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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.
March 2019: Lee Parpart
Lee Parpart was pursuing a PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University but had become disenchanted with academia and was unsure what her future held. As a stay-at-home mom for almost ten years, Lee was concerned that she would no longer be employable.
At a literary event that she had organized, Lee met the co-chair of Editors Toronto, Jennifer Foster. Jennifer saw her potential as an event coordinator for the branch and asked her to interview for the position. Lee accepted and began working on creating opportunities for writers and editors to enjoy in-person events to enrich them both professionally and personally.
Since then, Lee's volunteer experience has led to freelance and full-time editing jobs. She says that "volunteering for Editors Canada was one of the best moves" she has ever made and characterizes her experience as "life-changing." She made many fruitful connections within the editing and writing communities and now works for a hybrid publishing company in Toronto. She also runs a small freelance poetry editing business.
One of her most memorable volunteering experiences was booking the winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, novelist, poet and playwright Michael Redhill, and his editor, Martha Kanya-Forstner. This made her realize that she could get top talent for Editors Toronto events.
"Sometimes you just need to ask to be given a great opportunity that you can share with the members of the association," says Lee. Other opportunities have provided Lee with some valuable insights into the value of bringing all life experiences to editing.
What is Lee's advice to anyone interested in volunteering? "Figure out what skills you want to develop and use the position to get really good at something that will advance your career in some way or make you a better editor or happier person."
February 2019: Tania Cheffins
Tania Cheffins has been editing since 2006, first as the exams editor for Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada) and then as the editorial manager for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. In 2016, she decided to quit her job and do freelance work on a full-time basis.
Tania joined Editors British Columbia in 2011. After receiving her Certified Professional Editor (CPE) designation in 2013, she volunteered to help set future Editors Canada professional certification exams. At the time Tania was the exams editor at CGA-Canada, so the work was familiar to her. After the first exam-setting session, she joined the certification steering committee and spent several years helping to get the computer testing platform for the certification exams up and running. Computer testing officially launched in 2017.
Tania is the professional standards director on the national executive council (NEC)—a position she has held since 2017. She enjoys the role because it allows her to continue working with the certification steering committee. Her recent projects include working on the recent updates of the Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Student Texts and Definitions of Editorial Skills.
"I was happy to be part of updating these tools along with so many dedicated and interesting people I may not have otherwise met" she says. "It's gratifying to see these refreshed projects completed and now available for everyone to use."
January 2019: Sheila Eskenazi
Sheila Eskenazi is our volunteer of the month for January. Her work has consisted of translating Editors Québec documents, seminar descriptions, and emails from French to English. With the great increase in French activities in the branch, Sheila found that there were many more things that needed translation, giving her the opportunity to hone her skills and provide a service to the organization.
"A volunteer-run group needs volunteers to run it, and when you value something, you support it in any way you can," she says.
Sheila has been a member of Editors Québec since joining Editors Canada in 2008. Providing volunteer translation allows her to participate actively with the Editors Canada community and other not-for-profit and cultural organizations without being physically present. Her experience working with everyone she has connected with at Editors Canada has been pleasurable.
"I feel appreciated and get great satisfaction from the chance to contribute, and from the feedback I get on the translations I submit."
Sheila has been an editor since 1984. Most of her work was done as a sideline and through volunteer work, as she owned and operated another small business with her husband. Once the business was sold, she devoted herself to building her editing career, and has since edited magazines, newspaper articles, websites, books and even phone menu messages.
Sheila's career provides her with a varied and stimulating range of freelance work, which allows her to work from her "comfortable little nest at home." Much of her work has been the result of her raising awareness of the needs of the English-speaking population in the Laurentians and encouraging groups to provide services in the language of the minority community. Coming from a long line devoted to community support, she hopes to carry on with her various involvements for many more years.
Want to make a difference in your association? Find out more about volunteering for Editors Canada.