the daily ish


In the past few months, I've had the pleasure of working with the creatives behind LOOP: Design for Social Good on the web redesign of Flaunt, a sleek and eclectic salon located in Toronto's up and coming Leslieville. It was our first collaboration ever, as well as my first freelance copy writing gig. Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked about this project!

LOOP's design + my words = one sexy web launch. Check it out at


2013 and Where My Heart's Been

It's been a damn long year. 

2013 will go down in my books as one of the craziest, most unpredictable and unbelievable years I've had. But I'm not entirely surprised. I opened this year telling myself that this was the time to really push myself out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. An old journal entry from exactly a year ago today has these simple words splayed on the page in gigantic, capital letters: DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. 

So I did. And oh, the places it's taken me! 

Those three simple words have taken me to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda in a journey that I still find myself daydreaming about, wondering if it was actually real. That experience taught me about patience, understanding, empathy, friendship, leadership, and what true cross-cultural dialogue and solidarity really looks like. It taught me the importance of staying present in every moment. And it connected me to some of the most gentle souls I've ever met who will always be the shape and the depth of these dots on a map. 

This year I found myself in places and situations I wouldn't have expected. I found myself--against all reason--willingly jumping off a fucking 44m-high ledge into the Nile River (or what others like to call "bungee jumping"). I found myself on a boat in the pitch dark with nothing but the boundless sky above me and the Indian Ocean around me. I found myself writing a cover story for a magazine. I found myself taking up rock climbing and being kinda obsessed with it. I found myself running a 5K and then climbing up the CN Tower again. I found myself in New York City in the same room as Bill Clinton, Muhammed Yunus, Belinda Gates, and Richard Branson. And then I found myself roaming the city alone. I found myself learning how and really loving to paint. I found myself solidifying a number of friendships, forming new ones, and truly recognizing the depth of what it means to be a family...

...and that's just a snapshot of where my heart's been in 2013.

It's been an intentional year and though I've yet to scribbe the words to define my 2014, here's hoping it will be just as purposeful and full of love. 

Backpack to Briefcase: A Panel on Communications, PR, and Social Media

I've been busy collaborating with the Political Science department and the Career Centre at the University of Toronto to organize and moderate a panel discussion on breaking into the communications, PR, and social media industry. It's going to be a wonderful event with a stellar line up of panelists who will share their insights on success. Following the panel discussion and Q&A, light refreshments will be served and we can get our networking on!

So if you're a student or a recent graduate toying with the idea of a career in this space, register here and join us

Date: Wednesday, March 27
Time: 6- 8 p.m.
Location: Political Science Conference Room, Sidney Smith Hall (3rd floor), 100 St. George Street.


Ainka Jess is a Senior Communications Officer at the CBC in Toronto. With over a decade of communications and broadcast television experience, she was recruited to manage the communications and social media strategy for a candidate in the 2011 Ontario Provincial Elections. A woman who wears many hats, Ainka was the first producer at Sun Media to launch and produce the inaugural multicultural segment on Canoe Live. Her love of current affairs and reputation as a social media star lead her to work with TEDxToronto in 2012 as Communications Lead.

Carolyn Van 

Carolyn Van is the co-founder of thirdocean, a social media communications company as well as a mentor and advisor to various technology startups, innovation accelerators and post-secondary institutions.

Having always been an early adopter of technologies and Web 2.0 tools and platforms, Carolyn has been weaving social media in to marketing programs well before brand pages, self service ads, share functions, and the array of interactive features we see now were ever introduced. She has led the successful development and execution of digital communications, social media marketing and experiential marketing programs for brands including Scotiabank, Rogers Wireless and Drake International. 

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards leads Navigator's digital practice and specializes in developing integrated digital strategies to achieve client objectives. He develops and executes strategies for companies and organizations that want to speak to their ideal audience through digital channels. Michael works with brands, corporations, not-for-profit organizations and political parties as a partner in identifying strategic opportunities and managing online reputations. 

As a Senior Consultant at High Road Communications, Rayanne supports the digital team in social media marketing and community management strategic counsel. Rayanne primarily works on projects with TELUS, Microsoft, and Second Harvest. Before joining the team at High Road, Rayanne was the lead for all social media, community and word of mouth marketing at FreshBooks, the number one cloud accounting specialist for small business owners. She’s also very active in the local social media community, spending her time turning online into offline relationships through attending and managing community-organized events.

Fuck Inspiration

You heard me. Fuck Inspiration. As a society, we're so hung up on finding someone or something that will inspire us to change ourselves or the world. Everyday someone on my Facebook wall or Twitter feed is posting some crap about an inspirational video or story. Every now and then I attend an industry event with a speaker that's telling the audience to follow their passions no matter what. We all just looove turning to inspirational quotes, speakers, videos, books...anything to rouse our emotions and push us to action. We search high and low for those words that will suddenly accelerate us in the pursuit of our dreams, happiness, justice or whatever our particular cause may be. 

But they're all just words. Just words that make us feel empowered and emboldened for fleeting moments. Honestly, I think inspiration is overrated. I say, get mad instead. Find something that really pushes your buttons...something that really enrages you and makes you question wtf the rest of the world is doing...and then do something that will change that.

I've worked with a number of organizations that have been led by real leaders. Leaders who weren't "searching" for inspiration. No. They saw something wrong with the current system and they got out there and did something about it. They saw that there weren't any accessible resources for recent graduates to look for work in an already shiteous economy. They saw the lack of real, whole food, organic ingredients in the products of most existing sports nutrition companies. They saw the travel volunteer industry being dominated by companies charging students exorbitant amounts of money to "do good" overseas. They saw the way international institutions blinded themselves to human rights violations because of bureaucracy.

They saw all of these problems in their respective fields and they went out there and they became the change they wanted to see. They didn't just talk about being the change they wanted to be or watch videos about it...passively waiting to be inspired. No. They went out there and got their hands dirty. 

So let's just cut the fluff. Fuck inspiration. Get mad. And get to work.