National PWAC AGM- Notes from our delegates

This year, we were lucky to have Guenther Krueger, Jacqueline Steuart and Mirey Faema serve as our delegates at this year’s National AGM in Toronto. They were kind enough to pass on some of their important notes from the event that we wish to pass on to our members.

Notes from Mirey on the panels she attended:

Simply the Best Practices in Social Media.

  • Test different platforms if you find it doesn’t work for you delete it.
  • Write engaging content, develop your personality and don’t always self-promote.
  • Start conversations with your followers.

How to Be a good editor

  • Show appreciation to your writers. Hold company events so that your freelancers can attend and feel like part of the company. 
  • Take the time to meet in person with new writers and be clear and detailed when you assign stories.
  • Communicate directly with members of your team, avoid miscommunications that can occur through emails.
Going for Gold: How to create award-winning content
  • Writers can submit their own stories for awards. Basically if you believe a story you have had published is awesome nominate yourself if an editor won’t
  • The more submissions you have the higher your chances are of winning awards
  • It is all subjective.
  • Write an interesting story with a fresh angle. They are looking for a submissions that stands out.

Breaking the rules of online publishing- Tyee Style

  • Be creative when looking for revenue. Don’t rely on old fashioned advertising, create workshops, offer advertorials, find sponsorship, get donations.
  • Pay your writers.
  • Find quality writers and keep them as staff.

General highlights on MagNet from Jacqueline:

  • Julie Wilson on advice to beginning writers: “Dive in with curiosity.” and “Be available to your career even when you are not writing.”
  • David Hayes on the six qualities desired in a freelance writer: Ideas, excellent research, excellent reporting, meeting deadlines, writing to length, being a nice person to work with.
  • Rounding out the business aspects of the conference were many social events and several awards ceremonies. Special mention to keynote speaker comedian Charles Demers who brought the house down at the Professional Writers Association of Canada’s (PWAC) awards dinner with his hilarious, insightful and no-holds-barred commentary.

Also, we received some notes on the AGM itself from our Regional Director, Heidi Turner, who has been thankfully nominated to serve as Regional Director for another term:

  • The BC spotlight was very well received and made even better by the high number of BC delegates. I received many comments about how wonderful it was to have British Columbia so well-represented, and the delegates did a great job speaking about issues at the AGM, and representing the region in general. We had a fantastic mix of long-time members, brand-new members and those in between. My thanks to each of them for being great representatives of PWAC BC.
  • BC had two award winners at this year’s conference. My congratulations to Peter Grant, who was awarded the British Columbia Regional Volunteer Award. Congratulations also to Kelly Thompson who was given the Barbara Novak Writing Award for Excellence in Humour/Personal Essay Writing, for her piece, “We are a (Military) Family.”
  • PWAC held its elections for the core board positions. The new president of PWAC is Michelle Greysen from Lethbridge. The vice president is Nate Hendley from Toronto and the treasurer is Rusti LeHay from Edmonton. As no one ran against me for BC regional director, I will be the regional director for the next two years.
  • There was not a lot of big news to come out of the AGM, aside from the elections. Next year is the year we examine our partnership with Magazines Canada regarding holding our AGM along with MagNet. There were some concerns expressed about the professional development offered at this year’s MagNet, concerns that I echoed. I will be heading up a task force for next year’s MagNet to ensure the professional development is up to the standards of the past few years. For those of you who have been to MagNet in either of the past two years and have comments, ideas, suggestions or otherwise about sessions, please feel free to send me an email.

If anyone has any questions about the AGM or events, please do not hesitate to contact me.We look forward to starting back with our monthly socials in September, and I’ll be sure to advise members as to the time and locations.

-Kelly Thompson, PWAC Vancouver President


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