How to get the most from your job when you are still fairly new to the workforce?

How to get the most from your job when you are still fairly new to the workforce?

Quick answer: Be an AVID LEARNER!


I think one of the things that is often overlooked when you are new to the workforce is the feeling of “these are my job responsibilities and so this is all I am able to do”. You do have the option of doing just this, but if you are brand new to the workforce, then I suggest against this. I will describe how having a mindset of a “learner” helped me not only perform well in work, but helped me expand, learn new skills and open the doors for opportunities.


First things, first, really ask what you want from your current job. Key things you may want to ask yourself:

  1. What specific new things do I want to learn?

  2. What can I learn or gain experience in that will put me on the path to where I want to be in the future? This is a must have question!

  3. Is this a job where I can showcase my potential and the things I am strong in?

  4. Have an open mind and be ready to explore new opportunities and roles


Thunder Bay, YSI Gathering

Thunder Bay, YSI Gathering

For myself I was really open to learning and exploring new opportunities that came my way. I also wanted this job as a way to utilize and apply the skills I already had and to expand on them to further implement into new jobs.


Now how do I go about implementing these questions?

Don’t be afraid to ask! This is extremely important, you should never be afraid to ask for clarifications in your job, to ask to take on new tasks or to share your objectives.  As a  community projects coordinator at CatalystsX, well the title says it.. you are coordinating many tasks pertaining to partnerships, social media, etc. One thing that caught my attention was the Northern Lights Collaborative, and something else I wanted to learn which technically wasn’t on my job description was writing grants. So I asked to get experience and exposure in this.


This will indefinitely will lead to results!

After asking, I got to experience transcribing, editing grants and researching information needed for grants. In regards to the Northern Lights Collaborative, I created the event newsletter and assisted with data survey compilations.


Don't forget to also consider what programs, classes and events that are offered through your work.

Outside of work, I was also connected with a large community at Centre for Social Innovation so I attended many events (many were free) which helped me grow as an individual . Don’t limit yourself to just your hours, see what you can do beyond as well!


These are just some examples, but the possibilities are endless and they can be simple or complex! So remember do a great job, but don’t forget what a job can do for you!

Social Enterprise ...UMM... What is That?




A little background about myself before I begin. I actually come from a science background, I got a degree in Bachelor of Sciences with a major in Biology. However, from age 15 up to now I have always volunteered. I've had the opportunity to volunteer at schools, teaching topics on sciences, peaceful conflict resolutions and community building. I've also volunteered at the hospital and at an after-school program that I attended myself when I was younger. Many of the  organizations I have volunteered for were non-profits. Now that I have graduated, I was lucky enough to get employed at CatalystsX, a non-profit organization involved in the social enterprise sector that connects change makers with resources, people and opportunities to allow them to thrive.


This has opened me up to a whole new community that I did not even know existed! Social enterprise--> Solving social problems in order to make a positive difference in communities using business tools such as selling products or services. This was when I discovered Centre For Social Innovation right in the core of downtown Toronto, Spadina, where our main office Is located.


So what have I been doing so far? Summer has ended:(. But it has been an amazing couple of months to really work and collaborate. Being able to do meetings in nice hot weather has definitely been a major plus. On a more serious note… My first project was a great way to start in the social enterprise sector. It was actually a collaboration between social enterprises in Ontario. My task was to find global and national organizations that social enterprises within Ontario can potentially collaborate with. Doing this revealed to me how many organizations there were that do good for the world!

Come to our 2018 gathering! / Venez à notre événement 2018!

~Le français suit!~

Last year, we learned a lot during our first annual gathering / launch event for the Northern Lights Collaborative. You can see some of it here.

This year, we’re taking a lot of those learnings for what’s (hopefully!) an even better event.

Focus on the fun
We’re prioritizing fun and relationship building instead of overscheduling. And we’re even having a Games Master, Janelle, Founder of Neeched Up Games, who will be sharing games that she and other Indigenous creators have made, ranging from traditional to brand new.

Playing a game at last year’s gathering

Playing a game at last year’s gathering

Sharing stories and art
More focus and intention on art and sharing stories. Well, now we will have an artist / storyteller youth from literally every province and territory. They will be paid an honorarium to participate and share. Applications are still open, so please share with any youth artists in Northern Canada, it can be any medium - painting, spoken word, beading, dance, photography - you name it!

There were requests to spend more time outdoors. A local leader will be teaching canoeing techniques, fishing, and will be bringing Elders to share traditional and modern ways to smoke fish!  Our location is right on the water and also has hiking trails.

Led by locals
Last year some of the funnest activities came from local youth. We’re making sure to follow their advice, we’ve been planning this event with the help of Connector Sabrina and others in her community.

Chill spaces
One of the things we loved last year was low key places to go rest, decompress, make art. We’re bringing back self care in a big way!


More Time
While last year people said they’d love more time together, we know that not everyone can take that much time away from home / school / work. But we have the option for people to come to the Island a couple days early, or even come the weekend before and spend unstructured time on the land helping out at Nimkii Aazhibikong.

Get out what you put in, and support for going forward
When signing up this year, we have a list of things that people have said they are interested in, and you can add to it. If there is enough interest we can bring in experts and speakers on any number of topics. It’s co-created, so whether before or during the event, it will be fun so long as everyone takes the leap to express and act on their interests. Plus, we have a bunch of young changemakers who can share their stories and support, and we can provide you with ways to fund projects in your communities going forward.

If you’re a youth in Northern Ontario, or have friends/family who meet that criteria, apply here for this all expense paid trip.

For artists from across Northern Canada who wish to attend in a paid capacity, please learn more here.

*Open to all interested youth from Northern Turtle Island, but in general we think 15-30 have the most fun / get the most out of it. So long as you are interested and passionate, you’re qualified! Please share widely!

L' année dernière nous avons beaucoup appris durant notre premier rassemblement / événement de lancement pour la Northern Lights Collaborative. Vous pouvez en voir quelques parties ici.

Cette année, nous retirons beaucoup de cet apprentissage pour (nous l'espérons!) un événement encore meilleur.

Une focalisation sur le divertissement.
Nous mettons une priorité sur le divertissement et la création de relations au lieu d’un horair chargé. Nous amènerons même une Maîtresse de Jeu, Janelle, fondatrice de Neeched Up Games, qui partagera des jeux qu'elle et d’autres créateurs et créatrices autochtones ont créé, du traditionels au tout nouveaux.

Jouer à un jeu lors du rassemblement de l'année dernière

Jouer à un jeu lors du rassemblement de l'année dernière

Partage d’art et de récits.
Plus de concentrations et intentions visées sur l’art et le partage de récits. Et bien, à présent nous aurons des jeunes artistes / conteurs(euses) venant littéralement de chaque province et territoire. Ils et elles seront payé(e)s un honoraire pour participer et partager. Les candidatures sont toujours ouvertes, alors s’il vous plaît partagez avec tout jeune artiste du Nord Canadien, et cela peut être dans n’importe quel médium - peinture, création orale, perlage, danse, photographie - tout ce que vous pouvez imaginer!

La terre.
Il y a eu des requêtes pour passer plus de temps dehors. Un dirigeant local enseignera des techniques de canotage, de pêche, et amènera des Aînés pour partager les différentes façons traditionnelles et modernes de fumer un poisson! Nous sommes situés juste au bord de l’eau et de sentiers pédestres.

Francais NLC 2018.jpg

Dirigé par les habitants locaux.
L'année dernières, les activités les plus divertissantes étaient celles venues des jeunes locaux. Nous nous assurons de suivre leurs conseils. Nous préparons cet événement avec l’assistance de Connector Sabrina et d’autre personnes de la communauté.

Espace de détente.
Une des chose que nous avons vraiment aimé l'année dernière étaient les espace à profil bas pour se reposer, décompresser, créer de l’art. Nous ramenons l'auto soins en grand!

Plus de temps.
Bien que l'année dernières les gens disaient vouloir plus de temps ensemble, nous savons que ce n’est pas tout le monde peut s’absenter pour une longue période de la maison/ du travail/de l'école. Mais il y aura l’option de venir sur l'île  une couple de jours plus tôt , ou même la fin de semaine précédente, et passer un peu de temps non-structuré sur la terre aidant Nimkii Aazhibikong.

Reçoit ce que tu y mets, et support à l’avenir.
A l’inscription cette année, nous avons une liste de choses auxquelles les gens nous ont dit être intéressées, et vous pouvez y ajouter d’autres. Dans les cas où il existe un intérêt suffisant, nous pouvons amener des experts et des orateurs sur quelconques sujets que ce soit. Il est co-créé, alors que ce soit avant ou durant l'événement, ce sera un plaisir tant que tout le monde franchit le pas de s’exprimer et agir sur ce qui l'intéresse. De plus nous avons plein de jeunes agents de changement qui peuvent partager leurs histoires et leur support, et nous pouvons vous fournir avec des façons de financer les projets dans vos communautés à l’avenir.

Si tu es un jeune du nord de l’ontario, ou tu as un(e) ami(e))/membre de famille qui répond aux critères, faits une demande ici pour ce voyage a toute dépense payée: (La version française sera disponible dans un ou deux jours)

Pour les artistes d’à travers le nord de l’Ontario qui désirent assister à titre payant, vous pouvez en savoir plus ici.

* Ouvert à tous les jeunes du nord de Turtle Island intéressés, cependant nous pensons que généralement 15-30 s'amusaient plus/peuvent en tirer le maximum. Tant que tu es intéressé(e) et passionné(e), tu qualifies!

Partagez ceci aussi loin que possible!

Financial Literacy for Artists, Freelancers, and "Forced" Entrepreneurs

Financial Literacy for Artists, Freelancers, and "Forced" Entrepreneurs

Independent by choice
Often people choose to run a small organization as a freelancer, consultant, or artist because of the flexibility it provides for their life. As we developed our financial literacy program, we learned there’s another category too… many people are “forced” into contract life these days.

Ramping up the Cx Blog

Caption: Image descriptions improve accessibility by making photos more readable for people using text-to-reading devices. The above image is a computer-drawn messy summary of the blog post’s points with two different faces speaking them to each other as thought bubbles to reflect the self talk

Caption: Image descriptions improve accessibility by making photos more readable for people using text-to-reading devices. The above image is a computer-drawn messy summary of the blog post’s points with two different faces speaking them to each other as thought bubbles to reflect the self talk

CatalystsX has been doing all sorts of work, but we aren’t always good at sharing what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and who we’re doing it with.

There are a few reasons which come to mind, at least for myself:

  • Fear / perfectionism - there are always 1000 ways anything we do could be better, and I worry it won’t be effective or may cause unintentional harm in some unforeseen way

  • Holding power, taking up space, equity - even as a tiny nonprofit, CatalystsX holds institutional power as a government-recognized entity. On a personal level, as a middle class person with light skin in a position of power even at a tiny organization, what space am I taking up that might detract from other voices which should be sought out?

  • Who cares? - while we’ve been urged by many people for us to share more about what we’re doing, I still find it hard to believe anyone would actually read any of this :)

Some thoughts in response to each of these:

  • Make sure someone else trusted and well versed in pro-liberation and current topics reviews any posts / content. Also, get over perfectionism. Of course everything could be done better. Experiment with mediums other than just typing.

  • Use our resources and humble platform to share the work and opinions of other people we work with in different ways, creating opportunities for others to share their work / create content / write blogs which are relevant to people we work with

  • There is something to be said for organizational memory, accountability, building trust and background so people can get a sense for people and an organization, and being transparent about some of our work and processes. If that is kept as the intent, and not an objective that a bunch of people read and share our work, we don’t have to worry too much about lots of people reading everything we share


So, here we go!  Stay tuned for hopefully a couple things a month from Cx and the people we are proud to be involved with in different ways.



Avengers, Assemble!

I’m kind of introverted, which is why I was surprised after doing some interviews for new positions through the Northern Lights Collaborative that I had one of the best weeks in memory. Everyone just being themselves made me so pumped and energized, it felt like everyone we met was the missing piece of a puzzle.


This team is co-designing and promoting the Northern Lights Collaborative launch event coming up at the end of the month. If you’re a youth from Northern Ontario, you’re invited! Learn more here and please register ASAP as spots are filling up!

That said, I’d love to share a little bit about some of the new Northern Lights Collaborative team members! This puzzle may be an infinite one as we keep growing….at least for now no borders in sight...



Mariah is from Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek and leads from Thunder Bay, Ontario. She’s working on her Honours Bachelor in Social Work with a major concentration in Indigenous learning. When Mariah joined she shared, “I want to see a world that works, where everyone helps each other for a greater good” and brings those good vibes to everything she does on the team! 


Jocelyn (Goose)

is from Whitefish Bay First Nation. She graduated from Baibom Beh Anishinabe School and received a General Arts and Science certificate from Confederation College. She has two sisters and 6 brothers, and is the youngest daugher to Andy and Caroline White. Since birth she was immersed in family culture and traditions. She loves to dance powwow with her jingle dress, the dance which was taught to to her by her gookum Maggie White. She will pass these teachings down to her two beautiful daughters. Having such a big family she had resources to bead, sew, play sports and was never bored growing up. To this day she still play volleyball and baseball. Keeping active and living a healthy lifestyle are goals she has for her and her family



was born and raised in Thunder Bay which is situated on the Robinson Superior Treaty land and was also home to the historical Métis Nation. He is also currently a Youth Reconciliation Initiative Team Lead. Devin has a background in Business Marketing from Confederation College. Through his education he has been able to work with local businesses by conducting research and strategic marketing campaigns to help them grow and achieve their goals. Devin believes in using the education and teachings he has obtained through his schooling and volunteering to help strive towards equity and equality by strengthening and empowering communities through knowledge and understanding.



Krista leads from Algoma region and is from the Mississaugi First Nation. It shows that Krista studied Community Economic and Social Development and Community Development at university, because she seems to bind everything together with down to earth and relatable stories at every point. Recently she ran a workshop in Sault Ste. Marie on using memes for social change, if that gives any insight into just how cool she is!



is from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (formerly Pic River First Nation). She loves singing with her hand drum, and has been working as a youth amplifier and advocate ever since she could imagine. She was working before as a Teacher assistant at an elementary school for over five years and worked as a youth worker at Right to Play, running sports nights, crafts, baking, playing in the bush and basically anything the youth want to do. She’s currently studying early childhood education online.  As our launch event will be in Dayna’s community, she has been busily laying the foundation for us to learn about and meet the community in a good way.



Daryl was born and raised in Sudbury. Daryl became enamored with the collaboration of creative works and innovative progress. This includes formal education in Mechanical Engineering, a TEDx Talk on Art & Science, the co-founding of a rapid prototyping company within the Northern Ontario Research Centre for Advanced Technology, and a number of outreach & skills development program for high school students. He also completed the Studio [Y] Fellowship at the MaRS Discovery District and aims to tie in these systems change initiatives to his Northern focussed innovation work.



is a passionate community leader from Whitefish Bay First Nation near Kenora. He often works with youth through sport, and has coached and organized youth volleyball teams for many years. He’s also worked in different roles providing support and teaching students at Baibom Beh Anishinabe School, and trained as an apprentice in carpentry.


If you want to co-create more youth social innovation in Northern Ontario, learn more here and don’t forget to please register ASAP! Facebook message us if you have any questions!


PS. On one hand we are way cooler than the Avengers, and less um...violent I suppose? That said, every time we had an interview “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” shot through my head and immediately I would fistpump. #unapologeticnerd