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Volunteer of the Month
Volunteers are the backbone of Editors Canada, a member-run organization, and we are grateful for the many volunteers who answer the call when help is needed. On this page, you'll meet some of the dedicated people who keep Editors Canada going.
November 2017: Marie-Christine Payette
Marie-Christine Payette has been a member of Editors Quebec/Atlantic Canada since 2012. Living in a remote area of Quebec, she was looking for opportunities to network, promote her services and business, and acquire new skills.
She was the director of francophone affairs on the national executive council for four years, as well as providing translation, editing and writing for the association to offer content and services for our francophone members.
Marie-Christine is a firm believer in volunteering. "Volunteering for the association—especially as the director of francophone affairs—provided me with a lot of exposure," she says. "I received lots of referrals from colleagues, and I am very thankful for that. Volunteering is definitely a great marketing strategy!"
She established Les traductions de Marie in 2011. She offers translation from English to French, French-language editing, comparative editing and proofreading. She also taught English as a second language for four years (secondary school level) and French as a second language for two years (elementary and secondary school levels), and regularly translates and edits teachers' guides and student manuals.
She also has an artistic side. She sings, has been writing poetry since the age of 15 and scrapbooks. Her favourite song to sing at karaoke is "Love Is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar.
October 2017: Alison Larabie Chase
Alison Larabie Chase joined Editors Canada in 2014, but has worked as an in-house editor and communications professional for the past 15 years. Last year, Alison decided to write and edit on a full-time freelance basis and hasn't looked back. She works for a wide range of clients, including the Conference Board, university professors, government departments and creative agencies.
A member of Editors Ottawa-Gatineau, Alison began volunteering when she found herself drawn to the communications coordinator position for the 2017 conference. She knew her skillset would be valuable in helping make the conference a success, and had a blast doing so! "Being part of a successful conference team is unforgettable," she says. "Watching everyone enjoy the sessions and keynotes, connect with others, and celebrate our profession was a true gift." Not only has volunteering allowed Alison to meet new people, she also finds it a great way to network and keep her skills sharp.
Since then Alison has found more ways to get involved, hosting a workshop in Ottawa and completing testing for the new computer-based certification exams. Although she admits client work can sometimes get in the way of volunteering activities, she loves her flexible schedule as it allows her the freedom to participate in general.
When not at her desk editing—accompanied by her two feline companions—Alison loves to travel and explore new places. She also has quite the command of language, and in addition to English and French speaks both Portuguese and Spanish.
September 2017: Julie Kay-Wallace
Julie Kay-Wallace joined Editors Canada in 2013, just as she was starting to work as a professional editor. Although she had been editing since a young teenager, working with friends and writer's groups, she turned to the profession after realizing the life of a historian was not for her. A graduate of Queen's University, Julie is currently enrolled in Ryerson's publishing program. She mainly works in fiction (her passion!), but also does corporate editing, copywriting, and some web development.
A member of Editors Toronto, Julie began volunteering as soon as she heard the organization was looking. She wanted to help out the organization that provided support as she started her career, and jumped at the chance to talk with other editors to learn more about the community and her colleagues' daily experiences. It is this camaraderie Julie loves best. "Editors Canada is a great organization with a lot of experienced, friendly, and helpful volunteers," she says. "It's so rewarding to be able to work through a task and know you're helping build resources and a community that helps so many people."
For the last four years Julie has been working with a volunteer coordinator and a team of writers on creating the Volunteer Handbook. She admits it has been a challenge to manage workload and schedules, but credits the committee with their understanding and flexibility.
In her spare time Julie loves to sew clothes and costumes, and was once torn between editing and theatre costume design. (Although she is very glad she choose books!)
August 2017: Christina Vasilevski
Christina Vasilevski joined Editors Canada in 2009, while a student of Ryerson University's publishing program. In the years following she worked on a freelance basis before joining the digital team at Rogers Communications as an in-house editor. There, she works closely with project managers, web designers, translators, copy writers, and (of course) other editors to develop the company's website and related apps.
Christina joined the student relations committee in 2015 and has since helped lead the student affiliate sessions at the last two conferences. Recalling the lively, in-depth discussions, Christina is ecstatic to have found such a meaningful way to give back. "I'm really happy to have the chance to contribute to the organization's well-being on a fundamental level," she says, adding Editors Canada has been instrumental in "developing [her] craft and building connections," especially as a student.
With her fellow committee members, Christina works to help students interested in editing as a profession get involved with Editors Canada. She admits this hasn't been easy, as most editing programs are offered after students have already left university, so traditional advertising falls short. They are now experimenting with social media for attracting more student members.
Christina also finds time to indulge her love of speculative fiction as a slush reader for Lightspeed magazine. This she combines with her deep love of tea at Books & Tea, where she invites you to join her.
July 2017: Angela McGovern
Angela McGovern joined the Kingston twig in 2016 to learn more about Editors Canada, meet other members, and get advice on running a freelance editing business. Although she didn't have the title "editor," she had spent a significant amount of time during her career reviewing, writing, proofreading and editing documents. After spending 16 years in the corporate world—including a stint as executive director of marketing at Cineplex Entertainment, where she led the team that licensed movies for downloading and streaming on smartphones—Angela was interested in becoming a freelance editor. She has since launched her business and specializes in proofreading, stylistic editing, and content writing for business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients.
During Angela's first twig meeting, a member suggested that the conference committee could benefit from Angela's business experience. She joined the committee two weeks later as the conference sponsorship coordinator. In this role, Angela was responsible for securing sponsors and funding for the conference. Her tasks included contacting past and potential sponsors and managing the sponsorship process.
Being new to Editors Canada, Angela had to quickly learn about her responsibilities and the existing relationships between the association and affiliates. Despite these challenges, Angela embraced the role, using the skills honed during her career to secure new sponsors. She also created new tools and templates that will continue to benefit future conference volunteers.
Angela lists two major rewards to volunteering, the first being the ability for members like her to use their skills, whether editing related or not, in a meaningful way. "The association is always evolving," she says, "which means that volunteer work evolves." The second is the opportunity to learn from fellow members about editing and running a business.
June 2017: Leanne Rancourt
Leanne Rancourt, CPE, started her editing career right after she earned her master's degree. After working in-house for five years, she decided to go freelance in 2006, and joined Editors Toronto (and later, Editors Hamilton-Halton). Seeing the certification tests as valuable to the profession, Leanne decided to give back to the organization by volunteering on the certification committee. She not only proofreads and marks pilot and candidate tests but also works with other committee members to improve the tests, giving candidates the best test-taking experience possible. Her volunteer work has the added bonus of teaching her more about editing: she gets to discuss editing practices with the other committee members, and she incorporates knowledge she gains from these discussions and the answers to test questions into her professional work.
In addition to being a certification marker and proofreader, Leanne has volunteered as a mentor. She found the experience to be rewarding and memorable, as she helped other editors launch their own careers.
While Leanne does all kinds of editorial work, she focuses primarily on higher education textbooks. Editing educational materials, she says, makes her feel like she's contributing something positive to the world, since textbooks are an integral part of the learning process. When she's not editing, she enjoys knitting, running and spending time with her three children.
May 2017: Karin Cather
In 2013, Karin Cather stopped practicing law because her special-needs children needed more attention and services as they approached puberty. She wanted to find another fulfilling profession where she could use her mind, eye for detail, extensive background knowledge and passion for the written word. While learning about the editing profession, she came across the Editors' Association of Earth Facebook group and met Editors Canada members. Karin was concerned that her American citizenship would exclude her from the association and its members, but she was welcomed wholeheartedly. In gratitude for all the help, mentoring, and friendship she's received through Editors Canada, Karin decided to give back through volunteering.
Karin began volunteering as part of the member services committee. She helped craft a survey on member retention and did some research on international editing associations. As the current publications committee chair, Karin is overseeing the production of a booklet that she intends to be the first in a series on the business and practice of editing. Having her proposal for this series approved by the national executive council has been a particularly memorable moment in her time with Editors Canada. She enjoys belonging to a community that contributes to editing as a profession.
In October 2014, Karin officially began her career as an editor. She earned an editing certificate from UC Berkeley. In addition to being an editor and a lawyer, Karin is also a martial arts expert who holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do. She currently practices the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, where she is training at an advanced level. As a result of these experiences and skills, she enjoys working on police procedurals, as well as as well as books and articles related to behavioural health, forensics, and other medical and legal topics.
April 2017: Sonia Gluppe
Sonia Gluppe enjoys studying, learning and taking examinations. Teaching has always been a part of her working and social life. When she decided to explore a new career as a freelance editor, she joined the Editors Kingston and wrote her first two certification exams that year. She became a Certified Professional Editor in 2011. It was a perfect fit when she was asked to join the certification steering committee.
Initially, Sonia volunteered as an external reviewer for one of the exams: she wrote the exam and submitted comments and concerns to the committee. Over the years, her involvement increased to include reviewing and marking both sets of exams. Timing can be a challenge in this role, since the marking of pilot and candidate tests often falls during the holidays. It can also sometimes be difficult to read a candidate's handwriting. But with strict time management and an enjoyment for what she does, Sonia goes above and beyond. She generously shares her time and expertise with the certification steering committee, and they are grateful for her help.
She enjoys her work on the committee because she sees firsthand people's interest in improving their professional qualifications and in maintaining editing and writing standards. She also finds it interesting to see how candidates handle the various challenges presented to them on the exams and to witness the entire process of how a test gets created.
Sonia fell in love with publishing during a high school summer job as a proofreader for the local newspaper. She worked for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care for 22 years before going freelance as a copy editor and proofreader. When not working, she spends time with her husband and two Italian greyhounds, bakes, and crochets nests for a local wildlife rescue organization.
March 2017: Jennifer D. Foster
Jennifer D. Foster freelanced for several years before joining Editors Toronto. But she missed the teamwork and sense of accomplishment she got while working as an in-house editor and wanted to feel part of a community. Volunteering helps fill this void by providing opportunities to network, share, and learn about editing and writing. It's given her a chance to connect with other Editors Canada members, meet and interview amazing editors such as Mary Norris, and mentor new colleagues. Jennifer states that the more she volunteers, the more satisfied she feels with being a member and an editor.
Having received sage advice and help from bosses, colleagues and freelancers during her career, Jennifer wanted to pay their kindness forward through mentoring. She's volunteered as a mentor with Editors Toronto for the past five years and has also participated in a speed-mentoring session run by the branch. Jennifer says that mentees go through a remarkable transformation during their mentorship; they become more self-confident and keenly inspired. In return, they share their experiences and motivate her to be a better editor.
In addition to mentoring, Jennifer has helped with the copy editing and proofreading of Edition, edited marketing materials for national conferences and web copy for the Toronto branch, volunteered at the Editors Canada booth at The Word on the Street Toronto, and acted as seminars chair/vice-chair for Editors Toronto. And she currently writes and copy edits for BoldFace. These various volunteer roles have enabled her to hone her writing and editing skills, give back to the literary community, network with peers and strengthen her online presence.
Jennifer has nearly 20 years' experience as an editor and a writer. She's the owner of Planet Word and works with a wide range of clients on a variety of writing and editing projects. She's currently writing her first novel and is also the administrative director of the Rowers Reading Series in Toronto.
February 2017: Erika Steeves
Erika Steeves joined Editors Newfoundland and Labrador in 2012 after she moved to St. John's from the mainland. Looking for a way to kick-start her editing career, she contacted Editors Canada about possible volunteer opportunities. Twig coordinator Sandy Newton reached out to her; it was this selfless sharing of Sandy's time and information, as well as the other members' friendly and enthusiastic natures, that encouraged Erika to attend meetings and start volunteering. Erika says she enjoys the atmosphere of camaraderie and community, and her experiences with the association have emphasized the importance of collaboration and networking.
As part of the Newfoundland twig, Erika helped plan professional development workshops, informal talk shops, and other local events that brought together editors and writers. She was also invited to lead a group copy edit. Being the youngest member of the twig at the time, she initially found participation a bit daunting; however, having these opportunities to lead and participate in discussions around professional development boosted her confidence and gave her the tools to advance her career. Her fellow members have noted Erika's quiet confidence and appreciate her dependable presence, energy, willingness to take charge and excellent collaboration.
Erika has been editing professionally since 2011, when she started as an editorial assistant at Breakwater Books. Mentored by the head editor, she learned about in-house publishing processes. She started her own editorial business in 2012 and focuses on editing academic manuscripts and books self-published by independent authors. Erika enjoys having the opportunity to edit works with diverse subject matter—anything from the history of Newfoundland coins to journal articles on cement. In her free time Erika enjoys reading horror novels, hiking and participating in outdoor activities. She recently moved to Toronto and looks forward to attending the branch activities and workshops.
January 2017: Stéphanie Robitaille
Stéphanie Robitaille never planned on becoming an editor or even considered it a possibility; she fell into the position thanks to a love of language and learning instilled by her parents, a desire to excel, and her first employer. She originally earned a science degree, but it was her work in a laboratory that made her interested in language—it was there that she understood the power of words in every facet of life. Years later, she moved to Ottawa to study translation at the University of Ottawa. Stéphanie now specializes in comparative editing from English to French, using her scientific background to work on science and technology texts.
After graduating with her second degree, Stéphanie wanted to explore new volunteer opportunities related to translation. She decided to weigh her options carefully and do something different, so Editors Canada was a good fit. She joined Editors Ottawa-Gatineau in January 2015 and became a member of the francophone affairs committee. In this role, she worked on the marketing materials, brainstormed new ways to increase the visibility of francophone editors, and recruited francophone members for Editors Canada. She also translated the 2015 and 2016 President's Award profiles and revised the 2015 Annual Report.
While it can be hard to juggle both professional and volunteer deadlines, Stéphanie easily manages because she loves the work she does for Editors Canada—it is always a delight. She also enjoys collaborating with her fellow volunteers, who have a wealth of experience and a similar passion for their profession. All members share the same goal, she says, so it's easy to work together to promote the association and editing. In turn, Stéphanie's colleagues say she always works fast and with a smile.
Stéphanie lives in Ottawa and has three grown children. She enjoys the outdoors, cycling, skating and a good book.
Want to make a difference in your association? Find out more about volunteering for Editors Canada.