As some of you may have already heard, Jodi Green, Book Rapport Manager extraordinaire has stepped down after 8 years in her role. Although I’ve only had the pleasure of working with Jodi for 3 of these years, I’m sad to see her go, which is why I wanted to ask her a few questions before she left. Enjoy!
How long have you been with WordFest, and what were you generally responsible for?
I was with WordFest for 8 years, beginning in March of 2004. I managed the youth/educational program of WordFest, which included all aspects of the First Calgary Financial Book Rapport program—both English and French.
Why did you enjoy working at WordFest and what was your favourite part of the job?
I’ve always said that I had the best job in the world! It’s so difficult to pinpoint one aspect of the job—I’ve worked with so many incredible teams and met so many fascinating people; from educators in the School Boards, to sponsors and partners, to publicists and authors. I have to say that I did love reading all of the submissions and deciding which books were a fit for the program each year, and certainly nothing can compare with the excitement of each Festival! Book Buddies is a sponsored program which provides tickets to students at designated high-needs schools so they can attend a Book Rapport event. Phoning teachers on the wait list to tell them we’ve found a sponsor to support them is a feeling that can’t be beat.
What is one of your favourite memories from a past Festival?
I think one of my favourite memories is my first Festival. I hadn’t been to WordFest before as I had recently moved back to Calgary and I had no idea what to expect. The way everything, both in the youth program and adult events, came together and worked was amazing to me. I’ll never forget it. Nobody can ever prepare you for the magnitude of the Festival and that first Festival for me was awe-inspiring…though I’ve certainly loved every Festival since. It’s always so wonderful to see the hard work of each year coming together with such positive results.
If you had to estimate how many books you read as the Book Rapport Manager, what would the number be?
I suspect that I read an average of 100 books each year so probably around 800 books…and that doesn’t include the adult books I had the pleasure of reading once the youth programming was done!
Out of all the offices that WordFest inhabited, which was your favourite and why?
When I first started in 2004, Book Rapport had a tiny little office in the EPCOR Centre that we shared with the Box Office Manager and Webmaster. It wasn’t ideal as we were in a different building from everyone else, but I still have such fond memories of our first little cubby. I suspect that’s because it was the start of an exciting and wonderful 8 years for me!
Out of all the people that you worked with, who are you going to miss the most? (just kidding, you don’t have to answer this, its me obviously)
Why Anne – of course that would be you!
What is the most important thing you learned from your time here and what are you going to take away with you on your future endeavours?
Although I have always been a reader and always read to my own children, I have learned so much more about the positive effects of reading to and with children from a very young age. For many people in this city, books are a luxury, and this realization has strengthened my resolve to continue working within the community to increase literacy for as many families as I can.
Who was the most memorable/nicest/funniest/weirdest author you ever met?
I don’t know how to answer this question as I have so many favourites and so many of our authors have become friends over the years. How do you describe the impact of meeting authors like Margaret Atwood, John Ralston Saul, Frank McCourt, Alexander McCall Smith, D.J. McHale and so many more! I’ve been so fortunate. All of the Book Rapport authors over the years have been so nice and I can’t possibly pick a favourite. Many have even become friends since we met through Book Rapport, which I’m very thankful for.
One of my most memorable moments was during a Festival on my way to an event, listening to the radio and hearing Dave Bidini (a Festival artist for that year) being interviewed. This was all wonderful, until in jest, he told kids to steal money from their parents to purchase WordFest tickets to come see him perform. Yikes!!!!
What accomplishment are you most proud of from your time here at WordFest?
It was a pleasure to have started with such a strong program and I have had the luxury of working to build on what was already in place. The Book Rapport program has become a model for unique educational programming and I couldn’t be prouder that that has happened! It’s a fantastic program and bound to become even more fantastic in the future.
What’s next in the life of Jodi Green?
Well firstly, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my husband who lives in the U.S. As far as work, my heart is in the not-for-profit Arts Sector and I’ve always loved working with youth. I’ve had an interesting career path; I’ve worked in professional theatre as a stage manager and arts educator, managed a dance company, and of course spent the last 8 years with WordFest, so who knows what will come my way! I do know my passion is the Arts and I am looking forward to pursuing new adventures in this wonderful sector!