Carlos joined me to talk a little bit about his position and experience as Team Lead of Operations for Reawakenings: Art as a Catalyst.
Farah: Hello Carlos! How did you decide to be on the Operations team?
Carlos: For me, Operations felt like a natural fit due to my background in film and television production. Especially in the beginning, we believed we would be doing the Symposium in person, and I wanted to learn more about venues in Toronto. When we pivoted to being online, it turned into a challenge due to my limited experience, but we had a lot of help from the Centennial College IT department to learn more about online events. I wanted to embrace this challenge, and we practiced using different platforms a lot!
Farah: Could you tell me a bit more about the journey you took when you found out that things were definitely going to be online?
Carlos: Of course! I realized I had to learn a lot of skills I was not planning on learning originally. We did a lot of research in order to find potential platforms, then we practiced using them. It took a lot of time to test each platform.
Farah: Can you share with me how you keep your team organized and on the right track?
Carlos: We jotted down every venue and platform on a table. Then we took notes of the advantages, disadvantages, accessibility, and costs. As we went through every option, we discussed it as a team. We kept a shared document on Google Docs as well to keep everything easily viewable to all team members.
Farah: How do you stay motivated through all of this? Especially regarding tough setbacks?
Carlos: I like to tell my team, “Keep your eye on the prize!” At the beginning of every meeting, we do a mental health check-in with one another. We discuss mental health to be aware of each other’s individual situations, to understand where everyone is coming from, and plan accordingly. We offer each other support, and talk to each other on a personal level. I tell my team to take things task by task. We always communicate on Slack, and we meet once a week.
Farah: It sounds like you guys are very in-sync and work well together.
Carlos: We are a three person team, and we all come from different cultural backgrounds. It takes flexibility to hear each other out. In the end, it’s good to learn from other cultures and adapt to each other’s different styles of working.
Farah: What is something you are looking forward to from the event?
Carlos: I am looking forward to all of our hard work coming together. The Operations team works behind-the-scenes, and it brings me joy to think about how all the months of hard work will culminate into a successful event. When the Symposium happens, all of the students’ hard work will shine through.
Farah: Thank you Carlos! It was a pleasure to hear from you!