Della Smith, Principal

Della has dedicated the last 25 years to honing her craft as a strategic communicator, trainer and facilitator. Known for her ability to quickly grasp any situation and tailor her sessions to fit her audiences, she works well across a myriad of disciplines.

She started as Director of Communications for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, moved into running the public relations divisions of Simons Advertising and Palmer Jarvis Advertising (now DDB Canada) and, in 1995 set up Quay Strategies Inc. with a business partner. After 15 highly successful years of providing top-notch consulting, training and facilitation sessions, both partners decided it was time to begin new ventures.

Aside from a love of helping others meet their communications goals, Della cares deeply about ethics, social causes, family and friends.

Her volunteer work and personal interests reflect those passions. On the ethics front this has included a number of years on the Board of the Better Business Bureau of Lower Mainland BC ultimately leading to her role as President. She is a past committee member of the Genome BC Ethics Committee, the past Chair of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, and a past Board member of Consumer Protection BC and Parkinson Society Canada.

To complement her communications skills she has participated as a member of VTV’s (now CTV) Community Council, NABS (National Advertising Benevolent Association) Board member, has served on the Jury panel of the Webster Awards (Western Canada’s journalism awards), and was a member of CAPS - Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

Her social causes have been many and include the Dr. Peter Foundation (an AIDS support group), the Potluck Café (an organization dedicated to helping people learn skills and feed those less fortunate), the Burnaby Hospital Foundation and Streetohome (an organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Vancouver).

Xenia Dandridge, Co-Facilitator/Workshop Planner

Xenia has been with Q Workshops since 2009 and has participated in the planning and delivery of facilitated sessions
and training workshops for over 50 organizations.

She has completed the IAP2 (International Association of Public Participation) certificate training in public participation and is adept at using processes and tools to create two- way dialogue. She is also skilled at designing and collecting data at the sessions through the development of interactive presentations that use Turning Technologies polling software and response technology and other research tools.

Sharing the desire for compelling sessions, Xenia is a clear, crisp presenter who engages client groups with her comprehensive reviews of relevant hot topics, videos and stories to support data. Xenia continually looks for ways to connect to audiences with powerful presentations, novel session formats and probing questions. She attends public meetings, speaker events and online discussions to assess what works and what doesn’t.

Xenia holds a BA in Environmental Geography from Simon Fraser University and is passionate about supporting positive human interactions with the environment. She recognizes that great communication is key to solving the major issues facing our world.


Why Q?

Q is the highest point letter in Scrabble at 10. We strive to have a high bar at Q – always trying to perform at a perfect 10 out of 10.

In Bond movies Q was the Quartermaster - making things work behind the scenes. We view ourselves in the same manner – workshops designed to make our clients look great or accomplish great things. Q is also a Star Trek character that does some rather interesting things. We’re not sure it is a real connect but at least it is futuristic and we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve.

Rarely, if ever, do you find a Q without a U. Liked the double meaning of U and you. (Homophones can be intriguing) This business is about relationships and they are paramount to everything we do.

Many words that begin with Q resonate with us. Quick – we are fast studies of complex matters and situations. Question – we are big on listening and asking all the right questions before every workshop. Quality – we work hard to produce top quality workshops ensuring the smallest details to the biggest challenges are thought through.

The official legal name is Della’s Q Workshops as you cannot just register a letter. We did not mind the double meaning (another homophone) of that either. Della’s “cue”. As in the theatrical sense, “cue” as a trigger for action to be carried out at a certain time.

And, finally we just thought Q was memorable… kinda like O.

Why Chinatown?

Aside from having an affinity for all things Chinese, the Chinatown locale makes perfect sense for other reasons. 

In our sensitive issue work we always applied the meaning of the Chinese character for crisis – one side meaning danger and the other opportunity. The opportunity is to do the right thing. How you communicate and act in tough times demonstrates your real strength and values. Our crisis communication workshops show how this is possible in virtually any scenario.

As facilitators, being good observers and believing that everyone has something to contribute is paramount to successful sessions.

Our office building goes by the name of Ginger.  The tuber by the same name is known for its spiciness.  And, we are all about continually spicing up our media/presentation training and social media workshops with new information, technology and ideas.

And, finally, our office door is decorated with a black and white graphic of the gateway to Chinatown.  Consider it a huge welcome mat.

Join us anytime for a cup of tea or a neighbourhood tour.