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Kay Pettigrew

Reflections from a 2023 Equity Fellow

A pen lies on top of a form, and across the top of the form is the word, "Application."

I have been getting a lot of mileage out of telling everyone who will listen that I am one of the recipients of Editors Canada’s 2023 Equity Fellowships. It’s a bit of a weird thing to brag about, since essentially, I am outing myself as a member of equity-seeking groups. But I have felt proud to add the line to my resumé, and it’s no doubt boosted my credibility to potential clients. 

Since my tenure is nearly up (interested candidates are encouraged to apply by Friday, April 5), I thought I’d share some of my experiences and the benefits of the role. In doing so, I hope I can encourage eligible candidates to apply and shed light on the reasons I feel this fellowship is so valuable.

Exploring the industry

First, imposter syndrome as a fledgling editor is out of control. I’ve learned in the past year that this is not unique to newbies but is endemic to our profession — doubly so for editors who are multiply marginalized. For those of us who face systemic and interpersonal discrimination based on our gender, sexuality, disabilities, race, ethnicity, class or a combination thereof, it can be tough to feel self-assured in our work. 

The Editors Canada membership offered by the fellowship has allowed me to build my confidence and feel plugged-in to the industry at a national level. This connection has made me more secure in my sense of what is going on in the publishing world.

The fellowship also came with a veritable library’s worth of books, some of which I already reference in my daily work (Editing Canadian English is particularly dog-eared at this point). 

Making connections

Access to conversations among my peers in Editors Canada’s social media groups has helped to break isolation, as well as reassure me that I’m not the only person questioning a certain word’s usage or struggling with work-life balance as a freelancer. 

But I think the greatest benefit I have gained from the Equity Fellowship came from attending the 2023 national conference in Toronto. I was thrust into a community of people who are so eager to share their knowledge and skills. I’m so grateful for the networking opportunities afforded by the conference. 

An extra-special contact came from the mentoring sessions, where I was paired with a more experienced editor. That editor has since expanded my professional world to encompass membership in the newly minted LGBTQ+ Editors Association as well as a Slack channel for those of us working on interactive stories and comics — an editorial niche I wasn’t even aware of prior to our meeting.

Looking to the future

Of course, I am still getting my career off the ground. While I wish the Editors Canada Equity Fellowship could solve all the equity problems in our industry, it cannot erase reality. I am currently at an impasse: I need more training to attract more clients, but without more clients, I cannot afford further training. Still, I have Editors Canada to thank for showing me that, while I don’t know what I don’t know, ongoing learning is a hallmark of this profession. We will always be learning and evolving. 

I hope that the beneficiaries of the 2024 Equity Fellowship take full advantage of the opportunities made available through membership in Editors Canada. As one of my co-fellows said in our collaborative acceptance speech at last year’s award ceremony, it is on all of us to work toward creating an industry in which there is no longer a need for this kind of initiative.

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2 Comments on “Reflections from a 2023 Equity Fellow”

  • Gael Spivak

    says:

    It’s great to hear from recipients of this fellowship. Thanks for taking the time to write this blog post.

    Reply

    • Kay Pettigrew

      says:

      Thanks Gael for all of your ongoing support and for your work in making this fellowship happen!

      Reply

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