A Day in the Life of a Communications Manager: Marianne Grier
Writing and editing career paths can take many directions. In this new “day-in-the-life” series, experienced professionals share their personal experiences and various roles related to writing, editing and communications. If you’re interested in writing a post for this series, please email The Editors’ Weekly.
What is your job?
I’m an operations manager for communication and messaging at lululemon, an international technical athletic apparel company headquartered in Vancouver. I do some freelance editing but have been focusing more on my in-house role recently. And I’m on maternity leave right now so I have a different kind of in-house role!
What do you do?
I manage a small team in lululemon’s “guest support” organization. My team has worked with all kinds of communications, including writing and editing internal and external communications, troubleshooting guides, and copy.
What do you like the most about your work?
It might sound cliché, but I love that every day is different, and I never know what awaits me when I start my day. The one thing I can count on is that there will be at least one surprise. This experience is similar to my time at home with two young children! I’ve also met some amazing people through work.
And the least?
Every day is different, and I never know what awaits me. While I love this aspect of my job and it’s helped me develop my resilience, I’m a planner and my workday rarely goes as planned.
What kind of background do you need to get into this role?
One thing that’s great about communications is the many different ways to get into the field. My education is in German language, philosophy and sustainability. After getting a sustainability degree in the U.K., I worked at a non-profit where a lot of my work involved editing reports. I then moved on to work in design agencies and did a lot of proofreading and editing of annual reports and websites. And when I came to Canada, I worked in a couple different departments at lululemon before moving into this communications role. So while I’m not actually “using” my degree by working in my field of study, I’ve made use of the writing, critical thinking and time management skills that I developed in my degrees. And knowledge of a different language has really helped me understand how English works. I’d love to get into some form of sustainability communications down the road, but I’m excited about the work I’m doing now.
How has your editing experience supported you?
My experience as an editor has been invaluable. I’m more confident explaining the edits I make and pointing to reasons why things should be written a certain way. Through my Editors Canada membership, I’ve been able to top up my skills and fill in gaps I’ve identified. I do a lot of writing in my job too, and a solid editing background has helped me get things done more quickly with fewer first drafts as my work is in better shape the first time around.
Do you have any advice for editors who want to get into a similar role?
One thing I find exciting and daunting about editing and communications professionals is that many of us don’t train specifically for the role we end up in — it’s different than training to be a nurse, for example; there can be many paths to the same role. There’s a lot of benefit to being open to the areas where you can apply your editing skills, and to being resilient. My role has changed a lot since I started, especially during the pandemic but during “normal” times too. I’m lucky enough to be excited by change (most of the time), but when it’s scary change, I focus on how I’ll learn from the experience and what kind of skills I’ll build. I know this gets said a lot, but if there’s a certain company or field you want to get into, talk to as many people as you can who might have experience doing what you’d like to do.
Previous post from Marianne Grier: The Times They Are A-Changin’
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