SARAH BRAZAUSKAS, 26
- Storyboot Project Coordinator, Manitobah Mukluks, Winnipeg
- Education and training: Two-year diploma in graphic design from
Red River College; One year of fine arts at the University of Manitoba; Two practicums through Red River College
at the Manitoba Museum
- Average yearly income: $35,000-$40,000
- Years on the job: 1
How did you get into this field?
I studied fine arts at the University of Manitoba, but I realized it wasn’t the right path for me. But while I was at school, I was placed at the Manitoba Museum and, to me, it was fascinating to see the inner workings of a place I’d loved as a kid. I did some freelance graphic design work on the side, and I worked in customer service, then as an assistant manager, then the CEO [of Manitobah Mukluks] offered me a job as Storyboot coordinator and, of course, I jumped at the chance.
Describe a typical day on the job.
We work with Aboriginal artists around Canada to help gather knowledge about mukluk-making and to help preserve traditions and teach young people. I’m always looking for new artists, managing inventory and orders, planning and facilitating offers, helping out with social media. Our next big project is a digital archive. We’re hoping to gather knowledge across Canada and to preserve traditions.
What’s your favourite part?
There’s so much. It’s a pivotal and exciting time for us. The Storyboot Project is really starting to take off. It’s humbling to have a role in it. What we’re doing has the potential to make a positive impact on people’s lives. I really believe it’s important for Aboriginal people to see and share in the success of other Aboriginal people. Getting to help showcase amazing Aboriginal talent, and generally promote some of the best aspects of my community every day, is really rewarding.
What’s your most memorable moment on the job?
The last classes of a Storyboot session are really powerful. It’s amazing to see what someone who has never sewn or beaded before can create. And seeing the pride on their faces when they try the mukluks on, it’s really wonderful to be a part of that.
What advice do you have for someone who wants your job?
It’s really important that you’re self-motivated. Communication and organizational skills are really important. When you’re creating new things, there isn’t a roadmap that tells you what to do next.
What are the pros and cons?
There are so many opportunities and possibilities, because we’re just getting started. I have to reel myself in and take one piece at a time. Probably the biggest con is that I’m a perfectionist and, at times, I can be my own biggest critic. Also, it can be a little difficult when you’re planning workshops for kids from inner-city schools. Attendance can be discouragingly low, but those who do show up are always able to connect with their community.