Shelley has staked a claim as one of Vancouver’s marquee public relations professionals by spearheading numerous high-profile communications initiatives, marketing campaigns, media launches and successful events. Her efforts have boosted revenues and driven millions of dollars worth of true-to-brand editorial exposure through custom-designed strategies and social-media solutions that connect her clients to a wider community both in Vancouver and abroad.
Passionate, driven and results-oriented, Shelley brings more than 15 years of experience and a personal, hands-on approach to a roster of noteworthy clients that represent a virtual who’s who of Vancouver’s vibrant culinary scene.
Before establishing SMC, Shelley served as Communications Director for the Toptable Group’s acclaimed host of hospitality venues (Whistler’s Araxi and Vancouver’s Blue Water Cafe, CinCin, West and Thierry), where she led a host of high-profile projects, including: the launch of three award-winning cookbooks; the social media roll-out for each of Toptable’s five venues; the highly anticipated opening of Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Café; Araxi’s grand-prize role in FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen reality TV series with chef Gordon Ramsay; title sponsorship of the Canadian launch of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential sequel Medium Raw; and the finale segment on NBC’s Today Show during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Prior to joining Toptable, Shelley enjoyed a five-year tenure with the Rick Hansen Foundation, where she was an integral part of the marketing communications team that launched Wheels In Motion — the foundation’s national fundraising and awareness campaign — as well as the 15th and 20th anniversary events celebrating Rick Hansen’s epic Man In Motion World Tour.
Shelley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Royal Roads University, a Public Relations diploma from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Level II accreditation from the International Sommelier Guild.
While her role as account manager at SMC Communications Inc. might be a relatively new title on her resume, Kate is anything but a stranger to the firm — and to developing effective public relations strategies for a growing roster of high-profile hospitality industry clients in Vancouver and beyond.
En route to graduating with honours from Kwantlen Polytechnic University with a public relations diploma in 2018, Kate served a term as an intern at SMC, where she quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with.
Prior to re-joining the SMC family full time in 2019, Kate served as an account executive at the global communications agency, Citizen Relations. There, she worked with a number of notable bands like Pepsi, Molson and Rocky Mountaineer and helped build relationships with media and influencers in order to earn coverage for clients and connect their brands to an ever-expanding audience.
Prior to joining forces with SMC in 2013, Jan-Christian was a proofreader, writer and editor for various community, city and provincial newspapers and magazines both here in British Columbia and in his Maritime stomping grounds.
After leaving New Brunswick to pursue a career in screenwriting, he was an award-winning Sports Editor at the North Shore News in North Vancouver for seven years and went on to freelance for various publications under the umbrellas of Business in Vancouver, Lower Mainland Publishing (North Shore News, Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now), Vancouver Magazine and Glacier Media Group, and is a current contributing writer to Redsoxlife.com.
Jan-Christian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in History and a minor in Classics from the University of New Brunswick and is also a graduate of the Capilano University School of Motion Picture Arts Diploma Program.
Event and Account Manager at SMC Communications Inc., Ashley Szczepaniak brings a wealth of experience in the food and beverage industry, a talent for event management and logistics and a knack for employing creative marketing strategies for a host of clients to the fold.
Originally from Kingston, Ont., Ashley was studying towards a psychology degree and working at a fine-dining restaurant when she decided to switch gears and follow her passion for hospitality by enrolling in the hotel and restaurant management program at St. Lawrence College.
She ventured west in 2010 and worked behind the pine in Vancouver before taking on roles as banquet manager at the Hyatt Regency and wedding and event specialist at Savoury Chef Foods. Prior to joining the team at SMC in 2019, she managed the event sales department for Railtown Catering for more than four years.
A savvy and focused PR professional with more than a decade of experience under her belt, Michelle brings her reputation for crafting creative and results-driven communications and marketing strategies to the ever-growing roster of high-profile clients under the SMC umbrella.
Armed with a sociology degree from the University of Calgary and a diploma in Public Relations from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Michelle first began her PR career in 2007 working alongside SMC Communications Inc. principal Shelley McArthur as a Communications Assistant while both were with the prestigious Toptable Restaurant Group.
Since that time, Michelle has proven her mettle as a food and wine connoisseur with an innate knowledge of the local scene, social media maven and special-events coordinator for a host of clients in the fashion, lifestyle and hospitality industries both in Vancouver and abroad.
Amy brings to the fold a wealth of experience and valuable insight into the strategic needs of clients to harness the power of digital and social media outlets.
In her role as Social and Digital Media Specialist, Amy not only manages social-media content calendars and promotions for multiple clients on such platforms as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter but also creates engaging and original content while leveraging existing material to achieve maximum user engagement.
A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Amy followed her passion and turned her attention to food photography and styling while completing her Masters degree in Health Psychology — her work has since been featured in such publications as Elle Décor and Better Homes and Gardens Magazines as well as on Buzzfeed, Yahoo!, MSN and Food Network Canada.
Even before she joined the team at SMC Communications in 2018, Sharon had more than proven her mettle in the ever-shifting social-media sphere that has come to define new media in the digital age.
A self-confessed foodie and photographer who has worked with local restaurants and cultivated longstanding relationships with media and influencers, Sharon built her own Instagram account into a trusted brand with thousands of followers and was named one of Narcity’s 19 Top Instagrammers of 2018, calling her ‘One of the best in the biz.’
As one of SMC’s team of social media specialists, Sharon provides her discerning eye for detail to produce original and of-the-moment content, working hand-in-hand with SMC account managers to engage with online users and produce real, lasting results for a variety of hospitality clients.
There’s no shortage of moving parts and rolling punches when it comes to helping clients develop strategy, implement campaigns and achieve success in an ever-expanding media sphere. Luckily, Julianna Sonntag is there to act as a critical hub connecting departments and keeping the SMC engine running smoothly.
In her role as Account Coordinator, Julianna not only tracks media coverage and manages databases but uses her keen eye for design and attention to detail to create eye-catching digital content, websites and collateral material for a host of SMC clients.
Born and raised in Tsawwassen, Julianna got her first taste of the hospitality industry working nights and weekend as a manager and bartender while studying arts at Simon Fraser University and obtaining her publishing diploma from Langara College. She further honed her writing, editing and graphic-design skills with subsequent stops at Pacific Rim and Vancouver magazines and Milk Creative Communications before joining SMC in 2018.