Tracy Playle

CEO, Consultant Content Strategist and Coach, Professional Speaker

About Tracy Playle

Learn a little about Tracy's professional and personal background and experiences.

Speaking at Confab Higher Ed, Atlanta GA (USA), 2014

Speaking at Confab Higher Ed, Atlanta GA (USA), 2014


Tracy Playle is a CEO, content strategist and award-winning speaker known for delivering inspiring, energetic and engaging conference keynotes and workshops at events around the world.

In 2018 Tracy will publish her first book The Connected Campus: Creating a Content Strategy to Drive Engagement with Your University.

Founder of education sector communications consultancy, Pickle Jar Communications, and content marketing agency, Utterly Content, Tracy divides her time between being a CEO, developing sector-leading thoughts on content strategy and marketing, and working with clients and speaking at conferences.

She is also founder of ContentEd, Europe's first content strategy conference for the education sector. 

Tracy's work, and particularly her conference speaking, is truly global. She has delivered keynotes and workshops at events, as well as providing consultancy support to organisations, in North America, throughout Europe, in Africa, Asia, and Australasia. With experience of international audiences, she is adept at adapting her talks, materials and consultancy work for different countries and cultures. 


Professional life

Prior to founding Pickle Jar Communications in 2007, Tracy worked as Head of Research-TV, an international broadcast PR service owned and created by the University of Warwick (one of the UK's leading universities). There she oversaw the production of more than 100 video news releases, communicating innovative research stories on television channels around the world. Before this, she worked in a range of communications and marketing roles for the University of Warwick.

In 2007 at the age of 27, she formed her first business, Pickle Jar Communications. Utterly Content followed in 2015. 

In 2014, Tracy was awarded the CASE Crystal Apple Teaching Award for excellence in conference speaking and teaching. She was only the 20th European in a 20 year history to win the award, and the first digital communications professional in Europe to receive it.  

Personal life

Tracy grew up in the post-WW2 new town of Harlow in Essex in the United Kingdom, attending a state comprehensive secondary school and Harlow College, while also helping by working in her family's business - a trophy and engraving business. 

From birth, she spent her life in and around business, and without knowing it had a draw towards marketing, finding herself hand drafting promotional signs for the family shop, and organising the window displays to maximise attention. 

Drawn to always keep herself busy, Tracy spent her teenage years combining her education with being a competitive swimmer, thriving at the toughest events - 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley. Maxing out at just 5' 2", she always insists she never had a swimmer's stature! 

In 1998 she left Essex to study for her Bachelors degree in English and American Literature at the University of Warwick, becoming the first person in her immediate family to attend university. 

After winning a full scholarship to study for a Masters degree in American Literature and Culture at Keele University, Tracy returned to the University of Warwick to work towards a PhD and begin life as an academic, while also living in amongst students as a resident tutor. It was there that she found her true calling, and switched from academia to a path working in communications.

In 2011, Tracy moved to the North East of England. She now lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (UK) in a converted church with her black labrador retriever, Scout. 

When she's not travelling the world for consultancy work and conference speaking engagements she loves walking, gardening, watching movies, and knitting (poorly).