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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.
When it comes to volunteering for Editors Canada, Berna Ozunal has been a one-person band. She started as vice-chair of Editors Toronto in 2012 and is currently chair of the national standards committee. She has also served on the national executive council as director of publications, director of training and development, and director of professional standards. She has contributed to the national and local blogs, led the launch of the Editors Canada webinars subsite, and is helping to create the "much awaited and needed first draft of a revised Professional Editorial Standards." That draft is nearly ready to be shared with Editors Canada members for review.
Berna also supports new editors through her volunteer work. She has just completed her third stint as a mentor in Editors Canada's John Eerkes-Medrano Mentorship Program and has given presentations to editing classes about the benefits of membership in the association. "I can go on and on about the benefits, but luckily they limit me to 50 minutes," she laughs.
For Berna, volunteering is about giving back and "working together to advance the profession of editing in Canada—a noble task." In addition to volunteering, she teaches Structural and Stylistic Editing at George Brown College.
Berna developed her own impressive skills through education and experience. She began editing over 20 years ago as a legal research editor. In addition to her degree in philosophy and communication studies, she has a diploma in film editing and certificates in plain language and graphic design. She now works for clients in Toronto and Ottawa and edits a variety of materials. In 2018, Berna received her Certified Professional Editor credential from Editors Canada, crowning a truly comprehensive career.
In Editors Canada, Berna has enjoyed meeting "so many interesting people doing important work" more than anything. When she's not editing, Berna enjoys going to art galleries, participating in outdoor activities, like biking and ice skating, and tending to her Puginese, Olive.
~S. Robin Larin
Rachel Keir may volunteer on Editors Canada's standards committee, but her BA in linguistics makes her all about flexibility with language. Rachel joined Editors Canada in 2020 as a student affiliate after graduating from the University of Toronto. She immediately volunteered for the standards committee because doing so, she says, would "help me meet knowledgeable people in the community and improve my understanding of what principles are important to know and why." She balances that understanding with her awareness of the influence of culture and identity on language usage.
"These concepts are important for editing with an empathetic and story-focused mindset, rather than just meeting prescriptivist norms," says Rachel.
Rachel is currently completing an editing certificate from George Brown College and runs her own freelance editing business in Toronto. She specializes in fiction copy editing and structural editing, especially in the thriller and paranormal genres. "I've always enjoyed helping others to finesse their writing and tell a compelling story," she says.
Through Editors Canada Rachel has met many editors of different specializations and interests and learned that "there is no one path to becoming a freelance editor." She enjoys using her varied work and volunteer experiences, including with two environmental justice groups, in her approach to editing. When not working or volunteering, Rachel spends time embroidering, crocheting, beading and snuggling with her two recently adopted kittens.
"It can be hard to balance volunteer commitments with other commitments in my life," admits Rachel. "But it's been a very beneficial experience, and I'm glad that I've stuck with it!"
~S. Robin Larin
What better way to become involved with a national organization, asks Adrineh Der-Boghossian, than to volunteer? Having done so for the Canadian Red Cross and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, Adrineh happily offered her services as a greeter for Editors Toronto after she joined Editors Canada in 2016. Soon she became editor-in-chief of BoldFace, the Editors Toronto blog. Two years later, she was the proofreader and social media coordinator of The Editors' Weekly, the Editors Canada national blog. "It was a nice break not having to source content while still being involved with the association and gaining further experience in editing," she says.
Extensive volunteer work isn't all Adrineh brings to the page as an editor. She holds multiple degrees: a BA in psychology (York University), an MA in communications (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), an editing certificate (George Brown College) and a publishing certificate (Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly Ryerson University). "I love being a student and am constantly learning," Adrineh says.
Working in communications for not-for-profit organizations prompted her pursuit of an editing certificate and a move abroad. In Armenia, she translated articles for a media advocacy organization, taught Freshman English at the American University of Armenia and met her spouse. Now back in Canada, Adrineh works as a project manager for a book publishing company while also proofreading and copy editing as a freelancer for other publishers.
As a member of Editors Canada, Adrineh enjoys being part of a community of like-minded people willing to help newcomers to editing. In her spare time, she loves riding her motorcycle. She encourages newer editors to look to their interests and see how they can apply their editing skills there. "We all have things we do besides editing—why not combine your passions?"
~S. Robin Larin
When Maureen McGuigan joined the volunteer management committee in January 2022, she never dreamed that helping to make the VolunteerConnect spreadsheet more user friendly would lead to her becoming an Editors Canada featured volunteer herself. "I feel overwhelmed at being nominated," Maureen says, "but I think it's important that potential volunteers see that you don't have to give a huge amount of time or be involved for years and years to have an impact."
Maureen joined Editors British Columbia in November 2020. A self-described "prairie girl on the West Coast," Maureen holds a BA in economics and is completing Simon Fraser University's Editing Certificate. She currently works as a project manager, document controller and editor for a professional services firm. Although her favourite projects involve complex reports or documents, she's just as happy "when a colleague trusts me to proofread an email or help them make sure their English is proper because it's not their first (or third) language."
In addition to the volunteer management committee, Maureen volunteers with the website task force, archiving and porting content to prepare for the association's new website. This volunteer position is a great fit for Maureen, who would like to freelance with local small businesses, making sure their websites, blogs and other marketing copy are as clean as possible.
A mom to two young sons and dog mom to a Maltese-Poodle cross, Maureen enjoys travel, music, knitting and jigsaw puzzling in addition to volunteering. "Everyone I've met at Editors Canada has been incredibly supportive and kind," she says. "Someone described our volunteers and office staff as the least "political" group they had ever volunteered with. There are no egos, and everyone just wants to help. I wholeheartedly agree."
~S. Robin Larin
After getting her BA in English and music from Queen's University in 2010, Julie Kay-Wallace was all set for graduate school when she came to a sudden realization: she hated writing essays. "In spirit, I've been an editor and a grammarian since I was very young," she says, having helped friends and family with hobby writing and business communications. Tossing aside her plans, Julie pursued a publishing certificate from Ryerson University and interned at the media agency The Rights Factory in Toronto.
After several years amid agents and publishers, Julie longed to work directly with emerging authors to help them hone their craft. "I wanted to create a freelance career and work for myself on my own terms," she says. She launched Julie Kay-Wallace Editing, focusing on fiction editing and full-stack web developing.
Julie joined Editors Toronto in 2012 and began volunteering as a greeter for meetings. She helped with the Editors Canada's Volunteer Handbook and is currently the leader of the national website task force. "Sometimes it's hard to balance my volunteer and work schedules," she admits, "but being freelance means I can almost always find a way—even if that means a few late nights or early mornings!"
Editors Canada is "a place where I can grow professionally by being in contact with other professionals with different specialties," Julie says. Julie, a devotee of handicrafts, old films and language studies, now lives in Stratford, Ontario, with her wife and their five cats. Although freelancing can feel "like being one person against the world," Julie appreciates that Editors Canada offers her the opportunity to be "part of a thriving community of professionals that are every bit as dedicated to editing as I am."
~S. Robin Larin
Which Editors Canada member speaks five languages, volunteered with Translators Without Borders and hosted an award-winning radio show?
Who else but Badou Bousso, Editors Ottawa–Gatineau's multi-talented co-chair of francophone relations! As a child in Senegal, Badou "fell in love with English." He completed a BA in Langues Étrangères Appliquées (foreign languages for business), an MA in translation and PhD work in francophone studies at the University of Kansas, where he helmed the radio show All Things African with Badou. After moving to Montreal with his family, he worked as a teacher, freelance editor and translator, bringing to bear his knowledge of English, French, Wolof, Spanish and Arabic.
In 2015, Badou began in-house work at the Canadian Nurses Protective Society in Ottawa. He joined the association as a member of Editors Ottawa–Gatineau, becoming co-chair of francophone relations in 2019. "My mandate is to create French content and activities for our francophone members," Badou says. "This is important as we're in the nation's capital and serve a bilingual audience."
In 2020, Badou helped to create la Vigne des reviseurs, the French equivalent of The Editors' Vine virtual meeting of members. A national gathering, la Vigne regularly welcomes guests from the United States, too. "I'm very proud of what it's turned into," Badou says.
Badou currently works as a content management coordinator for a not-for-profit healthcare organization. He also freelances in editing and translation, including movie subtitling.
A self-described "news junkie," Badou is also a fan of world music and cultures. "I love meeting my peers from all over the place [through Editors Canada]," he says. "I have grown so much professionally since becoming a member." He only wishes he had more time to dedicate to Editors Canada. "I feel like there is so much more I can do!"
~S. Robin Larin
Want to make a difference in your association? Find out more about volunteering for Editors Canada.