Welcome Back! It’s Been a While

Hello, folks. I disappeared abruptly in 2020, shortly after the pandemic started. Sorry about that! I, like so many others, just ran out of steam and needed to focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Also, I filled up my schedule, so couldn’t take any additional work, and thus stopped reaching out (please don’t take me as an example if you’re in a similar field, you should definitely keep in touch with your network, even if you have a full schedule). This blog post is all about what I’ve been up to, so read on if you’re interested in learning more about me and my professional life.

Aside from my full-time role as the publications manager at the BCIT Students Association, where I run a variety of publications (including two magazines), I took a good portion of my time up with volunteering for the Magazine Association of BC. Here I continued as a board member and helped to establish the senior editors and publishers roundtable. This roundtable invited all senior magazine staff members to congregate (online) and discuss some of the ongoing and new challenges we were all facing. It was illuminating, and it’s been a great opportunity to connect with other professionals in the field.

Aside from my volunteer work I took on a large client, April’s Aquarium, in June of 2020. April’s is a rapidly expanding aquatics shop with two locations in Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada. Their care and ethics aligned with my values, and I agreed to come on board as a communications specialist. I helped them to create two websites, a social media strategy, and a promotions strategy. My focus was on content writing, including educational blogs and product listings, but I also assisted with photography and IT support. It’s been a wonderful experience that intersects perfectly with my interests. I ended up diving into this new aquatics hobby as well, and have many beloved aquatic critters now, as a result.

one of my new pets from April’s, Stanley, the golden German blue ram cichlid

In February of 2021, I was thrilled to receive an acceptance letter to the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Master of Publishing program (MPub), something I had been aspiring to for years. This program is accelerated full-time, meaning it’s intended to be a person’s sole focus (40-75 hours per week). To that end, I needed to find a strategy to keep my life on track and succeed in the program.

To that end, I established a partnership with We Speak Visual, a wonderful collaborative marketing company based in my area, which is run by a dear friend, Wafé Gara. She also has a love for aquatics, and she began working with me on April’s Aquarium marketing strategy, first by taking over Instagram. Her fun and engaging stories were a hit, and in August 2021, just before my classes began, I suggested she take over all operations indefinitely. I’m still involved, but We Speak Visual has taken over the project with vigour, and I believe they are the right fit for the job.

Since September 2021 I have been enrolled in the SFU MPub and taking classes on theory, editorial, design, book publishing, and more. My classmates and professors are inspiring and, well, amazing, and I’m learning more than I could have imagined. I’ve managed to juggle my day job successfully (they were kind enough to allow my shifts to take part evenings and weekends to suit my course), and my volunteer position slightly less successfully (they’ve been kind enough to overlook my absences and delayed emails). On a personal level, I’ve also faltered, and my inboxes and social media are full of kind messages from beloved people, and I will get back to them all eventually.

My first semester was challenging, but I came out with a 4.0 GPA, and I believe I did my very best thanks to an amazing support structure. That semester was focused on book publishing, something I hadn’t done much work in since leaving the Federation of BC Writers, and there was so much I didn’t (and still don’t!) know.

So, what’s coming next?

I have just four more months of class time ahead of me, this time focused on magazines and media (my passion subject) and I hope to learn just as much now. After that I’ll return to work, start some big projects, and begin working on my project report. Next December I hope to be graduating!

For this blog, well, my media professor has asked that we publish our work to a public forum, ideally a website. To that end, I’m reviving this space, and it will soon be regularly updated! If you’re interested in seeing my take on various publishing topics, check back regularly. I will have plenty to say, and it may become a habit after my courses conclude. I’ll start by publishing some of my work from last semester, and then begin adding new writing and projects as they’re created. Reach out to me anytime if you have questions, and thanks for reading!

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