From sharing ghost stories around campfires to telling news stories online, everything we experience is defined in a narrative. How people interpret a brand, how they expect to interact with a company and how they perceive value are all defined by the narrative established for them. Our lives are marked by stories, and I’m passionate about telling those stories through good words, good design and good code.
My story starts in the Fraser Valley, an area marked by a mighty river that runs inland from the Pacific Ocean along the southern border of British Columbia. It is a deeply beautiful place of simple elegance. As a child of the ’90s, I experienced firsthand how the growing prevalence of personal technology was changing the quality life. The Internet has been in the kitchen of my childhood home since I was 9 and I have been trying to figure out how it all works ever since then.
In 2005, I crossed the country and landed at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia to study Canadian history. The raw winters, violent storms and long history of the east coast drew me in. It was there that I deepened my love of storytelling. I quickly joined my campus newspaper, covering everything from student politics to federal elections, faculty strikes and campus hazing activities. I then worked as a reporter for the Canadian University Press, a national student press co-operative, landing interviews with figures such as Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Peter MacKay (while he was defence minister) and author Jonathan Safran Foer. In 2011, I facilitated nation-wide federal election coverage with a complete focus on student issues. The centrepiece was a data project that compared 2008 election results with 2006 census numbers in every riding across Canada to determine where an increased youth turnout could have changed the outcome.
In both organizations, I worked my way to the top with the goal of increasing the role of digital in our storytelling. This approach had a heavy focus on using data and multimedia to enhance stories that needed more than words. I planned to land a job at a major Canadian media company and do the same. I moved to Toronto in 2009 and found myself at The Globe and Mail by the summer of 2011. But the pull of the tech industry was still nagging in the back of my mind. Not only was it something that deeply interested me, the skills were also something that I felt could give me some security in an industry that was (and still is) rapidly changing.
That’s when I found Ladies Learning Code — through Twitter, naturally. I attended one of the first day-long workshops the organization ever ran. It was on WordPress. I was hooked and signed up for a subsequent workshop as soon as I could. I attended about half a dozen more workshops throughout the following year and was eager to build on the concepts, languages and ideas I had been introduced to. In the fall of 2012, HackerYou was born and I signed up for their first part-time course on HTML and CSS. When I found out HackerYou would be hosting full-time front-end bootcamps, beginning in January of 2014, it was a no-brainer. I jumped head-first into a new career and haven’t looked back.
Technology has changed my life and given me the ability to choose my own path. I’m now looking for the perfect fusion of media and programming to push the boundaries of storytelling yet again through both innovation and cutting-edge technology. I want to bring a digital storytelling approach to all of my work whether it’s for an individual, brand, event or journalism project. If this sounds like something you’re working on, I’d love to connect with you.