Jessi Toms is an entrepreneurial dynamo. If you’re remotely familiar with The Edmonton Muse, the online arts & culture magazine that showcased the best that Edmonton’s creative communities have to offer while also giving attention to the lesser known contributors in that community, then you’re familiar with that publication’s CEO and founder, Jessi Toms. What you may not know is that with the advent of COVID-19, The Edmonton Muse is behind her, and Muse Canada Inc. is the bright future we need.
Jessi Toms’ experiences run as deep as her integrity as a businesswoman. When we say deep, we mean right to the bottom, because the bottom is where her starting point was. Jessi Toms began to hone her organizational prowess and indelible work ethic managing and promoting several independent artists to gain notoriety within the Canadian music market. As the musicians she worked with grew in notoriety, so did her skill set, and her rolodex, and it wasn’t long before a glimpse of her true professional potential was realized.
Potential; however, is nothing without the hard work to back it up, so it’s not a stretch to conclude that Jessi Toms’ penchant for hard work is not only what keeps her grounded in her unwavering support for creative communities in Edmonton and her life-long advocacy for Mental Health and varying local charities.
Hard work is also what brought about The Edmonton Muse. With Jessi Toms at the helm, the publication made massive inroads with the Edmonton business and arts communities, partnered with numerous festivals and events throughout the city, and built a team of staff that worked hard to mimic and put forward the same genuine nature and personality that compelled them to rally behind her in the first place. It’s this determination and leadership that continually allowed her to push the boundaries of not only what she can do, but what an online publication like The Muse was capable of accomplishing.
The only thing that could’ve taken that train off the tracks would have been some manor of global catastrophe. Enter: Covid-19. To say that Covid-19 has absolutely devastated the world’s arts communities would be a gross understatement, but so is as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “the measure of a human is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but in times of challenge and controversy.”
So what does the celebrated CEO and founder of an arts & culture magazine that’s known for featuring local events do when there are no local events to feature, and the arts communities are left to bleed out in the street?
She brews a pot of coffee.
The Edmonton Muse may have come to an end as all good things do, but only so it could make way for Muse Canada Inc.
The similar moniker is intentional because; as the focus has shifted more than just a little, the motivation hasn’t changed at all. What once was an aid to the community by means of feature and exposure is now an incredible toolbox full of resources by way of a unified, member-based platform geared at bringing all of the arts, culture, and entertainment (ACE) industries together. In addition to bringing these sectors together through partnership development and affiliations with trusted and reliable businesses to offer relevant resources, workshops, and opportunities, Muse Canada Inc. is also gearing up for essential nonpartisan activism to bring these ACE’s the professional respect they currently lack despite being a multibillion-dollar industry contributing significant amounts to the Canadian GDP.
If that sounds like a mouthful, that’s because it is. But Jessi Toms has summed up the vision into three operative words: Connection – Communication – Coopetition. Coopetition being the operative term, working together to create more opportunities for all contributors to ACE industries.
Since starting her entrepreneurial career, Jessi Toms has been celebrated nominations from Top 40 under 40 2019, AWE 2019, been invited to present and speak at The Edmonton Music Awards, is a Mentor and Allumni of Power Of Women in the Nellie McClung Program 2019, been invited to be an adjudicator for EARS (2018) and Capital City Records (2017-2019), and has been awarded Vue Weekly’s ‘Best Music Scene Supporter’ 2017 (which is an award issued by a now defunct magazine, the readership of which became Muse readers). With all she’s accomplished, Jessi Toms has not let the accolades go to her head.
To this day, sitting in the presence of a well-caffeinated Jessi Toms is a special treat, and if luck is truly on your side you’ll spit some half-baked idea across the table only to be looked in the eye, hear her pen tap against the table a few times followed by the words “this is good” followed by some furious writing. Your gut will tell you something’s about to happen. Get ready.