Top Talent: Writer Extraordinaire Leeann Yee


Leeann Yee has been writing her entire life, and excelling at it, but it was a long time before she realized it could become a career.

She originally entered the University of Toronto’s Arts Management program and quickly lost interest in it so she switched her program to study English and History. After landing an internship with St. Joseph Media and WeddingBells, she realized that even if it was hard work, she was going to try to become an editor.

She is now a freelance writer with St. Joseph Media, an online contributor for TalentEgg’s Career Incubator and a blogger for MTV. Keep on reading to find out why we call her Top Talent.

What career paths are you currently interested in?

Anything to do with writing, editorial, blogging, multimedia journalism or social media.

Nowadays, editors need to be able to be well versed in social media, Photoshop, HTML, video editing, and a whole variety of other tasks that makes a candidate stand out. Luckily, I have always had a personal interest in all those things and it seems fitting that I am now pursuing a career in it.

Tell us about something unrelated to your career path that shows you’re going to be a superstar in the workforce.

In order to deem yourself a superstar, you need to truly believe it.  My superstardom came earlier this year when I embarked on a solo trip to Rome for two weeks! I always wanted to go there and, as a history major, I really appreciate European history and culture. I spent two weeks of being thrust into a foreign country, into an entirely different culture. I had no fallback plan, and I had only one contact within all of the EU.

On my first night there, I went out exploring, but got lost trying to find my way home. Before hand, I had familiarized myself with a few common phrases in Italian, so after wandering around for a while, I finally found some police officers, went over, and asked them in Italian for directions back to my street!

What have your Top 3 life experiences been, and how can you relate those experiences to your career?

  1. Being a Residence Advisor at U of T: I learned how to solve conflicts, how to handle difficult situations and different types of people and the importance of good time-management skills!
  2. Choosing and graduating from university: I was never the child who was keen on going to a certain school, and  I had no idea how to choose a school. When it came down to it, all I knew was that I had to pick a school that I wouldn’t regret going to. That taught me one thing: never give up an opportunity that you’ll look back on one day and say ‘I wish.’ That’s what I did with MTV. I found the internship position, and while I didn’t want to work for free again, this was not something I could pass up.
  3. Working at a magazine: I’m proud that I was able to set a goal and achieve it.

If an employer called your best friend for a reference, what would he/she say to get you the job?

“If a potential employer contacted me about my best friend, Leeann Yee, I’d be 100% confident to inform them that one of her best qualities is her ability to remain calm and level-headed in high pressure situations, as well as being an excellent team player who follows instructions well, in both a group and individual setting.She is currently interning at MTV Canada, demonstrating that once she is passionate about something, she’s willing to be involved full force without factoring monetary compensation into her decision or involvement. She’s an amazingly positive person who would be an asset to any team!”

What’s so special about you that it would make employers compete to recruit you?

Everyone works hard and everyone has amazing credentials, so nowadays having an amazing resumé just isn’t good enough.

What sets a person apart is who they are underneath the surface – someone who you are happy to see in the morning, someone who does their job well, doesn’t cheat the company that they keep or themselves.

I’ve been fortunate to travel around the world, to see things that have opened my eyes, to have learned lessons of the world with a simple carriage ride – all have shaped me into the person I am.

It goes without saying that I have experience in my field, that I have done great things and executed projects, but it’s where those actions come from that matter to me.

Experiences and character is what defines a person – the person who will work for you – and that is what should count above all else.

Do you think you’re Top Talent? Want to nominate someone else? Click here to submit an application.

About the author

Vicky Tobianah recently graduated from McGill University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English Literature. She also works as a freelance journalist. When she is not busy blogging, making new contacts or researching articles, she enjoys catching up on current affairs, encouraging her friends to become active in political matters and, of course, writing.