Dana Kerford is a Teacher, Friendship Expert, and the Founder of URSTRONG
Dana’s career as a teacher began in 2004 when, after settling in to grade 4 at a private school in Canada, she quickly identified the intensity and complexity of friendships for young girls. Inspired by her students, Dana began researching relational aggression, conflict resolution, and the inner workings of female relationships.
In 2009, Dana developed and launched the first ever GirlPower friendship program, teaching her students how to foster a community of kindness and support. The girls embraced the program and learned how to have a voice in their friendships, improving the overall culture of the school. Dana knew she needed to devote her life to this and her husband, Michael, believed in her dream and turned GirlPower into a company.
Since then, Dana has worked with tens of thousands of girls, parents, and educators in schools and community-based venues across Canada, the United States, and Australia. In 2012, Dana wrote and published her first book, The Friendship Project – a workbook for parents and tween girls.
During that time, every co-gendered school she went in, the #1 question she heard was, “What about the boys?” After extensive research on the social dynamics of boys, Dana created a pilot program and conducted sessions with hundreds of tween boys in 11 schools across 3 countries. In 2014, she launched GirlPower’s brother program, GoodGuys – the first ever friendship program for boys. In 2016, Dana and Michael were invited to an exclusive conference on gender equality at the White House to share the successes behind GirlPower & GoodGuys. This experience led them to rebrand the company to URSTRONG, a friendship program for children.
URSTRONG’s focus on healthy relationships has improved the social climate in schools globally, teaching kids a common language for confidently managing conflict and creating a culture of respect and kindness.
Dana has a team of Presenters that she trains and coaches and is involved in every aspect of the business. She is regularly interviewed by media outlets around the world; in magazines, newspapers, and been a guest on numerous television and radio programs. She speaks at International Education Conferences and has presented at the Positive Education Schools Association Conferences around Australia, the Positive Schools Mental Health & Wellbeing Conferences in Asia and Australia, The International Conference on Education in Hawaii, and the Girls Empowerment Network ‘We Are Girls Conference’ in Austin, TX. Dana has been nominated for awards such as the Top 40 Under 40 and won awards including Entrepreneur of the Year, Mompreneur Momentum Award, and Girl Advocate of the Year. URSTRONG was also recognized in 2017 by the Government of Alberta, winning the Inspiration Award for URSTRONG’s leadership in bullying prevention in schools.
As a mother to two children (Reggie & Ruby) and an educator, Dana is passionate about empowering children with the skills, language, and self-confidence to develop healthier relationships. Her passion and vision is the heart and soul of URSTRONG.