It’s time again for the latest edition of Inspired & Innovative. I&I highlights the amazing work of our local professionals, entrepreneurs and game-changers.
This week we’re catching up with Emma Bullen. Originally from London, Emma is a writer and editor who has worked with some big names you might recognize: BBC, The Guardian, Virgin Media, and her current employer Disney. She’s also one of the organizers behind the Kelowna Write Now Meetup group.
Kodie — To kick things off, tell us the story of Emma. Where you came from, what you do, that sort of thing.
Emma — Well I’m from London originally. I’ve been here for four years. I was working for Club Penguin in Brighton, but I was living in London and I was commuting an hour and a half a day. My friend said to me, “Hey you should move here, come move here!” So I moved. It was quite a big process. It was quite a culture shock. You get to an age where it gets harder to make friends than it was in university, because people have got their friends groups established. When I first got here it was like, “who are my people? Where’s my tribe?” It was a lot of trying to figure that out.
As a writer I think it’s easy to make excuses for doing other things and not writing. You get into this weird spiral where you start writing and if you’re not you think, “I really need to be writing,” and you feel weird if you don’t. It’s about making time. So we started doing, like, regular sessions where we’d write together. There was something about working with somebody else that just made you work harder, a little bit. We’d get a lot of writing done in a shorter period of time. So then we made the meetup group, and we meet every other week. It’s a place for writing and where you don’t have to be worried about harsh critiques. You get to hang out with people, and if you want to share your work and get feedback you can. The big thing is meeting like-minded people.
K — In doing that did that help you overcome the difficulty of meeting people?
E — Definitely. The way you meet people in Kelowna is very different than, well, definitely London. It’s a totally different culture. I thought like, you know, London is always going to be there and when you’ve always lived in a big city you want to get out a little bit. In London I was sharing an apartment with four people and paying £600.
K — So why Kelowna? Why wouldn’t you have moved closer to the office in Brighton? Why come here and what makes you stay?
E — I was doing the back and forth. I was already working with these guys really closely. So, this was a really creative team and had a lot of ideas bouncing all around off of people was just really inspiring and I wanted to be around that. When I came out here I was doing a thing where I was like, “Just give it three months.” So I gave it three months, and then I gave it three more, and three more, and I’m still here. It’s much healthier, I think, living in Kelowna than London. There’s been a lot of progress since I moved here as well. I mean, they just installed a roundabout on Water Street! Yay! I love hearing about that sort of thing though, anything new, what people are doing, hearing about new buildings. I’m excited about the new Innovation Centre, what you’re doing with the co+Lab. There’s a lot of really awesome things.
K — Do you feel like those things have helped contribute to Kelowna, even in the four years you’ve been here?
E — Yeah, absolutely. I really enjoy seeing things like Startup Week(end). I wasn’t able to go out to it this year, but I’ll be at the next one! I appreciate these things and like those things that bring other people together. Really cool things come out of those relationships.
To find out more about Emma you can check out her website, follow her on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn. Be sure to make it out to one of the Kelowna Write Now sessions to practice writing and to meet some awesome people!