Women in ICT

Meet Madeline Ell.

Madeline Ell

Occupation: Video strategist/Producer
Employer: Madeline Ell
Memorable Quote: “That’s when I realized the power of technology.”

What is your current job title and what day-to-day activities does this job entail?
Video strategist/Producer – though a self-proclaimed title. Video strategy sees more of a role than ever in today’s changing technological and creative world. The communication strategy behind delivering a video can often get lost due to equipment, crew, changing deliverables, budget, content, talent and an abundance of other challenges. As one of today’s leading communication tools, it’s important to tell the story, deliver the content and get the point across. Day-to-day activities can vary from pre-production to post-production and include everything from planning, quoting, budgeting, hiring crew, selecting talent, scouting locations, meeting with clients, organizing gear, picking up gear, shooting, directing, running errands for set, driving, audio sessions, directing voice over talent, picking music, editing and compressing video for final delivery.

What is your educational background (if any)?

My education began at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in a program named (at the time) Cinema, Television, Stage and Radio (CTSR). I majored in Television Production with a specialization in Post-production; I knew the more I knew about the back-end of video and television production, the stronger and more effective I would be as a leader in the industry. Following my program there, I worked an internship in public relations and completed a design certificate at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design before entering the advertising and communications industry. I believe that you get out what you put in to post-secondary education and I was adamant about learning the basics and building a foundation on which to build my career. Skills Alberta 2012 from Madeline Ell on Vimeo.

What experiences led you to your current position?

I’m probably not a shining example of working my way up the ladder in the most conventional way. I have bounced from PR to advertising, from production companies to internal corporate work. For me it’s been about the people I know, my positive attitude, an over-all can do mentality and knowing how to do more than one thing. The more areas you’re versed in, the better leader it makes you.

What was the most defining moment of your career?

The most defining moment in my career was likely working on the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Working on the Olympics was my goal both for moving to a new city as well as in my career. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me, bigger than one company and that involved both sport and video production. Working as a collective towards a common goal is almost always the most satisfying part about working as a team, and there was no better time or cause than the Olympics. I was part of the official commemorative team which meant I had virtually unlimited access to any venue at any time with a camera in my hands which was a privilege not many had. Vancouver 2010 Olympic Theme – National Launch from Madeline Ell on Vimeo.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

While all jobs have their highs and lows, video production is probably one of the most bi-polar. The rewards are extremely satisfying – seeing your work broadcast on National or International television, winning a bid or just being able to work with people you’ve always looked up to are just a few of the rewarding parts.

What skills are most important for your role?

Being able to MULTITASK — this is Key! In my position you need to be able to do more than one thing at any giving time, while maintaining a calm state of mind. The stress levels are often high in a job like this because it’s entirely deadline driven. It’s often up to you to get the job done or it doesn’t get done at all, which, can result in losing a client, not getting paid, or seriously impacting your reputation and integrity.

There is a common misconception that ICT is boring; can you give us an example why your job is NOT boring.

This question shocked me as I’m not sure what some people’s perception of jobs in the information and communication technology sector are! Communications as a whole is never boring. There is never one day like the last, and there are always new issues, people and creative projects to be a part of. This job is not for everybody as it is always changing and therefore in my opinion, never boring.

Why do you think women are poorly represented in ICT jobs?

I think this goes with the general misinterpretation about “the trades” as a whole. Women are poorly represented in trade jobs, which sometimes this falls under. That being said there is absolutely no reason to be discouraged as a female in this industry. I think it’s an absolute positive to be a female in an information and communication role because, on a general level, women are more effective, focused and organized communicators. This makes us able to handle multiple projects, organize groups of people, and handle all kinds of logistical nightmares than men deem intimidating.

Why do you think girls should learn ICT skills?

Communicating is what we’re good at as women. Information and Technology skills are where the world is headed and without them it makes us weaker communicators. Women can easily excel in this field if they’re driven, responsible and unafraid of confrontation. I think it’s a great balance of empowerment for women and cooperation with men.

Can you list ‘5’ ICT jobs that you think our readers would love.

1) Social Media specialist
2) Digital strategist
3) Marketing Director
4) Video Producer
5) Technology integration

If our readers wanted to pursue a career like yours, what advice/resources would you recommend to them?

Don’t be afraid to try out many areas until you find one you like. They’re all interconnected and related and more often than not the skills are somewhat transferable. Learn as much as you can as fast as you can and set up informational interviews with people who have the job that you want – I’ve never had someone say no to an informational interview. ASK QUESTIONS.

If you could conjure up one quote to inspire young women, what would it be?

“Life is a question. So we chase the universe, asking for answers.” – Kris Demeanor
“It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.” –Louise Hay