Early on, I learned that my spelling prowess could get me stuff: a brand-new pencil for spelling “pterodactyl” in grade 2, a doll when my mom underestimated my abilities and told me I could have the doll if I could spell her name. Miss America was mine.
Fast-forward to 1990, when I found myself walking up the creaky stairs to 585½ Bloor Street West in Toronto, to the office of Kids Can Press. Kids Can is an international children’s book publisher, at the time best known for its Franklin the Turtle books. I was to be its newest publisher’s assistant, spending that first year faxing and photocopying and taping storyboards together (it was 1990, recall).
I worked at Kids Can for seven years, becoming its first managing editor. In that time, the foundation of my editorial knowledge was laid. I took courses, was mentored by some of the best writers and editors in children’s publishing and got hands-on learning by copy editing award-winning authors’ work. I also learned a few lessons the hard, embarrassing way. (Ask me about that “an volcano” on one book’s back cover.) But mostly I learned that working with words was core to who I was. My path was set.
Eventually, it was time to return home, to Calgary. Since then, I’ve worked in-house and freelanced, writing, editing, proofreading and project managing. I’ve had the honour of working for some of Canada’s corporate success stories and Calgary’s best advertising and marketing agencies. As a freelancer, I’ve been just as lucky, supporting a variety of cool clients, in advertising, communications, energy, hospitality and tourism, tech and innovation, health and wellness, finance, retail and construction. The learning never stops, of course. Nor does my love for what I do.