I was first pointed in Yvonne Pilon’s direction in June.
Five years ago, Windsor Life Magazine ran a campaign called #YouBeauty Moments. The program spotlighted the contributions of several different female entrepreneurs under 30 in Windsor and Essex County. We decided to commemorate the anniversary of this special occasion by reconnecting with some of these incredible women.
Which led me to the esteemed Yvonne Pilon.
I was impressed by her. Partly by her work ethic. Mostly by her passion. See, I’m not a native Windsorite. I grew up in a small town lost in the shimmering emerald hills of Elgin County called Belmont (don’t look it up—you won’t find much). I enrolled in the University of Windsor’s Honours English Literature program back in 2013, and have been content to water my roots here ever since.
I like Windsor. I like the community. I like the connectedness of everything. I think this area has mountains of untapped potential. And it’s always seemed to me that the people who grew up here have the hardest time recognizing that.
Except for Yvonne. She was determined to turn Windsor into Ontario’s tech centre.
Fiercely, unapologetically determined.
A month went by. I continued writing for the magazine. At the time, things were (and still are) up in the air because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I decided that I needed more work to help further develop my skills and build my professional network. But, I didn’t know where to start.
Then I remembered Yvonne Pilon.
I shot her a message, asking her if she knew anyone looking for freelance marketing or writing work. Her response was immediate. She said that WEtech Alliance had a Marketing Project Officer position open that was being supported through the Canada Summer Jobs Program.
“We’re doing the interviews later this week if you’re interested in applying.”
I was. I was very interested.
That Friday, I signed onto a Zoom call with Yvonne and WEtech’s Director of Programs & Marketing, John-Marc Vachon.
We spoke for an hour. They asked me some challenging questions. I stammered through some answers. I walked away thinking that I could have done better.
I remember not being all that intimidated that first morning Yvonne introduced me to the team. In retrospect, I probably should have been.
There’s John-Marc, who I previously mentioned. JMV is a human repository of all things Social Media Marketing and Graphic Design. His work as WEtech Alliance’s Director of Programs and Marketing, as well as his previous work as the Director of Marketing for Wendy’s Windsor-Essex, has earned him numerous local, national and international accolades.
There’s Adam Castle, the Director of Venture Services. He specializes in business growth across multiple sectors and has experience working companies of all sizes. He started his first two businesses when he was 15.
There’s Adam Frye, the Director of Business Innovation. Over the last five years, Frye has cut his teeth on the Waterloo-Toronto startup community, both as an early employee in a high growth social enterprise and a startup coach and mentor for young entrepreneurs. He was even the first employee at Textbooks for Change, which helped provide East African universities with over 175,000 textbooks.
There’s Michelle Teno-Wachter, the Program Coordinator. She’s a wealth of administrative experience and organizational skills from working at the Windsor Star for 32 years. In addition, she continues to operate her own evening and party attire store, Formally Yours.
There’s Noah Campbell, the Tech Community Program Manager. A University of Windsor Gold LEAD Medallion Scholar, he also founded WinHacks, the region’s first ever post-secondary hackathon, and BorderHacks, a cross-border hackathon funded by the US State Department.
And then there’s me! The new kid. The In-House Storyteller.
The In-House Storyteller
It’s difficult to wrap my head around how much I learned from this extraordinary team in such a short amount of time.
JMV taught me how to better take advantage of the different social media platforms to maximize the impact of my message. (I learned more from him in 20 minutes than I did from reading an entire marketing textbook.)
Castle and Frye walked me through the different hurdles entrepreneurs face, and how WEtech Alliance has orientated itself to provide the best solutions possible.
And through speaking with WEtech’s many different clients, I learned how truly radiant Windsor’s multifaceted business community shines.
I also learned how to paddleboard. In jeans.
To Be Continued
While working with my new team, Yvonne tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out another opportunity. Communitech, a regional innovation centre based out of Kitchener, was searching for young Graphic Designers, Copywriters and Digital Marketers to assist with their Digital Main Street Future Proof Program —a program that assists business with identifying new markets, pivoting their business model, and developing and implementing a deep digital transformation plan.
Yvonne encouraged me to apply. I did. And—surprise, surprise—I was accepted.
Now, I’m leaving this eight-week contract with a well-paying full-time job in my field.
So, thank you, WEtech Alliance.
And thank you, Brian Masse, for making this possible. My time at WEtech Alliance has been one of the most rewarding opportunities of my professional life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the time I got to spend with Yvonne and her team.
I do have one complaint, though. Those eight weeks went by entirely too fast.
But, silver lining—I don’t have to say goodbye to my new friends just yet. My contract at WEtech has been extended until March 2021. So, for the next few months, I get to continue helping Yvonne and her team polish the shimmering jewel that is Windsor and Essex County.
Click the images below to read some of Michael’s work.
Michael Seguin was born with a pen in his hands and too many words floating around his skull. Since then, he’s worked tirelessly to get them out. Unfortunately, more keep taking their place. After university, he began dabbling in marketing and journalism. At the age of 26, he became the first in-house writer at Windsor Life Magazine, an esteemed local publication. As the newest member of the WEtech Alliance team, Michael is dedicated to lending a voice to the tech sector around Windsor and Chatham-Kent