Social City Networking is all about COMMUNITY, and encouraging members of each community to become more engaged positively in theirs! We encourage people to become community leaders, and that they are capable of anything – that networking and connecting to like-minded individuals positively contribute to both personal and professional aspects of your life! We have been blessed to have developed a happy friendship with one of Vancouver’s most prominent and respected individuals, Marilyn Wilson. We had the opportunity to sit and catch up with the inspiring Marilyn and felt that sharing her personal story and advice could help people realize their own potential and capabilities.
SC: Describe what community means to you in one word:
Family – I don’t think there is a stronger word. No matter who your neighbors are or who lives in the same city, we are all in this together. We are responsible for creating an open and accepting environment where we can all grow as individuals and hopefully earn our living pursuing our passion.
SC: Why do you do what you do?
As I was a teenager I was absolutely drawn to people and their stories, especially those in crisis, so thought being a counselor would be a good direction. I finished a BA in Psychology and then completed about ⅓ of a MA in Counseling and Drug Abuse. It was a wise professor who made me realize what a negative journey this would be. There was only a 5% success rate in family counseling.. He also had 3 clients commit suicide that year as well as a client who was having sexual feelings towards his daughter. It was not a positive direction. When I literally stumbled into writing at the age of 49 it was a eureka moment. That first interview with Denise Brillon of Artifaax on her life and journey was like a religious experience. I walked out with goosebumps and a new career was borne. In the end, what I get out of it personally is learning by hearing the life lessons of others. Case in point – the recent mention of a book by David Fierro led me to the concept of Wabi Sabi which has had a profound effect on how I view my own imperfections. (“Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all.”) Having people share their live stories with me is a gift and I feel truly blessed.
SC: What are you passionate about?
First is mentoring. When I agreed to be a part of Fame’d Magazine, it was with the understanding that I could cover fashion design students each issue. Young talent is the future no matter which field you look at and they need to be nurtured. Passing on knowledge, being the rock someone leans on, helping a rising talent gain industry attention and more – there really is no greater satisfaction than helping others. I have learned from those who mentored me that the hardest part is to give your advice and then let go, even if you feel the final decision they make is wrong. It is their journey and each person must listen to their own inner voice when it comes to what path is the right one.
SC: What about Vancouver attracted you to become engaged positively in the community, and how do you feel being engaged benefits the community?
I fell into the community when I had to produce 2 articles a month for a local fashion magazine. What holds me here is the sheer amount of raw talent Vancouver produces as well as the many wonderful people I am fortune to know. While the job market is not the best for artists, it’s jaw-dropping to realize the number of talented professionals this city has produced. I also believe in creating the kind of space you want to live in. If you want it to be a better city, then you need to commit to that goal and put effort into it. It’s easy to complain, but that gets you nowhere but to a negative mind set. Step out of your bubble, turn your phone off, and see where it all leads you.
SC: What is one major lesson/learning you are taking away from your journey so far?
What makes me who I am can be positive or negative. Example – The same thing that makes me a good interviewer also makes me hyper-sensitive to what people say. I also tend to approach things differently and more than once had someone I was talking with give me “THAT LOOK.” However taking a different approach has paid off for me. Instead of trying to change myself to fit society’s expectations, I need to embrace situations that are positive for me and limit exposure to those that are negative. Again – the term wabi sabi comes in here. There is beauty to be found in imperfections (they add flavour to a personality) and authenticity is something I value above all. I want to add one more and that is that there is no right path to take. Each person’s journey is personal and once you clear your mind, intuition becomes a strong guiding force.
SC: In your own opinion, how would you encourage others to live more actively within our community?
Turning off the computer and cell phone more often, especially when you are out in public. No one needs to respond to texts and messages during every waking hour of the day. Smart phones are a gift to the way we live, but they are also a monkey on the back for many who have grown to feel everything needs to be addressed at once. Let it go. Take time off. If you’re having time with friends in particular, put away the phone and be 100% in the moment. Even better – turn it off – scary I know! Try a few new activities with a group – dance lessons, cooking lessons, hiking and more. We can forget how important community is to our mental and physical health until we need it and it’s not there.
SC: What is a personal experience you have had where social networking has benefited you in accomplishing your dreams and your goals?
Every person’s story – whether in an interview or in talking socially – gives me insight into my own. I see a problem in a different way, a path I wouldn’t have even thought about or a solution that is surprisingly right for me. Self acceptance, that much needed pat on the back from associates and more all come from networking with others face-to-face with no interruptions.
SC: What is some advice that you would like to share to people out there?
When choosing a career path, really research what it will be like to do this for the rest of your life. This means things like how many years will it take to get there, who will you work with, will this provide a salary you can live on, how is success defined, will this actually fuel your passion, will this be stressful or a joy to do every day, etc. Know as much as you can about where you intend to go. Talk to as many people as you can who have worked in the industry for a number of years about what their job entails.
SC: What are your socially conscious contributions to your community, and what inspired the idea behind them?
Mentoring is number one. It makes me happy and fits in with my passion for people and their journeys. After that comes giving back, but I tend to take a undirected approach on this. I love variety and enjoy stepping into projects that interest me. This year I supported SMOC.ca’s efforts to raise money for a museum in several ways, I contributed blankets to the Get Warm Project and helped raise funds to send a dance teacher who has special needs adults and kids in her studio to Greece for a conference on Dance Therapy. Each offered a different type of satisfaction. My best advice – make it personal. If something touches your heart, step up to the plate and find a way to be involved. Lastly is women’s rights. This issue has taken a huge step backwards in recent years. I am still looking for the right path, but it is definitely a priority for 2013. So far my only contribution has been through several articles on my website.
SC: What is your favorite local spot and why?
Home! This wasn’t the case when I was younger, I had to be out in the clubs dancing. I did however grow up in an environment where having people in, feeding them and enjoying their company was the norm. With the tiny spaces many now live in this can be daunting. I am privileged to have an old house with lots of room so have re-found the joy of entertaining at home. It’s so much more relaxing and intimate than meeting in a coffee shop or restaurant and I think it nourishes people to have a home cooked meal, relaxed conversation in a quiet space and maybe a few games for fun.
SC: What are your thoughts on SCN and its work?
The goals of Social City Networking as I understand them are the same as mine – to get people to connect in a significant way, to get off the computer/phone and interact with each other, to promote local talent/businesses and to better the community as a whole through charity work – so kudos! Community for me is about family, city, nation and globe – we are all in this together and need to make time to create the type world we want to live in.
Connect with Marilyn Wilson
Editor and Freelance Writer
Personal Website – Olio by Marilyn
Twitter – @oilobymarilyn.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/marilyn.r.wilson
Link’d – http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/marilyn-wilson/10/b62/117/
Writer: Krista McKenna
Social City Networking INC.: SOCIAL in the CITY 2013