A Q&A with TL Insider Jennifer Kirner on Toronto Life’s new virtual events

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“Being able to tune in virtually has made it so easy to participate”: A Q&A with TL Insider Jennifer Kirner on Toronto Life’s new virtual events

Toronto Life Insider is a membership club that gives you front-of-the-line access to the best experiences and offers in the city. With your membership, you get an upgraded subscription to Toronto Life that includes access to signature events (like an after-hours party at Cheese Boutique), hands-on workshops (hello, cocktail-making classes with top bartenders), and candid conversations between publisher Ken Hunt or editor-in-chief Sarah Fulford and some of the city’s most interesting characters.

We chatted with TL Insider Jennifer Kirner, an investment manager, about her experience with the membership this far.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a Torontonian by birth. I’m currently the Senior Community Investment Manager for TELUS, which means I manage our philanthropic and employee engagement initiatives, specifically within the GTA. Outside of TELUS, I’m the founder and artistic director of an a cappella choir called Duly Noted.

Why did you become a TL Insider?

I’m always very interested in what’s going on in the city and I try my best to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening—particularly downtown. Being an Insider is definitely a great way of doing that.

How long have you been a member?

I’d say about six months, so I’m still pretty new to it! I didn’t have a whole lot of time to take part in the activities and events before the pandemic hit, but I’ve been actively attending the virtual events lately.

And what have they been like? Has the experience changed since everything went virtual?

First and foremost, I love the diversity of the offerings. Everyone has a little more free time than they had before, so it’s convenient to do things during the day for example, as well as the evening. Being able to tune in virtually has made it very easy to participate.

Any favourite events so far? Or some you’re looking forward to?

The Masterclasses have been great—I loved the one about gin with bartender Evelyn Chick. I’m attending as many virtual events as I possibly can right now, all dependant on my schedule of course.

As many businesses adjust to the new normal, have you experienced any virtual shifts at TELUS?

At TELUS, we’re lucky that we’ve been able to work from home for some time now. I’ve been a mobile worker, working both from home and the office, for 10 years. So, in that respect, there hasn’t been that much of a shift—other than the fact that my partner is in the other room now. Where I have seen a big shift has been in the roll of my work, which until recently involved being out in the community and going to charitable events. So that aspect has shifted dramatically. I used to be going out four nights a week for work, but now I’m staying home. I suspect that moving forward, it will be a much slower move back out and into whatever our new normal is.

Any advice on working remotely or navigating the lifestyle change?

If there are opportunities where you don’t need to be in front of your computer, go outside. Enjoy a short walk or take a call from a park, and make sure you get up and move. I know a lot of people can get stuck at their desk for hours before they realize they haven’t moved. In this case, distracting yourself on purpose is very important. As for lifestyle, take advantage of video calls and interacting with people, particularly in a social way. Since we no longer have the water cooler chat that we used to, or that minute in the elevator, keeping up that social activity is very important. It’s really a great way to keep things as normal as possible.

Have the recent TL Insider events inspired you to take on any other virtual practices?

Yes, actually! Every Monday night, I used to get together with some girlfriends for dinner. We’re still keeping our Monday night dates, but having them online. Tuesday nights were choir practice, so we still meet up virtually every Tuesday. Keeping these routines, even virtually, has been a way to stay in contact with people, both socially as well as with artistic work.

Experience Virtual TL Insider today for the very special rate of only $75 a year. Sign up here using promo code TLVIRTUAL.