2016 Session Description: Self

Dawn and Bahia

We are not bloggers. We have no technical training in writing, illustrating, graphic design, book publishing or even public speaking.

What we had was an idea. An idea that blossomed into our first heartfelt creation Self. So how did Self develop?

With authenticity, compassion, desire, life force energy, love and unconditional support.

Allow us to take you on our journey. We will share how two uniquely distinct women, on completely different life journeys, found a deep connection with each other. Through this connection, an infinite potential of creativity blossomed. Individually, we bravely stepped “out of the box”, and made our own standards. Together, we have paved our own unique way of manifesting an idea into reality, just by being ourselves, fearlessly!

Presenter Bios:

Dawn grew up in Jeddore and now resides in Lake Echo with her family. Always a true artist at heart, she taught for 10 years before making the brave leap to follow her passion and start her own business as a professional decorator. This shift in direction was the turning point in Dawn’s journey to reconnecting with her true authentic self.

Bahia was born and raised in Halifax. Following the advice of her late father, she studied engineering, but secretly her heart always leaned towards wanting to help others. As a “people-pleaser,” she diligently strived at being the best mom, daughter, wife, friend and employee; until one day she hit rock bottom. Her life teetered on the brink and from here she began her healing journey. She found her way “home” to her true authentic self through self-love, care and compassion.

Dawn and Bahia debuted and showcased Self at Word on The Street Halifax Festival, September 17th, 2016. They were featured presenters, and BlogJam marks their second official presentation…and they have only just begun!


2016 Session Description: More Than Words: Taking Your Content to the Next Level

Terra Tailleur, (University of King’s College), (Steph McGrath, NATIONAL Public Relations), (Tara Wickwire, NATIONAL Public Relations), (Dave Culligan Video Blogger)

Video. Live video. Gifs. Boomerangs. Audio clips. Instagram Stories. Snapchat. There’s a lot going on! Join us for a conversation about how to take content to the next level by integrating different formats and channels into your stories. We’ll talk about how to plan ahead and collect and create content to distribute in different ways across multiple platforms.

Presenter Bios:

terra-photoTerra Tailleur – Journalism Professor, University of King’s College, Online News and Multimedia specialist

Terra Tailleur is a journalism enabler. She’s an Assistant Professor at the University of King’s College, where she teaches students the wonders of digital journalism. She also advises and mentors communicators at large. She worked in print, broadcast and online over her 20-year career in news. She worked for CBC.ca in Halifax for 10 of those years, holding every role within the web and digital world, from researcher and writer, to multimedia producer and social media curator. She believes in collaboration and experimenting with new ways to produce and package stories.


screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-8-52-29-pmSteph McGrath – Director of Content Strategy, NATIONAL Public Relations

Stephanie has experience building and managing content believers across large, national networks.

Her online odyssey began in 1999 after graduating from the University of King’s College with a Bachelor of Journalism, Honours. That’s when she was tasked with interviewing pop stars and evaluating Britney Spears concerts for Canoe.ca in Toronto. The job opened doors to the dynamic world of digital content and led her to television newsrooms (CityTV), global editorial teams at AOL and MSN and into a life and career creating digital content and strategizing new ways to organize and measure its success at T4G Kick and now, NATIONAL Public Relations.

More importantly, she’s passionate about building talent from within and inspiring her colleagues, direct reports and clients to become the content stars she knows they can be.


tara-wickwireTara Wickwire – Director, NATIONAL Public Relations

With more than 18 years of global branding experience, Tara has a deep understanding of the strategic approach required when developing the key narratives to engage with external audiences and ultimately meet business objectives.

She has led PR Strategy for Gap Inc. brands in Canada and most recently, has worked on programs for McDonald’s, Ford of Canada, Labatt, and Halifax Shopping Centre.

With experience in all parts of the country and a comprehensive appreciation of market nuances, Tara has applied her expertise to create PR tools and programs that drive coverage and return in the new media environment.  She has developed valuable relationships with top tier media over the course of her career, and has built a reputation as a trend and consumer expert, appearing on programs such as Global Morning, CTV Morning Live, Breakfast Television and e-Talk.


dave-culliganDave Culligan – Video Blogger and Digital Strategist

A vlogging sensation and former varsity athlete at Saint Mary’s University, Dave is passionate about the potential of new media and the democratization of filmmaking, through new technologies. He is currently involved in two startups, and provides a wide range of services on a freelance basis, from consulting to video production. He is currently working on his “365” project, in which he creates a 1-minute video each day, and posts it on Instagram and Facebook. Through this project, Dave aims to showcase the amazing places, people, and businesses that exist in Nova Scotia, and to inspire others to see challenges as opportunities.

2016 Session Description: Creating Video that Doesn’t Suck

Steve Foran (Gratitude at Work)

Would you like to know what it takes to get a video blog up and running? Would you like the secret to getting big impact with a small list? Are you wondering if you have to be a professional speaker to do video?

In this session you’re going to learn:

  • what equipment, software and expertise you need to do a video blog
  • the process we use to create a video blog post
  • tips for better videos

4 Word Description:

Video Blogging is Possible!

Presenter Bio:

steve-foran-squareSteve Foran is Grateful CEO at Gratitude at Work, a behaviour and culture changing institution he founded in 2007. Steve began exploring the relationship between gratitude and philanthropic giving while completing his Masters at Saint Mary’s University. Steve has been on the leading edge of gratitude-based research, writing, and teaching for almost fifteen years. His science-based program, Gratitude At Work, is a simple, yet innovative approach to business growth. He started video blogging in mid 2009 which has help expand his work with leaders across Canada and into the United States, shifting cultures and helping teams bring more gratitude to work each day.

Steve is a son, brother, husband, father and now grandfather. He teaches Business Ethics, has written extensively on the subject of gratitude and he is the founder of STATUSGRO. Steve is actively engaged in making his community a better place and is proud to be a lifelong resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

2016 Session Description: Food Panel

Michelle Doucette (East Coast Food Stories), Jen Organ (Adventures in Local Food), and Cristina (I Say Nomato)

This delicious and inspiring panel discussion will cover all aspects of blogging about everyone’s favourite topic…food!

Presenter Bios:

michelle-doucetteMichelle Doucette is a portrait and lifestyle photographer and the creator of East Coast Food Stories, an online collection of visual and written stories that celebrate the way food connects us to our surroundings and each other. Inspired by the seaside lifestyle and the memories we make while gathered at the table, Michelle documents food culture in celebration of the traditions and innovations of people who are passionate about food.


jen-organJen Organ is the Community Food Programmer with the Our Food Project of the Ecology Action Centre. She delivers garden and food skills initiatives with organizations in Halifax, and is a contributor for the Adventures in Local Food blog – your source for food news in Nova Scotia, from pickles to policy. Jen’s interest in food primarily stems from emotional and cultural connections between food and place and how this takes shape in the local food movement. Learn more about the Our Food Project at www.ecologyaction.ca/ourfood. Follow them on Twitter @ourfoodproject.



An avid lover of all things East Coast and delicious, Cristina blogs at I Say Nomato, a site dedicated to exploring and inventing nightshade-free food. Raised in Nova Scotia, she’s lived all over the world, including the Caribbean, New York and Louisiana. Her recipes range from traditional Bluenoser fare to Northern Italian family recipes to decadent cakes, with a focus on cooking from scratch with local, in-season ingredients. When she’s not experimenting in the kitchen, she can be found curled up with a good book or planning her next adventure.

2016 Session Description: How Blogging Supports the Growth of your Business

Mary Jane Copps (thephonelady.com)

What is the true value of writing a regular blog for your business? Why should a blog become a priority when there are so many other things that need to get done?

Mary Jane Copps, The Phone Lady, started her business blog in August 2009 as an experiment. A former journalist, the idea of a weekly “column” held appeal but … would there be a return on the investment of time and energy?

The result can only be described as abundance. The blog has not only generated revenue, but firmly established Mary Jane as an expert in her field (which has drawn amazing media attention) and created tremendous loyalty from her followers. It has also opened up surprising opportunities for collaboration and growth.

While it is definitely a big commitment to create a weekly post, its value exceeds the effort it requires … and it can for your business too! Come to this session to learn the how and why of creating a business blog.

5 Word Description:

Specific Business Blogging Strategies

Presenter Bio:

mjc-photo-by-rebecca-clarke-for-blogjamMary Jane embraced her alter ego – The Phone Lady – in 2006 and has worked with over 10,000 individuals improving their phone communication skills.

She’s been profiled as a communications expert by the Wall Street Journal, National Post, The Globe & Mail, CBC, CTV, Global and in a very silly skit on This Hour Has 22 Minutes! She is the author of The Phone Book: Essential Telephone Communication Skills, and has been writing a weekly blog since 2009.

She recently received the national 2016 BDC Mentorship Award through Futurpreneur Canada for her work with young entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses.

2016 Session Description: What The Hell Am I Going To Write About?

Mike Tanner (oneredcat.com)

How do you turn a desire to share your story into regular, cohesive content?

For a great number of writers, one of the issues is how to generate and produce quality content. In this hands-on session, we’ll work through how to generate ideas, how to save and compile those ideas and how to see them through to completion. We’ll talk about blog anatomy and how you can turn your life experiences into a successful story.

5 Word Description:

Real Help In Developing Content Ideas.

Presenter Bio:

mike-tannerMike Tanner @OneRedCatMedia runs a small digital agency in Halifax that specializes in helping small-medium sized businesses find their place online through web, content and social media.

For the past five years, Mike has been writing on behalf of various companies and industries, as well as for himself, on topics ranging from all-season tires to swimming pool maintenance to video games you can control with your mind.

Mike is passionate about productivity and is focused on helping people balance busy lives (he’s also a full time stay at home father of two) with the desire for personal and professional success.


2016 Session Description: Heartwords: Blogging to Inspire and Connect

Jessie Harrold (nalumana.com)

In this workshop, I will be exploring authenticity and vulnerability in blogging. I will help participants explore their voice, learn their own “blogging boundaries,” and understand how blogging can both inspire and connect our readers. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with these topics both in relation to personal blogging as well as blogging for their businesses and freelancing.

5 Word Description:

Voice and vulnerability in blogging.

Presenter Bio:

jessie-harroldJessie Harrold is a coach, doula, and writer.  She started her writing career as a food blogger nearly five years ago, and her love of writing in the online world has grown ever since.  Jessie now owns Nalumana Women’s Wellness, where she works with women who are going through transformational life experiences.  She uses blogging as her primary method of communicating to the community of women that surround her business:  she sees it as a method of connecting, inspiring, teaching and exploring.  Jessie has had writing published in a variety of online and print media, including the Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, Elephant Journal, Explore Magazine and Inspired Coach Magazine.

2016 Session Description: Balancing Your Blog

Heather Clarke (LaptopstoLullabies.com)

In an industry that’s crawling with sponsored posts and reviews, genuine posts sometimes seem few and far between. How can you monetize your blog and enjoy the perks of influencer campaigns while still creating heartfelt content that resonates with your readers? It’s all about balance.

5 Word Description:

Examples of blogging successes, failures.

Presenter Bio:

heather-clarkeHeather Laura Clarke is an award-winning journalist, columnist and blogger who grew up in Halifax and moved out to the country a few years back to channel her inner Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her writing appears across North America in newspapers, magazines, and websites like BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post. She’s been blogging since 2009 on LaptopsToLullabies.com about her chaotic life as a work-at-home mom with too many granola bars in her purse.

2016 Session Description: How to Design your Blog

Sarah Hart (SarahHart.ca)

In this session Sarah will be teaching:

  • The one mistake you’re making when designing your blog that’s costing you hours & hours
  • How to design your blog so it reflects your personality & feels like your cosy home online.
  • How to create an emotional connection online with your dream clients so they become raving fans within seconds!
  • Plus Branding resources & tools for blog design

5 Word Description:

Learning to design their blog!

Presenter Bio:


2016 Session Description: How to Achieve Your #Goals

Kayla Short (shortpresents.com)

Close your eyes and think about something you REALLY want. Maybe you want to quit your job, a sexy beach body, a significant other who doesn’t hog the sheets at night, maybe it’s to learn how to dance, or it could be to learn how to cook. And then ask yourself why you’re not doing it? Chances are you could be living the life you’ve always wanted but it either seems too daunting or you feel like you just don’t have the time. I’m here to tell you that you everything you’ve ever wanted is within reach. Speaking as someone who’s come from a small town to being listed among the Top 50 Canadians in 2016 I’m here to tell you my tricks and tips to ensure your success. Big or small I’ll hash out some steps to help you set sail on those wild dreams of yours.

5 Word Description:

How to achieve their #goals

Presenter Bio:

kayla-shortKayla Short is the Halifax-based author behind the award winning lifestyle blog, Shortpresents.com, where she writes full time about food, fashion, beauty, and travel. Kayla’s work has appeared in national publications from Flare to Fashion Canada, as well as many other independent magazines, newspapers, and websites. Kayla was also recently chosen as one of Huffington Post’s Top 50 Canadians among the Prime Minster, Chris Hadfield, Drake, and many extremely accomplished and inspiring Canadians.  You might have also seen Kayla on CTV, Pop Culture TV, or CBC offering up her advice as she’s a frequently called upon lifestyle expert.

BlogJam Official Sponsors

Thank you to all of our sponsors who help make this event possible.