Posts in Professional
SPOTLIGHT | Ruth McMullen
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Ruth McMullen

Founder, Podcast Host of Optimistically Depressed & Team Member of The Halifax Social Network team

Ruth can be found making impactful sound waves on her podcast ‘Optimistically Depressed’, working with the Halifax Social Network team to create community, while also being present for those she loves and cares about.

Ruth is deeply passionate about creating space for and bringing the internal journey into the light so we can all feel a little less alone.

She also happens to have a way of speaking directly into your soul that makes you feel heard, understood and cherished.

MORE RUTH

Website:
https://optimisticallydepressed.com

Listen:
https://open.spotify.com/show/3f0CQ0HWvGeUeArY4Y7MsX

Personal Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/ruthhailstone/

Optimistically Depressed Insta:
https://www.instagram.com/optimisticallydepressed/

Halifax Social Network Insta:
https://www.instagram.com/halifaxsocialnetwork/

WORK | Everything is Progress
newbyamygrace.

As work and projects have shifted,

it became very clear that I needed new business cards.

Here is what blew me away about looking at past cards I have had for byamygrace until now:

Every year I become more and more who I am supposed to be.
Every year is a refinement and these little cards are a testament to the journey.

Looking at this business card I feel truly connected to what I am presenting more so than ever before.
That is me and it clearly states what I am about.

It is hard in the moment of the slog of ones own work and creative pursuits to see the story that is being woven together with every action, every day, season and year… but when you pan back and see the progression over years, you begin to see that you have been growing, changing and becoming.

It has led me to the realization that every little thing is progress and there is room for just a bit more growth in every small and simple thing we do.

*“Baby steps and short breaths. Anything is progress. You sustain my every moment.” - Steffany Gretzinger

WORK | Brilliansea Documentary
Photo taken by:  Carter Hutton

Photo taken by: Carter Hutton

This year began

the process of putting together a documentary via Brilliansea with a working title “Young Female Entrepreneur”. This documentary is seeking to showcase various women who have started a unique business concept, who are either young, or ‘young in business’.

While filming these interviews and capturing these women in their work environments, we are also documenting ourselves starting our own media platform and finding out first hand what it means to start something new and unique from the ground up.

Women we have filmed thus far:

Korayne Romanchuk | Owner and Founder of KoKo Mod Flower Shop

Sharlene Loveless | Owner and Founder of The Glo Barre

Kate Pepler | Owner and Founder of The Tare Shop

Our next steps

To pull together what footage we have to create a short that shows a sampling of what we are doing.

Continue seeking out unique women and their businesses to feature in this process.

Continue documenting our journey.

Our goal in it all

To find the brilliance that is unique in each woman we encounter.

WORK | Winter 2019 Work Reflection
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This winter has in many ways gone by so fast.

Looking back, I realize much has happened in these weeks since the Holiday season.

This winter I have finished writing contracts, launched a collaborative platform Brilliansea with Claire Fraser & have begun arranging my necessary work tasks in a way that leaves room for more play and more time for cultivating and curating the work I do.

This winter I have learned that my work will sometimes be seasonal. Busy some months , where other months a bit more wide open.

I have learned that spending more time staring and browsing through social media is not the answer for me.

I have also learned that I thrive with variety and in doing so, need to level up on my administrative tasks so that I am not bouncing around from thing to thing with no direction and yet a lot on my mind. (a.k.a. mental load)

Leaving Winter, I leave satisfied and more than a bit proud at the shifts and changes I have found along with what I have accomplished. There is so much to be thankful for and so much more to explore.

SPOTLIGHT | Yivii Su
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Yivii Su

Swing Dance Instructor & Urban Planner

Yivii can be currently found dancing and teaching with her partner in Halifax while also dreaming up new ideas and ways of connecting with the community near and far.

Yivii is passionate about enriching the lives of others and creating spaces that allows for easy conversation.  

She also happens to bring a thoughtful and light hearted presence where ever she goes. 


MORE YIVII

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/yivinca/


Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/yivii_su/


*note from Amy:
Meeting Yivii for the first time was a bit like meeting a long lost friend. She accepts you wholly for who you are and takes part in the joy in life. Yivii lights up a room & I am so honoured to call her friend.


WORK | Women Making Waves Conference 2019
Laughing with my co-creator in Brilliansea & colleague : Claire Fraser

Laughing with my co-creator in Brilliansea & colleague : Claire Fraser

I started going to this conference two years ago upon acceptance into the New Waves Program. At the time I was coming down with a terrible flu-like cold and was down for the count for over a week. Midway through recovery a call came in saying that I was accepted and was receiving free admission to the conference that weekend. I was encouraged to go, so go I went with my herbal tea & big doe eyes wondering what was in store for me there.

This year was no different. I looked around the room and saw many faces I didn’t know or am slowly learning to know & yet also, more faces I now know.

As a writer in the industry, it’s easy to be in your own little world and not notice what is going on around you. This event allows me to meet the people on the other end of emails , phone interviews & conversations being had.

Women Making Waves 2019

Highlights

Screening: Mouthpeice with Q/A with Director / writer Patricia Rozema

This film was beautiful. Lyrical in movement, raw in presence, provoking in layers and utterly captivating. Be it that I am still a fresh new mama heart with an almost four year old (it still feels new on so many respects), that the relationship depicted between mother & daughter felt so uniquely similar to my own with my mother, or that the main characters age is 30 (which I will soon be), it felt so accurate, so real, and so beautifully captured. I would rewatch this again and again.

Workshop: Observationsal Documentary: Pay Attention. Be Astonished. Tell About it. with Robin McKenna

This workshop was invulable. As Claire and I are working on this doc concept & learning how to interview our subjects to gain that authentic capture, hearing from a professional in the field about different ways to be ‘aware and mindful’ has given us a lot of food for thought on how we approach our projects.

Out of the Box Networking Lunch

This year they gave you two cards (randomized) as you walked in for lunch, each with a colour and a number which told you which table you would sit at for the first half of lunch, and which for the second. This idea was INGENIOUS! It acted as a professional speed dating opportunity in which you got to not only say who you are and what you do, but were able to hear the same things from the faces around your table. I had one of two very deep and inspiring conversations from my time at the conference at one of those tables and I am so glad I was there to have them.

I often feel like an unconventional duck at film and television events, as my way into the industry has been unique and ‘untraditional’, but despite my own ‘imposter complex’, these events continue to be where I find the deepest women, the best professional development opportunities and a community that seeks to create improvements in the world they live in by the stories they tell.

WORK | Batch Work Learning
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I have a confession to make….

Up until this year I have 90% of the time written & done my work on this website / blog in real time. Meaning: you were seeing it right after I typed it up, slapped on an image, and pressed ‘publish’.

I think one of the reasons I have done this for so long, is that in the past I have had a specific writing style that I shared online that this thrived with. It was the times I was the ‘least planned’ and the most ‘unedited’ that it received the most impact and appreciation. I thought that in order for me to remain impactful I needed to remain ‘unplanned’.

& to a certain extent this remains true.

I still continue to have the most meaningful written and in person interactions when the words flow without much forethought. I write my speeches that way, my letters and cards that way …etc.

& yet, as life has evolved I need to learn the art of ‘batch work’ to give room for other things in my life.

Thus far I have been able to deduce this means:

Blog Writing

Setting aside half a day monthly to pre write the next months posts.

Interviewing

Interviewing at least 3 people a session rather than one at a time.

This will hopefully provide me with more time to play in my creative writing projects that aren’t seen here…and allow me some much needed breathing room in my personal / professional life.

*this post is vastly inspired by Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast various ‘kicks in the butt’ regarding all things ‘batch work’.

WORK | Volunteering for WIFT-AT "Tidings"
interviewing.wift.at.byamygrace

Over the past half year I have taken on a few assignments from Women In Film & Television Atlantics Newsletter “Tidings”.

Here are two in particular

Pamela Segger

Kimberlee McTaggart

What I am Learning

These assignments have given me the opportunity to continue in my growth and skills of interviewing & curating content. It is one thing to do it safely on my own blog and another thing to push myself to create interviews to be on film and in another local publications.

WIFT-AT has been an organization that has welcomed me in my own right and allowed me a safe place to learn, grow and explore.

SPOTLIGHT | Sharelene Loveless
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Sharlene Loveless

Owner & Founder of The gloBarre
Entrepreneur & Musician


Sharlene can currently be found at her new business The gloBarre, connecting her clients with the latest methods of anti-aging technology and fitness that match their unique personal needs.
She is passionate about serving and empowering others towards their best potential.
She also happens to have a quick and easy laugh that fills a room

More Sharlene

WEBSITE:
https://www.globarre.ca

INSTAGRAM:
https://www.instagram.com/glo.barre/

*note from Amy:
I met Sharlene over a decade ago. Her words of confidence spoke volumes into my life. She has a candid way of saying things how they are while also processing her life out loud, allowing others to join with her on a deeper level.

WORK | Headshots 2019
Headshot taken by Claire Fraser

Headshot taken by Claire Fraser

Starting Brilliansea with Claire Fraser called for an updated headshot for the both of us & for continuity for our projects.

It’s Symbolism

This headshot marks the start of a new phase in my work. Bringing continuity and a more curated streamline vision for the projects that I work on and do.

Honouring My Motherhood

Motherhood has given me a lot of time to be hands-full with something other than ‘the grind’. I have been separated from the professional field & with that has also given me perspective. Realizing what is worth the work and growth verses what is going to drain and take a toll from being the mother I feel called to be.

Ready to Serve

Over the past decade I have learned that I am at my most joy-filled when what I am creating serves others. This awareness has given me permission to hone in on the projects that serve others and bring others higher. This is my passion and my joy. No matter what I am doing, that it serves others in their journey.

WORK | Bird by Bird
I wrote down this quote to sit at my desk with me to remind me as I squeeze in writing moments over the Winter & throughout 2019.

I wrote down this quote to sit at my desk with me to remind me as I squeeze in writing moments over the Winter & throughout 2019.

An active professional development goal of mine for 2019, is to read at least one book a season (4 within the year) that broadens my mind and skills on my own craft.

Bird by Bird was high on my list and is the first book for 2019 in this category.

Anne Lamott has always captivated me with her words on life, faith and writing & this book is no different.

“This is all we are going to do for now. We are just going to take it bird by bird. But we are going to finish this one short assignment.” - Anne Lamott.

This simple concept has completely unfolded me. Anne explains in this book that when attempting to write anything, looking at your goal or project in its entirety is an overwhelm. (…believe it or not, many writers are not as confident as they appear on paper…)
One way to tackle this overwhelm is one step at a time.

Experiencing Writing Cramps

Taking on more freelance assignments & active roles in projects where I am producing material means that my creative writing time is more limited and with that has caused some of my own writing cramps of sorts. Tackling my writing goals and concepts with this ‘bird by bird’ analogy has already allowed me to sit down at my desk for short periods of time and see those sparks of real work come alive again.

In Writing & In Life

Her analogy is better explained within the book as to why she calls it ‘bird by bird’, but it has shaken me free of expectations for myself and allowed me more creative play.

What I love so far about this book, is it applies to life as much as it applies to writing.
& that may just reveal why I love writing so much.
The craft itself is as much a craft of realizing life as it is stringing words together.

SPOTLIGHT | Megan Piercey Monafu

MEET MEGAN PIERCEY MONAFU

Founder & Artistic Director CSArt Ottawa
Playwright / Director


Megan can be found in the midst of deep conversations, creating community through art and working to connect with others through the projects she creates.
She is passionate about the art of hosting, and finding new ways to spark conversation.
She also happens to have a beautiful sense of humour that carries her through life.


MORE MEGAN

WEBSITE:
http://csartottawa.ca

INSTAGRAM:
https://www.instagram.com/csart_ottawa/



Note from Amy:
*I met Megan in Highschool in grade 10. Something about her then, told me that this young woman would be someone I could have more than just a good laugh with. As we have grown over the past decade plus, Megan continues to amaze me at her ability to grow and become even more of herself. I think that’s what we want most for anyone who played an important role in our lives at any one point. That they become even more deeply who they are and isn’t that such a beautiful thing to behold.


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SPOTLIGHT | Claire Fraser
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Meet Claire Fraser

Owner of Claire Fraser - Photography & Videography
Artist & Entrepreneur


Claire can typically be found shooting events, weddings, portraits and headshots. 
She is passionate about variety, and creating content that is impactful.
& also happens to have the cutest cat of all time….


MORE CLAIRE

WEBSITE

Claire Fraser - Photography & Videography

INSTAGRAM

cf_photovideo



Note from Amy:
*I saw Claire at a distance at a conference & was amazed by her calm and professional presence while she was working. Her ability to be at ease with herself and others in personal and professional settings is one of the main reasons I wanted to get to know her better. She continues to amaze me with her solid presence & ability to connect, inspire & ask the deeper questions.


SPOTLIGHT | Amy Grace
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Meet Amy

Creator of the Spotlight Series & other byamygrace projects
Writer & Creative Influencer


Working to connect and create empowering conversation with women on creativity since 2013.
If she’s not at her desk writing, planning, or scheming, she’s either reading, walking along the Atlantic Ocean or playing with her daughter.
& also happens to adore good food.

More Amy

Instagram:
byamygrace

Twitter
byamygrace

WORK | Introducing The Brilliansea Platform
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Over the past six months Claire Fraser & I have been carefully collaborating and refining this platform. The development of this is ongoing and we are thrilled to officially share it with you and bring you into our journey together.

What is it?

Brilliansea:
pronounced the same as ‘Brilliancy’

A platform for sharing the voice of women in creative and entrepreneurial positions.

PROJECTS

The Spotlight Series

Through the Brilliansea platform Claire & I are continuing my work with the Spotlight Series by adding a video component that will serve as a way to better share the interviews and to better serve what we see in the various women we find brilliant.

Young Female Entrepreneur Documentary (2020)

While filming for the Spotlight Series we are in tandem, interviewing women for a documentary to focus on young female entrepreneurs. We are excited to bring you into this journey along with us.

How to Find & Join Us

Instagram
Follow us on Insta to get the latest content & personal updates.

Youtube
Follow us on Youtube to get the latest spotlights & video content.

#sheisbrilliant
Join us in our collective work by using the hashtag #sheisbrilliant for resharing , highlighting women you know who captivate you & for your own empowering creative & entrepreneurial process.

WORK | Freelance Bit Writer - Eyes for the Job
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This past Autumn I began learning and gaining experience as an extended script & bit writer for a television series ‘Eyes for the Job’.

Eyes For the Job is a ‘do it yourself’ television series of two hosts who tackle different projects in and around Halifax.

What I’ve been Learning

Integrated Described Video (IDV)

What is unique about this series is that it integrates from the ground up described video. This is done so that a viewer who couldn’t visualize the show clearly, can still fully apart take in the show and know as much as any fully sighted person what is going on, and how it looks without the typical ‘Described Video’ overtop.

This means I have been learning over the past few months how to write in a way that includes this information. What does the project look like, where are they, what does something feel like?

Having worked four years as an American Sign Language interpreter this type of writing style is a fun challenge and taps into a side of me I haven’t used in a while.

Bits

Currently I am working on bit writing. The transition segments that take about 30 - 60 seconds long that tackle a quick tip or project in-between the bigger projects. I am having a BLAST with these. I am verbose by nature, so this work is not only a challenge for me, but a practice I am learning to embrace whole heartedly and find a unique satisfaction in.

The Takeaway

This experience is giving me active feedback on my writing and an active way to grow in this industry that fits where I am in this season of my life. I am learning not only the craft of brevity, but what is required to get a series like this on air.

& in honour of that learned brevity, to sum up:
knowing that the work I am doing here is contributing to a bigger project that gives others more equal access, is a satisfaction that goes beyond the work itself.

WORK | Scheduling
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Entering into 2019…

with more to balance and maintain has enforced the need for scheduling and I am working on embracing it in a more effective and succinct way.

What I am Using:

Moleskin Plain Pocket Size

I use these Moleskins to keep track of various aspects of my personal & professional life.
- Movement & Diet
- Inspirations (quotes, ideas etc)
- Seasons (Winter activities, recipes, etc)
- Work Log
- Home Maintenance & visions

Kate Spade Journal

There is a shortage of these journals as Kate Spade is releasing less of them yearly, but I make a point of buying them when I find them & I use a journal for each year for my personal notations / writing about life and thoughts.

Leuchtturmn1917 (A5)

I use Leuchtturmn journals for my yearly bullet journaling. I do not follow the ‘bujo’ method to a ‘t’ but I apply what works for my own methodology and it seems thats what Ryder Carroll was aiming for.

Fossil Watch

New to me this year, for less attachment to my iPhone when checking the time. Doesn’t hurt that I am addicted to metallic tone fashion statements.

Sharpie & Midliner Pens

Knowing that these are the pens I use simplifies the tools I reach for. Decision fatigue regarding finding a new pen: ‘be gone’.

WHAT I AM AIMING FOR & WHY:

Reducing my scheduling hours and methods is one of my main goals this year. As great as it can be to have time to sit down and schedule the week ahead it can severely stir up anxiety when given too much space to be dwelled on. It also can swallow up much needed rest and quality time with others.

I am giving myself a year to work on the craft of scheduling because I realize it’s a task that I am going to have to unlearn bad habits, try new methods & simplify again & again.

As I hone the craft of scheduling I am keeping these words close to me as a reminder:

Create. Cultivate. Curate. Centred.

Here we go…

WORK | 2019 - A Year of Curation
New Years Eve Sparklers | 2019

New Years Eve Sparklers | 2019

The ground is shifting.

It’s quaking and rumbling beneath my feet. I can sense the place in which I am planted is about to change in this new year.

If I am being honest, it has created a lot of questions for me.

How will I manage in 2019 as these shifts take place?

Will I and what’s important to me, fall through the cracks?

Will I find that I am even more capable, or will I crumble?

Spinning these thoughts in my head over the past month has led me to the unique word: ‘Curate’.

Curate verb

• select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge:

& although it’s often reserved to explain an art gallery or other aspects of gathering information/elements together, it has struck a chord within me. As I am adjusting to the ‘shifting’ and ‘growing’ in my / our lives, it is time for me to make careful and precise choices with where I place my energy and time.

PERSONALLY

Raising a ‘little’ into a child to equip her to handle the various aspects of life that will be thrown at her in less than 2 years (entering the public school system) means we need to be even more focused on bringing her the opportunities to grow, learn and mature in a new way. My time with her in this format of life is limited. Instilling values of kindness, empowerment, literacy, imagination, etc, before her world becomes more than just us, is increasingly heightened in importance.

As a family we are capable of more than we ever have been before. Leaving the baby/toddler stage has meant we are more able to connect and interact with our community, family and friends on a deeper level. It’s time to open up and pour out our energies in a new way.

PROFESSIONALLY

Continue to carefully align myself with the work atmosphere, collaborative teams and projects, knowing that what I commit to will get my full attention. Learning not to downplay myself & what I have to offer is a practice. I have learned so much in the past year about my craft, the industry I work in and where my boundaries are. Continuing to cultivate these interactions and various work projects while upholding my values is not a risk, it’s an integral part of who I am and how I choose to function within this world.

& as I close on this first day of the New Year,

by learning how to ‘curate’ in both my personal and professional life, I will be finding the proper footing to keep my feet actively on the ground while also gaining insight on how to adjust wherever 2019 puts me / us.

Happy New Year!

LIFESTYLE | Wrapping up 2018
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Let nothing hinder you.
Let everything propel you.
Let the trials deepen you.
Let the accomplishments inspire you.
Let the passion empower you.
Let the uncertainty intrigue you.

2018

Has awakened me & has allowed me to see deeper into elements I would not have seen.

There has been disappointments and heartache in projects.
Misuse of power and behaviour in settings of learning.
Boundary lines crossed.
Periods of anxiety, fear and confusion.
Unsettling moments of communication.
Emotional roller coaster rides in parenting.

and

There has been confirmation in passions.
Connections reaffirmed.
Opportunities provided.
Memories made.
Time with good friends and family treasured.
Professional growth.
Freelance opportunities.
Collaborations developed.
Friends returned.
Celebrations had.

&


Through all of these very real and true experiences, there is a thankfulness for it all. For the one who leaked their insecurities, which provided me the courage to use my voice and not back down. For the collaborator who has passions uniquely her own that can confidently express her directions and how they coincide with mine. For the boundary lines crossed that reminded me that the lines drawn are founded. For the friends returned whom reminded us what it means to have depth in relationship.

For all these experiences has brought me here, to right now & continues to carve me out, to be the person I need to be. & while I take a break and reflect on where to go from here, I am truly thankful for it all because I know, it is within that thankfulness that I will find a deeper sense of peace and healing, so I can continue to become who I am called to be.

WORK | Collaborations with Claire Fraser
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In the quiet of the corners of our life,

Claire Fraser and I have been cooking up and working on a colloberation that stretches beyond ourselves.

It’s early days and I think there is something important about not over sharing our projects too much too fast.

Not because of trust, but for the protection on its infancy. We are just now starting to emerge and begin to walk with it.

What I can say:

We have identified that parts of our individual work and projects overlap.

We have identified that what will help us continue, will be to focus on the process of creation. To be working on remaining present in each moment and each stage of this collaborative journey.

We will be walking this into 2019 and are excited to work with many more women in both the creative and business industries.

Stay tuned…