Approaching graduation from Multimedia Design and Development program at Humber College, I was brand new to the industry and eager to dive in. I was motivated in the way that anyone would be starting a second career in a field seemingly inundated by millennials and post-millennials who’ve already been harnessing their computer and design skills for the years I had spent working in a completely different industry (finance). I wanted to catch up to my peers and figure out how to do so most effectively.
I’ve always been better and happier learning from those around me. The physical presence of industry professionals, teachers, and students working towards similar goals pushed me. If I register myself for an online course, I probably won’t remember to come back for next week’s lesson but put me in a classroom and I will thrive, asking questions and making the most of all of the knowledge sitting in that room. Considering my disposition, I decided to reach out to local design communities where I could volunteer my time and efforts in exchange for a valuable network and the added bonus of being able to gain experience in design and content writing (which I’ve always loved).
I first joined Women & Tech after meeting one of the designers on the team at a Humber College event. She introduced me to the 5-people team a few weeks after and I began organizing social engagement initiatives and reaching out to female speakers at FITC to interview. It was a rewarding experience to be able to meet creative women from around the world, have a conversation with them, and share their insights in blog articles on the Women & Tech website. The workflow was a very involved process: connecting with creatives and scheduling interviews, conducting the interviews then transcribing the recordings, writing the articles, structuring the writeup and uploading to Github, designing email campaigns to subscribers to update them on the new story, and selecting images for social shares in the days that follow the publish.
With Women & Tech interviews running few and far in between, I decided to reach out to DesignX for a new volunteer opportunity. It’s one of the largest local design communities in Toronto with a tight-knit online community and events that bring different intersectionalities of designers together every other month. I was first onboarded as a content writer for the Medium channel but with a growing team of volunteers, I moved into a lead role, managing contributors and editors, developing and overseeing overall content for the organization. The leads get together for weekly virtual meetings to make sure initiatives are always aligned and the team engages in monthly townhalls to do the same and to regroup for what’s coming up next.
HexagonUX’s Toronto chapter had been active for about a year when I joined the team as part of the mentorship steering committee. The chapter’s three founders had been working all year to be able to start the mentorship initiative, upon recognizing the need for nurturing relationships within the local female design community. In a team of 5, the mentorship steering committee reached out to potential mentors who would want to be a part of our first cohort for Spring 2019 then vetted through mentee applicants vying to be placed with a local design leader. We used existing templates from the global HexagonUX community to design slide decks for mentors and mentees as well as email campaigns to keep the cohort engaged. We had a kickoff event for the matching process and are currently planning other events to motivate mentors and mentees and promote deeper connections.