It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Ken MacDonald, partner at Elevate Consulting. Ken was integral to the creation and ongoing success of Elevate. A consummate professional, Ken was a fantastic consultant. His client focus, strategic mind and ability to sincerely engage with people were the reasons that so many of you formed meaningful relationships with him. Ken always focused on his role in making the world a better place, whether through his professional career, friendships or through his volunteer efforts to give back to the community. We will miss him deeply.
We know that you’ll want to join us in celebrating Ken’s life and sending support to his family. Should you wish to commemorate Ken’s life, donations may be made in his memory to HIV Edmonton or the Art Gallery of Alberta. This link has more details.
We will miss you, our dear friend.
Service & Quality. Why should it be any different when it comes to management consultants? Our success is solely based on the quality and services delivered by our team and on the relationships we foster with our clients. We won’t “steal your watch to tell you the time” but we will fix the watch, and polish it up so that you can read the time for yourself.
Never sacrificing customer care, building strong relationships, genuine concern about our client’s success and independence… Simply put, that’s the level of service we continue to believe in and build upon (and might we add, that’s how it all started, 10 years ago).
Jae Cooper – Partner
Our founder. Jae started Elevate 10 years ago and it continues to grow, evolve and succeed because of his vision, determination and business acumen. While Jae considers himself a geek, his passions actually go well beyond his comic books and sci-fi novels. He’s a singer (seriously…. get him to sing for you sometime!), musician, runner, hiker and total pop-culture nerd. While he has years of experience and has led countless projects, Jae’s real success can be found in his relationships as he becomes a trusted advisor, mentor and friend to everyone he works with…. all of us included.
“My passion is helping people accomplish amazing things that benefit the world we live in.”
Ken Macdonald – Partner
Beneath the quiet, calm and thoughtful demeanor, beats the heart of a passionate genius. A professionally trained chef, Ken approaches everything the way he approaches cooking, complete and utter attention to detail. As he measures, sifts, and simmers solutions for our clients it appears Ken knows what you need even before you do. Ken doesn’t just deliver products but rather an experience that has been custom designed to meet your needs. Like every good chef, you won’t know exactly how he does it but you will want to go back again and again. This attention to detail can be seen in how he manages our Edmonton office, when you walk in the door you feel as though the whole office has been waiting for you. You may have only come for a meeting or workshop but you will find that Chef Ken has something special just for you.
“I love to learn, to be exposed to new situations and people, to understand what motivates and drives people, to help people discover and utilize their own potential, to analyze and find solutions to challenges.”
Lisa Makar – Partner
Lisa has super powers. She is a full-time mom of two amazing boys, volunteers at their school, teaches a course at a local university, is a member of the Robert Bateman Foundation Board, manages our Victoria office and leads some of Elevate’s busiest and most successful projects. You will often find her working after everyone has gone to bed and before anyone gets up. Somehow she does all this while still making time for those she loves, and if you’re lucky enough to be one of those people you will never find a better friend. Lisa is the person everyone talks to, if it is a challenging problem – go talk to Lisa, if you’re having a bad day– go talk to Lisa, if you just want someone to laugh with – go talk to Lisa. With her smile, laughter and brilliance Lisa lifts spirits, solves complex problems and moves mountains. Like we said, Lisa has super powers. If you get the chance to work with her – you will see what we mean.
“I love collaboration…with my Elevate team, my clients and their teams. I’m inspired every day by the people I encounter through my work. Change is everywhere and it’s amazing that I get to be part of it and help people and organizations as they grow and succeed.”
Trevor Murphy – Partner
You know the feeling that feeling when something is missing but you just can’t put your finger on it until it arrives? That is what it felt like when Trevor joined the management team at Elevate. His patient and deeply analytical approach to everything he does added that one missing element. Trevor has a deep understanding of the outdoors (he is an avid and trained mountaineer) and a deep love for growing and tending things (like Ed, he also keeps an apiary for bees). He approaches Elevate the same way he approaches his garden at home – gently watering an idea, pruning back an overgrown or cumbersome process, and weeding out the roadblocks that get in the way, all while ensuring Elevate continues to grow in a way that we to continue to make a difference in the lives of clients, staff and the world we live in.
“My passion is developing, sustaining and managing business partnerships that create meaningful outcomes for people!”
MEET OUR TEAM
Our people are a team that is passionate about empowering our clients to be successful while creating the best possible experience for them.
Morgan Shields – Senior Lead/Management Consultant
At first glance you may think that Morgan has been transplanted from the streets of Rome or Milan given his fantastic sense of style. In actual fact, he’s an Alberta boy who we are gladly turning into a west-coaster…to our client’s benefit. Morgan is both a strategic and operational thinker with awesome project management skills. Nowhere are the results of Morgan’s skills more evident than right here at Elevate. Having been with Elevate almost since inception, Elevate is what it is because of Morgan’s contributions.
“Connecting people, working with divergent perspectives, being able to smile through the challenges and recognizing the truly amazing breakthroughs makes me appreciate how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to wake up every day and approach new adventures!”
Debbie Sherwood – Manager of Administrative Services
Debbie “sweats the small stuff.” No this is not a reference to Debbie’s diminutive stature but to her penchant for diligence, accuracy and thoroughness. Orga¬nized she is without a doubt – desk surfaces are clean, frequent websites are all bookmarked, and accounts all balance to the penny. Debbie’s actions reﬂect her personal authenticity, a graceful and gentle approach with customers and staff alike. It is not uncommon for a dog treat to be tucked away in a pocket, in the hope of a warm-hearted encounter with a potential new canine friend.
“It’s impossible” said pride. “It’s risky” said experience. “It’s pointless” said reason. “Give it a try” whispered the heart. Author unknown
Judy Wong – Office Adminstrator
Judy has an unique combination of strength, determination and abilityto adapt that makes her the Wonder Woman of our Edmonton office. She’s a big fan of keeping things on point & being on time, however she knows the importance of developing a strong internal culture, one that values creating a positive work environment that that encourage healthy doses of fun and play, Judyprefers to play by the rules, but is quick to adapt if it means finding a more efficient way of getting the job done. And at the end of a successful project or a particularly challenging week, she knows the value of fully stocked liqueur cabinet.
“Contributing through meeting/fulﬁlling the needs of and working with a dynamic and evolving environment. Working in a team environment with challenges that allows for underlying creativity to blossom.”
Ed Ord – Information Management and Analytics Practice Lead
Ed is a self-admitted “well-adjusted geek” who likes to tackle complex problems with elegant yet simple solutions. Technical -absolutely! But business outcomes and meaningful projects matter to Ed both at home, and at work. Whether these are his continuing renovations (a 5-year mission for his Enterprise – yes this is a Star Trek reference), building a neighborhood apiary for his bees, or informing a social policy issue with critical data views – making a difference through his activities and actions is critically important to Ed.
“I am driven to help organizations achieve their goals through the innovative use of business intelligence.”
Chris Tang – Senior Lead/Management Consultant
We love that Chris appreciates a straightforward and uncluttered approach to the value he creates for his clients and that he is a strong believer in the adage of “never ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself”. Chris would like to do the impossible of speaking and understanding every language, this would be an awesome superpower to have, but in this universe, we admire his ease of getting to know his clients and his focus on understanding their language (and he’s pretty darn good at it). Thoughtful, considerate, with a focus on results: that’s just who he is (that’s the way he is). Oh, he has some questionable taste in fashion, but that is just part of his charm…
“I am passionate about discovering solutions. I enjoy helping our clients navigate their challenges, realize their opportunities, and build excitement for their future.”
Denise Walker – Senior Lead/Management Consultant
Denise is someone you implicitly trust from the moment you meet her. We think this because Denise really listens and seeks to understand. A natural born critical thinker, Denise can take complex information and make it understandable. Pas¬sionate about lifelong learning, Denise holds Masters degrees in three disci¬plines…. we’re hoping she’ll go for a fourth so we can really call her a square! But don’t mistake Denise for a pure intellectual…. on an given Sunday, she’ll be glued to whatever football game she can ﬁnd (especially if it’s Green Bay).
“My passion is helping organizations determine where they are going and how best they can get there.”
Rob Jawanda – Senior Account Executive
Rob engages in each interpersonal interaction with a genuine open and honest approach. People ﬁnd Rob’s style to be engaging, thoughtful, warm and friendly – there is always time for a quick chat or a coffee. Where ever you go in Victoria, Rob knows somebody. Within each of those inevitable “hey, how you doin?’” in¬teractions Rob looks for the best in situations and relishes the opportunity to ﬁnd a positive balance between competing interests. In his “spare time” Rob volun¬teers to many organizations, including being a long-time active Board member with the Braefoot Community Association.
“You can never go wrong by paying it forward!”
Hayley Rissley – Consultant
Given her dexterity in critical thinking and a passion for learning, it’s no surprise Hayley loves a challenge – the more complex, the better. Her notable business acumen in financial and business analysis perfectly complements her ability to thrive in changing environments and foster trusted alliances with those around her; leadership qualities that help clients build multi-faceted solutions and advance business objectives. Hayley would love to visit Greece for its history and Mediterranean cuisine and learn a few cooking techniques and recipes along the way. When she’s not abroad, she’s likely doing a cycling or Pilates work out. Her affectionate Frenchton also likes it better when Hayley is around for cuddles, making her laugh, and not surprisingly, for treats (salmon or dried yams will do).
“I strive to be the type of person my dog already thinks I am.”
Justin Beadle – Consultant
Justin is an inventive strategist with a sixth sense, and people wonder, “How did Justin know that?”. His background covers asset management, finance/securities, information technology, and construction. Knowledgeable in private and public sectors (provincial and local), Justin’s management and finance experience provides an objective viewpoint that lets him connect dots that others might not see (scenario planning is his middle name – who names their kid that?). Mix in a strong dose of financial analysis with a generous helping of creative thinking, and that sums up Justin.
If he could be anywhere right now, Justin would be in Alert Bay hanging out with whales, paddling, cold-water snorkeling, and sitting by the fire with his wife after a day of exploring. He may also be immersed in his favourite magazines; Juxtapoz, The Walrus, and 2600.
“What is the answer? In that case, what is the question?” – Gertrude Stein
Anna Baker – Consultant
Anna has an insightful and incisive style that she uses to assess complex problems in all settings, whether strategic, analytical, or social. Using her master’s degree in dispute resolution, Anna has acquired a wide range of experience in project work, strategic HR, and policy analysis. She spins her skills and understanding into a regimented approach to deconstruct complex issues, examine them from all angles, and communicate findings in a direct and articulate manner. Anna is a CrossFit nut; an insane workout routine usually consumes much of her day. But it’s no surprise she’s a weekend warrior making time to practice her fiddle, volunteer, and go venturing with her dog, Finley. Her trips abroad complement her spirit for outdoor adventures. Those that know her well, will caution you on her lethally dark sense of humor!
“You will either step forward into growth or step backward into safety.”
Harry Baker – Consultant
Harry is a facilitator and analyst who specializes in writing, editing, and data analytics. Around the office he’s also a network administrator who occasionally saves his coworkers from the mires of Excel.
Though his experience is in psychology, business analysis, and data analysis, Harry’s true strength is his endless curiosity, which drives him to learn Thai Boxing, take up the ukulele, and travel to explore history and culture. Constantly searching to improve and enrich himself and those around him, Harry volunteers to teach English and practices sketching and digital art.
This same curiosity drives Harry’s professional success, pursuing disparate bodies of knowledge to find unlikely solutions and hunting for a deeper understanding of the challenges at hand.
“Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom?” – Terry Pratchett
Ellen Coburn – Consultant
Ellen has forged a career path and cultivated her consulting experiences from an eclectic array of industries: business management, horticulture, hospitality, post-secondary education, and esthetics. She focused her consulting practice on business and product development and specialized in conifer essential oil distillation utilizing waste products from the logging industry. With a background in training and instruction, Ellen can also creatively explain how seemingly unrelated aspects are somehow connected. Or better yet, she can expressively illustrate it as she’s also an accomplished visual artist.
With her adept analytic skills, Ellen identifies patterns as well as discovering gaps. Ellen is a great listener and has a methodical approach – a natural trouble-shooter and problem solver.
“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne
Michael Leboldus – Senior Management Consultant
One gets a sense that Michael embraces and has faith in change. He readily delves into and expertly leads strategy development and organizational and service delivery transformation. Michael is not daunted by the challenges of complex multi-stakeholder engagements; his positivity is endless. Understanding stakeholders’ values, is first and foremost when Michael plans and implements a service model, process redesign, journey map etc. When action plans and strategic documents are looking worn and used – for Michael, that’s the best measure of success. With Michael, if it doesn’t happen now, it’s just a matter of when he’ll be running his next marathon or achieving the elusive hole in one. Otherwise, Michael can be found immersed in music trivia, name any song and he’ll likely know the artist and genre.
Danielle Burton – Senior Management Consultant
Danielle’s reputation precedes her. Anyone who has worked with Danielle knows she has a mind for simplifying complex information and an eye for visualizing it in a way that can only be described as art. This, paired with her analytical and detail-oriented approach, results in compelling strategic tools and content—the benefits of which are felt at both the staff and Executive levels of her client organizations. When she’s not working her magic in the office, Danielle is an avid traveler, a certified swim meet official, a mom of two, and a reliable source for where to find the best sushi in town.
I see the world in pictures and patterns and find magic in connecting seemingly disparate ideas in new ways to illuminate paths for clients.
Meaghan Smith – Consultant
Meaghan is a true extrovert and natural communicator. Her direct style drives to the core of each issue, generating insightful discussions that are often peppered with her trademark humour. Her natural flair for human dynamics, supported by her technical and business skills, results in a sophisticated and thoughtful approach to organizational success. Meaghan’s outgoing nature is likewise reflected in her bon vivant lifestyle; intrepid not only in her far-reaching travel experience, but also in her taste for – and skill in – cooking fine food. She savours this best when paired with a glass of good wine and the company of her dog.
I would like to quote the beautiful words of Mark Twain “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.”
Rob is a Senior Associate with Elevate Consulting and a leadership advisor, strategist, and coach. He has been helping organizational leaders to accelerate performance and achieve dramatic results for over 30 years. Drawing on a strong background in business and organizational development, he brings an exceptional depth of organization, business and leadership wisdom and utilizes his extensive consulting and executive experience to facilitate the best decisions and outcomes. Rob has the ability and courage to support and challenge in a direct but positive manner, with the tenacity to get reality on the table. He is an International Coaching Federation Accredited Executive Coach (Royal Roads University) and holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from York University.
Bob is a seasoned management consultant with over 20 years of IM/IT Shared Services Management experience. Bob has been active and successful in many facets of IM/IT Service Management from financial analysis, planning, requirements gathering, architecture and service implementation. Bob has assumed a number of key financial and IT related roles within major BC public sector procurements and contract management initiatives related to technology solutions and services. Considered a visionary senior IM/IT financial planner and architect, Bob has an innate ability in developing and articulating financial budgets, strategic vision and turning complex interdependencies into manageable projects that capture maximum ROI, remain within budget, address risk, provide support and lower complexity.
Steve has more than 35 years of executive leadership experience in the public service. He has held a variety of senior positions in various ministries (Treasury Board, Energy, Human Services, Innovation and Advanced Education and Executive Council) and as CEO for a publicly funded corporation. Steve has led the development of several major policy initiatives over his career. These have often entailed finding the balance among divergent stakeholder interests and ensuring the resulting framework is both practical from an implementation perspective and addresses the key issues within the realities of current and future circumstances. Steve has provided organizational leadership and oversight at the most senior levels, along with working in Executive Council supporting Cabinet and providing overall direction to executive teams across the Alberta civil service. His strengths are focused on building effective relationships, creating resilient and adaptive organizations, leading successful transitions in response to significant change, and catalyzing innovative approaches in respond to complex public policy issues.
Anthony is an associate of Elevate Consulting and a seasoned Consultant with over 25 years of IM/IT experience and 20 years working with the Province of BC. Anthony’s career has included senior roles in BC public sector organizations, consulting delivery roles with multiple IT services organizations, executive account and sales management roles, and, for the last ten years, a focused consulting practice specializing in procurement strategy, procurement process management and contract negotiation for high value IT and telecommunications services. Over this past decade, Anthony has led procurements and negotiated contracts with a cumulative value of over $ 1,500,000,000 CDN, delivering high value and low risk for his customers.
Scott Wilkinson is a senior management consultant with over 30 years of direct service delivery and consulting experience in the Information Management and Information Technology (IM/IT) field. He is a former Vice President at CGI, DMR/Fujitsu and partner/owner of a successful consulting company AGTI sold in 2009. Scott, in addition to active consulting assignments to senior executives, serves as Secretariat to the Council of Chief Information Officers (CCIO) of BC consisting of Government, Health Authorities and the major Crown Corporations. Over the course of these engagements, Scott has provided direct oversight and leadership to multiple procurements, contract negotiations and development of strategies for telecommunication and network management, mobile device, desktop and hosted services.
Kristin is an Associate with Elevate Consulting who brings 15 years of experience in business analysis and project management. Kristin holds a PhD from the University of Calgary, specializing in analytic methods, including advanced statistics. She applies her skills to design and manages complex processes that support evidence-based planning and implementation. Kristin is interested in the use of administrative data for surveillance and research. She instructs in the Population Health Data Analysis postgraduate program offered through the University of Victoria’s Continuing Education department, teaching Introduction to Administrative Data.
Tom specializes in assisting organizations in both public and private sector with strategic change often using business process as the vehicle. He has 25 years’ experience in defining, planning and executing projects aimed at improving results in those areas most critical to stakeholders. Tom’s CV includes many consulting engagements with fortune 500 firms, as well as public sector and not for profit organizations in Ontario and Alberta. Tom has authored a book based on his experience, Leadership for Results: Removing Barriers to Success for People, Projects and Processes. Tom also teaches Business Process Management and Strategy at University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies.
Grant is an associate of Elevate with senior-level experience facilitating organizational strategy, performing business process reviews and planning transformation strategies and implementation plans. He also manages and delivers projects and frequently provides guidance and mentorship in business requirements gathering and data modeling. Grant also provides technology and data architecture assessments and recommendations and designs and implements business intelligence solutions. Grant brings a holistic approach to technology, balancing innovation with the goals and objectives of the business for the most efficient and effective solution that will deliver immediate successes while keeping an eye toward the future.
Cheryl is an Associate with Elevate Consulting with more than 20 years of experience in the BC health sector. Cheryl has a formal education in nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Public Health, which adds to her role as a health research analyst on engagements. Her understanding of epidemiological principles, clinical data and medical classification systems enables her to provide advice on how recorded diagnoses can be operationalized to address health care issues at the population level, and she draws from her experience as a practicing registered nurse to write about the practical significance of findings from the data.
Connie is an Associate with Elevate Consulting bringing knowledge and experience in many areas of the post-secondary system in Alberta, including learner pathways and mobility and quality assurance practices, governance, and program and policy development and implementation. Connie has interacted extensively with the post-secondary system, community learning providers, industry, other government departments and entities. She has developed policies, completed business cases, reviewed processes and provided strategic advice to several post-secondary institutions in Alberta. She has reviewed quality assurance processes used within the University of Alberta and by external accreditation bodies for degree program approval and monitoring. Connie provides strong leadership to support accountability, quality and coordination of Alberta’s public and private post-secondary system.
S. Kazim Hussain
Kazim has more than 17 years of experience in human resource management. He has held a range of key positions within diverse industries as the public sector, education, information technology, insurance, aviation, manufacturing and production, construction and engineering. His strengths are providing human resource solutions and effectively delivering and aligning HR to the overall business agendas. Kazim has experience in transforming HR policies & procedures to ensure they are clear and practical. He has solid leadership experience to help organizations strengthened their HR governance, while enabling best practice in the implementation and execution of key HR projects aligned to the organization’s vision and goals. Kazim thrives in an environment of change and variety, but seeks to build pragmatic solutions and is concerned to execute things in the best possible way.
Maria Lobanova is an associate with Elevate leading the design and development of Elevate’s graphic and creative portfolio. Her diverse background includes art created through traditional mediums such as oil painting, drawing and sketching, as well as new media, desktop publishing and digital art forms including web design and video. Maria has a talent for understanding abstract business concepts and translating them into powerful images.
Anita brings knowledge and expertise in the areas of organizational governance, policy and program design and implementation. She has worked with government organizations and not for profit boards to help them develop practices that are both effective and consistent with good governance principles. Anita has been involved in developing, drafting and reviewing policy documents related to 200+ public agencies linked to the Government of Alberta. She also reported on policies in other jurisdictions as well as leading consultations with stakeholders both inside and outside government. Anita is also a very skilled researcher on governance in the public, private and not for profit sectors and she has established a strong network of governance colleagues across Canada.
Sebastian is a management consultant and business analyst with a background in law. His professional focus includes strategic planning, facilitation, evaluation, privacy risk management and training. He also has experience with legislative matters, governance, policy, information management and process analysis. Sebastian’s strengths include his ability to coordinate research projects, engage stakeholders, and draw effective conclusions from data to inform decisions and manage change. Sebastian has conducted research projects for clients across sectors, among them Pacific Blue Cross, the Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association, and Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security.
Fran Shields is an expert in her core service: providing honest, thorough strategic guidance to senior leaders and teams in both private and public sector organizations. Her major strengths are in strategic and business transformation and managing large scale business initiatives. Fran is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), certified Project Management Trainer, and is certified in the Mastery of Re-engineering. She is meticulous and enthusiastic in her approach to business, never sitting still and always focused on quality improvement and meeting client expectations. She sets her work apart through creativity, personality and a willingness to take the best from established practice and emerging trends to anticipate and then exceed her clients’ needs. Fran has successfully helped design and implement business change in large projects across Canada and Europe.
Steve’s experience covers private and government sector organizations and includes strategic, business, operational, and technology dimensions. Steve has assisted in the development and review of numerous businesses, organizations and governance structures and models. He is a skilled facilitator whose
communication style and approach work effectively with senior government officials and executives, as well as operational managers, technologists and frontline workers. Steve has extensive knowledge and understanding of strategic planning with the ability to solicit stakeholder buy-in, and achieve desired outcomes. He is always focused on people and the benefits to be gained by ensuring effective communication and engagement.
Lori is Elevate’s financial administrator. She has an Associate’s degree in business and an extensive background in finance and employee benefits. She has diverse business experience, having worked with several large organization and operating a number of independent businesses herself. Lori strives to create seamless and efficient accounting processes and ensure quality and accuracy in all financial dealings.
Rod is an information management technology consultant with 30 years of experience in the field. He is trained and skilled in information technology, program management, process review and process re-engineering. Rod’s specialty has been providing strategic guidance and support to large multi-faceted projects and he has led many large-scale initiatives involving numerous concurrent projects. Rod’s initial work and training as a systems analyst and developer has given him an in-depth and practical understanding of information systems and the information systems life cycle. Having had experience bringing several projects from planning through to implementation, Rod also understands the clear linkage between a business strategy plan and an information technology strategy plan. In order for an organization to be successful in either, they must also have this understanding – a factor which Rod emphasizes and supports on behalf of his clients.
Jenny is an associate with Elevate whose primary skills include maximizing the use and value of administrative health and clinical data, developing and standardizing methodologies, developing data governance security, analyzing data and interpreting complex research findings to make them practical and useful to the business environment. Jenny specializes in the health sector, where she has designed and implemented analytic services and business intelligence platforms for health sector business models. Jenny’s involvement with analytics in health spans the entire process, from technical development to the application of intelligence to policy and program planning. The result is a clear correlation between initial data collection and realized health benefits to provincial residents. Jenny is also experienced in many software development tools and database management systems and has contributed to projects in requirements definition, application design, dimensional modeling and business intelligence application development. Combining her data warehouse experience and her analytic skills, she is able to develop business processes to improve efficiency, reduce duplication and support mature analytics.
Patty has been helping government and not for profit organizations set their strategic direction and align their people and programs in support of these directions for more than 25 years, including six years at the local government level. She has in-depth experience at the municipal level which involves providing strategic advice, long-term corporate perspective, guidance and recommendations to the City Manager, City Council and Administration. Patty has first-hand experience developing and providing input into municipal Council and Administration policies and procedures, preparing reports and briefings for Council and the City Manager, reviewing and providing feedback on budget requests and business cases brought forward to Council. Patty has conducted reviews of municipal departments to assess the overall efficiency and effectiveness in providing services in order to make recommendations towards improving organization structure and identifying operational priorities.
Our Associate listing is currently being updated.