The Yonge Guns Quartet

Here is a beautiful documentary shot by Ryerson students at Acappellooza, the concert I coordinated this past March. A cappella is so much fun to sing, and through Jonah (who is also in my choir and at least two other choirs) and the Yonge Guns, I have been introduced to the world of barbershop and tags. Life will never be the same. (I will never get sick of this documentary.) A big thanks goes out to Amanda Ann-Min Wong and all the students who worked hard on this (and sang their hearts out at the concert)!

“It’s about the harmonies you make along the way.”

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I volunteered a lot this year.

The Yonge Guns killin' it.

The Yonge Guns killin’ it at Acappellooza 2015.

Most of my PR experience has been through volunteer work. #GiveBloodTO, Project Fusion/Ready Aim Hire, PodCamp Toronto and currently…. choir stuff. Mainly organizing a giant concert in a pretty short period of time.

That’s right. This year, in addition to being thrown into a leadership funding position for PodCamp Toronto, I also organized a concert called Acappellooza that happened on March 1st. I’m part of the Varsity Jews, a choir that is loosely affiliated with U of T, and am on their executive team as UTAC (U of T Acappella Coalition) Liaison. My job was to make Acappellooza happen, an annual concert (in its tenth year) featuring four U of T a cappella choirs. Two identical concerts in one day, both with a capacity of 140. This year, I invited an amazing local barbershop quartet called the Yonge Guns to be our special guests, and chose UNITY as our charity. A couple of UNITY’s affiliated artists came and treated the crowd to spoken word, which was awesome. Oh yeah, I also made a group song happen.

I’d been told that all of this basically depended on me, which wasn’t too daunting of a task: I asked how last year went, planned the concert, delegated what I could and hustled the rest. I was worried about what could go wrong (in addition to massive stage fright at my first solos ever!), but planned everything right and assured myself that volunteer positions provide a safe space to learn.

I usually find events stressful, though Acappellooza made me reflect on all steps of event planning (I handled everything from venue, sound and lighting, communications, F&B, to ticket sales and donations), and I know how to do it now. There were a couple things I’d do better next year, but both concerts ran flawlessly and I’m told I was a pleasure to work with. I was thanked many times, and was presented with a bouquet of red roses onstage to boot.

How was the experience of organizing a concert, something I had never done before?

… It was really cool. I want to do more of it.

Introducing: The Nasty Gal Book Club

This summer, my friend Mirvet gave me #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso for my birthday. Sophia is the founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, an online retailer started in 2006 which has expanded exponentially and sees no sign of stopping. Reading the success story of Sophia inspired us, and we decided to read more empowering autobiographies. We did this by starting the Nasty Gal Book Club, in honour of #GIRLBOSS, our first book. (This was followed by Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, and January’s book: Orange Is the New Black.)

A couple months ago, we started a Facebook group to spread the word about the club, which now has over 60 members (mostly our friends). This month, we hosted our first event at Camera Bar, which featured a pajama party theme, our own specialty drink and a screening of Mean Girls (featuring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler). Later that night, Sophia Amoruso herself liked our photos on Instagram, thereby christening the club and solidifying that we’re on the right track to #GIRLBOSShood. Success.

sophia liked your photo

I may be at the beginning of my career journey, but I have so many strong women to look up to along the way. Here’s to a groundbreaking 2014, and to making big strides in 2015.