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The featured volunteer recognizes the contributions of our dedicated people who keep Editors Canada going. Volunteers are the backbone of the association and we are grateful for the many members and affiliates who answer the call when help is needed.
Little did Becky Noelle know when she became a student affiliate that she would soon be a vital Editors Canada volunteer. Becky joined Editors Canada in early 2019, seeking editorial connections and opportunities. In June she travelled from her hometown of Okotoks, Alberta, to the Halifax conference. There she met Robin Larin, student relations co-chair, and before she knew it, she had joined the team.
Since then Becky has assisted with the committee's successful advocacy for student participation in Editors Canada's mentorship program and the revival of the student affiliate Facebook group. She regularly contributes posts to help create "a space where student affiliates can connect and feel supported." Currently she's helping prepare "a larger scale information-sharing project for the Facebook group" and is excited to see how it turns out.
This past year Becky also completed her Professional Editing Certificate at Mount Royal University in Calgary and launched her own freelance editing business. With a background in elementary school teaching and a degree in science, Becky focuses on educational and academic editing. "I've really enjoyed helping students in the pursuit of their degrees," she says.
Her love of teaching informs her work on the student relations committee, too. "I saw some areas for improvement, like how we organized and shared our files, so I started coaching others in how to access, share and use files in Google Drive."
"Becky is meticulous, organized and team-focused—the ideal committee member," says her nominator Robin Larin.
Amid her busy life, Becky puts aside time for travel and hiking. She loves the outdoors and encourages other editors to counter the often stationary and solitary work of editing by joining her in the #StetWalk movement. "You'll feel connected," says Becky. "Not just to nature, but to your fellow editors, too."
S. Robin Larin
Volunteer of the Month for April 2020: Virginia St-Denis
Virginia St-Denis launched her freelance business three years ago, but she's no newcomer to the field. Virginia began her career in 1991 as a reporter-photographer for newspapers and magazines in the Niagara Falls area after graduating from Humber College's Journalism program. Moving to Ottawa in 2002, she became the communications editor at a national non-profit organization. When she launched the plain-language Journal of Aboriginal Health, the multi-skilled Virginia became what she calls "a one-woman production team," covering the peer review process, desktop publishing and proofreading. Since then, she has been the managing editor of three medical journals.
Virginia joined Editors Canada in 2015 when she returned to magazine work. With her Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College in hand, she created a social media strategy for Editors Canada in 2017 and volunteered as the in-house editors' networking organizer for Editors Ottawa–Gatineau.
Joining the national executive council in 2018, Virginia became the director of communications and the interim chair of the communications and marketing committee. There she earned her biggest reward volunteering so far: creating an integrated marketing and communications strategy for the webinar flash sale that raised more than $22,500. "That was about a quarter of the total webinar sales for 2018 and did not include any paid promotion, so that was straight profit," she says proudly.
In her spare time, Virginia enjoys nature, architecture and abstract photography. This hobby has not only won her many awards from ViewBug, an online photography community, but also prompted her to volunteer as photographer at the 2017 and 2019 national conferences. "Being a volunteer photographer gave me an excuse to talk to different people and helped break me out of my shell," Virginia notes. "I learned so much from the sessions, I met so many great people and I have the pictures to prove it!"
- S. Robin Larin
Volunteer of the Month for March 2020: Glenna Jenkins
2013 was the perfect time for Glenna Jenkins to join Editors Canada. As a proud Nova Scotian, she volunteered that year at the Halifax conference, filling swag bags and organizing the indexers' evening dinner. When the annual conference returned to Halifax in 2019, Glenna upped her volunteer game by providing website content, organizing a dinner and a walking tour, and presenting a session on academic editing. The biggest reward in volunteering, she says, is seeing positive collaborative outcomes. Currently she's on the new finding work for members task force intended to help freelancers find meaningful, well-paid work. "Stay tuned!" she says.
Glenna's passion for editing emerged long before her first conference. She "became an editor by happenstance" when a friend turned her blog into a book and asked Glenna to edit it 10 years ago.
"That's how I got hooked," she says.
To develop her editing skills, she took courses from Ryerson University's Chang School of Continuing Education and from UC Berkeley. Now she specializes in academic editing, mainly for non-native English speakers. The work can be challenging. "It oftentimes means working with text that is so convoluted I have to try to figure out what the author is trying to say, take a stab at it and query in the comments pane," she says. But Glenna brings her attention to detail to the job—a skill honed during her years as an economist.
When not wearing her editor's hat, Glenna enjoys writing young adult fiction, running and cycling long distance ("because I can do this sitting down"). But volunteering for Editors Canada remains an ongoing part of her life because her fellow volunteers are "a joy to work with."
"Editors are smart, courteous, civilized and a lot of fun," she says.
- S. Robin Larin
Volunteer of the Month for February 2020: Raya P. Morrison
Raya’s path to becoming an editor was "a winding road." After graduating from Seneca College’s Digital Media Arts program, she worked as a web developer before becoming a writer for and later managing editor of a music magazine. In 2018, she completed her Editing Certificate at George Brown College. Now editor-in-chief of the literary journal Blood & Bourbon, Raya is also an in-house editor and proofreader for Diamond Integrated Marketing in Toronto. Her interests and training have led her to specialize in marketing communications, social media, articles and short stories.
"Next up," says Raya, "I want to edit novels."
Although balancing work and volunteering can be challenging, the "biggest reward is all the lovely people I get to meet through every new role I take on!" says Raya. In particular, the team for the task force "was golden. They allowed me to learn to be a leader by being patient and kind."
Raya will be assisting again at the International Editors Conference 2020 in Montreal.
"I love travelling," she says, "so I get extra excited for the annual conference. It’s such a great way to see more of Canada!"
- S. Robin Larin
Volunteer of the Month for January 2020: Jess Shulman
After 17 years in the corporate world, Jess Shulman was ready for a change. Her experience with business writing and editing prompted her to join Editors Canada in 2013 and—after serious study—to tackle the challenging certification exams. Emerging as a certified professional editor (CPE), Jess volunteered as a session host at the first international conference of editors and joined the certification steering committee in 2015. Her confidence buoyed, Jess began her own freelance business in 2016 and hasn't looked back.
As a volunteer, Jess has been an exam marker and a "test shepherd" overseeing the creation of the Proofreading exam. Now co-chair of the CSC, Jess is helping to "rethink" the certification program "to find ways that we can make it run more efficiently, attract more candidates and modernize it."
In her freelance work, Jess says, "I like to keep my options way open." She happily edits, at all levels, everything from corporate documents to textbooks to novels by indie authors. She also enjoys writing web copy, social media posts, marketing materials and reports for corporate clients.
Beyond editing, Jess keeps busy with her family, yoga, hiking, travel, and singing and playing mandolin in a band. "It's really just for fun," she says, "but we do one or two gigs a year as charity fundraisers." Fitting volunteer work with Editors Canada into her active life can be a challenge, but Jess "blocks out time for it to make sure things get done." Anne Brennan, director of publications for Editors Canada, sums up Jess's attitude of commitment succinctly: As a mother, singer, CPE and "very capable committee member," Jess, she affirms, "is amazing."
- S. Robin Larin
Want to make a difference in your association? Find out more about volunteering for Editors Canada.