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Our people like writing and thinking about writing. A lot.

Chari Smith

Chari Smith, President—Calgary

Chari began instructing and writing curriculum for Wordsmith in 1999. She left from 2005 to 2009, first as VP of Sales at Adaptive Engineering from 2005 until 2007, where she wrote technical material, web content, and video scripts. Chari then ran her own freelance writing firm, Ink, until she returned to Wordsmith in 2009. She became the new president in 2010. Chari works with business, technical, and legal clients.

Veronica Armstrong

Veronica Armstrong, LL.B. and Legal Instructor—Vancouver

Veronica began her plain-language legal work in South Africa, as part of an initiative to make banking more accessible to customers and was a founding member of Masifundeni Adult Literacy Association. In Canada, Veronica spent eight years at the BC Securities Commission in the Capital Markets Regulation division. Later, she was Senior Legal Counsel, Policy Development, at egX Group Inc., a global securities marketplace. She has been with Wordsmith since 2009.

Matt Browman

Matt Browman, Instructor and Editor—Calgary

Matt has a degree in English literature, has been a freelance writer and adult educator for more than 10 years, and began teaching for Wordsmith in 2013. His editing and teaching projects include health, housing, labour, energy, and banking. He also writes regularly for food and wine blogs and magazines.

Sylvia Gackle

Sylvia Gackle, Director of Programs—Calgary

Sylvia has a double major in International Relations and History and certificates in teaching English as a Second Language, Professional Editing, and Organizational Change Management. Sylvia began as an intern with Wordsmith and became a full-time instructor and editor in 2015. She has a passion for working with organizations to improve efficiency in their processes to create documents. She has led a number of change initiatives for clients, including the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, and Alberta Health.

Kim McLeod

Kim McLeod, Director of Operations and Instructor—Calgary

Kim has been with Wordsmith since 2010 and is part of our leadership team. She ran the business side of the company for nine years, has been responsible for managing workshops and instructors, and now teaches and edits. She strongly believes in the power of plain language and working closely with clients to meet their needs. Kim graduated from Mount Royal University in Business Administration with a marketing major.

Jana Lait

Jana Lait, Senior Instructor and Editor—Calgary

Jana started with Wordsmith in 2022. She is dedicated to helping clients connect better with their audiences through clear writing. She has a Master's degree in sociology and has worked in healthcare for over two decades. She is also a faculty member at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Her experience in research and evaluation ignited an interest in making research findings easy to understand.

Ioana Scumpu

Ioana Scumpu, Senior Instructor and Editor—Portland

Ioana joined Wordsmith in 2021, bringing a rich background in government and private sector communications. Ioana has Masters’ degrees in Communication and Public Relations, as well as Security Studies. She worked as a speech and brief writer for high-level government officials in Europe before immigrating to North America. She has a passion for training people and organizations to become more confident and skilled communicators.

Jen Edwards

Jen Edwards, Instructor and Editor—Edmonton

Jen began teaching and editing at Wordsmith in 2021. She cares deeply about helping people navigate complex processes via crystal-clear information. Her degree in physical sciences and previous work as a student advisor refined her skill for communicating efficiently. She also has a special interest in making forms and templates understandable and functional, including their visual design.

Heather Erickson

Heather Erickson, Office Manager—Calgary

Heather is new to Wordsmith in 2022. Heather has a degree in International Relations from the University of Calgary and has been the administrator at a medium-size firm in Calgary for the past five years. She brings a great deal of experience coordinating people, teams, and processes, as well as a love of what Wordsmith does and how we do it.


Mouse, Supervising Editor

Mouse has been watching other people work for over 17 years and closely supervises all major projects. She knows very little about editing, but she does have rudimentary typing skills. She rose through the ranks to her current senior executive position.

Experts we collaborate with

Tanya Stevenson

Tanya Stevenson, Change Management Consultant—Calgary

Tanya graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. This education formed the foundation for her later work helping organizations transform their processes. Tanya now consults for organizations, big and small, in project management, organization transformation, and change management. Again and again, she finds communication and writing is at the heart of both problems and their solutions for many of her clients.

Barb Burfoot

Barb Burfoot, Graphic Designer—Calgary

Barb trained at the Ontario College of Art and Design and has over 15 years’ experience in plain-language design, publications, training material, and branding. She works with a range of non-profit, government, education, and business clients and has worked with Wordsmith since 2011.

Rafael Salas Lopez

Rafael Salas Lopez, Photographer and Videographer—Calgary

Rafael has nearly 10 years’ experience as a photographer and videographer. He has a degree in Audiovisual Communications, a diploma in Information Technology and Telecommunications Systems, and has worked on a long list of short films and documentaries. He also runs his own company called Reframe Communications Inc. based in Calgary, AB.

Jillian Fleck

Jillian Fleck, Artist—Calgary

Jillian is a multidisciplinary artist who specializes in comics and graphic narrative. They received a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Painting at the Alberta College of Art and Design, as well as a Masters of Letters in Comic Studies at the University of Dundee. Their graphic novel Lake Jehovah was published in 2016 by Conundrum Press. Jillian continues to focus on their comics and writing in a small Calgary house that they share with other artists.

Barb Romaniuk

Barb Romaniuk, LL.B.—Calgary

An experienced editor and instructor, Barb has previously practised securities law in Toronto, worked as a policy analyst at the Alberta Securities Commission, and advised a financial literacy foundation. Her wide-ranging work with Wordsmith includes training clients’ staff as internal plain-language coaches.

Eloise Carr

Eloise Carr, Supervising Editor—Calgary

Eloise moved from the UK to Calgary in October 2011 to become a full professor at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Nursing. A nurse by background, she has also served as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. She focuses on pain management and has published over 80 articles, three textbooks, and a DVD. Eloise co-instructs Wordsmith workshops for health researchers and collaborates on health-related editing projects.

Robin Elliott

Robin Elliott, LL.B.—Vancouver

After articles with a Bay Street business-law firm, Robin practiced law for eight years in Toronto and Calgary, mostly in insurance-related litigation. In addition to teaching and editing for Wordsmith since 2007, he teaches law at Capilano University and business writing at Simon Fraser University.

Patti Hannigan

Patti Hannigan, LL.B.—Edmonton

Patti holds a law degree from the University of Victoria. She has worked as a policy analyst and researcher for the Ontario government and investigator for the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Patti joined Wordsmith in 2008.

Donna-Lee Wybert

Donna-Lee Wybert, MA—Calgary

Donna-Lee began her professional life as a social worker (BSW). Donna-Lee has an MA in Communication and Cultural Studies and a Professional Editing certificate. She now teaches for Wordsmith, as well as edits academic work, instructs at Mount Royal University, and works in academic writing support services at University of Calgary.

Our founder

Christine Mowat

Christine Mowat—Edmonton

Christine and Lorri Neilsen Glenn founded Wordsmith Associates together in 1980. Lorri left in 1983, and Christine ran the company until she retired in 2010. Christine has designed and taught countless courses for Wordsmith at every level of Canadian government, for educational institutions in Alberta, and for organizations and corporations across Canada. Her publications include the recent second edition of A Plain-Language Handbook for Legal Writers and more than 30 articles. She continues to write extensively and consult on plain language and other areas of interest.

In 2009, Christine received a lifetime achievement award from the Plain Language Association InterNational (PLAIN). In 2011, PLAIN recognized Christine’s outstanding contribution by renaming this award the Christine Mowat Plain Language Achievement Award. To contact Christine, email christine.mowat@wordsmith.ca