2008
Nicole founds Plainly Speaking

When Nicole created Plainly Speaking, she had a clear goal: to help people find their story and tell it well.

Like many good storytellers, Nicole began her career as a journalist. She quickly realized how much power stories hold over us.

She moved to Australia where she taught journalism at the University of Southern Queensland. There, she discovered a love for teaching that would later spark the idea for our training services.

Back in Canada, Nicole spent over seven years in senior communications roles with the federal government.

In 2008, she founded Plainly Speaking: a company that would tell stories, engage readers and champion clear language.

“People are often so close to their work that they can’t explain its value,” she says. “I wanted to help them do that – to find their story and communicate it in a simple, compelling way.”

2013
Kellie joins the team + Nicole wins two ClearMark Awards from the Center for Plain Language

The Center for Plain Language in Washington, DC awarded us two ClearMark Awards in 2013. The Center champions plain language in the U.S. and globally.

 

How Nicole met Kellie

Nicole and Kellie’s first encounter was nothing short of theatrical. Nicole was holding auditions for a community play, when Kellie walked onstage and sung a lively rendition of Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

Apparently, Kellie found she couldn’t whistle due to stage fright, so she asked the casting crew to do it for her! Despite her nerves, Kellie’s energy won her the part – as well as a new friend.

After learning about Kellie’s skill in writing and translation, we welcomed her onto the team in 2013.

2014
We launch our training services

Plain language is particularly important in the non-profit and public sectors. Why? Because they serve people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. What’s more, the information they communicate can change people’s lives – so there’s no room for confusion or misinterpretation.

This was Nicole’s message to guests at the 2014 MARCOM Annual Conference, where she presented on the benefits and techniques of plain language.

In the same year, we launched our plain language training. Our courses have taught over 2,000 people to write and edit for clarity, as well as to communicate online and with the media.

2017
Debbie joins the team

Debbie joined Plainly Speaking in the lead up to our 10th anniversary. We soon realized our growing team would need a place of its own.

 

How Kellie met Debbie

Kellie and Debbie met each other in high school at the age of 13. Little did they know they’d go to the same university, become roommates and eventually start a daycare business together. “It takes a special kind of friendship to do all that and still get along,” says Kellie. She adds that their secret is “patience, humour and a love of good music.” The duo is continuing their shared adventure at Plainly Speaking.

2018
We open our office in Kanata + Peggy joins the team

We opened our Kanata office in January 2018. This new space helps us collaborate and innovate, so we continue to improve our services.

The move also gave us the chance to grow our team again. In August 2018, we welcomed Peggy onto the team as our new Writer/Editor.

 

New office, new name

After 10 years in business, we renamed our company to Plainly Speaking to better reflect our key strength.

We still have a small team, and we love this fact. It means we can work with clients on a personal level and get to know their organizations inside out. It also means we have more control over quality – something we pride ourselves on.

 

How we met Peggy

Our fourth team member crossed the Atlantic Ocean to join our ranks. Peggy was still living in the UK when we first interviewed her. But even over a long-distance Skype call, we could tell she was one of us.

Peggy has settled into our team and Canadian life quickly. We’ve had a lot of fun introducing her to our local area – and in return, she quotes Harry Potter in her English accent for us.

2019
We win two more ClearMark Awards

We were thrilled once again to win two ClearMark Awards of Distinction from the Center for Plain Language in Washington, DC.

 

The future is bright

More and more organizations are realizing the need for plain language, so demand for our expertise just keeps going up. We have plenty of opportunities for growth as a result, but we’re determined to grow in a thoughtful way – by respecting our clients, using our strengths and staying true to our values.