We had the good fortune of connecting with Joyce Fuerza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joyce, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In life, taking risks is an absolute MUST. People don’t realize it but everything we do includes risks whether it is in our personal or professional life. Risk taking has become a great part of my life, from moving to four different countries, to deciding to become an entrepreneur and start my own production company. Yes of course in the process I had doubts, fear at times, not everything was certain, but I did them anyway. I am happy I did. All the risks that I have taken (and continue to take) in my personal life and career got me to where I am today.
It is important to take calculated risks. The best way to achieve that is to first have a vision of what you want, where you want to go, and where you don’t want to end up in your life journey. With a clear vision in mind, you will be better equipped to attract the right people around you to help you craft a plan, put a strategy in place. So, make sure to have a specific goal and some idea about what you want to achieve with your actions.
It is necessary to take risks, invest in ourselves, step outside of our comfort zone, and grow while we keep learning from our experiences. It is also wise to ask trusted people, mentors, who have more knowledge and experience than us for advice and guidance, but in the end, if deep inside, you feel that something is the right thing to do, go for it, only YOU will know for sure!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Please tell us more about your work.
As a TV-Host, Producer; and Filmmaker, early on in my career, I learned that it is important to not only educate yourself and keep learning from mentors, books, trainings, school, or any way that works best for you; but it is also key to find ways to network, exchange and collaborate with others in your field. That, along with your preparedness, will open a lot of doors and opportunities for you.
After graduating university with a degree in Commerce, I decided to become an entrepreneur and started my production company Joyce Fuerza Productions with the intention of producing content that would not only entertain but that would also educate, inspire and empower.
Prior to that, I worked in the film industry as a film programmer and today I am the Director of Programming for six Canadian Black Film Festivals offering a platform to showcase the work of filmmakers and artists who are primarily underrepresented.
Over the course of my work in the film industry for more than 10 years now, I have been able to connect with many creatives in the business and have also been able to develop great knowledge about the realities and challenges related to what a lot of them face to have their work seen, showcased, and recognized, especially artists coming from diversity. Being a woman of color myself, the importance of showcasing diversity and inclusiveness is not new to me.
When it comes to television hosting, my journey as Host started when I created my first Talk-show many years ago, interviewing individuals from different industries to share their success stories. It was my way of offering a platform to empower and inspire others to keep pushing and go after their goals. Later, I got my first opportunity to become a TV-Host and On-camera presenter. Since then, I have also been a Master of Ceremony for high profile events, as well as a Red Carpet/Entertainment Reporter.
Tell us more about your new film and involvement in the industry.
To build on my assets and skills, I got enrolled in a series of workshops and training in film Production, Screenwriting, and Filmmaking. In 2020, I embarked on directing my first short film titled ‘KAMILA’, which I co-wrote, and produced under my production company. I am honored to have also had the support of the NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA. Currently, the film is doing its national and international film festival run and has already received an HONOURABLE MENTION RECOGNITION.
Throughout my career, I have served on several juries, been a delegate at national and international film festivals such as the American Black Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival -TIFF, Hot Docs, Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival, RIDM, among others.
I continue to work and foster great relationships with filmmakers, producers, and film distributors worldwide. I was fortunate to have lived and studied in 4 different countries, therefore, with my ability to speak 5 languages, I am constantly expanding my work internationally to reach a bigger market.
What are you most excited about?
While I am excited about all the great opportunities for my filmmaking career and my production company, I am super excited about working with a strong team of programmers at six Canadian Black Film Festivals to amplify more Black voices. We hold festivals in six Canadian cities (Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Calgary, Ottawa, and Vancouver) and showcase hundreds of Filmmakers’ work every year. This is such a privilege for me as the Director of Programming to get to choose the most amazing Black stories in these festivals and show them to the world. I find great pride in constantly finding new strategies to support and promote their films in all these markets through the film festivals.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way in your professional life?
I learned that sometimes you must just believe in yourself and create your own opportunities, start with what you have and grow from there. For example, If I had taken the initiative to host & produce my first Talk-show (with no sponsors or grants at the time) I do not think I would have a career on Television today. It was not only a great learning experience as a first-time producer at that time, but it also prepared me for bigger opportunities that came my way.
You are also a Keynote Speaker as a way to empower and educate others, can you tell us more about that?
As a Speaker, I recently had the honor to be a Keynote Speaker at McGill University’s PowerSkills Career Summit (by McGill Career Advising and Transition Services, School of Continuing Studies at McGill University) where I gave my insights on How to Create Your Own Opportunities, sharing my professional experiences, personal journey, and perspectives.
My speaking engagements include topics such as: Empowerment, Career Development, Networking for Success, Professional & Personal Growth, Communicating Effectively, The Power of Social Media, Creating our own Opportunities, Speaking on Camera, Steps to Creating our own Content, The Key to Having a Strong Virtual Presence, Producing your first Film or Talk-show.
My goal is to further expand my engagements as a Keynote Speaker to continue empowering and inspiring others by my story, journey, career path and knowledge.
I also want to continue maximizing my presence in front of the camera, hosting and producing Talk-shows, TV Programs, contributing to existing programs & shows that educate, entertain, and empower.
I partner with other industry professionals, while continuing to grow my production company with valuable content that not only entertains but that also tells real life stories to ignite critical thinking and bring awareness about social injustices.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
These are a few spots and activities people usually enjoy when visiting Montreal:
A relaxing one-hour boat ride with dinner and concert at the Old Port of Montreal (Vieux-Port)
A great view of Montreal from Mont Royal.
Have a summer picnic and catch live shows in Parc Jean Drapeau
Enjoy great restaurants and a nice walk in the Old Port of Montreal, with a view of Downtown on one side and the Saint-Laurent river on the other side.
Visit the Fine Arts Museum ( Musée des Beaux Arts )
If you like shopping, Sherbrooke street, downtown, is a major high-end shopping street, with international and domestic designers, luxury shops, art galleries and more. Also downtown, Ste-Catherine street is home to the city’s top department stores and mid-priced shopping.
Visit the Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanique)
Spend time in Place des Arts
Attend the Jazz Festival
Enjoy a romantic dinner and live jazz show at House of Jazz (La Maison du Jazz)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Big shoutout to the most loving, hard working, and accomplished woman I know, my amazing Mother. She is always my greatest supporter, gives me the toughest yet most loving advice, and inspires me everyday to be my best self. To know how far she has come and see where she is today makes me so proud of her, and so proud to be her daughter. Everyone who knows her can attest to how kind-hearted, smart, and wonderful of a person she is.