Shawna Wagman is an award-winning writer and brand builder based in Ottawa, Canada. In her current role as senior copywriter on the creative team at Square, she helps put the power of financial technology in the hands of restaurant operators.
It turns out there are many ways to put an empathy-driven approach to writing to good use. It’s a skill I’ve been actively sharpening for 20+ years.
Instead of becoming a therapist or a teacher, writing is my way of helping people connect with one another. I write to help people overcome problems and anxieties, and I write to help them imagine a better version of themselves.
I began my writing career as a journalist with a focus on the worlds of food & dining culture, reporting on the people who choose to make food the centre of their lives—including farmers, bakers, restaurateurs and cheesemakers.
My food and travel articles have been published in The Globe & Mail, enRoute, Ottawa Magazine, Chatelaine, Eater, and Ricardo, among others.
With a love of writing and a tendency to ask a lot of “why” questions, I moved seamlessly into the world of non-profit communications, embodying the voices of many of Canada’s top organizations including The Kidney Foundation, Interval House and Canadian Blood Services.
The work of writing that raises money for worthy causes is about helping people experience what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. It’s about making the audience the hero of the story.
That turned out to be excellent training ground for my next career shift into branding and advertising. I joined a creative agency as a Senior Copywriter in 2017 and I’ve never looked back.
Since then, I’ve worked with small local organizations and entrepreneurs, as well as large global B2B fintech clients, and everything in between.
I’ve done every kind of marketing writing from developing brand voices and “brand stories” (my favourite!) to coming up with creative ideas for product launches and digital campaigns, as well as writing scripts for videos and copy for websites.
The best part about writing is that I’m always learning. When I am greeted with the blinking cursor and searching for the right words for the task at hand (a website, an article, a brochure, a clever tweet), it’s another opportunity to try to get it right. To connect someone to who they want to be.