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Getting to Know Your Editors BC Board for 2021–2022

Written by David Marsh; copy edited by Janis Cleugh

With Editors BC’s new season getting underway this month, West Coast Editor felt now would be a good time to help members learn a bit more about their new executive for 2021–2022.

We’ve asked each member of the executive to describe their role in keeping Editors BC flourishing. We also asked them to pick two more questions on a variety of topics.

Here they are:

Liz Warwick, branch chair

The branch chair oversees all the branch activities and acts as the spokesperson. I see my role as facilitating and supporting the incredibly important work done by the executive. That means I plan and run our monthly executive meetings, and I keep the national office up to date on our activities. If someone identifies an issue or problem at the branch level, I work with the executive to find solutions.

I’m looking forward to seeing how our online monthly meetings and professional development (PD) events evolve, as we all get more comfortable and adept at gathering in online spaces.

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

This year, I’m going to buy a sewing machine and try making my own clothes.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?

Ice skating. I can stumble around a rink on skates but would love to be able to glide and come to a stop gracefully.

Kyle Hawke, communications chair

As communications and social media chair, I’m responsible for not only our social media presence but our public-focused events. Those have been hard-hit by the pandemic, but we’ve adapted by taking our popular Blue Pencil Sessions online.

This season, I’m looking forward to our first Blue Pencil Session specifically aimed at young writers. We’re still finalizing details with the Vancouver Public Library, our partner in the event, but we’ll be looking for editors interested in working with teenage writers.

What one thing about the editing profession would you most like to see improved? 

The perception of editing by the general public needs to be better understood. The competing ideas of being grammar pedants and of doing all the work for slacker authors—the latter, a film and television staple that often includes falling in love with them—need to be addressed in a world where independent publishing is in everyone’s hands. If new writers have a view of us as that one teacher who enforced rules that stomped out their voice, or as saviours who will turn their rough sketches into the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the profession will suffer. We need to show people what we do.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be? 

Visual art, without a doubt. I love it paired with writing, be it in illuminated manuscripts or modern graphic novels.

Lucy Kenward, member services chair

As the member services chair, I welcome new members to the branch, answer questions about membership, and keep track of attendance at Editors BC events. I work with the executive to grow branch membership and make sure we’re providing a variety of activities for members new and old. I’m looking forward to another great season of programming and professional development, and to meeting more members from across the province.

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

Grow Asian vegetables. The previous owners of the place I’ve just moved to were known to have the best vegetable garden on the block. Although I’m a pretty novice gardener, I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty and learning all I can from the neighbours.

What one thing about the editing profession would you most like to see improved?

I’d like to see professional editors valued more highly and paid better, meaning industries being transparent about what they pay and increasing rates with the cost of living.

Jesse Marchand, past chair

As the past chair, I get to continue to sit on the board and provide some continuity when we bring in new board members.

What one thing about the editing profession would you most like to see improved?

I would love it if every project had at least three editors. Too many projects end up having one editor do the role of substantive or stylistic editing, copy editing, and proofreading. It’s very difficult to wear all those hats at once!

Who’s someone you really admire?

I hope this doesn’t embarrass her too much but I really admire Iva Cheung. She’s so committed to plain language that she went back to school to look at mental health research and has been championing plain language in a sea of mental health forms and policies. I’ve always admired her editing skills and she’s a dream to work with. She’s also a wonderful cook and has a pretty great cartoon!!

Letitia Henville, professional development co-chair

I help to recruit presenters for our professional development seminars. This year, we’ll continue to hold all our PD seminars online, and I’m looking forward to bringing in speakers from across Canada and the US to deliver high-quality training to folks across the province.

What one thing about the editing profession would you most like to see improved?

I’d love to see more collaboration across the range of professional associations for editors, as the 2020 international conference was meant to facilitate. It’s currently hard to connect with other editors in my niche outside of social media, and I’m not a big social media person.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?

I follow an Instagram account called The Nap Ministry, and everything that the author writes about labour under capitalism is gold. My current favourite: “You are not a machine. Stop grinding.”

Claire Majors, professional development co-chair

I have the honour of corresponding with distinguished editing and business professionals from across the continent. I am looking forward to meeting these educators, along with my peers face to face (as in, screen-face to screen-face!) in our online seminars and seeing who has the most impressive bookshelf backdrop. I’m lucky because my co-chair, Letitia Henville, is at the top of my list of People I Really Admire. I respect how she leads with humour and grace, and how she stands up for marginalized voices.

Some good advice that she often gives is contained in the aphorism, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” It means that we’re all in this together, as colleagues not competitors, and when we help others succeed, our profession gains esteem and everyone benefits.

Madeline Walker, programs co-chair

As a new member of both Editors Canada and the BC executive, I enjoy belonging to a community of editors—people who care about language and clear expression. My role on the programming committee involves planning content for monthly meetings, and finding speakers and presenters. Rita, my co-chair, and I then facilitate the Zoom meetings and ensure that guests are thanked and provided with an honorarium.

I am really looking forward to the workshop on fiction editing that the professional development committee has organized with Caroline Adderson in late September. As a writer, I want to learn how to effectively edit my own novel. As an editor who works mostly with academic writing, I’d love to break into fiction editing.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?

Slow down. Slowing down is the answer to so many problems. Too busy? Slow down and figure out what to jettison from your life. Anxious and stressed? Slow down and breathe. Missing details when editing? Slow down and focus. I have a framed drawing above my desk with a drawing of a slug and the words, “Slow Down and Enjoy!”

Who’s someone you really admire?

My eldest sister who, at 66, just drove from Yellowknife to Nanaimo in her Jeep with her teenage daughter, two dogs, and two cats to start a new life. She has guts, loving kindness, a positive outlook, and remarkable energy.

Rita Zamluk, programs co-chair

I am looking forward to working with Madeline, and to meeting a lot of new people who enjoy editing.

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

Being a program co-chair is something that I have not done before. I am enjoying writing to strangers to ask them if they want to speak to Editors BC members. I am amazed and very pleased that, so far, each person has responded. I am meeting some amazing and interesting people on this adventure.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?

I would love to be able to write with words that are easy to understand and result in people having a lift in their day.

Marta Orellana, publications/West Coast Editor managing editor

I’ll be managing the blog posts and content, reaching out to potential volunteer writers and editors, and looking for new content for our readers. I look forward to connecting with the Editors BC community in this role and working with the other executive members to plan another exciting season.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

  1. Camera (I love taking pictures of my kids, my puppy, and every little beautiful part of each day. The photos on my phone bring me joy!)
  2. YR weather app by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and NRK (I have always been on the lookout for the most accurate weather report, and this one is unbeatable. I check it daily, along with the weather in St. Tropez…just because.)
  3. Peloton (There’s a great workout for whatever I’m in the mood for, whatever I have on hand, and whatever time of day!)

Who’s someone you really admire?

I really admire my mother. She immigrated to Canada from Poland and paved her way to success in a new country, excelling in a male-dominated field and eventually becoming an admired and inspirational university professor. She has been a role model for me by showing me how lucky I am to have all of these opportunities at my fingertips if I apply myself. It inspires me to seize them, appreciate them, and strive to be my best self.

Lynn Sackville, co-secretary

The secretary role involves taking minutes at the monthly executive meetings, keeping the executive’s shared Google Drive organized, and ensuring the Executive Handbook is up to date. This season, I am looking forward to working with my new co-secretary Janis Cleugh. I’m also excited about the move to Google Workspace for our shared file storage.

What one thing about the editing profession would you most like to see improved?

I would like to see greater awareness of the value that an editor brings, and pay that reflects the level of skill required to be a good editor. Accreditation is helping to verify editors’ credentials and is giving those editors the confidence to charge more.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?

Without a doubt, it would be the ability to pick up foreign languages quickly. If I could have a superpower, it would be to answer anyone fluently using whatever language they had addressed me in!

Janis Cleugh, co-secretary

It is my first year on the executive of Editors BC. I am looking forward to networking with other editors around the province during our monthly meetings, as well as at our professional development sessions. I find editors to be so inspiring, encouraging and enlightening. It is an honour to be in their company.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?

The best advice that I’ve ever heard is from a newspaper editor: “Never assume, because you make an ASS out of U and ME.”

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

My three go-to apps are Instagram, iMessage and TikTok (yes, the latter has great news tips from our youth!).

Tania Cheffins, treasurer

My role involves creating and maintaining the budget, managing the bank account and any incoming/outgoing payments, and bookkeeping.

I’m most looking forward to reconnecting with the executive and other Editors BC members, and especially meeting in person, if the pandemic conditions allow us to do so safely.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?

Cooking!

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

  1. Email, so I can be away from my desk and still be responsive to my clients.
  2. Camera (hopefully that includes the photo roll as well!).
  3. Overdrive, so I can borrow books from the library and read on my phone.

Naomi Racz, volunteer coordinator

I’m on hand to recruit volunteers and ensure we have volunteers on hand for events. I’ve been a member of Editors BC for more than a year, so I’m looking forward to stepping up my involvement and getting to know other members.

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

I would like to introduce my two-year-old daughter to her extended family (they’re all in the UK and US, so many of them, including her aunts and uncles, haven’t been able to meet her yet). I’d also like to get serious about gardening. I bought a house with a large yard this year, and I’m excited to get digging, weeding and planting.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

Well, assuming this doesn’t include the basics, probably Instagram (though I’ve deleted it from my phone in the past when I’ve been too busy for distraction); Kobo or Kindle (I’ve been using Kobo more in recent years but still have a lot of unread books on my Kindle—oh, and I have a lot of unlistened-to audiobooks on Audible, so this might be a hard choice!); and my podcast app.

Amy Haagsma, webmaster

I post Editors BC events, volunteer opportunities, and other news on our website and social media pages.

What one thing about the editing profession would you most like to see improved?

I would love to see editors gain more confidence, and for the public to have a better understanding of the value we bring to the materials we work on. There is a lot of imposter syndrome in the industry.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?

Speed reading, so I could finally get through my TBR pile (affectionately called “book mountain,” by my husband).


David Marsh is a self-employed editor and writer based in Vancouver. David worked as a newspaper journalist in Canada and Asia for many years, and more recently graduated from Simon Fraser University’s editing program. Find him on LinkedIn.

Janis Cleugh is a reporter, copy editor, proofreader and paginator for a Metro Vancouver publication with more than 30 years in the newspaper industry, in England and Canada. This year, she is also part of the Editors BC executive, as well as the Editors BC structural editing and proofreading study groups. She holds SFU certificates in Editing, Publishing, and Business Writing, Public Relations and Marketing Communication.

Image by Canva

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