Cheers Marina! Congrats on being HUG of The Week! We are dying to know how you landed such a cool job.
Follow this formula: hard work plus education times skills and passion, combine that with industry knowledge, add a positive attitude, and you’re all set!
I was always headed in this direction. When I was younger, I would build geocities web pages and Yahoo Groups for music artists. I’d also write for fun and was always interested in marketing, even winning a marketing award in high school. Fast forward to second year university and I have a publicity gig at MuchMusic. After that, one thing led to another with various contract jobs in media and marketing communications. I was really fortunate to be able to get experience working with media giants such as CTVglobemedia, Astral Media, Transcontinental Media as well in small business environments with tech vendor Atum and online media agency, VMG Cinematic. Working with VMG, I developed a strong interest in digital and social media. I found that the industry as a whole is very forward-thinking and dynamic. It also made me realize two things: 1) This is the future of the “marketing” industry 2) You can get away with doing just about anything before everyone fully figures it out!
What makes a good community manager?
To put it simply: authenticity. The role of a “community manager” is to interact with the community whether online or offline. You’re constantly representing the brand and you can’t fake being genuinely interested in a topic. Also, being creative and having the skill to find obscure, fun facts on the internet is pretty key.
What is a typical day in the life of Marina Arnaout?
Not many days are typical (I like to keep it that way) but it usually goes a little something like this...
7am-9am: Alarm goes off and the snooze button is hit about 5 times until I roll out of bed. Get ready and head over to work while reading about my latest interest or a book by my new favourite comedian on my Kobo.
9am-1pm: Respond to emails, plan updates for Steam Whistle's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Blog) and communicate with the Good Beer Folk community, answer various inquiries and more emails while managing to fit in a lunch somewhere in there.
1pm-5(ish)pm: Chat with the media about upcoming Steam Whistle events, have a meeting or a brainstorming session regarding an upcoming community event, blogger tour, or a contest; ensure all projects are on track and being executed according to the timeline, more emails, and before you know it’s 5pm.
6pm-7pm: Spend an hour at Goodlife Fitness (this part is usually non-negotiable).
8pm-?: I usually go for dinner and drinks, or check out many of the events this city has to offer from launch parties to art shows to concerts, prior to getting home and spending some time working or writing.
What are some of the fun opportunities and events you got to experience from working there?
Working at Steam Whistle is pretty awesome. The employee perks range from having a bar and a staff patio downstairs, ski trips, 12 pack a week, being a shareholder in a leading craft brewery and much more. I liked Steam Whistle prior to working here because of their extensive involvement in the community arts and music scene so it's great that I get to go to some awesome events that Steam Whistle takes part in as well as help in executing events like our art shows, Unsigned concert series, and Oktoberfest - just to name a few. I also love that I am surrounded by awesome creative people and that I constantly meet new folks from all sorts of industries and backgrounds. Once people find out you work for a brewery, everyone wants to be your best friend!
What did you study in University/College? Would you have done anything differently?
I have a BA in Communication Studies from York University which was actually a very interesting and eye opening program. Education is important and I think it really plays a large part in self-awareness and how one views the world. I also took extra courses while at York from University of Toronto & Humber in Business Writing, Copywriting and Marketing to get some practical skills along with my working experience. I would not have done a thing different and love how I fell into this path. Actually, I still take courses, attend conferences and read up on the latest business theorists. It keeps my mind fresh.
Favourite places to shop in the city?
Is it boring if I say Eaton Centre and Yorkdale? Haha I don't really have hidden gems in the city, it's more so when I travel that I like to take advantage and really exercise my wallet!
My go to brews are Steam Whistle (could you have guessed this one?!), Nickel Brook Green Apple Pilsner, Unibroue Trois Pistoles, Innis & Gunn Blonde, Beau's All Natural. I generally love to support and try various local craft breweries.
Tell us about your neighbourhoods and what you like best about it.
I grew up on Queen Street and seem to never get tired of it, whether I'm going out for dinner, shopping or heading out to a bar. West Queen West, Ossington, Yorkville and King are great for dinners or nights out. I love to grocery shop in Kensington Market at Essence of Life.
Liberty Village is also a fun community of like-minded people and that bubble has everything you need from LCBO to a pet store.
What advice do you have for hip + urban girls who are looking for a Community Manager position?
Work hard and be nice to people :) Get experience in the industry and stay focused— narrow down companies where you want to work and apply there. You should be genuinely interested in the company you're applying for. Know your words, as writing skills are important. Oh and don't forget to have fun!