Interview conducted by Alicja Minda.
Editors work in many different sectors and roles and can specialize in various subject areas. In this series we explore various editorial niches as well as career choices and opportunities for editors beyond traditional publishing.
To start off, we’re talking to Jona Rhica Mejico, co-chair of Editors Toronto and a trained editor who has built a career as a communications professional at a financial institution.
What is your current position, and how did you land that job? Was any specialist knowledge required?
I’m currently a communications manager for a real estate lending department at one of Canada’s top five banks. While studying English in university, I took on an operations role at a mutual fund company even though I had no prior knowledge of the financial industry. Through this experience, I became familiar with investment products, systems, and other banking concepts, and I coupled that with my writing and editing background. This helped with starting a career in communications.
What are your main duties?
In my current role, I work with different teams that need communications for things like product launches, compliance or audit resolutions, regulatory changes, and so on. Depending on the request, I edit drafts that are already prepared by a subject matter expert. Other times, I am the fact finder and writer who creates the draft—and then I have to edit myself! For larger initiatives, I consult with the team and build strategic communications plans that outline details on tactics and timelines.
What skills besides editing do you need to do your job (if any)?
A general knowledge about finance really helps. This includes an idea of how mortgages or government accounts such as Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) work. I also find that having an eye for design (formatting, typography, colour theory, etc.) is a skill that will make you stand out among others in similar roles.
A lot of the communications pieces I write or edit are published on the bank’s intranet site, so basic knowledge of HTML (the standard markup language for web pages) as well as metadata is very helpful. Understanding accessibility guidelines, such as those outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, is useful too.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I love the variety of the work I get to do. No week is ever the same for me. Beyond business communications, I am able to exercise my creativity when I get to design layouts for newsletters, one-pagers, FAQs, and so on. I have also supported executives by providing them with key messages and ghostwritten pieces.
What is the hardest part about your job?
Providing counsel to colleagues who think they have to send a communication about every system update or remediation issue. Advising them on what purposeful and timely communications should look like can be a challenge, but colleagues are usually receptive once you show them the benefits of a well-planned communications strategy.
What advice would you give to an editor looking for a job at a financial institution or in the corporate world in general?
Don’t be afraid to start your career in a role that may not be directly related to editing or writing communications. Once you learn the ropes and understand the business, you’ll be better equipped to write and edit for your audiences appropriately.
Alicja Minda is a freelance editor and journalist based in Toronto. She is the editor-in-chief of BoldFace.
This article was copy edited by Erin Della Mattia.