In 2013, I met representatives from Native Womens' Resource Centre of Toronto at Timeraiser, an event that connects charitable organizations with potential volunteers. Along with the friend I attended with, I was looking for opportunities to diversify my clips, and NWRCT needed writers to pull together an annual report. We signed on and ended up co-writing and project managing two reports, taking them from a Board Member's loose thematic ideas through working with staff to gather information and interviewing volunteers to coordinating final production with graphic designers.
At the time, although I had plenty of writing experience, I did not have any corporate storytelling chops and this experience completely changed how I viewed myself as a writer. It was the first time NWRCT had the resources to produce a professionally written and designed report. Launched at the Annual General Meeting, it was well received by both members and the women who were profiled. I could see that our efforts made a difference in both large and small ways, from contributing positively to the conversation about Indigenous culture to helping volunteers get the recognition they deserve.
As a non-fiction writer who, until then, had primarily mined her own life for personal essays, I was surprised at how much satisfaction I derived from using my skills to help an organization advance its goals. After I profiled Gwen (left), an astounding volunteer who cooked lunch five days a week for hundreds of people using only donated ingredients, the Centre got funding for its soup kitchen. That success certainly propelled my decision to apply to the Professional Communication program at Ryerson University, where I began studies in September, 2016.
Read the full reports: