What is one word to describe yourself.. Think back to your high school yearbook. Mine was ‘simple’.
Good evening Madame Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, my name is Ellen MacCormac. This evening I will be sharing my icebreaker speech, with an objective of sharing a bit about myself.
I felt simple. I was ok with simple. Yet add to that, adventurous, spunky, resourceful, keen, and a very weird dresser.
In grade 6, I started a petition about the Student Union.
In grade 8, I was the Environment Club president.
In grade 9, I received Spartan of the Year, for athletics.
In grade 10, I joined the yearbook.
By grade 11, I received the honor of becoming a young editor. It was this year, at age 16, that I was introduced to photography and desktop publishing. I was taught the basics of traditional bookmaking, yet it was the first year for digital publishing with Lifetouch, who produced our yearbooks. I enjoyed a weeklong apprenticeship to learn Adobe PageMaker 3.0. We learned what templates were, how to access libraries, how to build frames, and pull images and graphics into those frames. We required a new computer for such software, so I proposed to the Student Union that we purchase the first Intel-chip computer in our school. My wish was granted, and that yearbook was the first innovative product I ever created. In building the yearbook, I found something I could disappear in. I felt absolute joy creating those pages, and would work until the evening hours in my own personal office at the school.
In grade 12, an avid newspaper reader, I came across a quote from the publisher of our independent paper, speaking of the importance of community and media. It spoke to me in a way that I wished to pursue media, journalism, photojournalism. Two application attempts later, at age 20, photography certification became my path. I found fellow classmates that enjoyed adventures as much as I did, and enjoyed my outings off the beaten path. I love spontaneity.
Upon commencement of my course, I was determined to move beyond the borders of my island. I didn’t wish to leave forever. I still cherish a lovely idea to live in PEI from May to September, and elsewhere from September to May. I met the boy who would later become my husband. We set off on our own adventure cross country within three months.
I never did find a photo studio that produced the type of work I appreciated, so I continued to work on my own, photographing weddings and family portraits in Grande Prairie. I spent time employed at a day spa, where I was a makeup artist and spa technician. I appreciate health and wellness, holistic remedies, connecting with women, and helping them see the beauty in themselves that felt very apparent to me. It’s what I see when I take portraits.
After some time, I felt a lack of challenge and became restless. I sought out the local newspaper. I wanted to be their photographer, yet was willing to begin at the front desk. I learned everything about the business with that choice. From front desk I moved to career ad design, where, all of a sudden, my desktop publishing skills became valuable. In doing that work, I discovered the stock photo library we used. Photos so SIMPLE. No drama, no expectations, just observation. That’s what I became drawn to.
Next I worked at a design studio, then went on to further my education at GPRC with Small Business Management, Intro to Marketing and Intro to Accounting.
My business began to steer toward commercial photography, graphic design and publishing. My photos are used within websites, social media, annual reports, and marketing materials.
In 2011, I began work on a cookbook with a local Twitter friend, Redawna – Everyday Delectable (can be found on Amazon). It was in producing this book, bringing the photos into my layouts, I realized this is where my photography started, with publications.
In 2012-2013, the production bug had stuck, I felt restless again, yet this time truly compelled. In gaining more information about my community through my communications within Twitter, I developed the concept for goROGUE. You’ve heard me speak of this before. A magazine app created for iPhone and iPad, it shared my community and culture through the Appstore. To date this is the last innovative product I have ever created.
Starting off very simple, I have created a life of adventure, boldness, connection, intuition, and a thirst for knowledge. I’m creative and strategic, spontaneous yet calculated. I believe in the power of simple; simple goals, simple means, simple love. What I feel I’ve learned on my adventures? That character and integrity are everything.