Bailey Parnell

Dynamic Expert in Soft Skills, Social Media & Mental Health, and Woman in Business

Bailey Parnell is the Founder & CEO of SkillsCamp and was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016. Bailey Parnell is a dynamic TEDx speaker with over 2 million views, an award-winning digital storyteller, and a businesswoman with a talent for helping people develop the skills they need for success. Her work and expertise have been featured in Forbes, CBC, FOX News, Flare Magazine, and more. Bailey’s company SkillsCamp is a soft skills training company that works with businesses and educational institutions to help their staff and students develop the essential skills needed for personal and professional success – skills like personal branding, stress-management, emotional intelligence, and you guessed, it, public speaking! Before this, she built up her career bringing digital student engagement to Canadian higher education through her work at Ryerson University – models that she had travelled the world speaking and sharing. Through her skillful storytelling, confidence, research, and humour, Bailey Parnell has audiences laughing, engaged, and walking away with skills that shape their life. Bailey Parnell frequently speaks about social media and mental health, soft skills, intergenerational understanding, and being a woman in business. She guest lectured my first MBA class at 21 and has since spoken to over 100K people across the world.

Bailey Parnell did her Masters in Communications and Culture at Ryerson University with research focused on social media’s impact on mental health, the results of which have been shared at the World Youth Forum in Egypt and created the basis for her signature 5 Steps Towards #SafeSocial. She also recently launched this into its own organization called #SafeSocial. She is an honors graduate of the the RTA School of Media majoring in Media Production and double-minoring in News Studies and English. Previously, she has worked in social media marketing at CBC and Bell Media; assisted instructors in Seneca College’s Social Media: Graduate Certificate Program; taught English abroad, and has worked as a local news reporter on Rogers TV. Though the rest of her family is from Nova Scotia, Bailey Parnell was proudly born and raised in Brampton, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. She enjoys wine (and most things that pair well with it), she has 5 sisters, did judo, taught English abroad, and loves good TV!

Topic Presentations

Social media has quickly become synonymous with the internet. Studies show the average person spends up to 6h/day on social networking sites. While social media enables connections and collaboration at an unprecedented scale, there’s also a dark side to this networked world that's laced with addiction, depression, harassment, and more. By every measure, social media is a risky behaviour like sex, drugs, or alcohol. Since it's not going anywhere, abstinence is not an option, but you can practice #SafeSocial. How is this activity we spend so much time doing actually affecting how we think and feel? What is happening out there in the social media world and how is it affecting the mental health of us and our youth? Adapted from its original TEDx talk, this talk will draw from research and experience to illustrate the current social media landscape, explain the effects it has on us every day, and provide 5 steps towards #SafeSocial.

As early as 2018, LinkedIn Learning reported 92% of executives believe soft skills are equally or more important than technical skills and yet, 89% of them still found it difficult to find people with these skills. Soft skills are the most important skills to have and tend to be the hardest skills to learn. As we look to the future of work, particularly in the face of automation and AI, we must find a way to teach these critical skills more widely in our organizations and businesses. Having built up her soft skills training company, SkillsCamp, Bailey Parnell has helped dozens of organizations across numerous industries and thousands of people build soft skills like emotional intelligence, communication skills, empathy, and more. From Fortune 500 companies and startups to governments and educational institutions, Bailey has seen organizations’ highest highs and lowest lows when it comes to their people. In this talk, she shares her learnings across organizations (good and bad), the top skills that have proved the most important, as well as an enthusiastic path forward for organizations to conquer more of these skills within themselves.

Age is prominent on the social location wheel, experienced by everyone, and yet often left out of the diversity conversation. Though some companies are already there, by 2025, millennials will make up nearly 80% of the workforce. On their heels is Gen Z (born after 2000), which are also in their first jobs leading to us having 4 generations in the workplace at the SAME time for the FIRST in history. As these generations eagerly grow, so does a misunderstanding and divide between them and the older generations they work alongside. How do we increase empathy between generations? How do we motivate GenY/Z while still reaching business goals? This session will explore the defining characteristics of younger generations, how to foster intergenerational understanding in the workplace, and how to successfully engage and retain these connected generations.

Though it seems redundant to say these days, we are in an unprecedented situation with life in and after a global pandemic. Many organizations have had to move to a remote work setup and upend everything, which we are collectively realizing leads to its own set of pros and cons. As new stressors add to old ones, we are all trying to figure out ways to stay well while staying effective at the job. To do this, we must first understand and take care of ourselves, and then spread that outward to support others on our team. This talk will explore all of this and more. Focusing mostly on radical empathy in practice, especially in this virtual age of COVID, we will look at what empathy really means vs. what we’re often told, the difference between empathy vs. sympathy, common and unhelpful reactions to people in distress, how to demonstrate empathy, empathic listening, and using the information gleaned to inform your behaviour and responses to others.

The classic tale starts with a childhood business selling Freezies to other families in the neighbourhood. However, the real story is how Bailey Parnell went from actively resisting entrepreneurship to now owning multiple businesses and flying all over the world speaking and teaching people the skills they need for success. We're often told to find our passion, but we're not told how. Through the story of how Bailey came to be an entrepreneur, including the lens of being a woman in business, this talk will show all a model for finding their passion that incorporates what they love, what they’re good at, what the world needs, and what the world will pay for. The talk will engage and inspire attendees with motivating tales we can all relate to, learn from, and laugh at!

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Parnell, Bailey. (2020). #NeverEnough: Social Comparision by Young Women on Instagram [Ryerson University].

As social media use continues to rise, studies have linked high social media use with rising levels of depression, particularly in young adults. This narrative has pervaded, yet in the research thus far, there is no general consensus as to causation or direction. What remains constant is that when mediators such as ‘comparison’ and ‘envy’ are introduced between social media use and depression, there is a negative correlation. In a qualitative study, I examine the connection between social comparison, Instagram use, and envy in young women. I conducted semi-structured interviews with a group of 10 female university students between the ages of 18-24. Interviews were analysed through qualitative descriptive analysis. Overwhelmingly, subjects engaged in frequent social comparison offline, which translated to frequent social comparison, made worse, on Instagram. As a result, participants admitted to feeling envious as well as other feelings like frustration, loneliness, anger, and overwhelm. However, users also reported positive experiences such as inspiration, humour, motivation, and happiness, when they are on Instagram. Offline affect proved to be the biggest moderators and indicators of comparison and the positive or negative experiences of the participants. This research may suggest future care in this area should focus on offline affect rather than the social networks themselves.

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