With school starting and the seasons changing I’m reminded of the fear and anticipation of the first day of school; walking into a room, wondering what everyone would think of me. Lucky for me when I walked into the imagineNATIVE office for my first day of work, lunch in hand and the new kid smell emanating from my pores, I was welcomed with open arms and big smiles.
I am the new Guest Services Coordinator at imagineNATIVE. Sometimes I think it’s strange to be working here as I started off as a volunteer 5 years ago but if you work hard and care about an organization you can become part of that place. It’s what I tell all volunteers as this is my third professional job that I’ve gotten where I started as a volunteer. Patience is also very important to have when you want anything and the courage to purse it.
I follow in the footsteps of a very talented individual who shared her wisdom with me and has offered her continued support while I learn the job. What is it I do you might be wondering? I am responsible for the care of all our delegates, including artists. For visiting artists I book all their travel and accommodation, airport pick-ups, visas (for those coming from countries that require one), and for answering all their general questions regarding the Festival and Toronto; I am the artists’ point of contact for their Festival needs. My job is a lot of logistics, which I’ve always found to be fun. I was the kid in school who enjoyed math and physics.
This year we have a new home at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. It is going to be a very different Festival experience as we wade into the future – but don’t worry, a lot of familiar faces (and some new) will be there to greet you. We also have a new hotel sponsor who has been very accommodating; The Hilton Garden Inn Suites is offering our Festival visitors a sweet deal of $169/night but book it fast as it’s only offered until September 18. The enthusiastic team at Super 8 is joining us again and for only $93/night you can be part of the fun. To book either hotel just quote “imagineNATIVE” as the code. However, if you want the full Festival experience – and our exclusive Hilton rate – check out our inaugural tourism packages.
I am grateful everyday for the people I’ve known and the places I’ve been. I’m especially appreciative to the employers I’ve had as they have taught me some of the most important lessons of my adulthood and shown me unwavering generosity.
I look forward to seeing you all at the Festival, please stop by and see me at the Guest Services table, which will be in the lobby of the Lightbox.
Isidra Cruz is a Mexican, Cree, French and African American arts administrator, visual artist and costume designer. She is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Theatre Production program where she received her BFA (H), specializing in theatre administration and costume design and construction. Presently she is working on her installation, Whitewash and saying goodbye to Cake by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard as it heads off to Uganda in September for which Isidra did the set and costume design. Isidra is currently pleased to be working for imagineNATIVE as the Guest Service Coordinator.