Rural Settlement & Integration

  • The Community Settlement Initiative
  • Secondary Migration & Workplace Culture Pilot Project
  • Local Immigration Partnership of Renfrew & Lanark
  • Community Language Support Program (Syrian Pilot)
  • Community Language Support Program
  • Welcoming Communities Planning, Policy & Action

The Community Settlement Initiative
In October 2018, I transitioned to the leadership role of the Community Settlement Initiative within Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley. Since then, I have had the great pleasure of leading the team of seven staff in the settlement department towards achieving regional impact using the Local Immigration Partnership’s unique decentralized settlement service delivery model. We had the opportunity to share our work with Minister Jordan this spring in her search for rural best practices in developing a national strategy and with a delegation from the UN and Argentina looking to attract refugees out of Buenos Aries and into the smaller centres. In the development of the model, my role was to gather and prepare the evidence to prove our idea, develop the innovation measurement framework, author the grant, and participate in negotiations.
IRCC approved our innovative continuous improvement delivery model and will contribute $750,000 over three years to support the development of our idea in Renfrew and Lanark Counties until 2021 with Algonquin College as the contract holder. The objective is to provide the federal department with a program framework that could be duplicated and effective in a number of rural areas coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Secondary Migration and Workplace Culture Pilot Project
In collaboration with the settlement team, we have made significant partnership connections with regional government, the City of Pembroke, local employers, the Community Futures Development Corporation and FedDev Ontario to propose a new approach to solving the urgent workforce development needs in Renfrew County. In collaboration, we developed a secondary migration program framework designed to connect the surplus of labour in major centres with the demand for labour in our area. My approach utilizes partnerships with the local municipality and other economic development agencies to leverage and showcase the attractiveness of the community. I built strong coordination with the Community Settlement Initiative at the employer and community engagement level to lead to retention of the worker and a full return on the investment of the recruitment effort. This holistic approach is necessary for our future – and true collaborations are necessary to do so.

Local Immigration Partnership of Renfrew & Lanark
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada funds this project with the intention to improve settlement outcomes for newcomers to Canada through a contract with Algonquin College. I was hired at project inception in the spring of 2011 to gather and coordinate project partners in order to write and execute a regional strategy. The team has taken on a continuous improvement model where our approaches, tactics, and operations are aligned with an ultimate vision and are well developed using a detailed research, planning and measurement framework. My role was to lead the project and partners to meet the federal deliverables but also to create change for improved welcoming communities in a vast region in need of population growth. My work with this project is grounded in education and training for individuals, employers, organizations and leaders so as to contribute to community development through capacity building and a paradigm shift towards positive views of immigration. To date, this project has leveraged over $1.3M in federal funds and successes continue. One of our major successes was to evolve one of five core strategies we identified named ‘Service Provider Readiness’ into an innovative program model we now refer to as the Community Settlement Initiative – a clear demonstration of intentional Strategic Planning producing meaningful responses and action.

Community Language Support Program
After learning of our success with the Syrian pilot project, the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Canada approved our application to expand the program to all newcomers to Canada and test it over two years in Renfrew and Lanark Counties. The plan targets community groups, employers and non-settlement service providers as allies to newcomer settlement and outsources the language delivery to their personnel in a decentralized model. Our role is to train those allies and build a capacity for them to serve the newcomer in language acquisition concurrently with the original service or transaction the newcomer is seeking. My role is to guide the overall testing and measurement of the program so as to position it for duplication in other regions and ensure efficacy of the model piloted in 2017/2018 with the Canadian Red Cross. This project brings another $150,000 to the region over two years and supports two staff members through a contract with Algonquin College.

Welcoming Communities Planning, Policy and Action
Working with the Economic Development Officer and the Municipal Elect at the City of Pembroke, I have had the great pleasure of introducing the group to innovative and proven practices for improving their welcoming communities score. A thorough environmental scan was conducted and our initial training with regards to the roles and responsibilities of municipalities in welcoming community practices was completed. We are now moving on to the opportunity scan and tactic selection for the development of a citywide policy post-election.

Business Development Coaching

  • Business Retention and Expansion Township Project and Report
  • Entrepreneur in Residence – ACOV
  • Professor of Entrepreneurship & Marketing
  • Small Business Coaching (referrals made upon request to protect the privacy of clients)

Business Retention and Expansion Township Project and Report
North Algona Wilberforce Business Retention + Expansion Project and ReportIn the fall of 2019 I completed a full BR+E exercise with the businesses located in the Township of North Algona Wilberforce with funding support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affiairs’ Rural Economic Development Fund. I had the opportunity to meet with and interview local business owners and leaders in a listening activity geared to assisting the Township with making informed decisions and developing tailored supports for business into the future. Working alongside Kaily Kay in partnership, we were able to produce a menu of informed responses for the Council to consider, ranging from careful considerations, to robust supports to advocacy. 

Entrepreneur in Residence
In the fall of 2017, Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley hired me to come on board as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Pembroke Campus. In this dynamic role, I was responsible for coaching student, staff or community businesses to improved outcomes. I also made presentations and appearances at various business community events in the area, including as a panelist judge for the startup contest RC100 in 2018 and as a business owner in 2019. The expansion of our local entrepreneur support network is also primary to my role.

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Marketing
In the winter semester of 2016, I was hired to teach two sections of Becoming an Entrepreneur: Is it for Me? in order to expand the courses available to students at Algonquin College Pembroke Campus in the topic of entrepreneurship. The course covers curriculum centered on the entrepreneurial mindset, characteristics of a business owner, and the key concepts involved when embarking on a startup. I was subsequently requested to teach a practical marketing course in the automotive program in the fall of 2017 where I delivered material on customer service standards and the fundamental principles of marketing.

Community & Sport Team Development

  • Game ON!
  • Renfrew County Living Wage
  • Petawawa Predators Swim Club 
  • Swim Ontario Coaches Committee Chair

Game ON!
The Killaloe Community Resource Centre is funded by three revenue streams to offer after school programming in rural communities to school aged children in physical literacy, food literacy, and social boundaries. I was hired to help them expand the program to more communities, leverage partner contributions in a more effective way, and develop evidence and rationale for the next phase of funding applications. As a part of my contribution, I am leading the training of the program team on measurement tactics, purposeful indicator selection, leading with vision, asset-based community development, and innovative resourcing. I was able to facilitate the first and second partner engagement sessions with the municipal elect and school boards in order to lead the group towards a common vision. I deployed an inclusive facilitation plan including a live illustration of the feedback for visual impact and also dynamic visual aids and info-graphics to assist in understanding and idea generation.

Renfrew County Living Wage Committee Chair
I have had the great pleasure of taking part in the national movement of engaging employers towards a living wage through dynamic programs and incentives. The committee and I have embarked on a process of developing a strategic plan to foster better understanding of how the working poor status of people affects our economy, how employers can use a living wage to provide competitive advantage, cost reduction, and value for people, and also to improve the awareness of the social and family benefits of a more dignified way of life for our low wage workers. Our plan is currently in the development stage and will be positioned for funding applications in 2019.

Petawawa Predators Swim Club 
Contracted by the Director of Personnel Support Programs at Garrison Petawawa, I engage in the management of a competitive swimming team for youth athletes and children in the military community. My role involves hiring, training and retaining the coaching staff, providing leadership training to the executive team, and developing operational and financial plans. Since my team’s involvement began, the club has doubled their membership, hit capacity registrations in three of four programs, produced several Provincial Championship qualifying swimmers and one National Championship swimmer over the first five seasons.

Swim Ontario Coaches Committee Chair
Since taking on the role as the committee chair in the fall of 2017, I have had the opportunity to engage in an organizational improvement plan and consultation with the competitive swimming coaching team in Ontario. We hosted two provincial coaches consultations and complied a report outlining recommendations surrounding improved reciprocal communication, professional development opportunities, and embarking on an organizational culture shift. Subsequently, the Swim Ontario Board of Governors held a Coaching Roundtable event with all of the Olympic Coaches in the province where I had the chance to review, discuss and deepen the recommendations from our report. The final recommendations we adopted by the Board and are now embarking on a revision of their strategic plan 2020 – 2028. I have the great pleasure of contributing to the formation of the plan in a committee setting and also with personal interview.

Behavioural Innovation & Leadership

  • Attract, Train & Retain Workforce Development Conference
  • Intercultural Competency/Inclusion Training

Attract, Train & Retain Workforce Development Conference
The most recent project I have completed was the organization of a regional workforce development conference in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Several economic development and business partners came together to respond to local consultations which revealed that businesses are struggling to fill positions. Our aim as a collective was to provide concrete solutions for the employers facing these urgent issues. I led the development of the curriculum, organization of speakers and panelists, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the day, presented on innovative recruitment processes, and created a Human Resource Strategy Guide Book for the participants to follow and use into the future. My expertise
in this area is contemporary and presents opportunities for leadership in behavioural innovation as organizations and businesses alike face a new and rapidly changing workforce.

Intercultural Competency Training
I have had the opportunity to deliver dozens of sessions to various groups on the topic of intercultural competency since becoming a licensed trainer in 2015. This expertise is highly valuable for many organizations as they embark on a wider recruitment strategy for new hires, begin engaging with a more diverse workforce, and as our society moves towards inclusivity as a core value leading to universal belonging. This competency is needed for organizations to move forward in a new global economy where multiple generations, backgrounds, cultures and so on must work productively together towards aligned outcomes. My work in this area is ever-expanding as new clients acknowledge that intercultural competency and monitoring for unconscious bias is the only option for sustainability and growth in Canada. Helping to lead organizations towards the most inclusive internal and external practices will also lead them to expanded market reach, competitive advantage, and meaningful workplaces.


  • Strategic Plan Development – Ottawa Valley Historical Society
  • Strategic Plan Development – City of Arnprior, Arnprior & District Museum
  • Strategic Plan Development – Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network

See. Act. Stay. A Regional Immigrant Attraction and Retention Strategy for Quinte and Area The Centre for Workforce Development Belleville and seven regional partners assembled to fund the development of a regional capacity review and strategy development for the attraction, recruitment and retention of new Canadians in the Quinte area, serving three counties and two cities. This project was completed in March 2020. The assessment was centred on the regional capacity to attract new residents and also the probability of retention given the results. Based on the gap analysis of current state to desired future state, key recommendations were developed. Benchmarking and best practices were embedded in the responsive project designs, along with measurement and value add components, ensuring smart resourcing, leveraging synergies and alignment of overarching vision and values.

Strategic Plan Development – Ottawa Valley Historical Society The Ottawa Valley Historical Society hired me to assist with the creation of a strategic plan for the museum and programs they operate in order to drive the organization forward and satisfy Ministry requirements. Working with the board and staff, we completed a thorough environmental scan, engaged in significant leadership training, developed mission, vision and values for the organization, and ultimately arrived at a plan rooted in an asset-based mindset, clever resource allocation, and sustainable growth. Developing a measurement framework was critical for this team to understand how to better make evidence-based decisions and really sink into the continuous improvement methodologies. I facilitated several sessions with the leadership team and prepared the final report for submission to the funding agency. This organization did achieve their funding goal as a result and have been executing the plan since.

Strategic Plan Development – City of Arnprior, Arnprior & District Museum
The City of Arnprior hired me to conduct strategic planning sessions to support the sustainability of the Arnprior & District Museum. Over three engagement and training sessions with the governing board, volunteers, and staff we developed a strategy framework to support sustainable growth, expanded education programs, improved community attractiveness and participation, and direction for leadership. This project was recently completed and the framework has been submitted to the funding agency for review and approval.

Strategic Plan Development – Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network
I have been working with the Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network on the development of a strategic plan to assist the organization in moving forward and streamlining their objectives and operations. To date, we have held several leadership training sessions where I facilitated the creation of a vision, mission and value statement with the Board of Directors. We are now embarking on an evidence collection phase in order to match effort with impact for feasibility and lean management. This work is ongoing, but will ultimately facilitate the improvement of critical services for families in need in the region.

Keynotes & Presentations

October 2013, New Liskeard, ON – Panelist – Partnerships, Synergies and Leveraging Assets for Development of Community and Economy, Immigration Symposium for Northern Ontario
November 2013, Owen Sound ON – Key Note Speaker – Welcoming Communities in Rural Settings: What We Did, What We Learned, Welcoming Communities Stakeholder Forum for Bruce and Grey Counties
October 2015, Edmonton AB – Panelist Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships to Support Newcomer Integration: Structure, Engagement, and Collaboration – Renfrew/Lanark’s Approach to Strategy Development, Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies Conference
October 2015, Mattawa ON Workshop DeliveryEmerging Market Trends in Canada and How to Leverage Them – Mattawa & District Economic Development Office Business Week
Fall 2015 – Early 2018, Various Sites – PresenterValuing Diversity: The Foundations of Intercultural Competency, 50+ presentations made in Eastern Ontario with a wide variety of clients
November 2016, Ottawa ON – Presenter Promising Practices in Engagement of Federal, Provincial-Territorial, and Municipal Governments in the Activities of LIPs, Pathways to Prosperity National Conference – Shaping Immigration to Canada: Learning from the Past and a Vision for the Future
January 2017, Golden Lake ONWorkshop Delivery – Life Strategies for Youth, Algonquins of Pikwakanagan Youth Support Program
May 2017, Pembroke ON – Presenter Changing Rural Workforces, Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley Spring Leadership Conference
June 2017, Pembroke ON – Panelist and Judge – Ottawa Valley Start UP Pitch Night, Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley Start UP Pitch Night and Business Competition
September 2017, Kingston ON – Session Presenter The Worth of our Welcome, Ontario East Municipal Conference
April 2018, Pembroke ON – Workshop Delivery – Brand, Marketing and Communication for your Business, The City of Pembroke Win the Space Series 2018
May 2018, Pembroke ON – Presenter – Your Organization’s MVP: Mission, Vision and Purpose, Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley Spring Leadership Conference
September 2018, Deep River ON – Presenter – Collaboration Not Competition, Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce September 2018 – Arnprior ON – Presenter – Branding Your Business, Women in Business Conference Renfrew County 2018
October 2018 – Pembroke ON – Presenter Hiring a Diverse Workforce, Bridges to Better Business Conference by Enterprise Renfrew County
February 2019 – Deep River ON – Presenter – Connecting Creative Women 2019
February 2019 – Perth ON – Presenter – Attracting a Diverse Workforce, Labour Market Group Professional Development Event March 2019, North Bay ON – Presenter Bias, Privilege & Change, 22 Wing Canadian Forces Base IDERD Event 2019
April 2019, Kingston ON – Presenter – Inclusion at Work, Eastern Region Group Conference, Kingston ON 2019

Let’s build something together.

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