Names to Know: Lizzy Karp, Marketing & Communications – Optik Local / Story Hive

Where do we start with Lizzy Karp? As the Marketing & Communications Manager for TELUS Optik Local & STORYHIVE, she is one of the most passionate storytellers at TELUS. We asked Lizzy how she funnelled her creativity and talent to help her get where she is today. Here’s what she had to share with any up-and-coming creative minds.

  1. Can you tell us about your role at TELUS? 

The title on my business card is Marketing & Communications Manager for TELUS Optik Local & STORYHIVE but let me unpack that for you. First off, did you know that TELUS supports storytellers in Western Canada by funding filmmakers in BC and Alberta?

We do this through a grant program called STORYHIVE, which focuses on emerging filmmakers. This year we’re on track to grant approximately $6,850,000 to more than 220 projects. We also develop our own content, including uplifting short documentaries called TELUS Originals (my current favourite – Queer Hutterite). You can find these documentaries, web series and short films on TELUS Optik TV on-demand and online.

My challenge each day is to creatively tell our story, market to new filmmakers and support the distribution of content once it’s made. In collaboration with my awesome team, I use social media, help manage our external agencies, collaborate with internal TELUS teams, reach out to traditional media and network within the film industry by attending conferences and events. Where possible, and most importantly, I share silly dog gifs as often as I can.

  1. What initially drew you to in? What career steps help you get here?

My passion is storytelling and the many ways it connects people – from social media to video content, to real life experiences. Being able to carry that passion professionally attracted me to the role; specifically with regards to the STORYHIVE initiative. I love the opportunity to impact creators, while empowering them to tell their stories and helping them grow a sustainable career. That’s a pretty powerful idea in and of itself. To top it off, my team is filled with inspiring, accomplished folks from different creative industries who are super collaborative and support my “go-get-em” nature.

Like many TELUS team members, my career path has been full of twists and turns. Prior to joining this team I worked with a Vancouver-based digital agency and consulted with small and large organizations on content marketing. My passion for storytelling and community building were also born from my own projects, including co-founding and producing the live storytelling series Rain City Chronicles, being a part of local experience agency Here There and establishing A Good Book Drive, a playful kid’s book drive now in four major cities.  I bring learnings, contacts and fresh ideas to my role from the years of managing these story-inspired projects.

  1. Your field is exciting and ever-evolving – how do you stay up to date?

This is a big one and essential for any marketing role. I’m constantly searching for new trends and imaginative ideas from the design and arts world, trends in film and television, innovations in social media and people! My Feedly is filled with resources and I’m newsletter obsessed (lately it’s The School of Life, Lenny, Booooooom and Meighan O’Tolle). My commutes to the TELUS Garden in Vancouver is almost always spent listening to podcasts. I attend conferences or film festivals whenever possible and I’m always observing how our community members engage with STORYHIVE to learn more about what inspires them. Most importantly, like any good knowledge fiend, I read books.

  1. How has working at TELUS shaped your role?

I’m blessed to work with a flexible, driven and funny team who are always up to evolve how we communicate and work. It’s not perfect and it’s ever-changing, but the shared desire to do great work and find new ways to make that possible is a huge plus. It’s so inspiring to see the impact of our work on a community level; from meeting filmmakers at events to seeing creators connect over STORYHIVE projects. Having a flexible schedule option like TELUS Workstyles is the bomb – my versatile schedule leaves room for midday runs with my dog Farley, which helps keep me focused and happy.

  1. What’s an accomplishment you’re extremely proud of? Why?

Our STORYHIVE program receives hundreds of submissions a year of short film ideas from filmmakers across BC and Alberta. Some of those ideas are funded with a STORYHIVE grant after a community voting period and a jury review. You can browse through completed STORYHIVE funded projects at storyhive.com.

In early 2016, our team began to address the growing conversation around gender parity and film. As a team, we decided a bold way to tackle this issue was to run our next STORYHIVE edition and make it mandatory to have a female director attached to every project. Our STORYHIVE Digital Shorts: Female Director Edition was born, offering $300,000 in grants. We opened for pitches in August, closed a few weeks later and managed to successfully greenlight 30 projects! We are thrilled with these results. So far, this edition received the most pitches, stirred up tons of social media conversations and stimulated dialogue around TELUS positively impacting the community by visibly creating opportunities for women. I was so proud to be a part of a team that responded to the issue of gender parity by quickly designing, launching and marketing this edition. I can’t wait for the 30 short films that will be delivered in the new year!

  1. What are a few pointers you would like to share with aspiring professionals looking to follow your footsteps?

Here are my 8 tips for success – Boom!

  1. Ask people out for coffee. You never know what you could learn.
  2. Dive in to a project at work, or a volunteer gig, to learn about the living, breathing organism that is a niche community.
  3. Keep an open mind when approached with an opportunity.
  4. Offer or pitch solutions to a problem. Watch everything and be able to speak to what is fresh.
  5. Work with people you like and like the people you work with.
  6. Creative careers call on those who are self-motivated yet love working with a team, so keep developing routines that help you get stuff done in a way that works for you.
  7. Take care of yourself (something I’m still learning). As cliché as it is, you got to be at your best to do your best work.

Or just bug me @thelizzypearl, @storyhive or lizzy.karp@telus.com.

Want to get your creative juices flowing at TELUS? Challenging, fun and flexible, TELUS is a fantastic place to grow professionally. If you’re looking to join one of our creative marketing & communications teams, or if you’re interested in another role with TELUS, be sure to check out our current job opportunities.