Professional Development

The event I chose to attend was Radify Labs Online Tech Conference. The event was not streamed live, but was open for 48 hours to watch pre-recorded videos from five individuals who work in the Tech industry. It included a link to a chat program where I could read archives and ask my own questions about a variety of topics. Some of these categories were resume writing, career advice, job board and a variety of other helpful tools. It also allowed each attendee to schedule an online chat with a professional. The woman who I thought would have the most insight for me personally was completely booked, but I was able to track her down on the chat program and pick her brain!


picture of the online chat/conference

By interacting with her, I was able to get some answers and tips about my future career path. She was able to give me some helpful information about getting into a master’s program. This was huge for me as I have once already applied and didn’t make the cut, so having the perspective of someone whose gone through the process before was incredibly valuable. She also gave me information on her past careers and what these jobs entailed. Our discussion only solidified that this was the field that I would like to pursue and I am so grateful I got to have a one-on-one chat with her.

The biggest thing I’m going to take away from this event and interactions is general career advice. The conference was not geared exactly to what I want to do but is in a similar field, so I could apply a lot of the things that were talked about to what I want to do.

“Follow your heart, and don’t overthink your career choices”- Sean Lauer, one of the speakers in the online conference. This quote resonated with me because I’ve been doing exactly that; overthinking and stressing about my career path and what’s going to get me where I want to be. He goes on to say that you’re going to have many jobs in your lifetime and eventually the dots will connect, but they won’t before you finish your own story.

I would love to find an event set up exactly as this one was, but more focused on social media, videography, content creation and communications. This would be ideal and give me huge amounts of insight into what I’d like to be doing. With that said, I did really enjoy this conference and is was easy and informative. It also instantly links you with other people in the industry! Overall it was very well done and I will be following along to see if there’s more events like this one in the future.

Out of the Box

There are so many aspects of social media that are unexpected. Each time a platform comes out with a new feature I’m always surprised at the ingenuity. I use social media for personal use, so my perspective on new features was either “this is great and I’ll totally use this” or “what the heck were they thinking?”. Most of the time when a new feature is rolled out, I always think I’m never going to use it and what a waste it is. Take, for example, stories on Snapchat. When this first came into play, I could not get behind it. I thought it was silly and couldn’t imagine that many people were interested. Here we are now, and I think it’s a great idea! The use of stories on social media allows for a temporary post that doesn’t flood the feed and its great for both personal use and businesses.

snap stories picture

From TechCrunch

I also originally thought the live feature on Facebook and Instagram wouldn’t catch on. Shows how innovative my mind is. Though I still have no use on my own personal page for this feature, I can totally see why businesses would! This allows for people to live stream events, roll-outs, or anything that people may want to see in real time. This feature also allowed for my friends and family to watch my volleyball games while I played in the Netherlands and they were home in Canada. Using the live feature is a great way to grow your audience online and get people interested.

Something else I’ve never really considered in social media is blogging. Of course I was aware of it, but I never really saw the major impact it could have on marketing. One of the courses in this program required us to start a blog and I’ve never looked back. By creating my own I’ve seen the ways in which you can be creative and share your content with the world. Businesses should definitely consider utilizing a blog as it keeps their consumers and followers in the loop with what’s going on. It is also a great place for businesses to give out information or even tips and tricks to entice people to use their services. Not only is it good for businesses, but it’s a business of its own! There are tons of bloggers out there whose only source of income is their blog.

Many different industries are looking for influencers to help advertise their business. This is also something unexpected for me, and to be honest I am truly jealous of those who have built their personal brand into something that’s monetized. The rise of social media influencers is something I never predicted would be such a massive industry. Especially on Instagram and YouTube, people are having incredibly successful careers by creating a personal brand that people want to be a part of. Whether its makeup, fashion, real estate or anything else you can think of, there’s an influencer out there getting paid to promote someone’s content! What a life.

What are your favorite new aspects of social media? Is there anything new that’s come up that you just can’t see the value in?

Professional Networking

As I’ve stated before, I am not currently employed in the social media field (working on it!!), so my branding is done solely on the personal level. Luckily for everyone else, I think I’m pretty not bad and getting to showcase this excites me!

I’m mostly kidding, but for me, professional networking is something that is brand new to me. In the past, I was a volleyball player. Networking to get myself scholarships and contracts was reliant on my physical skills and capabilities. I had to improve my game in order to get seriously looked at. In the social media world, it’s a little bit different but the same in some ways. This time, instead of honing in on my volleyball skills, I need to hone in on my personal brand and dig deep to show what I’ve got to offer.

In the future, I think attending networking events will be major in stepping up my personal brand. Face-to-face connections are a great way to get your foot in the door, even in the online world! Whether these be charity events, dinners, or professional development seminars, the more people I can get in my circle the better!

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Plugging the blog again, sorry y’all!

Online networking will revolve around my blog. The blog is the best way for me to show off my personality and what I am capable of doing online. Right now, the blog is more of a hobby for me but in the near future I’d like to make this a more serious part of my mission to become a social media guru and use it to further my career. This will mean more regularly posting and using my other personal social media pages to promote it (which scares the **** out of me). I think the biggest, and most difficult part of networking for me will be stepping out of my shell and having confidence in myself and the content I’ve created!

If we want to talk game planning for my future, ideal job (keep your fingers crossed for me), I’d be a social media coordinator/content creator for a professional sports team. In my dream world, this is where I’ll end up with my career. There are a few things I think I’ll need to do in this scenario to successfully network:

 1. Attend as many sporting events as possible– Being employed in the sports industry means that I need to talk and connect with people all across the industry, whether they be managers, players, coaches, or other employees of the teams. Sports games are where all these people will be congregated either a) because they need to be there or b) because they want to, as sports fans.

2. LinkedIn– This is a social media tool that I have not utilized before, but will be in the future. To be completely honest, I feel at the moment I have no reason to as my resume isn’t exactly padded with social media experience. When the time comes, I plan to build a profile on here to network online as best as I can.

3. My own social media- As I further (or finally step into) my own career, my social social media may need a revamp. Rather than showing the world what I ate or what me and my friends are up to, I may need to take a more work-based approach. Doing this will show people what I do professionally behind the scenes while simultaneously showing off what I’m capable of on social media!

The Good and the Bad of Social Media in Winnipeg

For a small Canadian city, Winnipeg has a pretty booming local market. From clothing to candles to food, the creative people of this city have provided the residents with a ton of great local options. Some of these amazing businesses are killing it on social media, and some just aren’t doing their product justice online.

The Good

Coal and Canary A household name in the candle game. These guys have created a great product combined with an awesome social media presence. They boast an impressive 30.3 k followers on their Instagram thanks to a modern and cozy aesthetic that would make anyone want to purchase their candles on the spot! They’re also active on Facebook and Twitter, and all three channels post regularly to keep consumers and followers in the loop. They have found a schedule that works for the Coal and Canary crowd, posting to Instagram once everyday with a photo and caption that perfectly fit their brand. Their creative scents and product names have done extremely well for themselves, and have recently begun selling in Sephora Canada- a huge marketplace. I’m not much of a candle girl, but if I were to become one I’d head straight to Coal and Canary.

Mad About Style– One of my personal favorites. A small, chic clothing boutique in Winnipeg with the cutest selection of modern clothes. They have also created a solid presence online, with almost 20 k followers on Instagram and over 10 thousand likes on their Facebook business page. They also consistently put out tweets, but have less of a following on Twitter. They frequently go live on Instagram to showcase their new clothing each season; a great way to get people involved and drive traffic to their page. Mad About Style has also created a blog, not only just for fashion but for all things lifestyle related. They have created a devoted a following in Winnipeg based on their ability to create a consistent and effective social media presence. Posting on Instagram daily (where they have the most traffic) keeps the customers wanting more. They’ve also collaborated with other local brands in giveaways and partnerships to get their name out even further.

Needs Work

Constance Popp Chocolatier Nothing about their product needs any work, but their social media game is lacking. Constance Popp is a small company in the heart of Winnipeg’s French Quarters (basically a prime location) who make amazing chocolates. My family has been a longtime fan of what they do. Unfortunately, their only social media presence is on Facebook, where they have acquired over 5000 likes on their page. They are doing a good job on Facebook where they post quite frequently and give it a personal feel. In today’s social media society, aesthetic is key to creating a brand and this is where Instagram plays a huge role. It’s been seen time and time again that a company can make their business boom by creating a page that people are drawn too. Luckily for Constance Popp, food social media pages are a huge trend right now. Also luckily for them, they make absolutely stunning chocolates. Simple photos and posts of what they have in store could take their business to the next level. I’m convinced if they were to hop on Twitter and Instagram with a regular posting schedule, they’ll acquire a huge following in no time.

Tools & Sources

As a 25 year old, dare I say, millennial, I am active on many forms of social media. This activity is strictly for personal gain though, as I am not employed in the social media field just yet. At this point in time I don’t think it is wise for me to shell out a monthly fee keep track of who’s looking at my oh-so-interesting personal pages. Because of this, my favorite listening tools are the ones that are free!

For me, this basically means doing a manual search on things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It allows me to keep up to date with exactly what I want to know and by doing it myself, I get to see exactly what I want, instead of just a statistic. The other thing I utilize is Google Alerts. This keeps me in the loop on new information and articles based on my specified key-words. I get updates in my email inbox letting me know which of the keywords have been hit and how many times, with links. For my blog, this comes

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A shameless plug, go check it out!

in handy as I can add tags and be up to date on other similar styled blogs and what they are posting about. These two methods are extremely basic, but get the job done for what I need in this moment. When the time comes for me to pay for a monitoring service, I’d love to try out Hootsuite or SproutSocial. Both of these services look like easy, in-depth ways to monitor a variety of social media pages and websites in one spot.

For updates and news, I simply check my Twitter and Facebook feeds. On both of these social media channels I follow a variety of different pages, including CNN, Insider, and ESPN. This, combined with very active friends and followers (who share or retweet all the latest news) keep me right in the know with whats going on in the world! Just yesterday in Manitoba, an amber alert was issued for a missing 6 year old (who has since been found safe). My phone did not receive the alert, but as soon as I opened my social media I was right up to date with what had happened. Social media is a powerful tool and news is able to travel so quickly!

Do you guys know any other free listening and monitoring tools I should be using? What are your favorite free ways to stay in the loop?

Personal Reflection

Digital communication relies on good storytelling. The ability of a creator to produce something captivating to their audience can be the difference between a successful online presence and a weak one. Bringing forward your own personality and voice to makes you more “real” to your audience; something that we’ve learned is desirable from a consumer point of view.

It may sound cheesy, and it totally is, but life is a story. Whether I want to tell my audience about the last 25 years of my life, my day today, or what I ate for dinner, each of these things has a story to tell. Story is going to guide my content by making even the most mundane of events or happenings seem like a worthwhile read. Language is a powerful tool- something that can bring posts to life.

I want to share my own stories. On my personal blog, I connect with my audience by presenting myself as authentically as I can. I want to share my stories the same way online as I would tell them in person- full of humor, personality, and vivid detail (minus the curse words for emphasis). I like to think that my life, and everyone else’s, is pretty interesting. Everybody has something to say, and social media allows me to hear these voices while telling my own story.

What’s My Story?

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you know that my current job (and for the sake of this post, business) is a volleyball player. In this case me, as a whole, is my business. I market myself to others in hopes they will pay me for what I have to offer- my volleyball skills. In the article, Jantsch asks “what is your biggest achievement/disappointment?” and for me, the answer is the same for both circumstances.


The “Bratty Teenager” volleyball days (2010)

Ever since I was a bratty little teenager and started to realize I was good at volleyball, I wanted to play at the CIS (now USports) level. When I accomplished this, I wanted to play professional volleyball. Basically, I had blinders on and I wanted the road ahead to be solely about volleyball. I was able to accomplish this last year and was finally able to call myself a professional athlete! Though I am so proud (and perhaps it boosts my ego just a teeny tiny bit) it certainly did not come without its fair share of disappointments.

Once I moved half way across the earth to pursue my new professional career I concluded something very quickly- this life isn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy the city I was living in, I didn’t quite like the coach who didn’t speak a lick of English (that’s a whole other story), and as a result of these disappointments my game suffered hugely. The first four months were the hardest months of my life and I heavily considered quitting and coming back home after the first half of the season. I battled it out, and I am so happy I did as it go SO much better, with a little help from a new head coach (who spoke English, hallelujah).

All in all, my greatest achievement to this day came with a bumpy road of challenges and enough disappointments to last me for the next couple years. I’m not sure what the next year has in store for me, but whatever it may hold I’m proud to say that last year I accomplished what I always wanted to.

The Shanlee Brand

If I could describe myself in three words it would be loud, outgoing, and perhaps most importantly; athlete. Since I was but a wee teenager, I devoted pretty much all my time to the sport of volleyball, and in turn, my identity quickly became “the athlete” in my friendship circles. Most recently, I was able to pursue playing volleyball professionally and this is easily the accomplishment I am most proud of thus far in my life.


Game face

My athletic career has given me more than just physical gains, but character gains as well. It has taught me to be a successful leader. As captain of my university team in Brandon, I was thrust into a roll that required me to learn to effectively and properly communicate with my teammates and coaches (falling into a fit of rage and frustration doesn’t exactly get you the results you want). It required me to learn how to get the best out of my teammates and push them in the ways that fit with their personalities.

Sport not only taught me how to be a great leader, but how to properly respond to leadership. A good portion of my volleyball career was spent being bossed around (in the most loving way) and critiqued by a coach with the expectation I follow these demands and make these changes as quickly as possible. One of my favorite compliments that I have received from many of my previous coaches was that I was “coachable”- aka, willing and wanting to take criticisms and critiques and implement them into my game.

It sounds so corny and cliché, but playing sports has really shaped the person I am today. I’d most likely still be incredibly sarcastic and loud, and I’m happy and proud that I can shape my personal brand around being an athlete.

Case Study

I am both an avid social media user and online shopper. These two things don’t usually intersect for me, as I’m not a fan of following companies online and generally stick to real people (they don’t bore me). One company though, has caught my attention online and turned me into a repeat customer AND I follow their Instagram, which is almost a bigger feat than getting me to continuously spend countless dollars on their clothing. This company is Missguided. It’s an online shop based out of the UK that creates clothing for young adult women. They are active on many forms of social media including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Snapchat- all which are heavily used by their target audience.

Their Instagram page has over three million followers and they regularly update it. They are especially active on Instagram stories, posting what’s new on their website and quite often contests. One thing that stands out about their social media use is how responsive they are to customer concerns. Plenty of people comment on their posts regarding issues they are having with them, whether it be an order, a question about a certain product or just general inquiries, the company is quick to respond. For example, a customer commented wondering about the restock of a certain item in a specific size. Though the company let them know they had no specific dates but restock the items every two to four weeks, they sent them a link to a similar item they thought the customer might like. This kind of specific responding shows that they are truly engaged with customers rather than just using a pre-set response.

Overall, I think they’re doing a good job on social media to back up their product. By staying interactive with their customers and being active on all forms of social media, they keep people in the know and keep them interested. They’re also not overloading their pages with product advertisements, but giving off more of a lifestyle vibe so you’re not getting overwhelmed with their items.


My hobby is and probably always will be sports. I’m a volleyball player, but my last season was spent playing in the Netherlands and I have about a 0% understanding of the fan base, socioeconomic status and so forth.  For this reason, I’m going to take a different route look at the demographic of the Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL team. Before you ask why me, a Winnipegger, is a fan of the Roughriders (which is considered punishable by death in Manitoba), I have a good friend playing on the team so cut me some slack.IMG_3221

As a Winnipegger, I’m supposed to say that the demographic of the Saskatchewan Roughriders is a bunch of hillbillies. But I’m not going to say that. What they are though, is almost completely a Canadian fan base and almost completely English speakers. They, like most sports demographics, are compromised of mostly males, but not so enough that campaigns and social media efforts should be especially catered towards a male demographic. Generally, in terms of economic status, education, etc., they are similar to that of the average population of Saskatchewan, as being a sports fan is not limited or catered to one community.

Their fan base is known across Canada for being “die-hard”; they love their team through the ups and downs and will stop at nothing to support the team and players. This is reflective on the internet. They are active on many forms of social media, mostly Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you make the poor decision of insulting the Riders online, you will feel the wrath of the entire fan base before you’ve even pressed the send button. They are incredibly active online, so its crucial to keep pages updated and active to keep the fans involved. Because of this, social media content needs to go beyond just scores and plays but needs to make the fans feel like they are part of the team. The Roughriders are currently in training camp, and their Instagram and Twitter feeds are currently active with updates, filming parts of practice and getting some good shots of the guys, making the followers feel like they’re right there with them.