone on how to go about gaining work. I don’t know the answers, obviously. But I guess that’s the point of WorkStory, to share our “journey to the job” and let all of you know that the whole point, when you’re down and nearly out, is to just keep chugging and plugging away. Hell, I’ve emptied ashtrays at a bowling alley and cut grass at a cemetery, but you just keep going. It took me almost seven years to find something worth it, but that’s just it…it was worth it.

For more about Marcus