Volunteering is a great way to be a part of your community and make a difference in the world around you. However, few people are aware of how volunteering can have a positive impact on your career as well.
Many of us are thrown into the job market with an education in our field, but little to no hands-on experience. Volunteering can give you that needed experience to help land that dream job later on.
In addition to gaining experience, many job recruiters will note volunteer work to show great time management skills, as well as having personal drive and a commitment to your community.
Dalia Haimen has been living in Toronto since she started at OCAD university when she was 19. She is a great example of of a young professional who is balancing her career and volunteer work in Toronto, to make a name for herself.
Dalia spends her 9-5 working as the Creative Team Manager for The PUR Company, where she started as a Graphic Design Intern. What is most notable about Dalia is that she spends her down time volunteering as Director of Marketing for the hugely successful TEDxToronto.
TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.
Can you tell me a bit about your job and volunteer position?
With PUR, I oversee all creative and marketing with the most amazing team. Our company currently offers a healthy alternative to chewing gum and mints. We are a wellness brand that believes simple ingredient substitutions can turn any everyday consumable into something good for you (that still tastes great). We focus mostly on branding, packaging, marketing, e-commerce and product development.
With TEDxToronto, I manage all aspects of marketing for the organization and conference. I’ve scouted some of the best talent to join my team. We all share the same passion about TED and dedicate most of our free time to get the Toronto community excited about it. We lead all online initiatives such as our website, social media and print and promo material. We also handle the venue decor and stage design.
What are some aspects of your job(s) that people might not realize you do?
At PUR, we create all the packaging including the barcodes and nutrition labels. We are also heavily involved in all product development. We even do product tasting in-house.
People don’t realize that TEDxToronto is a complete non-profit organization and everyone is a volunteer. The board members, the directors, everyone. That is the coolest part. We don’t have an office or work hours. It’s all self-motivated.
What is your Educational Background?
My mum wanted me to follow in her footsteps as a self-employed financial advisor but I was always more interested in art. I enrolled in the 2-year Fine Arts Program at John Abbott College in Montreal, and absolutely loved it. I made lasting relationships with my professors who were actually the one’s who inspired me to pursue a career in product design. They always said that my paintings and sculptures looked functional and calculated. OCADU was at the top of the list of Universities that were suggested to me that offered a degree in Industrial Design. I was 19 when I moved to Toronto, where I completed 4 years at OCADU and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design.
Why did you get involved with TEDxToronto
Volunteering has always been something I’ve wanted to do (and hadn’t done since high school where it was mandatory). I wanted to give back in a way that utilized my talents and allowed me to develop my character.
Last year, I was a Creative Designer for the organization and this year I moved into the role of Director of Marketing at TEDxToronto.
So many great things are happening in this city, and there are always volunteer opportunities.
Why is TEDxToronto a significant and unique Toronto event?
The fact that a group of volunteers (who have day jobs, families etc.) come together to shed a light on our city’s big innovator’s and ideas is unlike any other event in the city. It is a full day of inspiration, entertainment and networking with the greatest minds of our community. Most are WOWed by the fact that our organization stems from the notorious global organization, TED.com
What is significant about this year’s TEDxToronto?
This year’s conference has an incredible line up of speakers with an array of topics spanning from science, to design, to food, to sexuality. We anticipate the audience to go through a range of emotions throughout the day and leave feeling refreshed and inspired.
On top of that, there are quite a few firsts this year. One of them being a complete transformation of the venue with this year’s thematic elements for Symbols + Signals.
How has TEDxToronto changed your career?
Even though I am not profiting from this experience financially, I am profiting intellectually. I have the support and freedom from the board to take risks, push the boundaries of what’s possible, and leap outside comfort zones.
Working with like-minded volunteers who share the same passion for the TED concept of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’, is more valuable to me on a personal level, than let’s say, creating a logo for a client.
What type of female would you recommend going into your field?
She needs to be creative, obviously. With creativity comes thick skin, an open mind, and the drive to take risks. You need to challenge everything and everyone. Have the ability to take initiative and tell it like it is.
What is a pivotal lesson you have learned while building your career?
Don’t wait until someone asks or gives you direction – DO IT. With a clear purpose and a positive attitude, everything is possible.
How has social media changed your career?
I would have never guessed that Social Media would become a huge part of my career. Anyone who thinks social media is not important for their business is wrong. Brands have become persona’s that people want to connect with. Social media is a complex world. If you study the patterns and understand each platform, you will be amazed by what you can do.
What predictions do you have about your industry? Any changes or trends going to take place in the next few years?
I think as the industry becomes more and more cluttered with trends and tech, people will look back to basics for inspiration.
Do you have any social media insight to share with someone looking to build his or her own persona?
Be short and witty and have AWESOME visuals. High res please.
The TEDxToronto conference will be taking place on October 27th at Koerner Hall, Telus Centre for Performance and Learning.