Peer Group: Exploring the Juggling Act

Work and life can truly feel like a juggling act in the entertainment industry. Many people experience uncertainty about career transitions, insecurities about doing non-industry work (even if it is fulfilling), feelings of guilt or grief after shifting away from the industry, and more. So let’s talk about it! Exploring the Juggling Act is a peer group where people can freely explore and evaluate their relationship with their industry. 

We want to help industry workers maintain a passion for their craft while meeting personal goals in financial security, concurrent careers, family life and other areas. With so much external pressure and expectations, this process can be hard to go through alone or without perceived judgement. 

Industry peers will facilitate the group discussions to help participants support each other to find healing, growth, and confidence in their individual juggling acts. The sessions will also include a social worker to offer mental wellness support and create a safer space for an open dialogue.

At the Exploring the Juggling Act group, you can:

  • Meet new people who are also navigating their careers in the entertainment industry;
  • Explore what you are feeling in a non-judgmental, welcoming environment;
  • Share ideas and experiences about how you or other people can cut through the noise and find clarity about your unique path. 

Exploring the Juggling Act group is not:

  • One-on-one counselling or therapy;
  • A crisis support group (if you are in crisis and need help right away, please call 911 or go to your local hospital).

Participants are not obligated to join every session.

The next Exploring the Juggling Act session is on Thursday, December 9, 1-2 pm (ET.)

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Emily Hill (MSW, RSW (Ont), she/her)

Emily Hill is a Case Manager with The AFC and a Registered Social Worker. Having received her Master’s degree in Social Work from York University, Emily worked for several years with homeless and under-housed folks living with mental health and substance use issues in downtown Toronto. She then went on to work for a labour union, representing social service workers in their contract negotiations and workplace concerns for five years. At The AFC, Emily coordinates the Maintaining Mental Wellness Program, which includes initiative such as support groups, the Navigator referral service and working to expand mental health practitioner access for members of the arts and entertainment industry.

Emily is an avid and passionate consumer and supporter of the arts. She enjoys a wide variety of films and music, immersive theatre and has recently started learning how to play the bass guitar.

Amanda Smith (she/her)

Amanda Smith is the Community Engagement Coordinator at The AFC and has worked for the organization for over seven years, informing industry members about the compassionate programs the charity has to offer. Amanda is also an opera stage director and Founding Artistic Director of FAWN Chamber Creative with whom she commissions, produces and directs new Canadian operas and experimental music concerts. In 2020, she was a Dora Award Nominee for Outstanding Direction on FAWN’s new opera-ballet Pandora, which also received a nomination for Outstanding Production. Described as a “visionary” by Ludwig Van, her work has become known for breaking down creative boundaries and drawing in new, young audiences.

Gillian Stone (she/her)

Gillian Stone is a Toronto-based, Vancouver Island-born multi-instrumentalist and interdisciplinary artist. Her work is often the product of processing her darkest emotions, particularly those related to shame, depression, addiction, self-doubt, and loss. She holds a BFA in Jazz Studies from Vancouver Island University and an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Toronto. Beyond her own eponymous project, her vocals and playing have been featured on projects by Alli Sunshine (FORCES, The Golden Dogs), The Fern Tips (Beams, Ace of Wands), Völur (Blood Ceremony, Do Make Say Think), and Althea Thauberger.

Stone is currently co-producing her debut EP, Spirit Photographs, in collaboration with experimental cellist Michael Peter Olsen (Arcade Fire, Haim, The Hidden Cameras). She very recently left her three-year post as Office Coordinator at The AFC to pursue music as her primary career. Photo by Kira May. 

Introducing: Exploring the Juggling Act

Exploring the Juggling Act is The AFC’s new peer group where you can cut through the noise of external pressure and find clarity about your unique career path.


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