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The Scholarly Pursuits of SOCAN Foundation's Charlie Wall-Andrews

Although she was recently named a Trudeau Scholar, Charlie Wall-Andrews isn't leaving the music industry anytime soon.

The Scholarly Pursuits of SOCAN Foundation's Charlie Wall-Andrews

By Nick Krewen

Although she was recently named a Trudeau Scholar, Charlie Wall-Andrews isn't leaving the music industry anytime soon.


“I’m still in my role in the SOCAN Foundation and there’s still work to do," says Wall-Andrews, the Foundation's executive director who concurrently holds a voluntary position as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Council Canada for Music Canada, is pursuing her Ph.D. at Ryerson University and also lectures a couple of hours a week at the University of Toronto.

In her SOCAN Foundation position, Wall-Andrews is particularly proud of a number of accomplishments:  helping to transition the non-profit from "a simple granting agency" to "modernizing our grants to be more relevant for the sector," as well as implementing state-of-the-art grant processing software into the equation.

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She's also forged partnerships and developed programs designed to create opportunity..

“I was key in creating the programs like Equity X Production, which promotes more women and gender minorities in the role of a producer; the HER Music Awards; partnering with the Indigenous Music Awards to create the Indigenous Songwriter Award, and partnering with SIRIUS XM to create the Young Canadian Songwriter Award, which gives $5000 prizes to five young songwriters across the country as 'ones to watch,'" notes Wall-Andrews.

She's also in charge of recruiting donors to help ramp up the SOCAN Foundation Creative Fund to meet the needs of the applicants.

"Now that we’ve modernized and made our programs more relevant and accessible, the demand is much higher," she notes, adding that the SOCAN Foundation offers programs that are meant to empower and impact the creative capacity of SOCAN members.

The short of it: Wall-Andrews is a visionary that gets stuff done through a combination of determination, ambition and practicality.

With a long list of educational degrees and milestones behind her, - including an MBA at Ivey Business School - the Newfoundland native who was born just outside of St. John's has an overall community focus whenever she tackles a new responsibility.

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"I want to contribute back to society and help make a positive difference in the lives of others," says Wall-Andrews. "Those are more or less my values. So whatever I do, whether it’s my job at SOCAN Foundation or even as a faculty member at U of T, or whatever future job I have, my moral compass will always guide me to have integrity, to be transparent and to really be committed to helping others in the broader scheme of things."

Her involvement in music has been lifelong. With her parents travelling around for work, Wall-Andrews lived as far north as Nunavut and spent time in Timmins and Sudbury, joining the marching band of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets when she was 11. She picked up clarinet and trumpet via the school's music program and later when she attended Laurentian University, composed pieces for the Sea Cadets to perform. 

“When I was in the military I was really passionate about playing in the band," Wall-Andrews recalls. "Being in that setting, I was inspired to write for brass ensembles, drum and bugle. I just downloaded the software, started applying the theory that I learned from the music camp and started writing for my cadet band. It was such a great experience because I knew where the skill level was for some of the members of that band, so I could write the score to those levels so that they could play it."

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She also added French horn to her repertoire and performed in the Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and North Bay orchestras.

During her final year at Sudbury's Laurentian, Wall-Andrews landed an internship with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra focusing on marketing and development and as a manager - and also engaged in fundraising for the University.

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"That was a wise decision because fundraising and marketing in the arts are in high demand," she admits. "One of the great things that I’m happy that I did, it that I just didn’t go to school. I was super-involved with my community. I was always working, so I was able to develop professional work experience while I was very young, which also qualified me to get into Ivey, because they want that work experience. Also, coming from music, I also didn’t just study it but I had professional experience.

“I started working for a lot of not-for-profit organizations – community choirs – membership organizations,  orchestras – getting some management and administration experience early on in my career.

"That’s when I really wanted to develop a leadership role and put my best foot forward. And that’s when I switched into doing an MBA at Ivey.  It was such a different world from where I’m from because now we’re talking about corporate finance and strategy and international relations. – such a different context from what my academic creative experiences were. It was important to do this so I could exercise better management and leadership skills in my job.”

Wall-Andrews' multifaceted background also helped her secure a full pre-Ivey scholarship to York University for her Masters, studying ethnomusicology, specializing in South Indian music and music from a sociology and anthropological perspective. In 2012, she also conducted research on the influence of social media on the globalization of music."

"While doing my masters at York, I was also working alongside the Coalition for Music Education and National Youth Arts Week and the Playwright Skills of Canada."

The mind-boggling effort of Wall-Andrews to engage in as many interests as she does, but she has her sights on the endgame.

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".In terms of career goals, I’m really happy where I’m at," says Wall-Andrews, who will conduct her Trudeau Scholar duties through her studies at Ryerson.

"There’s still so much work to be done at SOCAN Foundation and it’s really exciting times as we approach our 30th Anniversary which is coming up next year. Long-term, I really want to evolve and get the support and guidance I need to be a leader in our sector, or in broader society.

“I don’t know if that means a new leadership role in a different organization or in the public service, but I am really hungry to play a leadership role that’s going to have a positive influence.”


An informal snapshot of Charlie Wall-Andrews:

Favourite food: Italian

Favourite TV shows: Netflix documentaries

Favourite author: David Farrell

Favourite hobbies:  Swimming, volunteering, making music

Favourite Destination: Manila, Philippines

Bucket List Destination: Hawaii

The ideal way of unwinding: Go to the spa, read a book and disconnect.

Proudest Moment:  Being appointed a Legacy Fellow by the Edmond de Rothchild Foundations, which celebrates, fosters and acknowledges social innovators globally.
 
Impeccable time management secret: "Do things that you enjoy. If you love what you do, then it’s enjoyable work. And that really makes a difference – everything that I do, I wholeheartedly enjoy and the passion make it very easy to find the time to do what I do."
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Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle performs at the Fillmore East on February 1, 1969 in New York City.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle performs at the Fillmore East on February 1, 1969 in New York City.

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