cAREER SNAP SHOTS
Our collection of championing women in the workplace
Senior Art Director
An Art Director is on the creative side of advertising. Usually partnered up with a Copywriter (who writes the headlines, scripts, taglines etc), and is in charge of advertising from a visual standpoint. From the sweater the actress wears in a commercial down to the font in a print ad.
I've always been a creative person with photography and art but never really knew what was out there for me. I truly thought my only choices were to be a photographer or some sort of artist until my cousin told me about a Creative Advertising program. I had no idea what an art director even was but when I did, it sounded like a great way to channel my creativity.
I was lucky to go to the 3% conference a few years ago. The organization began because the founder, Kat Gordon discovered that only 3% of creative directors were women and even less so were people of colour. Here are some reasons and are the same reasons that apply to many industries:
1. Lack of female mentorship
2. Lack of motherhood support
3. Lack of women negotiating salaries they deserve (hello 🙋)
4. Lack of awareness that diversity means creativity
That number is now up to 11% but if there's one thing I learned from the conference, it's that you need support from both women AND men to reach the goal of 50%. Women need to champion other women but in a male-dominated industry, men need to too.
Everyone altogether needs to realize that the more diverse the work place is, the more variety you'll get in culture, experience, and skill sets. Imagine only white men selling everything you currently own - they couldn't possibly relate to you in every way. In this case, great minds don't always think alike.
A traditional Applications Scientist help customers understand and apply a range of complex technical products. They provide customer support through training, troubleshooting, and development of methods for any applications needed by the customer.
My role is slightly different as my main product is the software that runs the instrument. I am responsible for performing voice of customer interviews, managing the features that go into the product (the software), building the requirements for these features, coordinate the work done by technical experts (developers, UX designers, software QA), and ultimately be responsible for the overall successful release and launch of the product. I also provide demos and support for the customers and users once the product has been released.
I love problem solving, and I was also very curious in that I like to know the root cause of things. In high school, I knew that I wanted to go into the sciences because the subject has always been interesting to me so I took all of the sciences but had no idea that there were jobs outside of the medical field. All I knew was that I loved to learn and grow.
In the industry, pay gap is real. It is so easy to be overlooked and be paid less than your male counterparts. My advice is before accepting any job offer, research and negotiate. Any good future employer will not retract the offer based on this alone.
Imposter syndrome is real. The way for women to overcome this is to avoid internalizing the feeling and, instead, actively look for a network of support that can help you focus on your own strengths.
Don't be afraid to jump into the deep end. I was lucky enough to have a supportive boss who opened doors of opportunities for me after throwing me into "the deep end." He gave me tasks which I believed I was not qualified to do. However having the "I'll figure it out" helped me complete them and ultimately helped me grow in my role. At the end of the day: You do not need to know everything in order to take advantage of opportunities.
Assistant Construction Project Manager
I have a Bachelors Degree in Architecture and majored on Construction Project Management at Ryerson University.
Since I was a kid, I was always creative and drawn towards design - May it be creative arts or building models. I always had the best handwriting among my peers, and was drawn to homes and building design.
Going into architecture made that into reality, marrying my knack for design and organization hence me majoring in project management.
I get to be a part of the whole process - from design, to procurement, to construction to finally turning over something that I know will make an impact to our society as a whole - putting together the puzzle pieces that make up what would be a landmark.
There’s always a stereotype that construction is a man’s job. It’s rewarding to know that I get to be a part of a project where we build as a team - and in most cases, I’m the one woman in the team.
I put on the hard hat, the safety vest and the steel toed boots and I go out on site with the rest of the men building because I know I too make a difference!
Zharita May Sese
Sports journalists are responsible for bringing the sporting event back to life for the consumer. Whether it’s reporting on the game itself or recalling the experiences of players and coaches by means of interviews, journalists do it all. The work of a sports journalist can be showcased through various means of media like radio, television, print and the Internet.
For as long as I can remember I have always loved sports but the world of sports media was never shown to me. I resorted to pursuing my passion for sports through formal education by obtaining my Bachelors in Kinesiology. From there, I followed the traditional path of getting a 9-5 that loosely tied in my education that provided a stable source of income and thought that was it. But my love for sports kept nagging me, begging for my attention. That’s when The Post Up was born - a corner of the internet that was dedicated to the Toronto Raptors with content created by real fans. I wrote about game after game just for my own sake, not paying attention to who was reading. Little did I know that it would land in the hands of someone who can show me what was out there. Someone recognized my passion and trusted me to do something great with it. And here I am now; an NBA Correspondent covering every aspect of a team that I love so much.
Working in the field of sports media is difficult for anyone, let alone a women of colour. When I look down media row, I can count on one hand the number of women sitting with me. When I look around any room I'm in, I’m surrounded by men who have had years and years of experience. All of those things could easily throw me off my game but I look at the work I do and those doubts are easily erased. For too long women have been used to be the face of sports media - look pretty, don’t say too many smarts views and wear nice clothes. But there’s a shift in media now that showing the world that women belong in the room just as much as men do.
My advice for anyone trying to break into this field? If you don’t see the seat at the table for you, create it yourself. That’s exactly what I did and continue to do with any opportunity presented to me. Don’t belittle your work or hide yourself to make others feel more comfortable.
Policy Implementation Consultant
As an implementation consultant at the Ministry of Health, I develop and implement programs and policies to improve the health care system in Ontario.
I graduated with a degree in molecular biology hoping to pursue a career in pharmacy or medicine. In my third year, I realized that pathway wasn’t for me. After taking a health policy course as an elective in university, I fell in love with the idea of improving health care delivery from a policy perspective. I didn’t know what jobs were out there in the healthy policy field nor did I know how to get a job in that field.
While volunteering for a pharmaceutical company, my colleague told me about post-graduate certificate college programs that are designed to equip students who have a degree with hands-on skills and experience to get their foot into the workplace. I looked into those programs and found a research analyst program that would help me get into policy research. I took the program and learned skills in research design, project management, data collection/analysis and program evaluation. These skills helped me land an internship at the Ministry of Education where I conducted policy research for secondary schools. From there, I networked with colleagues and attended conferences/workshops to enhance my professional development. After a few months, I landed my first job at the Ministry of Health.
I work with a team of individuals who are all women of colour and have worked in health care (either in government or as a clinician) for many years. They come from different backgrounds in public health and nursing, and bring an array of knowledge and skills to the table. We learn from each other every single day, whether it’s them teaching me about the health care system or me teaching them how to use Microsoft Project. We support each other as colleagues, friends and most importantly as women. Although I don’t have a master’s degree in public policy or public administration (which many of my colleagues have), I am constantly learning on the job.
I’ve learned that it is my skills and experience that have helped me bring my best foot forward, not my level of education.