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Success: For Elizabeth Aver, her work is ‘a very special thing’

The brand and communications manager for the YMCA of Northeastern Ontario takes great pride in her work
Elizabeth Aver is the brand and communications manager for the YMCA of Northeastern Ontario.

For communications professional Elizabeth Aver, success is taking pride in what she does.

"All of the training, diplomas and certifications are great, but it's important you feel proud of what you do every day," said Aver, manager of brand and communications for the YMCA of Northeastern Ontario.

The position has allowed her to "learn about how each area at the Y works from health and wellness, to child care, to camp, and to our employment and immigrant services in Sudbury."

Aver, 25, has been in her current position for about a year but has been employed by the Y for five years. She started with the agency as an intern.

"My current role consists of making sure our services and initiatives are effectively positioned. That includes strategy work, planning, design, copy and supporting our fundraising initiatives in Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins."

"A very special thing" is how the young woman describes her work.

"The people you meet really help drive your development and you learn so much from those around you. 

"From the staff I get to work with to the members, families, and clients I meet and the stories they share, I really feel like I am doing good in the communities that I work in."

She feels privileged to hear stories of how the Y has helped families that were experiencing hard times. 

"Those stories really stick with you," she said.

Aver, who grew up in the "Gateway City" went to Canadore College and studied advertising, marketing and communications. 

"It was great because that program covered a lot, from communications, to marketing ethics, public relations, graphic design, and everything in between. 

"It set me up well because when I first started at the Y as an intern, my position was very much a generalist."

Fundraising is not easy and it’s hard work, but Aver finds that aspect of her job enjoyable because it involves community events such as golf tournaments and fun runs.

In her position, she takes part in fundraisers and events organized by other agencies.

Her job is about meeting and talking to people, so the pandemic was particular challenging.

"I think the COVID-19 pandemic really put a lot into focus. I was fortunate to keep working during the shutdown and working from home for that long was new for me."

"The shutdown was hard, as it was for a lot of people," she said. "Making sure I took care of myself was important."

She survived "going for walks to get fresh air, doing exercise to keep moving, and making time for things that made me happy."

Those things include painting. She also likes to read and has recently taken up running.

Aver said she enjoys living in North Bay and the outdoor experiences it offers. 

"It is great because it has a lot of nice outdoor space. I grew up exploring Laurier Woods and have fond memories of Duchesnay Falls and the trails behind Canadore College in the fall. 

"North Bay is also pretty central; it's easy to travel to places like Sudbury or Toronto."

In 2019, Aver was one of 84 young people who took part in the #52Coffees initiative organized by the young professionals committee of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce. The project organized one-on-one networking conversations.

Elizabeth Avers’ words of inspiration

"I was told something recently that I have found great comfort in. It's OK and normal to never feel like you know what you're doing.  It's a nice reminder when you're starting something new for the first time. You can start with the education you need, but there's always going to be a learning curve."

Vicki Gilhula is a freelance writer. Success is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.