“When you consider the objective of the blog, it’s to empower women. However women can’t be the only ones working on empowering women, that’s like losing half of the potential supporters of the cause… At the end of the day, we need everyone on board [to] reach more people.”
Imagine if there was an international law that stipulated: when, where, what and why an individual could gain knowledge. Well, not only would that law be unjust (in accordance to she.laces’s moral radar) but it would be virtually impossible to enforce. It would beg one very important primary question, and a subsequent question. i)What can, and should, be identified as “knowledge”? ii) How can it be identified when one is “gaining knowledge”? So, what’s the point of this hypothetical legal quandary? Nothing and nobody can arbitrarily determine what constitutes gaining knowledge. And this is important for she.laces’s messaging because we have ONE law when it comes to pursuing your dreams, goals and aspirations: make sure you’re gaining knowledge. When you go to work or school, make sure you’re gaining knowledge. When you engage with a screen (phone, TV, computer), make sure you’re gaining knowledge. When you read the she.lace blog posts, make sure you’re gaining knowledge. Consider yourself a library with shelves and stacks just waiting for a vast collection of material. Make sure everything you do can potentially add to your library of experience… and, this is the law of knowledge. This is one law that only you can break. So we hope you know that means that you’re your own judge, jury… and executer (nope, not executioner).
Jurisdiction over jurisprudence! Take a “recess” and try to deduce what we mean (the onus is on you to understand our rationale, but don’t worry we’re not judging you 😉). “Order, court is back in session…” did you figure it out? Excuse all the legal jargon, in layman’s terms what we’re saying is when it comes to the “law of knowledge” you have authority over this philosophy of law. YOU determine what knowledge is; YOU determine what the law is, and; YOU determine how to enforce it. And don’t worry about getting in any legal trouble if you’re accused of not trying to expand your knowledge. In this case the burden of proof is easy to satisfy because the only person(s) you’re presenting evidence to is… yourself. And the best way to ensure you don’t “break” your own law is by being honest and strategic. Provide yourself with your own counsel… talk to yourself and give yourself full disclosure. It all breaks down, to the breaking down of communication. Well, that’s one (of many) things our she.lace communication specialist can help us with.
If you were asked to name two professions, off the top of your head, that are regarded with the utmost respect what comes to mind? We believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, you thought doctor and lawyer. Two professions that undoubtedly perform valuable roles in society. Think about it… the interactions for most individuals with a lawyer or doctor involves receiving advice and/or instructions that could have a significant influence. The things they communicate to an individual could have an undue impact in their life. Communicate, hmmm. That’s a lot of the “3Ps”: power, pressure and privilege. So, what would you say to someone who decided they could have more influence with the 3Ps by being a communicator as opposed to a doctor? Well, you should say “that’s a good way to abide by the law of knowledge”. And, that’s exactly what we say to Yan… our “doctor” of communication. This is one young professional who knows how to get the right message, to the right people and the right time.
We charged her with the task of communicating how to abide by the law of knowledge… Let’s just say the case was easily dismissed. Enjoy the Q&A:
We need you to make yourself relatable to the public by explaining, who’s Yan?
Yan: This is always a tough question to answer since there are often so many aspects of myself I can talk about. But for the purposes of this conversation, I consider myself a Torontonian at heart, even though I was born in a different country. I came to Canada with my family when I was twelve. In terms of what I do, I was never one of those people who knew exactly what they wanted to do since they were little, so I’ve definitely tried a bunch of different things before I started a career in public relations. I’m one of those people whose undergrad has only marginal relevance to what I do today. I currently work at a tech PR agency called Coderella where I plan and execute public relations strategies for tech companies in Silicon Valley. Although with Toronto growing as a tech city, I’m excited for a day when I get to work with Canadian companies!
During my spare time, I love going to the gym and exploring the restaurant scene in Toronto. Can you see how the two are linked? Just kidding. I also enjoy architecture and design, as well as cooking.
How are you and the term Public Relations…related?
Yan: That is a great question! Very related, since I work in public relations. As a continuation to the above question. I graduated university with a Double Major in Medical Science and Biology. After a bit of working, and soul searching, I decided to go to school for PR. I received a postgraduates certificate in Corporate Communications in 2014. I’ve been working in PR ever since!
🤔From Life Sciences to Public Relations… Seems like Yan skipped over quite a few stacks in the library. But, she was really just abiding by her law of knowledge. We’ll discuss this more further down.
Why Public Relations?
Yan: Public relations appealed to me because I love everything about communications. PR is all about getting the word out about any news that a company has, so that people who could benefit from a service or product are able to find them. It’s a way for companies to connect with the public in a deeper way than say a billboard or TV ad. I noticed that I’ve often been asked to help people phrase things and position ideas when they want to communicate with others, so I thought it was a natural way for me to turn something I’m good at into a career.
What’s your dream job?
Yan: In many ways, I have my dream job. I work remotely for a PR agency in San Francisco. The clients I work on are all new startups in Silicon Valley, and I find that very exciting and it also means I get to travel to great cities for events and conferences in order to represent them. So when I am not working out of my home, I’m on the road checking out new cities and places.
My dream job would be working in communications for a company with a vision and services/products that I value and respect. I really believe that those with a “why to live” can bear almost any “how”. So, I think the most important part of a dream job would be the purpose and the impact it has for a cause or it’s ability to solve a problem.
“Shhh…The ‘s’ in she.lace stands for silence.” You strike us as someone who can speak volumes with your silence. How do feel about the word “conservative” being used to describe you?
Yan: Since we were in a library, silence was definitely appropriate. Silence is definitely powerful when you’re trying to focus or during negotiations. What’s said and what isn’t said, in different scenarios, can both speak volumes. The word conservative has almost taken on a negative connotation in recent years. I think while I do consider myself conservative in many ways, it would not be a word that I would use to describe myself. For example working in tech, where innovation is the name of the game, to be conservative seems to imply living in the past and to represent outdated ideas and methods.
Quiet, Conservative, Prestigious, Intellect, Knowledgeable. We could just as easily be describing you, but we’re listing some of the attributes of The Great Library. What did you think of the location of the photoshoot?
Yan: I am flattered, not sure if I’m all of those things. I thought the location of the shoot was simply stunning. Clearly it’s a place of deep learning and represents the prestige of the profession of law. It was my first time being inside the building after passing by it probably hundreds of times in the past. Libraries feel like the physical representation of human knowledge, so that’s always a humbling experience when you’re among so much information and knowledge.
What was your favourite part of the shoot?
Yan: My favourite part of the shoot was exploring the library and trying out various poses. Since I’m not familiar with photoshoots, I learned a lot about the different things you need to consider as the photographer: finding the right lighting, working with various angles, props and poses.
What empowers you?
Yan: I am not 100% sure if I’m answering this in the right way, but here’s my take on it.
I’m empowered by the positive things I see people around me accomplishing. I think it takes tremendous courage and individuality for people to take chances in life to go after what they want instead of what they think they should be. When I see people executing on their goals and plans, I find that extremely empowering to me.
Sidenote: We’re 100% SURE that Yan didn’t answer the question the “right” way…nope! She answered in the “Yan” way and that’s just as right as she can get 💯
Why did you model for she.lace?
Yan: I modelled for she.lace because I think the idea of the blog is really cool. I was flattered to be invited to be featured because I think all the guests who have been featured in the past are such strong female role models with such great aspirations and accomplishments.
What does she.lace represent to you?
Yan: she.lace represents the modern woman to me. No longer are sneakers restricted to gyms and playgrounds, it’s a massive fashion trend but it could represent so much more than that. Modern women are taking off [their] heels in favour of personal style and functionality.
Your outfit was phenomenal, eloquent yet practical…What role do sneakers play in making an outfit for you?
Yan: Wow, thanks so much for that! To me, sneakers are very playful and functional. When I dress, it’s important to have elements of formality but also an edge. I think sneakers play to that. Not to mention, sneakers are by far some of the most comfortable shoes a person can wear.
How do you feel about sneakers?
Yan: I think sneakers are great! I would say even outside of the gym, I wear sneakers a few times a week. I think it’s fantastic that it has become so acceptable for them to be worn in work environments.
So, consider this hypothetical scenario:
she.lace has a project in mind to feature some inspiring men, in the sneaker community, whose work aims to empower women. But, we’re concerned about the feedback…What PR plan would you devise to address these concerns?
Yan: I think when communicated the right way this isn’t an issue. When you consider the objective of the blog, it’s to empower women. However women can’t be the only ones working on empowering women, that’s like losing half of the potential supporters of the cause. It almost seems unfair to the men out there who are informed on the issues and want to help if this blog excludes them. At the end of the day, we need everyone on board [to] reach more people, I think it makes sense to feature men who are working toward the same goal.
We know the dangers of judging a “book by its cover”… But, we’re going to talk about a place that covers all the books need to become a judge. At least in Canada 😉.
For most of this post we’ve been referring to the concept of knowledge in the abstract. For example, something gained from experiences. But, what about the tangible forms of knowledge such as a book? After all, a great book can help develop a great mind. So our pursuit of great knowledge is one of the reasons we went to The Great Library!
Many Torontonians, such as Yan, have probably passed by Osgoode Hall hundreds of times without really knowing what the building represents. Perhaps more importantly, most people are unaware of the great resources that live within these walls that have been in Toronto since 1829. It’s clear, even from behind the ominous 10-foot tall iron gate perimeter, that the building is an architectural gem… but unbeknownst to most is the beautiful library which is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. she.lace knew this was the home of The Law Society of Upper Canada (the organization responsible for governing Ontario’s legal professionals), but that was the extent of our knowledge. We certainly didn’t know it housed a nearly 160-year old library.
Sidenote: In defence of our ignorance, it’s a common misconception that Osgoode Hall is a private building for use by practicing legal professionals (Law Society members) and articling/LPP candidates. Some of the services offered are restricted to licensed members, but thankfully the library isn’t one of them. Free WiFi too haha!
According to The Law Society of Upper Canada website:
The Great Library serves the legal information needs of Law Society licensees and other legal researchers by facilitating access to an extensive collection of print and electronic resources, and by providing legal research assistance and instruction. They forgot to mention it’s majestic feel dazzles first-time visitors. From the World War 1 memorial statue, to the Corinthian style columns, to the dimensions of the room, to the intricately detailed ceiling, to the etched glass windows, to the ten-foot stone fireplace… all the the fixtures and the ornamentation in The Great Library certainly “aid” in living up to the name. The Ontario Association of Architects provides a great in-depth explanation of all the aesthetic highlights. Speaking of highlights… at risk of breaking a Canadian patriotism law, we must say our favourite part was The American Room.
Elegant hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves… can you blame us?! It even has a second level you can access via a winding staircase.
Sidenote: This library is so interesting it even has its own blog! From Old Ontario Regulations, to Ghost Stories, to Ontario Condo Law Changes (an area of continuously growing relevance)…this library offers so much more than just legal encyclopedias.
Yes, The Great Library functions primarily as a study area which contains around 120, 000 legal volumes on its shelves and columns (the largest collection in Canada). However, how can we ignore the “fashion” that accompanies its function? It’s simply gorgeous. Not to mention the historic importance of this institution…the nearby TTC subway station, Osgoode, carries the same name as the building. No coincidence! So, if you’re ever in the downtown Toronto area we suggest you head to 130 Queen Street West (between University Avenue and York Street) slip pass the intimidating iron fences, carefully walk pass the perfectly manicured lawns and enter an overlooked building that contains lots of beauty within.
“I think it takes tremendous courage and individuality for people to take chances in life to go after what they want instead of what they think they should be.”
Kind of like an individual who graduated from university with a Bachelors of Science degree (double major mind you), and transitioned to a career in public relations because it complimented her aptitudes and personal interests. As you can see (or read) she.lace is revving up for our “closing arguments”. So, let’s consider Yan’s Q&A as an example of a “legal brief” explaining why she.lace’s concept of the law of knowledge should prevail. To go from a career path heading towards being a doctor, to a public relations specialists for up and coming Tech companies may seem like a bit of a leap. With that being said…who cares?! Yan is fortunate enough to say she’s working her “dream job” in a field that mirrors her natural talents and skills. She’s a foodie who loves to workout, travel the world, redefine the word “conservative” all while capitalizing on her stellar ability to communicate. Who’s to say a career as a doctor wouldn’t have afforded her the same opportunities? Well, she’s to say so…and her voice is the only one that’s heard in her court of appeal. And that’s the point of the “law of knowledge”…your quest to expand your library of experience with the decisions you make only have to appeal to you. So while this proud Torontonian waits for the burgeoning Tech scene in her home city to live up to its potential, she’ll continue travelling the world in her Nike Free RN Flyknit sneakers. Combining fashion and function while satisfying the law of knowledge… Now, that’s setting a legal precedent. Case closed!