Life after organizing

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POC National Board 2005: Life after organizing

Last week I featured three people that I got to know through my work on the National Board of Professional Organizers in Canada.

This week, I’d like to introduce three of my fellow Board members who, like myself, are no longer active in the organizing industry.

Alex Fayle

Alex Fayle
I have lived the last almost nine years with my husband in the northern Spanish city of San Sebastian, which I now consider my forever home. I left organizing and Canada with the intention of writing fiction and I accomplished that goal, indie-publishing so far two novels and several short stories (see my catalogue of books). I have also become the publisher of SpeckLit, a flash-fiction speculative fiction webzine.

I have not, however, left my organizing roots behind completely. In my day job, I work as the Course Coordinator for a language academy where I get to organize teachers, students, schedules and course content. Currently, I am pursuing a Cambridge University certificate that will allow me to move into a Director of Studies role in the future. I get out of bed excited to go to work. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Elaine Shannon

Elaine ShannonWhen I look back at this picture I see the beginning of so many things. Lifelong friendships included!

It was a time in my life when I was unsure of so many things yet sure at the same time. I knew I loved to arrange things, activities in a calendar and thoughts to help them make sense. I was just not clear on how to take this interest and curiosity about life and make a career from it.

Professional Organizers in Canada was my first stop on an amazing adventure over the past 10 years. I was honored to sit on this board. The experience taught me so much about not only our association but associations in general and how important they are. I got to travel to nine Professional Organizing conferences in three different countries and was a speaker at several of these, including the POAA Conference in South Africa in 2008. This was a trip and an opportunity of a lifetime.

If you met me at any of those conferences, you would have heard me chatter ‘ad nauseam’ about videos and how this would change how we share organizing information. This industry gave me wings to fly and introduced me to the most interesting, talented, creative and entrepreneurial people I know.

In 2008 Kim Eagles and I launched Organizing Connection at the NAPO Reno Conference and we won the Best Technology award for our innovative Home Organizing Videos. That was an amazing time, a scary time, and a path-altering time.

Now it’s 2015 and I’m still arranging things, activities in calendars, and thoughts to help them make sense, in a way I never thought possible.

Today the title on my LinkedIn profile is Enthusiastic Content Producer, Filmmaker, Connector, Consultant and Social Media Maven. It is amazing how all the skills I worked on during my years as a professional organizer and the love of creating visual content has all come together at this time in my life.

Over the past few years I have produced and hosted over 60 episodes of Simply Zen, a lifestyle show on the Bell Aliant TV1 channel. My second feature film, Owl River Runners, that I have produced is making the festival circuit and will have its American Premier in January at the Cinema on the Bayou in Lafayette, Louisiana. A huge feat for any Canadian filmmaker and something we will be celebrating with some Gumbo I hope! There are corporate projects, short films, a web series and another feature film in the works.

Being organized is ‘how I do what I do’ and I am grateful to all of the teachers and mentors who gave me so much to get me here.

The important thing in life is not where I am now… because that will change. What is important is the journey and the people and the stories and the risks and the losses and wins and the celebrations and mostly the curiosity to look at what gets you jazzed and pursue that with all of your being.

Visit me at 

Morva Bowman

Morva BowmanI retired from organizing and closed my business, Masters of Space and Time, in 2011. For the last few years I worked exclusively with business clients, focusing on information flow and time management, and offering in-house seminars and workshops as well as one-on-one consulting.

Since retiring I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a lot of travelling – my husband Alan and I have been through the Panama Canal, to Alaska, Churchill Manitoba to visit polar bears, South America and Antarctica! I’ve always been a cold weather person, so you can see who chooses the destinations. In 2017 we are aiming for Helsinki, Finland. To be fair, we have also spent time in the US and the UK, especially Wales where we both have relatives.

Always jointly involved in attending science fiction conventions, my husband and I became involved in the sci fi music community (yes, there is one – the music is called “filk”!) many years ago, and since retiring have developed our music abilities and repertoire. Alan plays guitar and sings, I just sing (I am the diva), and together we have attended conventions in Winnipeg, Toronto, Columbus, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Atlanta. This year we performed guest concerts in Winnipeg, Houston, San Diego, and at HalswayCon at an Elizabethan hunting lodge in Somerset, England. As you can see, the music allows us further excuses to travel!

Having watched friends and family members find they had much less time than they had hoped, we are greatly enjoying retirement. As long as the travel money and our health holds up, we’ll keep at it, and when it doesn’t, we love our remodelled older home in Winnipeg and time with friends and family. And lots and lots of books.

If you like, you can stay in touch with me on Twitter.

And the rest?

I wasn’t able to get updates from Jane Woolsey, Joel-Marc Golberg, or Krista Clive-Smith, but I’m sure they’re still keeping things organized in their corners of the world!

Is there an organizer – past or present – that you’d like to learn more about? Let me know and I’ll try and arrange it.

Image © ra2studio / DepositPhotos

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on December 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing these inspiring people. I like to read how people transform their lives after their PO’s business. It goes to show that even though we were professional organizers, our talents and skills can be transformed into any industry and career. =)

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 22, 2015 at 6:03 am

      There’s no doubt that professional organizers are creative and resourceful! I also love learning what they did before they became organizers – there’s such a diversity of education and work backgrounds.

  2. Avatar Leo on September 3, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    When people change their lives it is really very inspiring.

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