When asked what attributes have allowed her to be successful in public relations (PR), part-time communications studies instructor Alison DeLory credits her buzzing curiosity and natural interest in a wide range of topics. “They say people can’t change, but they are wrong, they can, ask my mother,” she laughed while explaining how she used to be quite disorganized. In addition to teaching part-time at the Mount, DeLory is self-employed as a freelance writer and consultant. She also edits the Mount’s alumnae magazine, is a member of the council for the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, and has her own website and blog.
This year, DeLory received the 2014 Progress Women of Excellence Award in the Communications and Public Affairs category. The awards are given to women whose achievements have made powerful impacts on their communities. “I feel very honoured,” she said. “The award doesn’t just recognize the recipients, it places value on the importance of your community involvement and personal goals. It’s a way of singling out individuals but also reminds individuals that we all live within communities and we have to see ourselves as bigger than ourselves.
Self-employment has taught her to stay on top of deadlines while her personal determination and ambition have kept her work goals and private goals important parts of her life. In 2013, she put New Year’s resolutions on her blog, Twitter and Facebook and felt the public pressure to meet these goals. Although she hasn’t always completed her goals, “it’s about following through and trying your best to meet them,” she says. “It came to me later in life that you never stop growing and learning, its all a journey.”
DeLory has never limited herself when it comes to writing. She holds undergraduate degrees in journalism and PR, and her masters of public relations. When it comes to freelance work, once she researches a topic she normally develops an interest in the subject. When given the opportunity to choose her topic, she enjoys writing about peoples’ lives, giving their story a voice to the public. She enjoys stories about people that inspire her.
“Interviewing someone who is passionate about what they are doing is something that really excites me,” she says. With articles written regarding end-of-life planning, eating disorders and her volunteerism in Kenya this past summer, DeLory enjoys writing meaningful stories that can change lives.
In 2012, her first children’s chapter book, Lunar Lifter, was published and dedicated to her two sons. The story began as a class assignment for a fiction-writing course and she continued the story as a way to practice another genre of writing, since she normally sticks with non-fiction. She has also tried her hand at poetry, and spoken word.
“I just want to keep pushing and experimenting as a writer and get better at all forms; that’s really important to me,” she says. When asked what advice she has for young writers or anyone looking to improve, “practice, practice, practice” is her answer. “You have to put the hours in, there are no short cuts when it comes to good writing,” she says.
DeLory says that even with her hectic schedule, she makes a point of carving out time for herself. She enjoys music, athletics and has completed half-marathons and triathlons, and is in a book club.
When asked what advice she has for students, she says “take initiative… do not be afraid to make mistakes. Just take responsibility. No one is perfect — I’ll make mistakes. If you make a mistake, own it, be honest and try and do better. Try to limit mistakes you make, think before you speak or act but if you do screw up don’t be afraid to apologize and take responsibility.”