Content Experts

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.”

– Steve Jobs

ROBERTA BUSTARD, MPATransformational Leadership

A strategic thinker and project leader, Roberta’s expertise lies in leading transformational change while building high performing teams. Throughout her career, she has driven organizational and population outcomes on behalf of government ministries, NGOs and private sector. She excels at supporting organizations to deliver outcomes while strengthening employee engagement.

Roberta’s background includes leadership roles with child and youth mental health services in Toronto, leading development of a Toronto-wide Community of Practice focused on youth educational success at United Way and leading a Government of Canada Secretariat supporting the development and implementation of a number of national initiatives to strengthen Canada’s voluntary sector. Roberta holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson University, a Master of Public Administration from Queens and Project Management and Public Sector Leadership training from the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto

SONIA DHEERCommunications, Events

Sonia Dheer is a bilingual communications consultant who has worked with clients across four continents in the corporate and social sectors. She is a results-driven professional passionate about helping organizations and businesses get their message across effectively and efficiently. Her expertise includes social media content, copywriting, communications and marketing strategy development, public relations, email marketing and more. She is committed to helping her clients create purpose-driven content to garner authentic engagement and results. A self-proclaimed “citizen of the world”, she has had the honour of working with award winning companies across the globe.

VINCE DIOT, P.L.(ENG.), MBAStrategy, Planning, Process Improvement
Western Canada

Vince Diot has more than 15 years experience spanning municipal government processes and leadership, land development, project delivery, construction, engineering and infrastructure planning in the Calgary region.  He successfully leads cross-functional teams and builds alignment amongst stakeholder groups with competing interests and priorities.  Through strategic engagement and communication, he is able to uncover root causes of inefficiencies that inhibit performance and value maximization.  

An ambitious and motivated professional, he has recently completed his Executive MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, while also holding a Bachelor of Science from the University of Calgary and a Diploma in Civil Engineering Technology from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.  He is inspired by simple, creative and purposeful design.  Vince has an eye for detail and is able to integrate micro analysis with big picture planning to create and deliver increased performance.

SHARON DOUGLASCommunity Engagement, Capacity Building, Diversity & Inclusion

Sharon Douglas has worked in the Human Service Sector of Peel Region for over 20 years. She has held a variety of positions from Executive Director of the Peel Halton Dufferin Training Board and the Cultural Interpreter Service of Peel to the Diversity Coordinator of Family Services of Peel, Public Education Coordinator for the Social Planning Council of Peel and most recently as the Director of Community Investment, United Way of Peel Region (UWPR).

Sharon was responsible for UWPR’s community engagement, community development and capacity building initiatives. She is responsible for providing leadership to the Community Advisory Councils, UWPR’s diversity and equity initiatives as well as the organization’s community development priorities such as the Syrian Refugees Taskforce. Sharon is the Chair of the Peel Alliance to End Homelessness, and currently the Co-chair of the Peel District School Board’s We Rise Together Community Advisory Committee. She is a founding member and past Chair of the Regional Diversity Roundtable (RDR), past member of the Board of Directors of the Peel Leadership Centre. Sharon has consulted, delivered training and facilitated many community discussions and consultations with and for the non-profit sector.

Sharon was recently presented with the BCAN 2016 Leadership & Legacy award as a recognition of her leadership work and commitment to the community.

ERIN HOCHSTEIN, MBARetail Advertising/Marketing, Marketing Intelligence, Public Relations

A results-driven, hands-on senior leader with a successful track record in building and leading global communications teams, Erin brings a wealth of experience in brand building for iconic international retail and technology brands. Working almost 20 years within these industries, Erin has elevated skills in public relations, market intelligence, stakeholder engagement and customer experience in major international markets including: North America (USA and Canada); EMEA (including Dubai, UK and Germany) and APJ (Singapore, Australia, New Zealand), for companies like lululemon atheltica, Shopify and Rubikloud Technologies.

Passionate about building brands founded on vision and values through a unique and creative combination of B2B and B2C strategy and tactics, Erin has well-developed decision making skills and is known for her exceptional leadership and team building ability that places a strong emphasis on the delivery of high performance through the empowerment of others. Erin is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration at Queen’s University and is an alumni of the University of Victoriawhere she obtained her Honours in English and Professional Writing and Diploma in Public Relations.

NEDAL (NED) ISMAIL, MBABusiness Strategy, Operations, Finance

Ned is a senior corporate executive with over 25 years of operations, strategy, and leadership experience in diplomatic, public and private sectors. At the start of his career, Ned spent 16-years in diverse international assignments as Trade Commissioner and Political Officer with Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. As Chief International Operations Officer for a Washington DC-based boutique firm he was responsible for leading planning on large-scale public-private-partnership projects with governments in Africa, Middle East, Europe and South America.  Since this time, Ned has served as a subject matter expert for the governments of Jordan, Nigeria, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates. 

As an Academic Director and Professor in the undergraduate and post-graduate programs at the Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto, Ned has built the inaugural Bachelor of Commerce programs in Supply Chain Management and Management Studies. Ned’s education includes a B.Comm from the University of Saskatchewan, an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and is currently completing his doctoral work at the Henley Business School at the University of Reading (United Kingdom).

MARY BETH JONZStrategic Planning, Facilitation, Training

Mary Beth has a 40+ year career in Social Services focusing on supporting the well-being of children and families. Starting as an early childhood educator, Mary Beth has provided expertise in transformational leadership, system management and community development in the early years, child development and child welfare spaces.

As a respected thought leader, she has provided expertise and leadership at local and provincial levels – the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) and Provincial Municipal Early Years Reference Group to name a few. In her most recent role as Director of Children’s Services, Halton Region, Mary Beth is a founding member of Halton Our Kids Network as well as acting as Co-Chair and Champion for the Ministry of Education’s advisory group responsible for the implementation of full-day kindergarten. Mary Beth holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Purdue University where she majored in Child Development and Family Life.

SYLVIA KOCSONDY, M.EDBusiness/Talent Development, Relationship Management

Sylvia is a senior strategist with a business-oriented approach to driving external strategy and employee performance within that realm.  Her extensive experience in building leadership capability programs is demonstrated by proven results. Her expertise in both strategic thinking and executing effective programs aligns talent and capacity to business priorities. Sylvia has held progressively senior roles in organizations such as Hydro One, CIBC and Bell. Her advice and counsel has served a wide range of industries including; Financial/Banking, Telecom, Human Resources, Software Development and Utilities.

Sylvia has a Bachelors degree in Business Management, a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and is certified in People Change Management, Human Performance and Korn Ferry’s Leadership architecture competencies.  Her accomplishments can be attributed to a collaborative approach to complex assignments and her ability to foster trusting relationships.

CAROL KOTACKA, EMBAOwner, Managing Partner, Strategist

A results oriented strategist, Carol specializes in driving transformational change and external strategy in the corporate, public and NGO sector. Carol has had the privilege of co-creating strategic vision and system wide solutions with organizations, residents, government entities as well as first responders. Her background reflects a deep understanding of the nuanced approach different cultures and stakeholder groups require. Driving strategy in the field has been the foundation of her career through work with industry, NGOs and government entities in North America, Europe and, most recently, the Middle East.

 An Adjunct Lecturer for the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation – University of Toronto and an Innoweave Coach supporting Innovation, Carol’s undergraduate studies include Social Sciences and a B.A. in Communications/Marketing. Post graduate work focuses on Social Change, Strategic Business Leadership from the Rotman School of Management and an Executive MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

SHELLEY LOTHIAN, MA, PH.D.Research, Data Capture, Community Mapping, G.I.S.

A well respected data architect, Shelley creates powerful and original knowledge for organizations and communities enabling visioning and outcomes. In the last twenty years, she has provided expert guidance in the health, social service and post-secondary sectors. She brings her unique sector experience as well as a respect for collaboration, humility, partnership and community.

Shelley holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Lethbridge, a Master of Arts in Kinesiology and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) Epidemiology & Biostatics. Her work experience includes holding a Professor position at Brock University, management of two national infectious disease surveillance systems in collaboration with Health Canada on behalf of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, research lead at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), and, most recently, leading community data research outcomes for Halton Region and the flagship children & youth Collaborative, Our Kids Network.

GILLIAN WILLIAMS MCCLEANCorporate Communications, Media Relations, Issues Management

Gillian is a senior communications professional with extensive experience in issues management, corporate communications and media relations with clients in healthcare, child welfare and the public sector overall.

Previous positions include Senior Corporate Officer, TV Ontario, Acting Director, Public Relations & Health Promotion at Halton Healthcare Services and Director, Communications & Marketing for William Osler Health System. Gillian excels in the development and execution of strategic communications and marketing plans that advance corporate and departmental objectives. She is the recipient of the Ontario Volunteer Sector Award for her training and facilitation work with the Urban Alliance on Race Relations. Her exceptional interpersonal and organizational skills serve to build the rapport that inspires internal and external stakeholders to achieve their goals. Her specialties include: strategic communications planning and direction; diversity training and facilitation, research and professional writing; issues identification and management; media relations; and community engagement.

SANDRA MILAKOVICMental Health, Health Systems, Leadership, Governance, Strategic Planning

Sandra has over 35 years of experience in the mental health field. Starting her career as a psychiatric nurse, she has held positions at the Hospital for Sick Children, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Centre and most recently, as CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association Peel Branch for fourteen years.

Passionate about mental health issues, Sandra has worked to tackle the misperceptions and stigma associated with mental illness throughout her career, lending her expertise to provincial advisory panels, Local Health Integration Networks and regional initiatives. These have included Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addictions, the Provincial Advisory Committee for Ontario Common Assessment of Need and most recently, providing guidance to Alberta Health Services. Her postgraduate education in Voluntary Sector Management at Schulich School of Business and her experience on provincial and community boards developed her understanding of the broader health care system.

ASHLEY PETTIFER, GR. DIP SR&SPhilanthropy, Communications, Digital Engagement

​​​​Ashley is a strategic relationship builder with extensive expertise in stakeholder engagement and fund development. Her proven track record demonstrates a broad range of partnerships among the public, corporate and labour sectors.

Ashley has over 10 years experience with one of the world’s most recognized charities – United Way. As Director, Annual Giving she has successfully developed and executed stakeholder engagement strategies focused on partnership, collaboration and corporate social responsibility solutions as well as overseeing a $10 million annual work place campaign.

Ashley is passionate about supporting community and has volunteered with many community tables at the leadership level including Brantford-Brant Roundtable on Poverty, Rotaract Club of Brantford and Soup for the Soul. Ashley holds an Honours Specialization in Childhood and Social Institutions from King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario. She has a Graduate Diploma in Social Responsibility & Sustainability at University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.​

AMELIE VILLENEUVE, MBA, CHRA, CHRPChange Management, Employee Engagement
Eastern Canada

Amelie has over fifteen years of human resources and labour relations experience in the civil engineering, construction and franchise restaurant space.  During her career,  Amelie has been responsible for leading a Human Resources division across the functional areas of Learning and Organizational Development, Employee Engagement, Labour Relations, Recruitment and Employee Health Safety and Wellness.

Amelie brings critical expertise in both human capital as well as private sector insights. Her current position is Directrice, Ressources Humaines for the Eastern Region for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited. Past portfolios oversaw the Canadian Reputation & Engagement in the Strategy Center of Excellence for McDonald’s Global. Amelie holds a CHRPdesignation as a Chartered Professional in Human Resources, a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources from the Université du Québec à Montréal and will complete an EMBA from Smith School of Business at Queens University in 2020.


BARRY CROSSStrategy, Change, Execution and Implementation; Lean, Innovation and Process Optimization; Projects & Operations Strategy

Barry Cross is an expert and thought leader in innovation, execution and operations strategy. He joined Smith School of Business at Queens University in 2006 after nearly 20 years in the automotive and manufacturing sectors with Magna, Autosystems and DuPont, where he led many key strategic initiatives, including nearly 30 program launches in North America, Asia, Latin America and Europe. 

Barry speaks and consults widely in the areas of Lean, Innovation, Strategy, Change, Projects and Execution, enabling organizations to create sustainable value for their customers.  He is the bestselling author of three books, including Simple: Killing Complexity for a Lean and Agile Organization, and numerous journal articles.

MICHAEL TAYLORRyelle-Poirier Partnership

Our partnership with The Poirier Group supports effective strategy execution in delivering sustainable changes in Operational, Financial and Management controls. Michael Taylor is a Senior Executive with over 20 years of professional management experience combining innovation with polished execution and teamwork resulting in consistently overachieving results in competitive business markets. He has a proven ability for strategic market share growth, maximizing competitive advantages, delivering sustainable revenue growth, managing cost containment and alignment to national and world-wide objectives.

His areas of expertise include Strategic Alignment, Margin Improvement, Profit & Loss Management, Forecasting & Goal Setting, Business Development, and Strategic & Value-Based Selling. Poirier Group has worked with clients from a variety of industries across North America including retail, supply chain, IT, manufacturing and CPG.

MARCEL WEIDERRyelle-Aurora Partnership

The Ryelle – Aurora partnership ensures our turn-key strategies include best in class public affairs, media and government relations capacity. President and CEO: Marcel Wieder and team combine a background in advertising with a passion for public affairs to help clients craft and deliver powerful messages.

The combined Ryelle –Aurora partnership provides extensive policy and government relations knowledge with seasoned front line, issues management experience. A team who understand the growing and changing needs of companies, organizations and associations to ensure their message is heard by government, stakeholders and the public. We use the latest tools available to get your message in front of the right audience. Knowing how government works and where to deliver your message is key to achieving your goals. This partnership works with accomplished government relations experts to help identify and map out a program that meet client needs. With the explosion of media outlets on cable, online and in print, today’s news cycle has become 24/7. With your team we can help you respond to any opportunity / any crisis.



Have a problem you’re not sure how to solve? A strategy you can’t get off the ground? Call us. Our network of partnerships spans industries, geographies and skill sets. Give us a chance to brainstorm with you over the issues that keep you up at night.