Ever heard of the saying “big things come in small packages”? Well, that pretty much sums up Gianine. She graduated as Valedictorian of her class from the University of Waterloo in 2015 with a major in Communications and minors in Psychology and Human Resources Management. Currently, she is finishing her certification in Social Media Marketing at George Brown College.
Gianine is an ambitious and self-driven young woman working her way through the world of ‘adult-ing’ as the Digital PR and Social Media Director of Kindred Culture, a Social Media Coordinator of a major Canadian financial institution, and as an entrepreneur. She has many years of experience in event planning, social media marketing, project management, and communications.
During her spare time, you will find her going on adventures, food trips, and dancing in the studio with her crew.
Describe what you're working on and why it's important to you?
I am currently working for the Digital Strategy team for one of Canada’s top 5 banks and Kindred Culture. My responsibility for both positions is to execute social media strategy and marketing operations. Outside of my main responsibilities, I also work on event planning, communications, and project management with Kindred Culture – which I enjoy.
At the bank, our team is working on several campaigns that will be launching soon. All I can say is that I am very excited for these and I cannot wait for it to start rolling out!
Kindred Culture is a dance organization that promotes art, education, and community. We do this by providing different dance programs and events, and supporting various charitable or non-profit organizations that align with our values. As the Director of Digital PR and Social Media, my team is working on expanding Kindred Culture’s visibility and presence in the community. We are continuously exploring new ways to reach different demographics and look for opportunities to collaborate with online magazines, news outlets, and other organizations. We are even considering print media to help with our goal of reaching out to new demographics.
Since a large chunk of our marketing and lead generation is currently done through social media, we are also working on tapping into our platforms’ analytics to better understand what our key performance indicators are and what strategies will offer us the greatest return on investment. Kindred Culture has many amazing upcoming initiatives that are launching soon such as our new Female Training Program (January 2017) and annual post-secondary competition The Academy: Urban Dance Competition (March 2017). I also have some personal projects I am working on that I’m hopefully launching soon so connect with me to stay tuned!
These projects are important to me as they provide me with learning opportunities and experiences that will help me advance in my field. They also allow me to pursue my passion in the arts and marketing. I feel a special feeling of fulfillment knowing that I’m able to use my talent and skills towards something greater than my own benefit through helping my community and contributing to the greater good.
How does your role empower you?
Having had the chance to experience working for a big corporation and a start-up, what I find most empowering is the opportunity to think outside of the box and implement innovative ideas every chance I get. I feel most empowered when I see my vision come to life and experience the impact it has on the organization or community first-hand. I can definitely say that some of these ideas have been very successful, while others needed improvement. But the journey of crafting an idea, putting it together, and connecting the dots make everything more rewarding.
What advice do you have to other young women looking to get involved in your field of work?
Believe in yourself: Don't let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do because you are just as smart, talented, and skillful as the others. You just have to believe it and put it to action.
Build your portfolio: Don't wait until you're done University to start building your portfolio. Start as early as you can. It shows the drive and commitment you have for the industry you strive in and it also helps show potential employers and partners what you can really do.
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there: Don't be shy! If you want to apply to that job, do it. If you want to talk to that CEO, reach out. If you want to be involved, ask. What’s there to lose?
Who is your biggest role model, why?
I don’t have a role model - I think I only have people who motivate and inspire me.
My family motivates me to keep going in life no matter what obstacle I face. They’re very supportive of me and never fail to provide me with whatever it is I need to pursue my aspirations in life and be successful. The commitment and sacrifices my parents had to go through just to give me the best life I could possibly have drive me to never settle and always strive to become better.
A person who inspires me is my boyfriend. His work ethic, intelligence, perspective on the world, and the way he interacts with the people around him push me to be the best person I can be and to start believing in myself and my potential.
My family and boyfriend are big reasons I have been able to accomplish my goals. I thank them every day for guiding me to get to where I am today and for helping shape who I have become as a person. I take a lot of pride in the work that I do, not only because I do it for myself or the organizations I work for, but also for the people who mean the most to me.
What book do you recommend every young professional should read?
I’m not an avid reader but if I was to recommend a book to every young professional it would be, The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton. It’s a book about financial planning, however, this book has no checklists, no charts, and barely any math. In this book, the author casually chats about the world of money and he provides his insights, tips, and tricks on how to manage finances more easily. It will give you a whole new perspective on how to think more wisely about your savings, spending, borrowing, and investment decisions, which i think is important for young professionals like myself.
If you could go back to your 16-year-old self, what would you say?
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! It might not be obvious now but when I was in high school, I used to be really shy and because of it, I closed some doors for myself. Being a short and timid kid who immigrated here from the Philippines and was new to Canadian culture, I didn’t have the confidence to do what I needed to do to achieve what I imagined I was able to achieve. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school and my first year in University that I really started to break from my shell and build more confidence. In University, I joined many clubs and organizations - not just as a member, but also as an executive. I even won an award as a President of a club and was featured in our school’s student council website. I had four of the best years of my life in University and I wished that my 16-year-old self was able to experience that in high school as well.
Why do you think groups like YWiB are important?
Organizations like YWiB is important as it gives young women like myself a place where we could connect and empower each other to make a positive difference in the fields we're in and in the society as a whole. It's also a great platform for women to inspire each other and promote professional growth in a supportive environment.
What can our readers do to help you?
I'm always interested in meeting and chatting with new people. If you have a project in mind you think I can help you out with (social media, marketing, dance, communications, etc.) or you just want to chat, connect with me: