From a young age, Meghan Yuri Young has always wanted to be a writer—specifically, a novelist. As an avid reader from before she can even remember, she has understood how powerful words could be, the impact stories have on people, communities, and culture. As well as the empathy built by being able to put yourself in another person’s shoes through writing that perspective or from reading it.
At the University of Toronto, Meghan double majored in English and Psychology, while also interning for a number of magazines. After graduation, Meghan, a self-professed “yes” person, zigzagged her way into
various roles. Today, she’s a writer, producer, mental health advocate, professional speaker, Breakfast Television correspondent, and co-founder of Sad Collective—a community of vulnerability advocates, part safe space for emotional expression, and part forum for conversation around mental health issues.
“I’ve slowly balanced my love of fitness with my appreciation for other parts of health and wellness —which touch every facet of life,” she recalls. “Becoming a mental health advocate over the years has introduced me to so much more, including drawing awareness to at-risk youth, homelessness, and food deficits as well as the benefits of slowing down, developing better relationships with our technology, and having hard conversations with loved ones.”
While writing remains her primary creative outlet, she has channeled her love of creatives and arts into projects like the artist-focused program she created with Nike Toronto to her time spent on an AGO committee that elevates local artists.
Currently, she is working with Sad Collective co-founder, Mo Bofill, to host their first art show/auction in November at Stackt Market featuring a lineup of incredible local BIPOC artists. She is also paired up with Artscape Daniels Launchpad partnerships coordinator, Amanda Blair-Roberson, to launch a self defence program that focuses on more than the physical. They’re piloting it until the end of the year in order to provide a carefully thought-out plan addressing violence against female-identifying individuals in the new year.
At Artscape Daniels Launchpad, Meghan recently joined as a Wellness Ambassador working on the Member Wellness program as well as planning the pay-what-you-can Launchpad SUMMIT 2020’s Virtual Creative Career Conference on November 2-5.
As part of the Member Wellness program, Amanda and Meghan are focused on wellness through diversity—from unique classes to inclusive leaders. Secondly, they’re as concerned about mental wellbeing, as much as they are about physical health. Members who attend benefit from sessions that are not only fun and eye-opening but also extremely practical for their day-to-day routines.
For Launchpad SUMMIT, she curated the line-up of speakers and sessions to best support the challenges and economic struggles many creatives are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even with such career and personal highlights, Meghan has found that volunteering and mentoring tops her list of achievements, leading her to career opportunities that align more with what she wants to do within her community.
Yet despite these many roles and identities, achievements, and projects on her CV, Meghan is quick to point out that she is often working in collaboration with others. Meghan definitely practices what she preaches in terms of mental health. She doesn’t subscribe to the hustle culture and is easily able to take a step back to binge-watch Netflix or hang out in the park with friends.
“For the last couple of years, I’ve really worked on not feeling guilty over what I don’t do or can’t get to,” she explains. “It’s not a perfect balancing act, but I’m not completely selfless or selfish. I’ve been able to create a space where I’m comfortable to let go.”
To keep her focused, Meghan relies on her own professional and personal “Why”—a purpose statement that allows her to prioritize the most meaningful and impactful projects and causes.
“Community—specifically the community I’ve fostered through my advocacy and volunteering is what has brought this into sharp focus,” she explains. “The more I learn about other people and communities, the more I appreciate my own.”
Follow Meghan Yuri Young’s career adventures on Instagram.