Samantha Ellis is the co-founder and Digital Lead of Roots + Ardor, a digital marketing and videography collective in Vancouver specializing in social media, brand videos, and community engagement. Samantha’s passion for creating beautiful content and building a brand that connects people through unique storytelling is one reason why we admire her. Another is how damn real and authentic she is. She owns who she is and isn't afraid to show it. Learn a bit about Samantha through her insightful and honest answers below.
ACE: What are you up to? ( Your current hustle )
Samantha: By day I co-run a digital media agency, Roots + Ardor, and by night I work as a highend Dog Whisperer.
ACE: Why is this important to you? ( Where did this passion come from? )
Samantha: It’s always been important to me to express myself and be creative. What once was journaling in a closet (and crying) soon became journaling in a closet for other people and calling that their “digital strategy.”
All jokes aside, Roots + Ardor allows me to exercise my two favourite things; helping others feel empowered about their business and actualizing creative ideas. The fact that we get to be a part of charitable efforts on the side of that completes the loop for me.
ACE: What was your dream job growing up? How do you think this has influenced who you are today?
Samantha: I always dreamed of being a writer and an “actress” growing up. Specifically I wanted to write roles and then star in that role alongside Ryan Gosling who would recognize my talent immediately and rethink his acting class investment. How has this influenced my current work? Well that’s exactly what I do on the daily – write my own role and then show up enough within it to see it through.
My parents (like all good parents, sorry mom) questioned what I might accomplish with my English Literature degree. Well mom listen up! It taught me to read more deeply beyond the literal meaning of things, to articulate what I’m feeling and thinking through the written word, and to present those ideas to an audience and be as convincing as possible. All of those are major assets in running any business and specifically in the media business.
As an aside, I’m particurarily grateful to my 4th year American Literature professor who handed me a grammar book and told me to have a nice weekend reading it cover to cover.
I had a great weekend. Despite the book.
ACE: If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?
Samantha: Ambitious, caring, and resilient.
ACE: Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?
Samantha: My parents have inspired me to be resilient and tenacious by being both of these things, in their own right, in equal measure. They motivate me to succeed because they gave me an opportunity to. I don’t take that for granted.
Iconic inspirations for me are people like Gloria Steinem and Joan Didion. Pioneers and literary assassins who diced up the bullshit of sex, politics, and professional pursuit into delicious slices of wisdom for many, many generations to follow.
ACE: What does the term “Boss Babe” mean to you?
Samantha: It means congratulations. You’ve done the impossible and created a livelihood on your own (evolving) terms. Now do the impossible and keep going.
ACE: How do you empower other women?
Samantha: I try to empower my immediate circle of women whom I love by telling them the truth – that they’re incredibly lovable. I try to empower the women I work with by encouraging them to take risks because falling is a form of flying.
I try to empower women beyond that by being a good example of someone who is simply trying to create and not always accomplishing what I set out to do, but getting back up, laughing it off, and moving on to the next mountain.
We’ve recently launched a new series called Ment-Her-Ship which aims to do just that. Create a safe space for women of all ages to express what they’re encountering in the intersection between life and work in 2018. We want to learn from them as much as they learn from us, because we all have a long way to go and the path is getting more dangerous – or maybe it’s always been this dark.
I have always firmly believed women are stronger when they’re united. That is where all the change that needs to happen will happen. In that strength.
ACE: What is the best advice you’ve ever received from another woman?
Samantha: This is so hard to answer because I feel like I’ve received a lot of great advice, whether I’ve needed it or not.
Maybe the best piece of advice I ever got was from my first boss Jill who told me to, “Hold the vision. Trust the process.”
I think that just might be true in everything we ever try to accomplish.
ACE: Can you share the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a failure?
Samantha: The biggest lesson I’ve ever learned from failure is that on Tuesday morning what might seem like the end of the wolrd can look a hell of a lot different on Wednesday afternoon.
When I was a little younger I used to put more emotional weight into the little slights, and actually sometimes if the day is cloudly enough, I still do.
The thing is, life is all little slights. You’re going to have literally a million of them. But the sun still sets and rises and it has no idea you’ve failed so epically.
Every day is an opportunity for you to become a little more resilient, chip away slowly at a new dream, and not give up in the very easy place we all rest called “hopeless despair.”
I do believe resilience is the hardest and most valuable trait a true leader can earn. I’ll be working on it for the rest of my life.
ACE: When you are feeling overwhelmed, what do you do to find peace?
Samantha: The word “peace” is unfortunately foreign to me. I search instead for the more attainable, alluring thing called “perspective.” I won’t lie, I’ve tried meditation which sometimes does the trick. For 10 minutes. And then BAM – back to the grind.
I prefer my dog. She reminds me that no matter what is happening in the office or the world at large, she still needs to have a pee. Like now.
ACE: What legacy do you hope to be remembered for?
Samantha: I hope I’m remembered for connecting with and empowering people. I hope I make a few people laugh and a few more feel less alone. I hope I can help people younger than myself on the road towards their goals. Make them feel valued and ready to take risks.
I hope I can raise money and awareness for the causes that drive me well into my old age. Every cause needs money and awareness.
I hope I leave a little bit of my soul on the page someday.