Q: What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
A: Starting this opportunity with Polaris was a pretty big moment for me. Prior to that, I launched a Creative Studio & Artist Residency Program to address the continuously growing gap in safe and affordable Queer & Trans creative spaces in Toronto. Artists are able to use the space for free and have access to tech equipment to assist them in creating digital content during this challenging time for live performance.
Q: Can you tell us about one woman or non-binary champion who has influenced your career and how?
A: When you first come out of school and have 0 experience to stand behind, you need someone to see your potential and give you a chance to show you can do it. For me, that was Kate Maynard who now works for the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Kate was my manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto and she not only gave me that shot, she coached me every step of the way. I believe we should all go out of our way to make learning and experiential opportunities available to those just entering a new field of work. I try to create these opportunities within every organization I have the pleasure of working for. I am so grateful to Kate for taking on the extra effort and seeing my potential and I will continue to do the same because of her.
Q: Are there any barriers you experienced at the beginning of your career that you’re not seeing as much today/have been overcome?
A: The short answer is no. I identify as a non-binary white queer whose gender expression, voice, and facial features are predominately seen by a society as a passing woman. So far in my career, I have mostly experienced barriers and injustices because I look like a woman and that has resulted in gender pay gaps, sexual harassment, and hitting the glass ceiling.
I have been lucky enough to only work in not-for-profit or charitable agencies where folks are (sometimes) more aware of these issues and take steps to address them. I think for-profit organizations are starting to wake up and begin the process of educating and training their employees on a few topics. However, training does not a culture make, and these trainings often only cover a few "key" topics. Systemic issues are ingrained in most organizations from their inception and in order to really address these issues they would need to dismantle and then rebuild to see true results.
Q: One thing you’ve learned about business, people, or yourself, during your career journey?
A: At the end of the day, all we can do as individuals is stand behind our own actions and efforts and have that be enough to see us through. The reality of working in the not-for-profit sector is that there is always more work that can be done, but you can only take on so much as one person and you have to know your limits and set boundaries or you will burn out. I am trying to learn this about myself and do better.
Q: How do you see the industry evolving in the next 10 years?
A: I'm not sure how the industry will evolve but what I hope is that the evolution involves a lot more collaboration. I believe resource sharing will be key to success. We continue to work in silos when there is so much opportunity to share tools, information, skills, assets, and experiences with one another. I would love to see these seeds be planted now and watch them grow over the next 10 years and beyond.
Q: One Canadian artist who’s caught your ear recently?
A. I have spent a lot of time going back into the Polaris long lists to make sure I am up to date on all of the nominees. Mansfield.TYA is not new to me but listening to Monument ordinaire makes me want to risk it all. Whatever that means.
Q: One tangible piece of advice a reader can do right now to put themselves in a better position for success
A. Build a portfolio of your work from day one and if you didn't, start now. It can be physical or web based. You can bring it to interviews or just use it to remind yourself of all the things you have achieved. It can also be helpful to reference previous work and not always be starting from scratch.
ABOUT AMBER MOYLE
Amber Moyle has worked as a senior manager in the not-for-profit arts and culture sector for the last 12 years believing in the strength of strategic community collaboration and creative resource sharing. Amber has raised over $15 million in sponsorship and event revenue through thoughtful asset development expansion and intentional partner education and training. Over the last 7 years, Amber has been privileged to work for agencies whose mission focuses on uplifting and advocating for marginalized communities through arts and culture initiatives. These opportunities have awarded them with a wide range of experience including overseeing departments such as fund development, sponsorship, marketing and communication, arts programming, special events, volunteer management, community engagement, and partnerships. Amber joins Polaris after working as the Director of Sponsorship & Strategy at Pride Toronto, where they led and implemented a series of special projects in this position, including the Pride Toronto Creative Studio & Residency Program, education and training program, and the transition to produce the first ever Virtual Festival in 2020 and hybrid Festival in 2021. Amber is thrilled to have been selected as the new Executive Director of Polaris Music Prize 2021. The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours and rewards artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction.
Stay tuned for our next feature creative coming in the WIMCanada special International Women's day edition, March 8.