Employer: Alberta Museums Association
Job Title: Communications Lead
What are the regular tasks for your job?
My job primarily includes writing and editing — for publications, program materials, the websites, and all other communication pieces. I also manage the print and design firm contracts; the overall messaging, branding, and promotion of the Association and its services; the online strategy for the Association, including websites and social media; as well as the research for various projects and internal communication requirements. I work mostly in the office, but as the AMA is a provincial association, I am also out in the community doing research, site visits, and providing workshops.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is that it supports me as an individual and my professional development. I have learned more since I have been with the Association than I could have at any other job. It is diverse, it is challenging, and every day I get to do or learn something new. I get to meet heritage professionals from across the country and be inspired on a daily basis by the amazing people and projects that make a difference in the cultural fabric of Canada.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
What makes my job challenging is the same struggle that faces most people working in the non-profit sector: more work than one person can do! There are many aspects of my job that were not part of the original job description, but as I had an aptitude for things and had an interest in others, the role evolved to suit the talents and interests I had as an individual. As a matrix organization, the AMA is structured so that roles and responsibilities can be flexible and be adapted to those with the unique skill sets to do the best job. But there is still the difficulty of balancing workloads so that people are not given more than they can handle.
How did you get interested in history?
Strangely enough, I would have to say that it was historic fiction novels. I think my motivation for undertaking an English degree was to read books, and maybe be a writer, but then I realized that it was the historic narratives that captivated me. So I started taking a lot of history classes. Soon enough I realized that topics about culture and heritage were what I was passionate about, but writing and editing was what I was good at. Luckily, I found a job that satisfied both.
What advice would you give to student’s who are interested in a similar job?
Follow your interests. In undergrad, I kept taking courses that I found interesting. I ended up doing a double major in English and Ancient & Medieval History because I could not decide which I loved more. Then I volunteered at an archive because the combined interests gave me the skills to work in heritage. The volunteer position turned into contract positions, and eventually, led me to where I am today. Don’t underestimate volunteering. It will get you in the door and provide you with invaluable contacts and references. Also, writing skills. People with writing skills are highly valued in the heritage sector as it impacts so many aspects such as exhibit panels, website content, marketing, research, and promotional materials.