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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 2018: David Johansen
David Johansen has been a member of Editors Québec for 10 years. He first got involved by organizing the Editors Québec social events and went on to become the branch and national treasurer. He has also helped at the annual conferences, where he enjoyed working on the registration desk and being a session host.
Until recently, David was the regional director of branches and twigs (east) and found this to be a very interesting and challenging responsibility. One of his memorable experiences was supporting the creation of the Editors Barrie twig. "It was very motivating to experience the enthusiasm of the founders and their vision for the future," said David.
David has been a freelance editor for more than 25 years. He currently works on verifying French-to-English translations and localization from American English to UK English. When not editing, David spends his time singing for the Lakeshore Light Opera, where he serves on the board of directors. He is also member of the jury for the Montreal English Theatre Awards.
Having volunteered for most of his adult life for various organizations, David says that his volunteer experience has been entirely positive, and that any challenges he has faced have been manageable because he is part of a team that is always available to assist when needed. He tells us that all his projects have emerged from networking and word of mouth as a direct result of his involvement with Editors Canada. "This is a very positive result of volunteering and I wouldn't change a thing," he said.
October 2018: Heather Buzila
Heather Buzila joined Editors Canada in 2014 and currently serves as the regional director of branches and twigs for Western and Eastern Canada. From June 2017 to July 2018, she was the coordinator of Editors Edmonton. She also served as the social media coordinator for the 2018 Editors Canada national conference.
"I really enjoyed working on the conference committee," says Heather. "It was great to be able to connect with editors from across the country during our meetings and to get to see how conferences are planned and organized."
After changing careers in 2007 (she was previously a high school band teacher), Heather has edited fiction and non-fiction books, and professional development modules for nurses. She now works as an editor for course materials at Athabasca University in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. How does she balance her life of work, volunteer commitments and family life? "I just remind myself to make a list and do one thing at a time and everything gets sorted out in the end."
What she loves about volunteering is that she has met so many incredible people who are willing to help and offer advice. Heather says, "I see volunteering as my way of promoting editing as a career and Editors Canada as an organization that benefits editors across the country."
What does the future hold for Heather? "I have a passion for history and archaeology, and I want to be Indiana Jones when I grow up," she says. "Maybe the world's first editor-archaeologist hybrid?"
September 2018: Melva McLean
Melva McLean (Editors Manitoba) is a talented and award-winning editor and writer. We are pleased to name Melva as the Editors Canada volunteer of the month for September for her contribution to the success of this year's Editors Canada conference in Saskatoon, where she was a member of the organizing committee and coordinator for the 2018 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence.
For our first ever conference in Saskatchewan, Melva took care of numerous tasks, from editing session blurbs to contacting partner organizations. Melva also co-presented one session, hosted two more, and participated in speed mentoring. As the coordinator for the Tom Fairley Award, Melva helped to recruit and orient the judges. Thanks to this volunteering experience, Melva has learned about conference organization and what it takes to run a successful virtual volunteer committee.
Away from her volunteer commitments, Melva edits short stories, novels, screenplays, and non-fiction texts in both the humanities and sciences. She is herself a past recipient of the prestigious Tom Fairley Award (2008).
And Melva's accolades go beyond editing: three of her screenplays have won awards, and Chopin's Heart—a short film she wrote and produced—was part of a Telefilm showcase at Cannes 2016. She is currently working on her third short film. She plans to retire in 2020 to "do something completely different."
August 2018: Lucy Kenward
Lucy Kenward, volunteer of the month for August, led the programming team for the 2018 national conference in Saskatoon. The team's numerous and diverse duties included evaluating proposals, compiling and editing session descriptions and speaker biographies, gathering session handouts and presentation notes, and coordinating and scheduling more than 60 speakers.
"Working with the conference committee was a great experience," she said. "We had lots of vision and strong leadership, but the challenge was pulling together many pieces in a short amount of time with a small group of people scattered across the country."
As leader, Lucy exceeded the conference committee's expectations. "She was brilliant and deserves much of the credit for the highly praised conference program," said one conference committee member.
Why does she volunteer? "I've benefited from professional development with Editors Canada for many years," said Lucy. "And I realized that I now have skills that can help others learn, too."
Lucy is a non-fiction editor who worked in-house for more than two decades before launching a freelance career. A lifelong learner, Lucy is also a travel enthusiast and enjoys outdoor activities, such as cycling, running, cross-country skiing and swimming in mountain lakes.
July 2018: Dwain Richardson
Dwain Richardson, volunteer of the month for July, is the face behind the Editors Québec posts: his Tweets and Facebook updates help keep branch members informed and connected.
As the communications agent at Editors Québec, Dwain also organizes professional development seminars for English-speaking members. So far, he has spearheaded two seminars: one on technical editing and another on proofreading. In the past, Dwain's biggest challenge was recruiting attendees for English-language workshops. While participation has improved, there are other challenges. Distance and language are also issues for Editors Québec members.
"In some areas across Québec, participants are mainly native French speakers. Some of the seminar topics don't necessarily resonate in a French-language editorial environment," says Dwain.
However, Dwain and other branch volunteers challenge themselves to find topics that cater to English- and French-language milieus. An academic editor by profession, Dwain finds his work exhilarating as it has fed into a growing interest in diverse disciplinary topics. He is a copy writer, translator and occasional interpreter, and is also a professionally trained classical singer who has performed with numerous ensembles in the Montreal area.
June 2018: Sara Promislow
Sara Promislow (Editors Toronto) is the volunteer of the month for July.
Sara is the current chair of the member services committee, which recently produced the association's new Welcome Kit, a brief guide to Editors Canada, its services and its resources. Under Sara's leadership, the committee completed the project without ever meeting face-to-face. "Our committee is scattered across Canada and one member is in the US," she said. While it was strange at first, they make it work. "We are a great team despite the distance."
The committee's work continues, with the team now focusing on improving services for in-house editors.
Prior to joining the member services committee, Sara was a member of the Editors Toronto executive. She served as chair of the branch's former newsletter, Edition, producing monthly issues with the help of other branch volunteers. When Sara is not volunteering, she is a freelance academic editor, writing coach and writer. She is also a companion to a nine-year-old Devon Rex she walks on a leash when the weather permits.
May 2018: Wendy Carroll
Wendy Carroll (Editors Ottawa-Gatineau) is Editors Canada's volunteer of the month for May. While Wendy's path to volunteering was accidental—she describes it as "more something [she] 'fell into' than something [she] decided [she] wanted to do"—she speaks highly of the rewards of volunteering, including the opportunities it provides for professional development and networking.
"Volunteering on a committee has helped me meet editors of various backgrounds from around the country, which provides terrific perspective on issues affecting the association and the profession."
A self-described introvert, Wendy says that volunteering allowed her to build lasting friendships with other editors. She is co-chair of the certification steering committee and, in past years, she assisted with conference planning and was a volunteer exam marker. A Certified Professional Editor, Wendy is now managing editor for all CMAJ Group publications.
Her professional achievements, however, are second to time spent with family: "I live for travelling with my family. Working to earn a paycheque is definitely a means to that end." She is also a trained yoga instructor and regularly turns to yoga to manage stress and "to refill [her] cup of patience and kindness."
April 2018: Jennifer Rae-Brown
Jennifer Rae-Brown first joined the Ottawa-Gatineau branch of Editors Canada in the 1980s and began volunteering as a way to meet other editors. She excels in her current role as a greeter and host at monthly meetings where she helps new members to feel welcome. Her branch colleagues describe her as "generous, gregarious and genuinely funny."
Over the years, Jennifer has edited and proofread certification materials and various Editors Canada brochures. She has also hosted seminars and presented on the topic of balancing parenting with working at home.
Jennifer began her editing career at an academic press and later worked in government publishing. She now edits and proofreads for museums, including the Canadian Museum of History, and numerous cultural institutions. She is also an avid traveller, runner and cross-country skier.
She describes her volunteer experience as very rewarding as it has provided numerous opportunities for learning and for making new friends. She is also supportive of the continuing development of Editors Canada. "It's been inspiring to see the different leaders, at the local and national level, moving our organization forward and giving our profession a voice and presence."
March 2018: Karina Sinclair
Karina Sinclair has been a member of Editors Hamilton-Halton and a hardworking volunteer since June 2017. After devoting more than 20 years to a career in television (she was the lead script-writer and producer for an extreme weather documentary series that aired on National Geographic and other networks), she founded Line By Line Studio and began her freelance career as a writer, editor, photographer and video producer.
In her short time as a member of Editors Canada, Karina has contributed significantly to the organization. Members may be familiar with her recent work, which includes the popular proofreading video and the promotional video for the third edition of Editing Canadian English.
Karina's volunteer work goes even further than videos. She is co-coordinator of Editors Hamilton-Halton and also produces the monthly twig newsletter. Karina was also a proofreader for Active Voice and is now a member of the national publications committee.
According to Karina, Editors Canada has created a supportive community for its members. Her commitment to volunteering is one way of contributing. "By getting involved in various volunteer roles, I'm able to brainstorm, learn and laugh with other editors. I feel like I'm part of a team, like I've found my tribe."
February 2018: Andrea Hatley
Andrea Hatley first joined the association in 2015 and is a member of Editors Manitoba. Her interests are wide-ranging, and for the past two years she has done everything from layout and design to proofreading and indexing.
Andrea began volunteering as a way to meet people and better hone her skills. "Living in a remote area of Canada limits opportunities for the camaraderie found when volunteering at events," she says. "But it is wonderful to interact with other volunteers, even in a virtual environment."
She proofread the association's 2014 annual report and volunteered for the Vancouver conference. In 2016, Andrea also served on the selection committee for the Claudette Upton Scholarship. Of her experience, Andrea says those she has "dealt with at Editors Canada are friendly and supportive, and it's been a lot of fun."
Her recent work on Editing Canadian English, 3rd edition, has been most challenging—and rewarding. Having recently completed Ryerson's digital publishing and production course, Andrea was looking for a project that would put her new skills to use. Andrea expressed her interest in an eBook edition and volunteered to create it. Thanks to the book's multi-level headings and complex tables, she found the challenge she was looking for. For Andrea, the best part of the project was working with the proofreaders whose invaluable feedback helped to shape the eBook edition.
Ever mindful of cultivating a work-life balance, Andrea takes on few projects and enjoys perfecting "delectable and potent" recipes. She is adamant she makes the best plum liqueur around.
January 2018: Tamra Ross
Tamra Ross got her start in editing as a writing coach for adult students. From there she worked as the communications director for a non-profit and is a long-time member of Editors Calgary. Tamra is now a web/print designer and computer programmer/researcher, but keeps her editing skills sharp and is a recent graduate of SFU's editing program.
Tamra first joined Editors Canada in 2006. She began volunteering when asked to complete the design and layout for Latest Edition, before moving on to Active Voice. Currently, she chairs the training and development committee. Tamra loves volunteering for the connections it brings, and believes the quality of one's experience depends on those one works with. Of her time with Editors Canada, she says it has been "rewarding and interesting, and the people are all great to work with. We seem to have a similar drive to create quality work." She previously chaired the awards committee, helping to develop the Karen Virag Award during her tenure.
Although Tamra finds volunteering a positive experience, she admits it is not without its challenges. "Doing the Active Voice layout forced me to learn how to lay out French text," she says. "In my current role, I've been doing most of the webinar hosting, which can be time consuming." She is now busy training new webinar hosts, but enjoyed creating an eBook to aid in training the webinar committee.
For Tamra, what has been most valuable of all to her as a freelancer is the opportunity to expand her professional network. "Volunteering has blossomed into an ongoing relationship that's brought many jobs. You never know where your next great client will come."
Outside of work, Tamra loves to learn, be it a new language or a new technology. She is a huge fan of anything horror ("even the schlocky stuff"), and enjoys punk rock, computer games and cutting-edge art—"things that challenge ways of thinking."
Want to make a difference in your association? Find out more about volunteering for Editors Canada.