Q & A Newfoundland

Conversation with Mariana Castro-Carvajal and Rhonda Tulk-Lane

The Connector Program exists in many different organizational types across Canada. One of the most distinct is our program in Newfoundland, which is housed in a Provincial Music Industry Association, MusicNL. Instrumental Connections benefits all musicians and industry professionals, including newcomers, women, and emerging artists in Newfoundland. The program launched in 2021 and has been making huge strides in the music industry since. We sat down with Program Coordinator Mariana Castro-Carvajal, and MusicNL Executive Director, Rhonda Tulk-Lane to chat about the program and the impact it’s been having on the music industry, and the community in general in Newfoundland.

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Alida Campbell

Interview by Alida Campbell.

Alida manages the National Connector Program and continues to be inspired by the stories of connection and growth that participants share across the country.
Alida

Alida:

Thanks to you both for sitting down with me today, can you tell me how the Connector program is impacting the music industry in Newfoundland?

Mariana

Mariana:

The connector program has helped us to reach the wide immigrant community in the city of St. John's. We are also proving that business and entrepreneurship literacy has a real impact in any music professional's career. We are seeing many organizations work together for the first time towards better serving the immigrant community, especially the musicians who were left out from government aid for many years. More and more immigrant musicians have found us in the recent years and many musicians living abroad have contacted us with interest in making NL their artistic home. Also, Musicians and any music professional needs connections. This program was the next step on making MusicNL a place where musicians go to grow their career in a professional and efficient way. We see that the connector program can give opportunities to immigrant professionals to learn more about how to be a producer, manager, booking agent, supervisor and sound technician in NL and close that gap in the music industry.

Rhonda

Rhonda:

Post pandemic, with remote work, people are moving to Newfoundland to work here. We are seeing people with skills and positions that have never worked here before, so being able to make connections with these folks, and bring their knowledge and skills into our industry, and have our members benefit from it, it’s been great. The Connector Program is something organic and natural, and it’s what we do, so being able to formalize it through an international and national brand is wonderful. We were doing it without process, and now, having it within our community is so beneficial and allows us to access supports and resources, as well as other funds.

Alida

Alida:

What an impact – so even though the program is focusing on one industry, and those within it, it has far reaching results for the community as a whole. Mariana, what has the Connector Program, and the National Connector Program community meant to you?

Mariana

Mariana:

This program helped me realized all the potential that little and simple referrals have. I think I have been connecting people all my life and I enjoy it! With the NCP, I am glad that there is a whole community trying to make Canada a more welcoming and open place for immigrants to arrive and thrive in their professional careers.

Alida

Alida:

Thanks Mariana, I’m so happy this program is meaningful for you – we are certainly glad to have you running it in Newfoundland! Rhonda, you were a big champion for the program and pushed for it to come to MusicNL. Why do you think the program is so important, and why did you want it for MusicNL?

Rhonda

Rhonda:

You can’t live without the program. In order to progress to whatever success looks like for you, you need to connect to learn and grow. It’s instrumental. We harnessed the Connector Program for MusicNL, because with the focus on immigration and newcomers, it just made sense. It was about seeing and making sure we had the resources, so that people new to the community could find these resources. With MusicNL, it’s aligning with our province. Where NL needs to be able to grow and prosper, we need to retain and bring new people to the province.

Alida

Alida:

And what would you say to other communities or organizations looking at starting the program?

Rhonda

Rhonda:

Do it. If we had waited, we wouldn’t have started. Do it, start it, there are resources and a community. So reach out and get your feet wet to show the success, then you can scale it.

Alida

Alida:

Thank you both so much. MusicNL is a wonderful example of how the program can focus on one sector but make a huge impact on the entire community. You are doing exceptional work, and it is always a pleasure to share the best practises from your organization across the entire National Connector Program community. Keep up the amazing work!