Meet your instructors
Chari Smith, President
Chari began instructing and writing curriculum for the company 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. She strongly believes in creating clear, useful, and purposeful content.
Veronica Armstrong, LL.B. and Instructor
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. "Masifundeni" means "Let us read together". 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 and is still passionate about financial literacy and translating technical gobbledegook into language that is understandable to all.
Sylvia Gackle, Director
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. She likes her work writing, editing, and teaching, but her real passion is problem solving and improving efficiency in the writing process at an organizational level. She finds it infinitely satisfying to help her clients save time, money, and frustration with this systemic approach to writing. Sylvia also speaks English, Spanish, French, and beginner Italian.
Kim McLeod, Business Manager, Editor, Instructor
Kim graduated from Mount Royal University in Business Administration with a marketing major. She began working for Wordsmith in 2011 as the business manager. She has since discovered her real call is teaching and supporting writers to integrate the plain language principles. Reading participant evaluations and hearing how the content made a difference to their lives makes her day.
Some more information about us (but only if you're interested)
If you’re eager to dive into the course content, you can click "Complete and continue" above to go straight to the next unit “How to use this course”.
Wordsmith at a high level
Our job is to think about the problems writers and organizations have with writing and help solve them. The way we do that is:
- Editing—We help edit and clarify documents so they work for their intended audience.
- Workshops—We offer customized one- and two-day, in-person and virtual workshops. We also offer shorter workshops for specialized documents like briefing notes, decisions, and board reporting, and some of these are online. We are working on putting our longer courses online too.
- Transforming writing process and culture—We look at the writing process as a whole. Then we help an organization build a process to create documents that are lean, efficient and highly functional.
We're part of a (secret) revolution to change writing at work
All the writers and editors and organizations we know experience important struggles around the process to create documents. This is not because the people involved happen to be poor writers or editors—on the contrary, they are often very competent.
But these problem patterns usually make writing at work a sore point—and the cost is stress, frustration, and actual dollars for the time it takes to create documents. After thinking about this for a long time, we have solutions for each part of this complex problem.
We will walk through many of these solutions in this course and give you specific guidance at the end for how you can bring some ease and efficiency in the writing process back to your organization.
We can reduce the time it takes to produce documents, often by as much as half
We can give each person who touches a document a clear sense of their task and place in the larger flow, which means they can take much more satisfaction in their work. We see firsthand how significant an effect these kind of changes have on an organization.
We're passionate about this. (No, really! We’re not just saying that to sound good.) We've included some more information about this in the Resources section at the end of this course, if you're interested.
Or feel free to contact us, and we can chat about it.
You are ready to begin the course!
Click 'complete and continue' at the top of your screen to learn some important information about how to use this course.