Fierce Females: Alyson

Alyson

What is it that empowers you most?
Knowing that my time here is finite. This might scare most people, but personally knowing that I only get one shot at this crazy thing that we call “life” – one shot to experience as much as possible, to push myself to do things that I’d never imagined, to love deeply and fully, and to try to leave a positive impact – motivates me like nothing else.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I love my sense of humour. I’ve been told I’m pretty quick-witted, which is a compliment that I hold in the highest esteem. I just adore making people laugh, and there’s nothing quite like sharing a really good belly-laugh with your friends – especially if it’s over a joke you’ve made!

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Working out, especially lifting weights. In the past year I’ve started to really focus on my health and well-being, and going to the gym has become an important part of that routine. I’m not a power lifter or anything, but there’s something incredibly rewarding about being able to pick up really heavy things and put them down again!

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Carl Sagan. I re-watched the original “Cosmos” series again a few years ago on a lark and what stuck with me was Carl’s wonder, not just at the vast, impossible beauty and mystery of space, but of what we’ve accomplished throughout our history as a species. He always conveyed such a hope for what we could accomplish if we all just worked together and focused on the bigger picture, and that hope and reflection is something that I’ve tried to internalize and bring to my daily life. I’m endlessly inspired by his wonder and amazement at everything. His reading of “Pale Blue Dot” makes me cry every time I listen to it.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt, hands-down. That woman was fierce as hell and took a stand on a lot of touchy subjects like racial issues and women’s rights, even going as far as to publicly disagree with her husband on a number of occasions. Can you imagine the balls that would have taken? He was the President of the United States! Her Wikipedia is just a giant list of huge accomplishments, one right after the other, peppered with badass quotes about not getting pushed around or taking flak from people.

 

“I remember laying in my bed in my apartment and being unable to even get out from under the covers because everything felt so hopeless”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Amy Pond, from the Doctor Who series. She’s one of my favourite companions because she’s a really clever, resourceful, and complex character who packs a ton of sass. I was rather “meh” on the Doctor’s sidekicks until they introduced Amy, and she’s still my favourite. I’m also completely swept up by the idea of being able to travel across all of space and time and see the universe.

What is your biggest life goal?
Professionally speaking I’d like to eventually move to freelancing full-time, but personally (and more importantly) I want to learn to not be so hard on myself. My relationship with my parents, my mother especially, is extremely messy and left me with a lot of negative feelings about my personality, my abilities, my future, my relationships… you name it. I also carry around a tremendous amount of guilt about pretty much everything, and judge myself constantly for “not being good enough” for anything that I’m doing. Which I realize is silly because I’m doing it, but I struggle to turn off that negative little voice in my head, you know?

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Going to university. When I was 19 I literally walked into a really safe, secure government job. I was making almost 40k annually, I had amazing benefits, vacation time, and of course coveted job security. But I was utterly miserable. I remember laying in my bed in my apartment and being unable to even get out from under the covers because everything felt so hopeless; this was my life now and there was nothing else to look forward to or accomplish.

I decided to apply to the Rhetoric and Communications program at the University of Winnipeg, and when I announced my decision to my family they freaked out and my dad actually stopped speaking to me for several months. I was living on my own at the time and my parents refused to let me move home, so I moved in with a roommate and put myself through school, graduating in 2013.

It was incredibly difficult at times, but I made a decision and proved to myself that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I’m so happy that I took a chance on myself.

What is your favourite quote?
I have a few, which are:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan, “Contact”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
“Don’t give up, you’re stronger than you think.” I actually have this pasted on my mood board in-between photos of Jimmy Carter and Tom from Parks and Rec saying “Treat Yo Self.”

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism is having the courage to initiate dialogues that challenge normative standards of beauty, class, sexuality, etc to effect positive change. It’s everyone working together, supporting each other towards a shared goal of equality, opportunity and respect.

Alyson is a Marketing Manager and freelance Content Marketer in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Fierce Females: Alyson

Fierce Females: Crystal

Crystal

What is it that empowers you most?
I’ve reached a never before seen level of not giving a shit. Some say that makes me careless, aloof or reckless. How I see it is that when I’m feeling stressed or pressured at work, in my personal life, or if I simply miss the land of the jets – I have the superhuman sense to see what’s important to me. Not caring about all the little squabbles gives me more power for the real fights.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I’ll never miss an opportunity to see the humour in some messed up situations. I could quit a job, have a bad break-up or be on my last penny. If by some circumstance someone sets me up for a joke in there I have to run with it, however inappropriate it may be. A lot of stories that are painful now are hilarious later.

Most of the time I only joke about myself or people close to me. Strangers don’t like it when you laugh at their misery.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Cat eyes, a feminine dress, a pair of stomping boots and a leather bomber jacket. It’s just comfortable.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I have anti-role models. I don’t think anyone inspired me to become who I am, and the person I’m still striving to be. But there’s a few people who I never want to become, and others who I know I need to do better than.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Dawna Friesen, a homegrown Winnipeg woman who travelled the world telling stories and now sits at the desk at Global National. Dawna told me about how she pumped gas while in college.

 

“Don’t stall or hesitate, it’s a waste of time.”

 

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Wonder Woman. She’s a warrior with origins in Greek mythology, and yes, she entered the man’s world to fight for peace, justice and love. She deflects bullets and anyone caught in her golden lasso is bound to tell the truth. I’d say there’s a list of people I’d like to catch in that.

Also, I’d love to kick ass and then come home to my other life and say, “My afternoon was uneventful, how was your day honey?”

What is your biggest life goal?
To televise the revolution.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

What is your favourite quote?
There’s a line from the chorus in Aeschylus’s play Agamemnon:

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

The best lessons are the most painful ones. You’ve learned something from whatever it is that hurt you and kept you up at night. I got it tattooed on my torso about four years ago. I’m also sleeping better.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Don’t stall or hesitate, it’s a waste of time.

What does feminism mean to you?
I’m still trying to find out. Lately, it’s meant fighting for what I deserve and not being apologetic about it.

I recently had to explain, “I’m sorry but I’m not going to turn into an old white man overnight.” I shouldn’t be sorry for not having that ability.

Crystal is a Radio Reporter, Freelance Videographer, Non-profit Communications, Documentary Filmmaker and waitress in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Connect with Crystal: Twitter

Fierce Females: Crystal

10 Social Media Tips from a Newbie

The Creative Communications program taught me so much about social media and I’ve had the opportunity to use those skills in a working environment over the last few months. I have been so lucky to work at Manitoba Theatre Centre in the marketing department and I’ve been very involved in social media for MTC. Over the next couple of months I am working under the title of Social Media Coordinator for the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.

I have had success and a few mistakes along the way but the important part is being proud of your successes and learning from your mistakes. I have listed 10 Social Media Tips (and hints) for Facebook and Twitter below, I hope it’s helpful.

  1. Search for yourself: Creating an account isn’t much use if no one can find you so search for yourself to make sure your profile is visible.
  2. Interact: Social media is about two-way dialogue so interact with those you follow and those who follow and interact with you.
  3. Character limit: The Twitter character limit is 140, but 125 is ideal. It allows room for a retweet and a comment.
  4. Public replies: When you are conversing with one or more individuals via Twitter the conversation is only visible to those following all parties. If you would like all your followers to be able to view all of your interactions just place a period directly in front of the @ symbol. This tricks Twitter into thinking it is not a reply and therefore everyone following you can view it. (ex. “.@bmay4real”)
  5. Retweet: Retweeting valuable tweets is a form of interaction and it keeps you active with those you follow. Those you retweet are likely to check out your profile and maybe retweet you.
  6. Don’t spam: Limit your daily tweets, and try to make them visual and/or valuable to your audience. Tweet maximum of once an hour (that is only, I repeat ONLY if you have valuable information) more than that and unfollows are likely in your future. Facebook posts are not as easily lost in a newsfeed so post a maximum of 3 times daily.
  7. Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags allow everyone using that same hashtag to have their tweets show up in one place. When the hashtag is clicked on your tweet will show up in that hashtag feed. If a trending hashtag is relevant to something you are promoting or talking about use the hashtag and it could give whatever you are promoting and/or talking about more exposure. Also if you are trying to promote something using a hashtag in all of your promotional tweets and get others to do the same, it will create buzz around your promotion if you can get it trending.
  8. Tag people/organizations relevant to your post: When making a blog post or a promotional post on Facebook or Twitter remember to tag the relevant parties. If you are promoting a blog post about your favourite blogger remember to tag @bmay4real on Twitter and @Brittany May on Facebook so they will get notified of your post. This worked for me when I tagged Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls, when tweeting about my blog post “Books: The Painted Girls” she read my post and even left a comment on my blog. It pays to tag.
  9. Different platforms, different messages: If you are on both Facebook and Twitter make sure each post has the same messaging but says it in a different way. Your Facebook likers and Twitter followers are different audiences so cater your messaging to each platform. Chances are many people follow you on both platforms and they won’t want to read the exact same message twice so get creative.
  10. Creative messaging: On Twitter you have 140 characters (or 125 as said above) to get your message across, you can attach images, videos or articles but they only show up as links in a Twitter feed so your language has to have a hook to get readers to click. Facebook is much more visual because photos show up right in the feed, you can view videos right in the post and with links you are able to choose a thumbnail image. On Facebook you can use more words if you have to but if you can say it with a picture that’s best.

PROOF, PROOF, PROOF
Learned this one the hard way… A few times. People are more likely to read and respond to a grammatically correct and well written tweet with correct spelling. Check before you Tweet!

10 Social Media Tips from a Newbie