Jessie Curell, Hands On Media Education, North Vancouver

North Vancouver
WeBC January 19, 2024

Jessie Curell has dedicated her career to media education and digital literacy, initially honing her skills at the National Film Board. Driven by her commitment to equipping communities, educators, and youth with the skills to thrive in the digital world, Jessie founded Hands On Media Education in 2015 to teach people how to understand media and its creation.

Hands On Media Education provides workshops featuring stop-motion animation and digital storytelling, designed to empower individuals of all ages with digital literacy skills. Driven by her commitment to equipping communities, educators, and youth with the skills to thrive in the digital world, Jessie teaches her students how to understand media and how it’s created.

Along her entrepreneurial journey, Jessie navigated the complexities of business expansion. Initially forming an advisory board to transition to a nonprofit, she faced unforeseen challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so she decided to maintain her solopreneur role. However, she understood the value of collaboration, so she reached out to WeBC for support and joined Discovery Foundation’s Strategic Mindset Program

Within this program, Jessie found a community of women entrepreneurs dedicated to supporting each other’s growth. It equipped her with a valuable skill set, empowering her to elevate her business to the next level. The accountability, with assigned homework and follow-up actions, played a pivotal role in maintaining momentum and positively impacting her business.

“A big shout out to organizations like WeBC. Running a business by yourself is a huge undertaking and as a woman it’s even harder. We need all the help we can get.”

The Discovery Foundation Program offered a supportive space for women to share their business challenges and navigate them together openly. Jessie is looking forward to maintaining the connections made during this program for years to come.

Mentee Q&A

Q: What inspired you to open Hands On Media Education?

A: Everyone needs media education. We’re all engaging with media on some level and it’s important to use technology to the best of its ability while causing minimal harm. There are a lot of consequences if we’re not healthy and safe using technology and the Internet.

One main workshop that we’re doing is digital storytelling, where we’re asking people to reflect on who they are and where they belong. It’s just been so amazing in a post-COVID world. Students are reflecting on the importance of the people around us and the communities we exist in. The appeal of these workshops for the clients I work with, like Indigenous communities, is their ability to allow people to share their experiences. It’s been really powerful.

Q: What was it like starting your own business and what lessons have you learned?

A: I knew that I had a passion for digital literacy. I love this stuff and I have for a long time, so it made sense to start my own business. Working nine to five and working in a rigid system doesn’t work for me. 

I feel like I’ve seen the light! I am charging way more per hour than I ever have and my work is more effective because I’m only getting paid for the time I’m working. If you can swing it, stick with it, and bring in as many resources to help, then this is the best way to live for quality of life.

“My biggest lesson would be learning that we have so many tools available to us that are free, like what WeBC offers. Use these to support your business and to ensure it goes well.”

Q: What was your favourite part of the Discovery Foundation’s Mentoring Program?

A: Truthfully, the program almost became like a therapy session for some of us. A lot of us are silently struggling to work from home and manage our businesses on our own, and the world is in trouble right now. As a sensitive woman, it becomes daunting to stay positive all the time when we have to hustle, do social media, network, learn new tools, do sales calls, admin, and so much more. It was an opportunity that I haven’t had before, to talk about my business in this way.

The workshops were really well done, and they were perfectly aligned with where I was at and what I was looking for in that moment. Strategic Alliances was amazing and Strategic Planning was offered at the perfect time for me. They were really solid workshops.

Q: What’s next for you and Hands On Media Education?

A: I have such big dreams. I want to focus on critical thought, digital storytelling, and the power of sharing our stories in the hopes of learning more about each other.

To grow the business, I plan on hiring many more workshop facilitators to design and deliver workshops across BC and the Yukon. I am also working on a partnership with a consultant I’m excited about; she has some great experience so there’s a lot of potential.

Where to find Hands On Media Education





About WeBC

WeBC is a not-for-profit that has been supporting women business owners across the province for over 25 years. Working with our regional partners, we’ve provided thousands of entrepreneurs with business loans and expertise, training, resources, and peer network support to help businesses grow and thrive.

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