PWAC Social Media PD Day Success!

by Kelly S. Thompson, PWAC Vancouver President

Our social media PD Day on 22 March at the VSO School of Music was a HUGE success! We had seventeen attendees and eight excellent speakers who all came out to explore social media etiquette, how to use social media to build your writer brand and also, what social media options are best for writers.

Since this was a social media event, we took to various platforms to promote the day! We emailed, we Facebook-ed, we Tweeted, we Blogged…We also live Tweeted the event using hashtag #pwacsocialmedia. By reaching out through social media, we reached a wide audience of attendees and linked up with other organizations and educational institutes to inform them about the big day.

We also used the PD Day as an opportunity to partner with the Editors Association of Canada, offering the same cost discount to EAC members as PWAC members. Since many writers are editors, and vice versa, a lot of the social media information relevant to our writers was also important to EAC members. We look forward to coordinating more events with them in the future.

Thanks to Peter Hayley, Sandra O’Connell, Bonnie Sainsbury, the Socialettes, Kimberly Wright, Robyn Roste, Stephanie Michelle Scott and our own Mirey Faema for coming to speak to us and sharing your social media knowledge with our group!

We hope to continue building the PWAC Vancouver brand by hosting more PD sessions for our members to offer them value for their PWAC dues. Thanks to everyone involved as we explore new opportunities!



More Social Media Day Bios and Lectures!

We’re continuing to develop our social media PD Day on 22 March at the VSO School of Music. We’re also priding ourselves on bringing you the best possible speakers to make the most of the event. We’re providing more bios on our speakers as “teasers” as the date draws near!

Socialettes Profile

Socialettes is a ‘Social-PR’ marketing consulting company that aims to help businesses in the development of their brand in ways that are sustainable, profitable and creative. We strive to bridge the gap between online and offline marketing communication in order to convert marketing efforts into measurable business results.

Sonal Haria | Co-Founder: Ambitious entrepreneur, media manager, event co-ordinator,  & social analyst Sonal Haria has leveraged her creative and organizational skills to lead successful campaigns and events for numerous brands. Sonal’s strong interpersonal and writing communication skills combined with her analytical and technical marketing knowledge and experience has allowed her to represent start-ups, small businesses and communities as their marketing voice.

Prianka Dhir | Co-Founder: Brand manager, PR & content creator, entrepreneur and social strategist, Prianka Dhir has built her brand by assisting start-ups and SME’s in building theirs. A connection to various entrepreneurship communities and venture capital groups has widened her scope of international businesses, industries and trends that guide her specialization in business and technology. Prianka’s strategy management expertise has allowed her to execute various successful marketing campaigns for both international and local markets.

Bonnie Sainsbury, Founder, Social Media Smarter: A veteran trainer, speaker and writer on social media, Bonnie joined the world of internet entrepreneurs following a successful 30-year career in corporate IT. Bonnie is #13 on the Forbes list of Top 20 Women Social Media Power Influencers and #28 on their Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers. She has researched, designed and implemented custom online social marketing strategies for companies and professional clients, producing measurable results for their bottom lines. The Lady walks her talk. She has over 100,000 engaged followers on Twitter (@bsainsbury); over 1600 friends on Facebook, 500+ business connections on LinkedIn, and over 1500 fans on Google. She’s co-host of the successful Women Talking Tech webcast that just celebrates one year on the air using Google+ Hangouts on Air.

An avid supporter of blogging, Bonnie can be found at and

Peter Haley, a recent BCom graduate from UBC’s Sauder School of Business, was fortunate enough to discover his dream job with Wet Ape while searching for a wakeboard on Castanet. Since landing the role of Wet Ape’s Social Media Coordinator Peter hasn’t looked back. The position has allowed him to combine his passion for sport, music and marketing in such a way that each new day on the job is more exciting than the last. Prior to starting his role at Wet Ape, Peter worked in a variety of marketing, production and consulting roles with organizations including the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, International Tennis Federation, CBC Music and the Kay Meek Centre. 

In his spare time Peter is a passionate guitarist who has performed with several Vancouver based bands, most notably Louder Than Love (renamed City Walls) and an active member of the sporting community. In 2010 Peter was chosen to be a Winter Olympics Torch Bearer due to his efforts leading a healthy, active lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. He also captained the UBC Sheens ball hockey team to two UBC Rec league titles.

Although Peter splits his time between Vancouver and the Okanagan, and is sometimes caught on the road during games, he hasn’t stopped being a dedicated Vancouver Canucks fan who can’t wait to see the Canucks bring home the Stanley Cup. When he’s not nerding out on his laptop for Wet Ape Peter spends his time dreaming about being a rockstar, enjoying live music and chilling out on lakes & mountains.

Sandra O’Connell is a writer and marketing strategist with a corporate background in real estate. She is founder of the blog Tales from a Bar Stool, which was subsequently picked up by The Province Newspaper. In addition to contributing editorial for various publications, Sandra manages social media and marketing campaigns for several businesses and is writing her first novel.

22 March-Social Media For Writers- Professional Development Day

These days, it isn’t enough for a writer to “just be a writer.” We now need to be active online by using social media, which has opened up a variety of new markets to writers and freelancers.

Join us on 22 March at the Vancouver Symphony School of Music for a Professional Development Day dedicated to Social Media for Writers. We have some excellent speakers and presentations to help even the least tech-savvy person navigate the world of Facebook and Twitter and more!

Sessions include:

1. Introduction to Social Media and Writing Online for Beginners: 9 am – 9:45 am

This intro session will be presented by Mirey Faema, our chapter VP. You do not need to attend should you feel comfortable with your social media techniques.

2. Blogging, Creating and Monetizing Your Blog and Making Your Website Work For You: 10 – 11 am

With Sandra O’Connell and Robyn Roste (with Kimberly Wright answering questions in advance).

Robyn Roste has a bachelor degree in Journalism. She spends her days as copy writer/audio broadcast producer at a national non-profit and her nights working as a freelance blogger.

Kimberly Wright is a Brisbane-based fashion blogger who began her blogging career in 2012. She is an ambassador for Beginning Boutique and Fiji Water. She has collaborated  with labels such as Bardot, Ash to Gold, Hello Parry, and many more.  

3. The Socialettes- Social Media for Writers: 11:15 am – 12:15 pm


4. How Social Media Has Changed and How to Making Money Using It: 1:30 – 2:30 pm

Presented by Bonnie Sainsbury

Bonnie Sainsbury is a social marketing strategist and is founder of Social Media Smarter. A veteran trainer, speaker and writer on social media, Bonnie is #13 on the Forbes list of Top 20 Women Social Media Power Influencers and #28 on their Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers. Bonnie can be found at and

5. How to Target Readers and Build Your Fan Base: 2:45 – 3:45 pm

Presented by Stephanie Michelle Scott

Stephanie Scott is a seasoned specialist in engagement strategy. At Wildfire Effect Media, she helps clients find the story in their brand and bring those stories to life.

6. How to Build a Personal Brand Online- 4-5 

Peter Hayley


Date: 22 March

Time: 9 am – 5 pm

Location: VSO School of Music, 843 Seymour Street, Vancouver


Early Bird (ENDS SATURDAY, 8 March)

PWAC Members, EAC Members and Students (must present valid ID)- $30

General Attendees: $40

As of Sunday, 9 March

PWAC Members, EAC Members and Students- $35

General Attendees- $45

Refreshments and opportunities to network will be provided! Register quickly, as space is limited. You must register in advance as payment at the door is not an option. Just click on the PayPal Buttons below for your preferred option. Prices will change as of Sunday, 9 March.

Stay tuned for details on specific session timings and further bios!

Please note, after Thursday, 20 March, we can no longer issue refunds or cancellations. Thank you.

PWAC or EAC Member or Student Option    


General Attendance Option

Welcome to 2014 PWAC Vancouver

2013 was a great year for the Vancouver chapter. We saw a rejuvenation of our online presence through this blog, Twitter and Facebook, we held our first professional development day in several years and we grew our chapter with new members and retained many of our previous members. We also saw an increase in the number of members who served as representatives for the Vancouver chapter at the national AGM in Toronto. It was a year to be proud of.

The new year brings new opportunities for PWAC and we hope to carry on the momentum of 2013. This spring, (date is being solidified in the coming weeks) we will be holding our next professional development day with a focus on social media for writers. We have decided to cut our socials to every two months, with breaks in December and the summer (since we have our holiday party and summer party). We will continue holding the socials on the second Thursday of the month, so our next will be in February. Stay tuned for date, time and location details.

We look forward to growing the chapter with our members. Feel free to get in touch with me at kelly(at) should you have any questions or concerns.

–Kelly S. Thompson, President PWAC Vancouver

Angie Holubowich- Our 2013 Student Membership Winner

PWAC Vancouver would like to congratulate Angie Holubowich for winning a one-year PWAC Student Membership. Angie wrote an excellent entry about how she would put the membership to good use and also, the credibility that comes with the press pass.

Angie is a second-year student in the Journalism program at Lanagara.

Welcome aboard, Angie!

-Kelly Thompson, PWAC Vancouver Chapter President

October Social

Please join us for our October social, to be held at Rogue House Kitchen and Wetbar, 601 W. Cordova at 6:30 pm on Thursday, 10 October. The reservation is under PWAC. Please email Chapter President, Kelly Thompson, ( to advise if you plan on coming (so we can plan for numbers) or if you have any questions.
We will also be giving away a free 1 year student membership at the event so all students are welcome.
Hope to see you all there!

National PWAC AGM- Notes from our delegates

This year, we were lucky to have Guenther Krueger, Jacqueline Steuart and Mirey Faema serve as our delegates at this year’s National AGM in Toronto. They were kind enough to pass on some of their important notes from the event that we wish to pass on to our members.

Notes from Mirey on the panels she attended:

Simply the Best Practices in Social Media.

  • Test different platforms if you find it doesn’t work for you delete it.
  • Write engaging content, develop your personality and don’t always self-promote.
  • Start conversations with your followers.

How to Be a good editor

  • Show appreciation to your writers. Hold company events so that your freelancers can attend and feel like part of the company. 
  • Take the time to meet in person with new writers and be clear and detailed when you assign stories.
  • Communicate directly with members of your team, avoid miscommunications that can occur through emails.
Going for Gold: How to create award-winning content
  • Writers can submit their own stories for awards. Basically if you believe a story you have had published is awesome nominate yourself if an editor won’t
  • The more submissions you have the higher your chances are of winning awards
  • It is all subjective.
  • Write an interesting story with a fresh angle. They are looking for a submissions that stands out.

Breaking the rules of online publishing- Tyee Style

  • Be creative when looking for revenue. Don’t rely on old fashioned advertising, create workshops, offer advertorials, find sponsorship, get donations.
  • Pay your writers.
  • Find quality writers and keep them as staff.

General highlights on MagNet from Jacqueline:

  • Julie Wilson on advice to beginning writers: “Dive in with curiosity.” and “Be available to your career even when you are not writing.”
  • David Hayes on the six qualities desired in a freelance writer: Ideas, excellent research, excellent reporting, meeting deadlines, writing to length, being a nice person to work with.
  • Rounding out the business aspects of the conference were many social events and several awards ceremonies. Special mention to keynote speaker comedian Charles Demers who brought the house down at the Professional Writers Association of Canada’s (PWAC) awards dinner with his hilarious, insightful and no-holds-barred commentary.

Also, we received some notes on the AGM itself from our Regional Director, Heidi Turner, who has been thankfully nominated to serve as Regional Director for another term:

  • The BC spotlight was very well received and made even better by the high number of BC delegates. I received many comments about how wonderful it was to have British Columbia so well-represented, and the delegates did a great job speaking about issues at the AGM, and representing the region in general. We had a fantastic mix of long-time members, brand-new members and those in between. My thanks to each of them for being great representatives of PWAC BC.
  • BC had two award winners at this year’s conference. My congratulations to Peter Grant, who was awarded the British Columbia Regional Volunteer Award. Congratulations also to Kelly Thompson who was given the Barbara Novak Writing Award for Excellence in Humour/Personal Essay Writing, for her piece, “We are a (Military) Family.”
  • PWAC held its elections for the core board positions. The new president of PWAC is Michelle Greysen from Lethbridge. The vice president is Nate Hendley from Toronto and the treasurer is Rusti LeHay from Edmonton. As no one ran against me for BC regional director, I will be the regional director for the next two years.
  • There was not a lot of big news to come out of the AGM, aside from the elections. Next year is the year we examine our partnership with Magazines Canada regarding holding our AGM along with MagNet. There were some concerns expressed about the professional development offered at this year’s MagNet, concerns that I echoed. I will be heading up a task force for next year’s MagNet to ensure the professional development is up to the standards of the past few years. For those of you who have been to MagNet in either of the past two years and have comments, ideas, suggestions or otherwise about sessions, please feel free to send me an email.

If anyone has any questions about the AGM or events, please do not hesitate to contact me.We look forward to starting back with our monthly socials in September, and I’ll be sure to advise members as to the time and locations.

-Kelly Thompson, PWAC Vancouver President