Anita Hovey was born for social media. Unfortunately, she was born before it existed, so Anita found other ways to occupy her time until someone invented it, starting with school.
She quickly discovered she liked school and went on to enroll in the arts program at St. Thomas University where she made another discovery: the arts weren’t quite for her. The Mount Saint Vincent University Public Relations program, however, was, and she eventually found herself back in Fredericton, where St. Thomas is located, on a work term. While there, she took a Sociology course and that’s how she earned two degrees from two universities in the same year, not to mention a great story for recruiters.
Still waiting for the world to invent social media, Anita dedicated herself to planning fundraisers, such the Mental Health Foundation’s Festival of Trees and the Arthritis Society’s Celebrity Roasts. Then she heard about something called Facebook, a forum for poking and sharing news with people you vaguely remember from school.
Anita recognized that Facebook, and similar emerging social media tools, would revolutionize the way organizations communicate with consumers and stakeholders. However, the charity Anita was working with at the time didn’t share her enthusiasm for social media’s potential, so she did something she swore she’d never do: start her own business. She called it Twirp and called herself Head Twirp, promising to make brands sing until she realized potential clients might mistake her for a vocal coach.
Today, Anita lives and breathes social media for her clients so they don’t have to. She can come up with 10 ideas for content within minutes of meeting you, and grow your organization’s Twitter fan base by as much as 30% in just a few months. Her clientele is growing almost as fast as her Twitter following, not just because she gets your organization Pinned, Liked and RT’d; she helps you achieve measurable results in an ever-evolving medium.
In addition to living and breathing social media, Anita is the current president of The Group Halifax Professional Networking, makes crafts, spends time with her family, watches way too much AMC and HBO, and sleeps. And when she sleeps, she dreams about what to tweet next.
Michelle McCann sent her first tweet on April 7, 2008; while it was hardly prolific (“eating an orange lunch … tomato soup, goldfish crackers and carrots.”), it was the tweet that sparked an interest and, eventually, a passion.
For Michelle, social media is about more than tweeting, pinning, posting and liking; it’s about engagement, involvement and creating a community. It’s like a great cocktail party, where you can move from conversation to conversation, meeting interesting people and learning something new with every chat.
With a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English from St. Francis Xavier University and a Diploma in Public Relations from Nova Scotia Community College, Michelle has the ability to take a paragraph and turn it into 10 pages then turn those 10 pages into a couple of sentences … which is a handy skill when you’re communicating in 140 characters at a time!
Now a recovering fundraiser, Michelle spent the first few years of her career as a communications professional, followed by 10 years working in fund development in the non-profit sector. During that time, she coordinated a variety of events and campaigns for Kids Help Phone, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, The Arthritis Society and, most recently, Colchester East Hants Health Centre Foundation.
While fundraising was rewarding and she will always have soft spot for a great cause, Michelle found herself increasingly wanting to try something new. So, in January 2013, after several “what if?” and “why not?” conversations with friends, Michelle made the leap; she left her job to start her own business as a communications and social media consultant.
In her spare time, Michelle is an avid amateur photographer and lover of books. Her role models are Buffy Summers, Lorelei Gilmore, Coco Chanel and Eleanor Roosevelt, and she dreams of one day being able to call Banff, Alberta home.
Twirp in the News
CTV Atlantic Morning Live, March 5, 2013, How Social Media is Changing the Way We Work
CTV Atlantic, Live @ 5, Why do people lie on social media, January 2013
CWB Biz Beat, Member Profile, January 2013
Halifax News Net, All a Twitter Over Social Media, January 2013
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