Editor turns passion for words into career

You could say that freelance editor Alicia Chantal has a passion for health care and education in her blood. Long before she joined the SFU Editing Certificate program, she was raised by parents who were both registered nurses and had immigrated to Canada from Barbados. From an early age, Alicia recognized the importance of the health care system and was brought up to value opportunities for learning.

“I grew up going to my dad’s office and interacting with people that worked in health care,” she says. “Being able to work in those industries in some capacity, even in a retail or customer service role, was a way for me to give back and help people access essential services.”

She’s kept her fingers on the pulse of those fields ever since. Alicia began her career as a communications officer for the Workers’ Compensation Board in Alberta, and after taking time off to prioritize looking after her children, took on administrative roles with Alberta Health Services. 

Her father’s unexpected passing made her take a second look at her career direction and inspired her to pursue a field she had long loved. 

While she liked to write, Alicia felt most at home when she was behind the scenes editing someone else’s work. She fondly recalled her time as a copy editor for her university newspaper and the sense of accomplishment she felt when nobody could tell she had edited an article. 

“I always enjoyed editing. I think being able to put your own biases aside and make somebody else’s work and message come through is a valuable skill,” she explains. “When I found Simon Fraser University’s Editing Certificate, I made the decision to intentionally train as an editor. I found learning online to be accessible and the program was perfect for where I needed to be.” 

The Freelancing for Editors course in the program opened her eyes to the possibilities of editing as a career. She launched her own business, Fresh Look Editing, in 2019 and has remained true to her passion for health care and education. Several of her clients work in those fields and she takes pride in helping them convey their messages to their audience. 

“Life is too short to not go after what you truly enjoy doing,” Alicia says. “I’m grateful to be at the point where I not only enjoy my job, but have found my calling. Editing is where I am meant to be.”

By Bernice Puzon