We're so glad you're here.

and inspiration becomes action.

dreamers become doers

WELCOME TO THE PLACE WHERE

We've been helping people tell their story for more than a decade, and grow into places they never thought possible.

Social School was born FROM the recognition that what MODERN businesses needed most was not an expensive agency or outsourced expert, but rather,

Now, while some years are harder than others, 2020 was a doozey that left us spending 9 long months meticulously recreating the company of our dreams from the bottom up.

That is, the one I set out to build when I opened THE doors a wild and wonderful 10 years ago.

empowered in-house skills.

While 2020's stark reality meant we could no longer run 117 live conferences, workshops, retreats and classes across the continent like we did in 2019, February 16, 2021 saw us flip the switch on an all-new offering, and one that we are profoundly proud to bring to life.

As with the building of all big things, we had to go quiet in order to get here. We sunk deep into listening, immersed fully in creating, and move forward from a place of serving. Less planes, trains and automobiles, more showing up for our incredible community of learners and launchers, dreamers and doers – meaningfully and wholeheartedly in every way we know how.

We can hardly wait to show you around and embrace each other like we once did, but as wiser, stronger and more resilient souls than we once were. Will we one day return to live conferences, packed classes and travelling digital circus acts? We hope so. But for now, we'll do everything we can online to see you win offline – and everywhere else.

See you soon,

Quite simply, our Covid silver lining is this:

It's been a long road to arrival, but our relaunch is finally here.

Kelly

a Social School story

As the saying goes, the writing was on the newsroom wall. Having been on the receiving end of hundreds of daily pitches from PR firms, media relations professionals, cannonball competitions, and businesses big and small, I knew I needed to switch teams, put my [ahem] geography degree to work, and start my own agency where I helped other people tell their stories rather than do it for them on pages of newsprint. 

It was the beginning of a golden era of social media for business, and every organization across the planet, including those in my own cold Canadian city, had content to unearth, and not a lot of skill at doing so. With little more than a rolodex and a laptop, my first agency – Daily Ink Media & PR – was born.

I left my full-time job as a columnist at a major daily newspaper

May 2010

Fast forward to a 3-month-old son paired with a very full-time grind 'working for myself' – an unfriendly oxymoron of 16-hour screen days to achieve client work completion. I was exhausted, uninspired and unexcited about another year of writing other people's press releases, blogs and tweets. I knew they could do it themselves, and excel at it too, if I could just teach them how.

Enter the magical words from my sister-in-law in a waterpark hot tub that changed my world forever, "Kelly, why don't you just take your business online?" To which I responded, "Jess, people hire me for me. How on earth would I package that up and put it on the internet?"

It turns out, everything is possible.

Shifting from a service to a product, and selling in my sleep

MAY 2012

It also turns out that shifting from delivering a service to people I knew to selling a product online to strangers was the most difficult slog I've ever underestimated.

Further rookie move to add to the mix: assuming that jamming my so-called marketing expertise into a 4-part curriculum with all the fixings was the hard part. It was not. Learning 89 new platforms, plugins, systems and software literally had me on my knees, and eventually, my back against the wall as the electrical shutoff notice arrived in my re-pregnant-and-crying mailbox.

After 9 months of building, there was nothing left to do but launch and sell. And when you're dead broke doing it, that rock-bottom reality brings a certain kind of fire.

PR Pioneers, my first online course, launches to a whopping 8 buyers

FEBRUARY 2013

While shifting from salaried income and friendly client work to minefields of technology and slow-to-manifest sales was a battle, it was also the most empowering thing I'd ever done.

Because once those skills, tools and platforms are learned, the power to build, sell and scale an entrepreneurial dream to an infinite global audience is yours for the taking. (As is the conceiving and hosting of really fun digital marketing conferences like the famed Social Summit, too.)

From one-to-one, to one-to-many – and then many more

MARCH 2015

I'd be lying if I said this was the part where my online courses and small group classes in rented basement boardrooms began to outshine my client work, let alone come close to making hay. 

It was, however, the place where my longtime PR pal Sarah Geddes and I recognized that our clients needed a little less media relations work, and a whole lot more brand journalism. Honest stories to fill their newfound social feeds, blogs and 'e-blasts.' As the media landscape continued to shift, our vision of partnering with legions of newly underemployed writers, photographers, videographers, publishers and storytellers became a reality. 

It wasn't the electric newsroom of my days gone by, but the assignments, deadlines and collaboration were back.

Press + Post – a 'new age newsroom' and modern content agency is born

APRIL 2015

While our client roster grew alongside our courses and workshops, the time was ripe for the education division of our agency – now officially named 'The Social School' – to stage an unforgettable live conference series that went went deep into themes of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship alongside modern marketing.

The Post
 came to life, and through its epic three-year run, played host to hundreds of speakers from Australia to Alabama, stirred incredible conversations and changed the marketing conference game – while also growing us many grey hairs and nearly costing us everything.

Alas, thanks to the magic of the pivot and a stubborn refusal to toss it out, The Post evolved into Canada's largest annual series of digital marketing 'workshop-conferences,' spanning from Kelowna, Edmonton and Calgary, through Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa, serving thousands of marketers, entrepreneurs and modern professionals along the way.

Enter: 'The Post – Where Marketing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collide'

NOVEMBER 2016

Running an agency and academy with thousands of annual clients and students from across North America, while parenting small kids, weathering the rollercoaster economy of our energy industry-dependent province, and running... always running... has a way of eventually catching up.

On February 14, 2018, Sarah was diagnosed with advanced salivary gland cancer. I was in the tub when she called, freshly back from a live event in Edmonton, and my heart fell off a cliff. While she had a few short weeks to come to terms with her reality on a personal level, we had the same amount of time to navigate the future of our business before countless crippling surgeries would begin. Our choice to split the business in two was clear. She needed to come back to a calmer, more sane version of life, and I needed the same. She would keep the agency, I would keep the school.

Sarah is a survivor in every definition of the word, and today, Press + Post and its incredible team continue to expand into new markets, break new creative ground, and bring spectacular marketing solutions to companies across the continent. I could not be more honoured to call them my peers and learn from their work.

Sarah and Kelly's reality check

FEBRUARY 14, 2018

With Social School set free of the mothership, I was back out on my own. And [gahhh..] back in my basement alone – rebuilding, refinancing and reassessing whether this was actually a business at all, or just a mailing list and some nerdy course decks. Oh. Boy.

Questions swirling, paycheque evaporated and runway short, a line from a long-ago swim coach would not leave my head: 'How hard would you try if you knew you could not fail?'

If I could muster the additional time, sweat and financial resources it required for a fair shake, I knew Social School was poised to become something special, and on April 1, 2018, it officially got that chance and became its own entity. No more client work or agency main line, and a sole focus on educating, training and empowering entrepreneurs, marketers and modern professionals of all stripes.

Do or don't do, but give it the air (and investment, focus and final push) it needs

APRIL 2018

Until the year we now know as EGAD! 2020!!, I thought I'd never see chaos like I did in 2018. And because life has a way of speeding up just when you think it's slowing down, I put on my bravest pants, secured a whack of debt financing and ran a few conferences solo, while building out a new dream team and beautiful campus in the heart of the city. 

Jaimie joined on as our beloved marketing director, then Donna in events and ops, followed by Danielle in content and creativity, and Kasey as support. Our programs grew to include retreats, workshops and additional certifications, plus custom events and a full calendar of live and virtual classes. We added the brilliance of Roger, Adam, Dan, Jenn, Chantal, Tyler, Darion and more to our faculty mix, and through bleeding eyeballs and happy hearts, made it to the finish line of one very wild year, and a sold-out 4-day conference in Calgary – the final stop – with 1,000 smiling guests.

The Campus is built, the team is born.

AUGUST 2018

With a campus of our own and a wide open runway ahead, 2019 was the whirlwind year that saw us teaching, talking, travelling and workshopping in more places than we could count.

Our lineup of Social Cities workshop-conferences spanned from coast to coast, alongside a host of custom events, thousands of new international students, and endless inspiration from the marketers, entrepreneurs and innovators we met at every turn.

This was truly a year for the books, and one we'll never forget.

19 conferences, 28 workshops, 34 courses, 6 retreats, 10,000 new students

january-december 2019

Cancellations. Refunds. Layoffs. Tough times. Just as our 2020 season was about to take off, it ended entirely.

Looking back, all that's left to do is smile. Or at least glance around with gratitude that there's still a roof overhead, with happy, healthy kids and a surprisingly supportive husband underneath it. 

2020 was a battle for many of us, but it also offered some upside. We learned a lot – A LOT – of long overdue truths about privilege, racial equality, and lack thereof. We shared tears and pandemic fears as a global community facing an unfathomable crisis. We fought for political justice and the future of the planet. We stopped, we listened, we loved, and we re-evaluated what matters most in this one short, precious life.



Scratch that, then. Let's try THIS.

MARCH 2020

Alongside some knocks, Social School was also given some much-needed time to breathe and rebirth, and for that I will be forever grateful. Because while much of 2020 was about cancelling our plans, closing the doors and dismantling all we'd built, it was also about coming back stronger and more nimble, with fewer enormous live events and more community-minded, activation-focused offerings and support.

We are proud to re-launch with new platforms, programs, and a wholehearted commitment to you – our students, pals, alumni and peers. We are thrilled to bring you the kind of coaching, accountability and membership communities you've been asking for. The kind of digital courses, tools and templates we know to be the very best of their kind – meticulously built line by line, page by page, backend demo by world-class case study. The kind of partnerships, affiliations and support we can't wait to bring forth, now and going forward.

The memberships, the marketplace, the training, the tools... and decade #2.

february 2021

Here's to Chapter 2021.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for being a part of our world, and for allowing us to be part of yours.

FEB 2013

FEBruary 14, 2018

AUGust 2018

jan-dec 2019

Social School is a hard-fought dream come true, and I am honoured to sit at the helm.

regretS

avoiding writing

bad habit

laptop til 4am

fav dinner

soft ice cream

hot tubbing

Eddie Vedder

dream job

happy place

TAKE MY MONEY

life-changer

heroes

weekend plans

PAST LIFE

I'D RATHER BE

fave artist

empowering entrepreneurs

Vancouver Island

software & stationary

Canadian Swim Team

audiobooks

my very wise parents

Gibson, 9, Bowen, 6

the short bits

Sometimes they take the form of a "handsome, handy and romantic" husband named Paul (Grandma Yvette's words, not mine), who, even when your entrepreneur-oholism leads to near ruin, continues to have your back and believe in what you're building.

Behind many an unrelenting entrepreneur stands an incredibly patient partner.

#1

Paul's first job was raising turkeys on the northern BC mountaintop his Saskatchewan-born father Ralph homesteaded in 1965. The contrast of my suburban cul-de-sac upbringing isn't lost on us.

My first job was making cotton candy at the Calgary Stampede, which, incidentally, is where we met on 'First Friday' 2007. The ATM in the Cowboys tent, to be precise. We were wild and fun then, and if not for the photos, I mostly wouldn't believe it either. 

Three weeks into dating, my grandma identified that Paul and I are related. Thankfully only through marriage, her second husband, and a tiny town in Saskatchewan. Or so we tell ourselves.

Paul is a contractor and I love the heck out of him. He works to live, not the other way around, and only occasionally needs to remind me which is which.

Bring on the daylight,  my friends.

Lately, I seem to spend a lot of time re-thinking wellness at work and seeking meaning over money. In fact, I'm kind of obsessed with it.

But the thing that reminds me daily why entrepreneurs do what they do as they leap toward risk and attempt to form their dreams into some semblance of a revenue-generating reality, is the great 'why.'

We're here for a good time, not a long time, and the best decision I ever made was these two.

Bring on the daylight,  my friends.

I never once felt ready to have kids, notably as I was reaching the old maid mark of 30 years and the world was telling me to get on with it already, while I was finally finding my feet in my work and passion in my career.

My sole certainty, however, was that at the end of my days, I wanted to have had kids. Further, it was time to stop defining the years of my life by the job I had and the city I lived in.

Gratitude and purpose come in many shapes and sizes, but mine are gingered, smart and squishy, and Social School's biggest fans.

#2

Certainly not easy words to live by every day, but ones I'll wholeheartedly wrap my arms around and attempt to embrace like my life depended on it in the decade ahead and beyond.



Happiness is the new rich, inner peace the new success, health the new wealth, kindness the new cool. 

As we move past the unprecedented years of 2020-21, and reflect on the isolation, pivots, regrouping and reinvention of our current lives and future livelihoods alongside our biases, privileges and priorities, perhaps the most profound thing we can do is learn, and then do our best to lead.

To do so with honesty, integrity and the liberation of our true selves, be it in work, life or love. To unearth the latent plans, ideas and impact we know we have to make on the world, most notably those that are long overdue for a breath. To stop benching our true talents while we let some backup soul-sucking role take the wheel. 

Ten years after leaving my job as a journalist who researched, wrote and published dozens of daily stories about brilliant people doing awe-inspiring things, I finally know what I need to write about next. Because alongside marketing and full-court digital nerdery, mindfulness, mental health, opportunity and entrepreneurialism is my jam, and only after hitting bottom in the not-so-distant past, did there become a story to tell and a place to rise.

My side project is called The Run, it's launching this spring, and it will aim to air and explore the countless entrepreneurial truths, hardships, wins and rewards that are real to me, and perhaps relatable to you.

In the words of legendary Canadian Gordon Lightfoot, "You gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight."

#3

but more importantly...

Lately, I spend a lot of time re-thinking wellness at work and seeking meaning over money. In fact, I'm kind of obsessed with it. See below.

But the thing that reminds me daily why entrepreneurs do what they do as they leap toward risk and attempt to form their dreams into some semblance of a revenue-generating reality, is the great 'why.'

I never once felt ready to have kids, notably as I was reaching the old maid mark of 30 years and the world was telling me to get on with it already, while I was finally finding my feet in my work and passion in my career.

My sole certainty, however, was that at the end of my days, I wanted to have had kids. Further, it was time to stop defining the years of my life by the job I had and the city I lived in.

Gratitude and purpose come in many shapes and sizes, but mine are gingered, smart and squishy, and Social School's biggest fans.

#2

Certainly not easy words to live by every day, but ones I'll wholeheartedly wrap my arms around and attempt to embrace like my life depended on it in the decade ahead.

As we move past the unprecedented years of 2020-21, and reflect on the isolation, pivots, regrouping and reinvention of our current lives and future livelihoods alongside our biases, privileges and priorities, perhaps the most profound thing we can do is learn, and then do our best to lead.

To do so with honesty, integrity and the liberation of our true selves, be it in work, life or love. To unearth the latent plans, ideas and impact we know we have to make on the world, most notably those that are long overdue for a breath. To stop benching our true talents while we let some backup soul-sucking role take the wheel. 

Ten years after leaving my job as a journalist who researched, wrote and published dozens of daily stories about brilliant people doing awe-inspiring things, I finally know what I need to write about next. Because alongside marketing and full-court digital nerdery, mindfulness, mental health, opportunity and entrepreneurialism is my jam, and only after hitting bottom in the not-so-distant past, did there become a story to tell and a place to rise.

My side project is called The Run, it's launching this spring, and it will aim to air and explore the countless entrepreneurial truths, hardships, wins and rewards that are real to me, and perhaps relatable to you.

In the words of legendary Canadian Gordon Lightfoot, "You gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight."

Happiness is the new rich, inner peace the new success, health the new wealth, kindness the new cool. 

Sometimes they take the form of a "handsome, handy and romantic" husband named Paul (Grandma Yvette's words, not mine), who, even when your entrepreneur-oholism leads to near ruin, continues to have your back and believe in what you're building.

Paul's first job was raising turkeys on the northern BC mountaintop his Saskatchewan-born father Ralph homesteaded in 1965. The contrast of my suburban cul-de-sac upbringing isn't lost on us.

My first job was making cotton candy at the Calgary Stampede, which, incidentally, is where we met on 'First Friday' 2007. The ATM in the Cowboys tent, to be precise. We were wild and fun then, and if not for the photos, I mostly wouldn't believe it either. 

Three weeks into dating, my grandma identified that Paul and I are related. Thankfully only through marriage, her second husband, and a tiny town in Saskatchewan. Or so we tell ourselves.

Paul is a contractor and I love the heck out of him. He works to live, not the other way around, and only occasionally needs to remind me which is which.

Behind many an unrelenting entrepreneur stands an incredibly patient partner.

#1

#3

Bring on the daylight, my friends.

We're here for a good time, not a long time, 
and the best decision I ever made was these two. 

in the power of
entrepreneurs to
change the world.

 We believe

Social School was founded in that spirit a decade ago,
and remains grounded in it today.

Social School was founded in that spirit a decade ago, and remains grounded in it today.

Almost any wine is good so long as it’s open.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.

 we believe

@SOCIAL_SCHOOL_

LET'S GET SOCIAL

Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Top tools, insights, ideas and inspirations.

and at the top of your game.

Keeping you in the loop

Keeping you in the loop and at the top of your game.

subscribe for a weekly dose of

Your information is 100% secure and will never be shared with anyone.