Behind the ChangeMaker: Hilary


When developing plans, content or creative for our clients, we always prompt each other (and our clients) to think about the backstory or – as we like to call it –  the story narrative. We consider the intentions behind and ultimate goals of each sentence we write. But we realized recently that our audiences very seldom know the backstory of the ChangeMakers doing their work … so we set out to solve that.

Enter this: our new “Behind the ChangeMaker” series, which profiles what makes our team unique, one person at a time.

Hilary Friesen is our Client and Strategic Services Manager and when it comes to her job, she’s an absolute workhorse. Fortunately, we were able to snag an hour of her time to sit down and ask her a few questions about her time with ChangeMakers and more!

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

My alarm is set for 6am so I get the CBC news and I time how long I can stay in bed by a certain number of stories on the news. If I get right to the end of the newscast then I’ve stayed in bed too long!

We’re now a few months into our time at the new office, what are your thoughts? What surprised you about the new space?

I think what’s surprising about the new space is how much I liked it. In our previous two offices, I really liked the ability to close my door and really be able to focus and all that and I was worried about losing that, but I really like the social aspect of it and it hasn’t been near the kind of noise level that I expected.

Our first day in the office I started my day at WCB, so driving from the WCB to this office and coming over the Provencher bridge which is just, so beautiful, and coming into St. Boniface and pulling up to the office was just such a great feeling. I just love this beautiful drive. It’s one of those moves that felt comfortable, felt like a new home right away. It really felt like coming home.

What is one misconception people have about you?

In university, one misconception I feel people had about me was that I was more confident than I actually was. I sort of got this sense that just by projecting the idea that you believed what you were saying that people believed that you believed what you were saying.

Tell me about one of your most memorable clients or projects. What impact did it have on you either personally or professionally?

One of my most memorable projects was eChart Manitoba. It was when Manitoba introduced an electronic health record. The project started with research and strategy, which was kind of my bailiwick at the time. I had done my usual shtick. I had written a research report and a marketing and communication strategy and I was meeting with one of the co-owners. We were discussing who would manage the campaign, and I gathered up all of my courage and said, “well actually, I want to manage the campaign.” So he let me, and that was the first campaign that I managed from start to finish. To me, that was my springboard to doing what I do now.

Did that help you build your confidence?

It did, actually. It was the first time that I was really the “buck stops here” on a project. I wasn’t working with someone or for someone – I was running the show.

And now that’s the norm for you!

Yes! *chuckles*

Speaking of projects, what would be your dream client/project with ChangeMakers?

Something related to Reconciliation. I feel like Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples is one of the big cultural issues that we need to grapple with as a nation and figure out how to go forward on.

ChangeMakers is all about progress; influencing social change, making the world a better place. With that said, if it were as easy as waving a magic wand in the air to solve a world problem, what problem would you solve?

I would solve the problem of people being paid less than a living wage. I think if everybody could make a decent living at a job, a lot of other problems would solve themselves. People would have enough to eat, they would be able to feed their families, and their kids wouldn’t have to work and could go to school.

Change of pace – you’re on your deathbed, what do you want to be remembered for?

I’m still holding out the hope of writing a novel, so that is something that I would like to have in my obituary.

What type of book?

I used to think it would be some sort of contemporary fiction or maybe historical fiction, but I’ve also gotten into reading sci-fi and fantasy so it could be something like that. I have like a third of a novel sitting on my laptop waiting for me to get back to it!

What is something you’d be happy doing every single day for the rest of your career?

What I like about my job is the variety of it. I think the part that I like most in terms of something to do every day, is if I had a really solid writing project to work on that I could just spend an hour a day just writing, that is what I would like to do.



Visit our Team page to learn more about Hilary and the rest of the ChangeMakers team.

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