About Laura Tierney


Social media expert and change agent


Sign-PhotoPresident and Founder of The Social Institute, Laura Tierney is driven to help teens and their role models (from parents to U.S. Olympic athletes) use social media in positive and meaningful ways. Laura uses her unique leadership background to help players and students as they navigate our increasingly digital world.

The Social Institute teams up with trailblazing organizations, including Ravenscroft School, U.S. Olympic athletes, Duke Men’s Basketball, The Women’s Sports Foundation, Norfolk Academy, Oldfields School and other schools around the nation. What sets our work apart is (1) our fun, positive and growth-minded approach, (2) our ability to infuse students’ real-life social media experiences into our work, and (3) our street cred among teens.

After growing up with social media as a teen and committing to Duke as one of the nation’s top recruits, Laura worked at ESPN and McKinney leading social media strategy for global clients. She and her teams have created social media campaigns for some of the strongest brands in the world including ESPN, Nike, Travelocity, Under Armour, Oakley, Lexus, and Disney. Her work with Duke Men’s Basketball helped skyrocket the program to reach 1 million followers (57% growth in 5 months) to become the most-followed college sports team.

Laura is an unshakable optimist and a competitive athlete at heart. In college, she was a 4-time Duke All-American, two time team captain, and Duke Athlete of the Decade for field hockey. During her time at Duke, she played with the U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team, representing the United States at home and abroad.

Today, Laura is playing on behalf of students to equip them with skills, character strengths, and core values that embody their daily digital needs. Through The Social Institute, students now have the chance to win at the world’s largest game: social media.



Laura Tierney and The Social Institute partner with forward-thinking institutions, including:

  • Ravenscroft School
  • Duke Men’s Basketball
  • Duke University Athletics
  • The U.S. Olympic Committee
  • National College Convention
  • The Women’s Sports Foundation
  • Oldfields School
  • Norfolk Academy
  • Durham Academy
  • Moorestown Friends School
  • American Marketing Association
  • National Physical Education Institute
  • Duke University Career Center
  • Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Duke University’s Business Oriented Women
  • Duke Baldwin Scholars
  • Emily Krzyzewski Center
  • ESPN Recruiting
  • Wyoming Seminary Prep School
  • Marketing 2.0 Social Media Conference
  • Mediapost Social Media Insider Summit
  • Volunteer Center of Durham
  • Dickinson College
  • 3 Percent Conference
  • Quinnipiac College
  • St. Joseph’s University


Laura has received the following recognitions for her work in the office, in schools and on the field.

  • Social media coach for Olympic athletes and Olympic hopefuls in partnership with the Women’s Sports Foundation
  • Duke Field Hockey Athlete of the Decade
  • Four-Time Duke All-American
  • Two-Time Duke Field Hockey Team Captain
  • Captain for U-16, U-18 U.S. Junior National Teams
  • Awarded a Shorty Award for espnW team’s #98DaysToShine social media campaign
  • Co-founder of McKinney’s social media newsletter Socializ’d, followed by leading brands such as Oakley, Disney, Under Armour, Facebook and Twitter
  • Named “Leading The Way” employee at ESPN, the highest honor in ESPN’s performance feedback system
  • Recognized by Twitter as a #CreativeFavorite for Travelocity’s #iWannaGo and #HowFarAmIFromSharks social media campaigns
  • 2016 Duke University Alum of the Year for the Markets & Management Program
  • Wyoming Seminary Hall of Fame Award Recipient


Copyright © 2017 Laura Tierney. All rights reserved.