Executive Unplugged: Arija Berzitis, Secretary

We want to give the Editors Toronto members and student affiliates another way to get to know the executive and find out what is involved in being on the committee. So, we asked executive committee members to introduce themselves and their roles by answering a few questions.

Meet Arija Berzitis, secretary for the Toronto executive committee, who has been a member of Editors Toronto for two years now. Currently completing the Publishing Certificate at Ryerson, Arija has worked as an editor, copy editor, and proofreader for most of her career and wants to continue using these skills despite the changing editorial climate and pandemic-related restrictions.

What kind of editor are you? Tell us a bit about your experience.

I started my career back in the dark ages as a magazine copy editor, but I wanted to learn typesetting as the compositors made more money. So, I made a lateral move into printing and typesetting, where I learned a lot about formatting and fonts. I then decided I missed the “creative” side of editing and massaging words into coherency both grammatically and stylistically. I restarted my editing career about 15 years ago and I am still on that journey. I learned that you cannot take massive amounts of time off from something—without losing momentum.

What is your favourite part of the role you hold on the executive committee (or the exec, as we call it)?

My favourite part is always knowing what’s going on in the Canadian editing field through our monthly program meetings, meeting other authors and editors, and discussing the latest news.

Give us an elevator pitch for your role.

The role of secretary involves somewhat intimate knowledge of the other chair positions in documenting their efforts for the minutes every month. Creating the minutes has become far easier than it used to be, though, because the executive is now using Google Docs, which allows each chair to upload their own report.

What’s your favourite part of an exec meeting?

I am not a talker but a listener, and I just enjoy listening.

If you didn’t have your role on the exec, what role would you pick?

My role is a documenting one, but I enjoy generating ideas too, so if I were to switch, I would probably opt for seminars. Or I can take the chef’s course at George Brown—something totally different because some days I want that.


Editors Toronto holds elections to fill the executive positions every May. If you are interested in the positions and their availability, please contact us at [email protected].

This article was copy edited by Natalia Iwanek.

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