Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gals We Admire: Mirella Amato

Who knew beer could be so much fun and interesting to learn about? Mirella Amato did! Once upon a time, discovering beer was just a hobby for Amato. Now? It's her full time job.
Name: Mirella Amato
Profession: Beer Specialist & Certified Cicerone®
Twitter handle: @beerologyboffin

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish
I can’t say that I have a typical workday. On days when I am not conducting a beer tasting, doing staff training in pubs, or on-site consulting for breweries, I am usually either at home or at CSI Annex, researching beer or working an a range of beer-related projects. I often have meetings in the late afternoon, what most people would consider “after work”. This usually involves meeting people at the pub to discuss various beer projects. Other evenings, I will be running events or teaching classes. I love the variety… that’s one of the joys of freelancing!

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I don’t think I had much of an idea of what I wanted to be, when I was little. The job I’m doing now certainly didn’t exist at the time! I’ve always had a range of interests and a passion for learning new things. This is one of the reasons that I find beer so stimulating; there is so much to discover and learn. I do remember that when I was around twelve, I learned about Leonardo DaVinci and the fact that he was a Renaissance man and that idea really appealed to me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Apart from the fact that I work with beer, which is a delightful and delicious beverage, the thing I like most about my job is there is always more to learn. My job is in constant evolution, as the beer world evolves and I continue to study and acquire certifications. I find that very stimulating. It's also really rewarding to introduce people to beer. I’ll regularly be approached by people who want to thank me because they became intrigued by beer after one of my tastings or seminars, and now they’re hooked.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Until very recently, the biggest challenge in my profession was explaining to people what I do. The idea of a Cicerone®, or beer sommelier, is a fairly new one in Canada. Having said this, more and more people are discovering beer and wanting to learn more about it so I don’t think it will be a challenge for much longer.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
I’ve certainly loved beer for as long as I can remember; and before I was doing this for a living, I was doing it as a hobby. I’m delighted that more and more Canadians are discovering beer and that I’ve been able to turn this into a career.

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Know and trust your path. Follow your passion and make sure that you are consistent and true to your vision.

Stay in constant communication with other people in your field. Keep track of what’s going on and how you can best contribute.

Take time for yourself. This is a constant focus for me, because I really love my job. As a freelancer, though, I could easily get swept away and work 24/7 because there’s always something fun going on.

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