Tamara Elliott; Calgary;
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I’m a travel writer and digital strategist. I started in 2013 to help readers make the most of their trip, whether it’s in their own backyard or abroad.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I went to Mount Royal University in Calgary, where I earned a degree in journalism.
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
During my final year of college, I landed an internship at Global News in Calgary, and suddenly found myself working alongside people I’d grown up admiring. A producer job on the morning show happened to open up after I graduated, so I got my start in the industry working the overnight shift. The hours were crazy, but it was actually a great fit since I’m a night owl.
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
I was invited on my first press trip only a few months after launching Globe Guide. I got to spend the weekend skiing, doing yoga and enjoying great food at a beautiful mountain lodge in Banff. A few years later I asked the publicist who invited me why she took a chance on a newbie, and she said had a feeling I was going to be successful in travel media.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
I was working on contract as a digital strategist with an energy company when the price of oil took a nosedive, and as a result thousands of us lost our jobs. It was demoralizing, but you know what they say: everything happens for a reason. It gave me the opportunity to focus on Globe Guide full-time, which I’d never been able to do before, and I officially became a business owner by incorporating my company.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
Just start! Don’t hold yourself back from pursuing a new path or passion because you’re waiting for the perfect timing or business plan. You can figure everything out along the way, and it helps to remember that the world’s most successful companies all started from nothing.
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
I’m lucky to have worked in fields where I haven’t felt gender inequality—in fact, female influencers actually earn more on average than their male counterparts.
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle/day job for extra cash? If so, what is it?
The business models behind traditional media and influencer marketing both seem to be in a constant state of disruption, which can be a challenge when it comes to negotiating compensation. I consider myself fortunate that I’m in a position financially where I don’t need to take every offer that comes my way, so I only work on projects that I feel are a good fit.
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
I think there’s an outdated perception that to be a “good employee” you have to sit at a desk for at least eight hours a day. Many millennials understand that’s not true, and are gravitating towards more flexible work environments. In my experience, not having set hours and allowing people to contribute remotely means employees can make better use of their time, and work on projects when they’re inspired, which leads to increased productivity and a higher quality of work.
Photographer, Nathan Cyprys; stylist, Corey Ng, P1M; hair, Cia Mandarello, P1M; makeup; Vanessa Jarman, P1M; dress, Victoria Victoria Beckham at Holt Renfrew.