For 25 years, I have helped leaders in government, business and advocacy organizations engage with audiences in both the digital and offline worlds.
I have worked for nearly 30 years as a speechwriter and leadership communications strategist. I’ve written speeches for party leaders in national election campaigns, CEOs at public hearings, labour leaders at conventions and Lieutenant-Governors delivering Speeches from the Throne. And I’ve coached individuals on speaking at everything from an intimate gathering of high-worth potential donors to nationally-televised debates.
I’ve also been immersed in digital engagement from the early days of dial-up online forums in the early 1980s, and built my first website in 1995. I created one of the earliest party leadership candidate web sites in Canada, launched the country’s first online political game, and oversaw the creation of an ambitious anti-tobacco website targeted to youth years before similar efforts became ubiquitous. Along with my wife Alexandra Samuel, I launched Social Signal, one of the world’s first social media agencies, in 2005. Together we created ground-breaking online community projects for clients including BC Hydro, TechSoup and Vancity.
I speak on leadership communications and social engagement to audiences that have included the Canadian Marketing Association, NetSquared, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, the Northern Voice blogging conference and the British Columbia Technology Industry Association. I have provided training and facilitation to government departments, political parties and conferences on everything from basic Internet skills to online advocacy.
You can find my blog on speechwriting at RobCottingham.ca; it has covered a wide range of topics since its first post in 2001. I draw the Noise to Signal cartoon on life, work and business in the digital era, and perform in a variety of venues as a standup comic.