Emily Vilcsak is a MacEwan student and one of our community members at Roundhouse. Last week, she wrote a blog highlighting our space, so we had to return the favour. We love getting an inside look at the cool things our members are up to!
Emily manages a full time workload of communications freelancing but also dedicates her time speaking at schools around Edmonton with her youth empowerment program, Mission I’mPossible.
We sat down with Emily last week to learn a bit more about her!
What are you taking in school?
I’m in my third year of the Bachelor Communication Studies program majoring in Professional Communications.
What lead you to pursue this degree?
When I heard about the degree I fell in love with how new and fresh it was. I’m a total people person so it was right up my alley. My focus in the degree is on external communications, whether that is presenting my youth empowerment program at schools and conferences or taking on a variety of communications contracts doing design, copywriting, social media (and lot’s of stuff in between). This degree has given me the opportunity to combine my love for writing, business and public speaking. The best part? I get to work in the industry while going to school.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
In my life, entrepreneurship means problem solving, creativity, and taking risks (after research and planning, of course). Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to combine my passions and my work, all while fueling my creativity. However, with entrepreneurship comes challenges. It’s how you grow and learn from these challenges that makes all the difference.
What do you do for fun?
Travel! The best part about being a communications freelancer is that all of my work can be done from my laptop, so most of my contracts are remote. In February, I went to Switzerland for reading week and I’m heading to Colombia in April. I crush out most of my work on planes or get up early and work from local cafes. Travelling to new places always inspires my creativity in my personal and contract work.
What has been your biggest takeaway about life as an entrepreneur this far?
I’ve learned through my entrepreneurial work that connections are everything, and this applies to me on many different levels. Of course, networking connections are important on the business side of the work that I do, but it also applies to personal connections and my connections to myself. I’m able to connect to myself best through self care and journaling. When I’m focused on these different connections, I find a balance that enables me to be passionate about everything I’m involved in, whether it’s work, school, volunteering or my social life. For me, balance means work hard, play hard!
What do you think is the most important part of your work?
I often work as the connection between a company and its audience, which can take many forms depending on the project I’m working on. One important part of my work is to develop external key messaging for a company. My work begins with understanding who the company is and what they do. Next, I find the connections between the internal workings of the company and the benefits it offers its audience. From there, I brainstorm all the slogans, taglines and messaging I can think of. I narrow it down, refine and send it to my client for review.
What advice you would give your 16-year-old self?
Breathe. I love to be busy. I find that’s when I do my best work and have the most fun, but with busyness comes burnout and that’s something I’ve always struggled with. Over the last few years, I’ve been working to incorporate rest into my schedule, which usually looks like hanging out with friends or exploring the city! Sunday brunch is my favourite way to take a break.
What is your favourite part about working in Roundhouse?The people! One of the troubles of being a freelancer is that it’s very individual work. Being around other entrepreneurs and creatives absolutely fuels the work that I do. There are so many great opportunities for students at Roundhouse, like the upcoming series for student entrepreneurs called “Making Your Business Idea a Reality.” It’s a free event and students get to hear from incredible local professionals. I’ll be attending and I hope to see a bunch of MacEwan students there too!