Allison's specialty in the area of IVR voicing came about in a rather indirect way.
Allison studied theatre at the University of Calgary, and obtained a BFA Degree in Drama in 1986. While enjoying fairly steady work in theatre, commercials, and minor roles in feature films and TV series shot in and around Calgary, Alberta, Allison began doing radio commercials for a local radio station as a way of supplimenting her income between acting jobs. "The first copy they threw at me -- as a way of screening out voice talent -- was a spot for Abominable Ski Shop," Allison recalls. "I was forced to say the word "Abominable" a dozen times in the copy successfully, so I guess I was 'in'!" All subsequent spots were kept on a professional reel, which she was then able to shop around to ad agencies and sound studios -- and long story short; the voice acting career took over as her mainstay. Her first big "break" in voicing a national radio campaign was in 1996, when she was awarded the contract to voice the national spots for Canada Safeway Stores, voicing multitudes of weekly radio spots for three years. Allison confesses: "I knew -- before anyone else -- when asparagus was going on sale. It's hard not to let that kind of power go to your head."
Allison's first exposure to IVR voicing was in 1998, when she was approached by Telus, the large telco conglomerate in Alberta, to voice their mobility platform. "I really came to appreciate and truly get to love the discipline required to keep all prompts consistent, seamless, and dovetail well together in their final concateny", says Allison. "It's almost Zen-like. The building of a home recording studio was the gateway to limitless, international work -- the volume of which seems to increase exponentially yearly.
"Every day at work is different," explains Allison. "One minute I'm voicing a survey for Victoria's Secret -- checking on the customer's satisfaction with their push-up bra; next I'll be voicing the IVR for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.....complete variety. Sometimes a jarring gear-change!"
Odd things happen in Allison's line of work -- inevitably, she'll get automated calls...from herself. "A wake-up call in a hotel -- voiced by me -- was very surreal," Allison recalls. Being asked to parody herself in a radio commercial for a bank -- which demonstrated the frustrating "IVR Maze" of bank's competitor -- was odd. "The ad agency had instructions from the client to track down 'That Telephone Voice', and they found me. The fact that I'm not only me, but a 'type'.......it's an odd feeling."
Allison lives in beautiful Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband Pete and beautiful Border Collie/Great Pyrenees cross named Bailey, and when she's not voicing, she finds balance and contentment with a dedicated hot Yoga practice.