Passion for Work
Editing Certificate helps blogger transition into new job opportunity
A passion for food and writing brought Heather Hewer to her first course at George Brown College. She was working in the Reciprocity Department at Legal Aid Ontario in 2006 and had started a food blog in her spare time.
“I was originally checking out the Continuing Education web site because I felt that an education in the culinary arts would give me credibility for my blog,” she recalls. “Once I was on the page, however, I immediately noticed the Food Writing course. In my work on the blog, I often wondered about the rules of attribution and intellectual property when discussing recipes, restaurants and so on, so I switched my focus.”
Heather started the course in January 2007 – and her academic journey was officially underway.
“I definitely enjoyed the course and the things we worked on in each class but determined that I needed work on my grammar.”
While in the Grammar for Editors and Writers course, Heather became aware of the Editing Certificate. After reading about the 45-hour work placement, she was convinced it was something she wanted to pursue as she was now interested in both a writing and editing career.
As luck would have it, changes at Legal Aid Ontario provided Heather the unique opportunity to practice her editing skills in a professional environment sooner than she expected.
“We went through a restructuring that allowed me to help out the communications department with proofreading,” she says. “I was helping edit their work, hoping to turn it into a full-time job.”
Heather combined the new responsibilities at work with classes at George Brown College and was able to hone the skills she still uses to this day.
“While all the courses have played a part in my day-to-day work, Substantive Editing definitely helps me focus on the important part of the story and readability,” she says. “My Copyediting class was also full of valuable lessons and ones that I call on almost daily.”
Heather had another opportunity to use those lessons during her placement with 24 Hours, where she was given a chance to proofread the final pages before they were sent to the printers. Additionally, she was able to observe and take part in meetings and see how a newsroom operates. When her placement ended in August 2009, the experience solidified her belief that she had made the right decision, and she was focused on gaining an opportunity to apply her editing skills full-time.
In May 2010, Heather’s hard work paid off when she accepted a position as a Communications Officer at Legal Aid Ontario – and flourished in the role
“I truly enjoyed the position. It was incredibly different than what I was doing before and the learning curve was steep, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” she says. “As my role expanded, I understood more about the organization and how it operated – and I also gained meaningful communications experience.”
Heather has been putting that communications experience to good use in her new position as a Program Manager with Business without Borders at Rogers Publishing. Responsible for the day-to-day running of the online magazine, Heather works with a team of colleagues – including editors, graphic designers and copywriters – and external vendors like videographers and photographers. In her new role, she is using the skills she learned in Production Editing and Editing Principles and Practices and is enjoying the balance of creativity and project management.
“My George Brown classes really gave me a chance to grow and develop and to add another facet to my personality and skill set,” she says. “I made very good friends. There was professional respect in the room, which is important when you’re going back to school. I always felt like I wanted to be there. “