Dana Kerford is a Teacher, Friendship Expert, and the Founder of URSTRONG
After starting her career as a 4th grade teacher in Canada, Dana began to recognize the complexity and intensity of childhood friendships. Motivated to create cultures of kindness in schools, Dana launched a first-of-its-kind friendship curriculum, Friendology 101, in 2009. Since then, URSTRONG’s whole-school friendship strategy has improved the social climate in schools globally, connecting over 1 million kids, parents, & teachers with a common language of friendship.
As the go-to expert on childhood friendships in Australia and worldwide, Dana is regularly interviewed by media to provide advice and quotes. In the USA, this includes the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, and Livestrong. In Australia, this includes the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, Sunrise, Today Show, Harper’s Bazaar, among others.
URSTRONG’s ground-breaking approach in empowering kids with friendship skills, led to Dana & Michael’s (CEO) participation in an exclusive conference on gender equality at The White House in Washington, DC in 2016. She has presented at education conferences across North America, Australia, & Asia and is SnapChat’s Friendship Expert in Australia, as a key contributor to their Global Friendship Reports.
Dana is Mom to Reggie & Ruby, a true Teacher-At-Heart, and is passionate about empowering children with the skills, language, and self-confidence to develop healthier relationships.
URSTRONG was recognized in 2017 by the Government of Alberta, winning the Inspiration Award for leadership in bullying prevention in schools. Dana has also received the following honours:
- Mompreneur Momentum Award (2016)
- Girl Advocate of the Year (2013)
- Entrepreneur of the Year (2011)
- Top 40 Under 40 (Nomination)
Dana has keynoted and presented at numerous conferences around the world including:
- Wellbeing in Education PESA Conference (2022: Sydney)
- National Education Summit (2022: Brisbane)
- National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (2021: Online, USA)
- United Nations Conference (2021: Online, Mexico)
- Flourish Conference (2020: Online, Hosted by Perth College)
- Positive Education Schools Association (PESA) Conferences around Australia (2015: Adelaide, Hosted by St Peter’s College and 2019: Geelong, Hosted by Geelong Grammar)
- The Healthy Minds Positive Vibes Conference (2021: Online, Hosted by Energetic Education)
- Curtin University Relationships & Sexuality Project Conferences (2019: Perth and 2020: Online)
- Institute of Positive Education Conference (2019: Sydney)
- Boarding Schools Association of Australia (2019: Brisbane)
- 21st Century Learning Conference (2019: Hong Kong)
- Positive Schools Mental Health & Wellbeing Conferences (2018: Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Hong Kong)
- Bullying Prevention Conference (2018: Sydney)
- International Conference on Education (2015: Hawaii)
- Girls Empowerment Network Conference (2014: Austin, USA)