Joy Blenman

Senior Marketing Content Designer

Bachelor of Journalism (Hons), 2013

“I really thrive on change and love getting to do different things.”

When studying journalism at King’s, Joy Blenman, BJ(Hons)’13, didn’t envision a future where her workdays would involve interviewing entrepreneurs like YouTube star Mr. Beast, writing copy for a merch store and bringing a children’s book about entrepreneurship to life. “My title on paper says senior marketing content designer but the mediums I work on change from day to day,” she says. Because Joy gets bored easily, her present role is a dream job. “I really thrive on change and love getting to do different things.”

Joy’s career journey started with internships at CBC Radio and CTV’s Canada AM, then roles at Business News Network and Investment Executive. When she applied to Investopedia, one of the world’s leading financial content sites, there was a test which she remembers acing, noting that her journalism experience had made her “scrupulous with research.” Her time at King’s and in the industry taught her fact-checking, data interpretation and the need to discern and dig deeper with information. “Those were all transferable skills ingrained in me from being a journalist,” she says.

During more than three years at Investopedia, Joy learned about search engine optimization and her manager became a mentor, opening her eyes to career opportunities available to her if she honed these skills. “That sparked something within me,” she says, leading her to undertake a digital marketing management certificate at the University of Toronto. Joy’s financial communications expertise then led to work with the creative agency Sid Lee, a dynamic agency that taught her an out-of-the-box style of ideating and problem solving she hadn’t previously encountered in financial journalism and communications. This set the stage for her move to Shopify in 2020. “My current role is really an amalgamation of almost everything I’ve done,” Joy says.

Today she’s a Senior Content Designer on Shopify’s brand team, crafting everything from billboard copy to blog posts. “I always had an interest and penchant for marketing,” she says, remembering that even as a kid she loved reading the marketing copy on clothing tags. Joy loves that her job allows her to marry such snappy short-form copywriting with descriptive and evocative longer-form projects. These offer her opportunities to apply skills from favourite King’s classes like narrative nonfiction and radio documentary. “It’s great when I get to return to those OG journalistic roots.”

In her current role, Joy often has to become an expert on different audiences and technologies quickly. “I got used to learning about different topics really quickly as a journalist,” she says, including learning how to ask the right people in the room the right questions at King’s. “Throughout the entire program we learned a variety of interviewing techniques such as learning to use silence as a tool to encourage people to reflect and share more, leveraging open-ended questions, and asking people to explain complicated topics in layman’s terms,” she recalls. While working on a recent project, she interviewed prospective users and engineers to better understand how to market a product her team was getting ready to launch.

“It’s rare that people know what they’re doing 100%,” she says, adding that in order to craft the best work possible, it’s necessary to put aside pride and be humble enough to ask questions.

Over the last three years, Joy has also used her skills to create content on social media via her blog “Joyful Beauty”. The focus? Content for people living with alopecia, the rare autoimmune disease that she has. “There isn’t a lot of content out there that speaks openly about what it looks like living with hair loss.”

This passion project has led her to be featured in a variety of press, from Elle Canada and Essence, to Cityline and the Jada Pinkett Smith-led Red Table Talk. Joy’s experience as a chase producer (someone who researches and books guests for television) and her media training dating back to King’s give her confidence to make these appearances with aplomb.

“In addition to being a writer, it feels my vocation or my calling is to create content that speaks to people living with hair-loss. There is so much shame around it, but the more we talk about it, the more we eradicate that shame and change that narrative,” she says.