Up until last Monday, my career has had two distinct phases.
When I was a kid, all I wanted was to be involved with films and theatre. I acted as a kid, and in high school I started directing and working with video. For a dozen years I made films. Sometimes I had a day job, sometimes I was lucky enough not to, but from 18 years old to about 30 I produced, edited, wrote and directed short films and one feature.
I always had a rule for myself. After each film was made I looked at it starkly and honestly and asked myself, Am I truly great at this? After my feature, I began to realize that I was decent at filmmaking, but not great. Not if I was truly honest with myself.
And that could have been the beginning of a huge unraveling for me, because my commitment to filmmaking was so great that I starved myself of a backup plan. I was flying without a net.
But my net came in the form of the dot.com era (no pun intended). I was making films in Seattle, and my experience with digital distribution and production was interesting to a few local startups. My vine swing from independent filmmaker to digital producer was beginning.
And soon enough I felt very fortunate to have something other than filmmaking to do, something I loved, seemed to be great at, and something that paid the bills a whole hell of a lot better than no-budget filmmaking. And the digital world has been fascinating, inspiring and has served me very well. That has been my career for the last dozen years, since I was 30. Funny how these eras seem to come in a dozen years for me.
At the beginning of last year, a new vine swing began for me. I started doing Community Engagement work at Vancity. My department gained the honour of distributing some of Vancity’s grants, and overseeing sponsorships and community events. It was something totally different, spoke directly to the mission of Vancity, and all the reasons I was a member and, later, employee of this great organization. It also said something about Vancity leadership that they saw abilities in me that no one had ever exploited.
Now, I am beginning the third chapter in my career. I am leaving digital behind completely, and am embarking on community engagement and development full time. It’s a big exciting move. In the digital arena, I have long been both a leader and deep subject matter expert at Vancity. And now, I get to work with people with far more experience and depth in community development than I have. I am no longer the subject matter expert.
So I begin my new journey as Director, Business & Community Development at Vancity, still overseeing community events and sponsorships, but joining a department running multiple granting and microfinance programs, managing financial literacy initiatives for our members and their neighbours, investing in local businesses having a positive impact in our communities, and developing focus in critical areas where Vancity can create positive change, all to help achieve Vancity’s vision of Redefining Wealth. It is an unbelievable honour and opportunity. I get to work with amazing and inspiring people, and develop relationships with community partners and members.
So let my third chapter begin. Given my track record, check back in to see what I’ll be doing at, say, 54 or so.