This past November, QWIL’s Print Team – Sara Guo, Malaieka Khan, and Reem Gharib – launched QWIL’s third-ever WilPower in Print. Like the previous WilPower in Print editions, the third issue includes inspiring untold anecdotes and stories aimed to empower and uplift readers in various avenues in their lives, including academics, career, community, and personal values and attitudes.
But what made the latest WilPower in Print edition so unique and impactful is the various dimensions each story explores and the thought-provoking and creative questions and activities included after each story that encourage self-reflection and self-awareness among readers. From five-time Olympic athlete Tessa Virtue to the Councillor of the City of Timmins and Indigenous advocate Kristin Murray, QWIL’s third WilPower in Print calls on female leaders across various industries and backgrounds to share their stories, resonating with readers in different stages of their lives.
With the recent launch of QWIL’s third WilPower in Print, we asked QWIL’s Print team to share the inspiration and months of planning and hard work behind creating the powerful and thoughtful piece that has already influenced many readers' perspectives and attitudes. Together, the team of three reflects on their roles, vision and goals for the Print and how they overcame challenges and creative blocks to bring their ideas to life.
Sara Guo – Print Director
WILPower in Print is now in its third edition. Having worked on the creative design for the second edition and now directing and overseeing this 2023 edition, I initially worried if it could top what we have done in the past. And, It 100% did.
As a three-person team pulling off a 60-page Print filled with authentic and vulnerable stories, each of us had an important and unique role. We began discussions back in April about what theme we wanted to go for and what small additions could be included to brighten someone’s face when they open a page.
We knew it would be a lot of work, but we did not anticipate how busy the summer months were for each of us. Most of the Print is done in the summer, but we all had busy lives and did not end up having as frequent meets as I initially scheduled in our calendar. Meetings started to be cancelled, which can feel stressful for some people. But, for some reason, I did not feel an adrenaline rush of negative emotions of uneasiness. Instead, I felt comfortable and confident with our progress because I knew the high-quality work and expectations that Mal and Reem set for themselves. I ultimately think that is what made our team so great, we were good at our roles and would stop at nothing until we created a Print we were all proud of.
While Mal worked on content and Reem on design, I was the connection between our club and the printing company, balancing the relationship with adults who had years of experience in the printing industry and had little patience with university students debating what colours and materials to use for the Print. Fast forward to November, QWIL celebrated the Print with a launch party inviting our close friends and family to witness the creation of our eight months of effort. There was a mix of emotions, and seeing everyone’s faces light up as they flipped through the pages was exciting.
Print Launch 2023
A special shoutout to Malaieka and Reem for being the best team and to Galiya and Ashley for being such supportive and amazing co-chairs throughout this process.
Malaieka Khan – Content Lead
When creating a substantial piece such as the QWIL Print, only one question rang through our minds, “where do we start?”. Thankfully, the best part of being part of a talented team is that we all brought our ideas together.
For content, the biggest priority was zeroing in on the untold story. Whether it be accomplished women who are only defined by their accomplishments or the silent strength of individuals as they navigate generational trauma and systemic racism, all the stories deserve to be told. I will never again underestimate the work that goes into curating individuals for a project, especially like this. However, every email, every forwarding address, and every rescheduled interview was an absolute gift since it gave me the chance to have some of the best conversations in my life. Their resilience, commitment to leadership, and kindness throughout the process remind me that the cards we are dealt in life do not have to define us. In fact, it is how we play those cards that make us who we are. Shout out to every contributor for sharing their story with us all!
Reem Gharib – Creative Lead
As this year's Creative Lead, my goal was to elevate the creative vision of our Print to unprecedented levels. I spent hours thinking about which design would authentically capture the diverse dimensions of our contributors' stories while being visually striking and conversation-stopping. I began searching Pinterest for multiple designs, hoping to find the design I had in mind. There, I stumbled upon the most perfect design that I was eager to share with the team. Fortunately, it resonated with them, and now the next challenge was figuring out how to derive several other designs from this initial pattern. As difficult as it was, this process really squeezed the creative juices out of me!
The next step involved designing the pages and integrating all the elements. During this phase, I began thinking: how can I create a more interactive and thought-provoking piece that allows readers to linger and reflect on the various themes presented throughout the magazine? This led to the idea of incorporating activities throughout the Print, providing readers with spaces to write in the book. The intent behind these activities was to encourage active engagement with the content and themes of the articles, extending the reader's connection with the stories beyond the initial reading experience.
Fast forward a few months, and the Print was finalized and ready for printing. Seeing the final, tangible product was a surreal feeling, and I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished.
Launching such a significant and impactful piece to the Queen’s community is a rewarding experience, and I cannot wait to see what next year's Print will bring!
Final Thoughts and Appreciation for the QWIL Print Team
If this year’s Print team and contributors taught us anything, it is that no two people’s journeys and paths are the same. We may reach similar endpoints, but the steps, challenges, and experiences it takes us to get there are what make our stories our own. It all comes down to embracing our differences and challenges and paving our own path. Whether those challenges are due to gender, race, or ethnicity, among other things, sometimes the only way we can move past those barriers is by moving through them first.
QWIL would like to thank our incredible Print team and contributors for putting together an insightful and moving piece. It will definitely be one to remember!
And, of course, check out the Print page on the QWIL website to view the digital copy of the latest Print edition and pictures from the 2023 Print Launch event. We hope it guides you and inspires you in your path towards self-reflection, growth, and change.
QWIL & Print Team