our team

Tanya Darisi

Co-Founder

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Tanya is known for her insatiable drive to make change happen. As our lead researcher and evaluator, she has a true passion for social justice and data-driven insight. Always looking on the bright side, she’s a natural born problem-solver and has a gift for turning complex data into clear insight and strategy. Formerly The O’Halloran Group, Tanya has worked as a community leader and volunteer for many years, contributing to projects and initiatives that promote greater inclusion, wellbeing and dignity for all.

Lisa Watson

Co-Founder

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Lisa’s compassionate approach brings a human-centred perspective to all areas of social change. As our lead strategist and facilitator, her passion for human potential, soulful leadership and systems design is evident in her diverse portfolio of clients, partners and collaborators. Lisa has a gift for illuminating strengths, listening deeply and bringing strategies to life. Her upcoming book helps leaders elevate their lives, organizations and the world. Lisa’s 20+ year career spans the nonprofit, government, philanthropic and private sectors.

Kris Cummings

Chief Partnerships Officer

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Kris is known for his genuine approach to partnership, quiet leadership and insight. He is an organizational development, systems and strategy professional based in Zurich and Guelph. Kris has an MSW and is finishing an MPA at the University of York in the UK. From fifteen years of community service leadership, Kris has learned that success is often not what we think, and that we need to ask what value we can create with our stakeholders and how to truly engage them in creating it.

He is passionate about achieving community good using his grandmother’s recipe: engaging people meaningfully and working together. In addition to direct access to Swiss chocolate and speaking German very badly (according to him!), Kris is known for combining theory, experience and knowledge in the room to create novel, doable strategy.

Randal Boutilier

Creative Director

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Randal has a wealth of knowledge in the nonprofit realm, understanding the key role that design plays not only in day-to-day communications, but in building community and philanthropy. This experience was built from his work at 12thirteen, a graphic design studio in Toronto that creates print and digital materials in the nonprofit sector. As a Registered Graphic Designer (RGD) and an active Board member at RGD, he adheres to a set of ethical guidelines and applies them to his studio practice. He enjoys working with a variety of stakeholders involved in a project – and fosters an environment that is creative and collaborative.

His work passion is to distill complex stories and concepts into compelling and engaging visuals that are easy to understand and desirable to share. When not sitting in front of a computer or sketching out a complex theory of change, Randal occupies his time perfecting his mastery of the hula hoop!

Katharine Zywert

Researcher

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Katharine Zywert is a PhD Candidate in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. Her research focuses on health system innovations for an era of constrained economic growth and social-ecological instability.

She finds inspiration in the energy that people across sectors and disciplines are currently devoting to the process of imagining alternative futures for humanity on the planet. She appreciates people who do not rush into action but take the time to understand the complexity of the problem and ask the hard questions like, “How is the way we’re currently working unintentionally contributing to the power structures or systems dynamics we’re trying to change?” and, “What do social and environmental justice look like from where we’re standing in this system?

Dylan House

Researcher

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Dylan is excited by the idea of proving that math is more than just numbers, but a way of understanding our social world. As a recent mathematics graduate from Memorial University of Newfoundland, he is excited at every opportunity to explain our world mathematically… and can also be found consuming books on every curiosity, from sea biology to psychology to Roman history.

Dylan loves music, especially country, and has seen Reba live more than once.

Katherine Heyland

Researcher

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Katherine Heyland is a researcher and project manager, with a BSc in Biology and a BA in German from Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Her undergrad work led her to Florida, where she worked as a lab technician in St. Augustine. When she could no longer stand the close proximity to the ocean, beautiful beaches, swimming with manatees and dolphins and feeling warm, even in January, she joined her husband in Canada, after completing her MSc in Biology at Brown University in Rhode Island.

Katherine is a proud graduate of the University of Guelph, earning her MA in history in 2012. She enjoys research and communicating concepts and ideas, and was able to explore these professional interests during her tenure as a communications officer at OMAFRA, a health economics researcher and a project manager for pharmaceutical marketing companies. She is happy to work with Openly to effect positive change.

CJ Deacoff

Associate

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CJ Deacoff is an Openly Associate who is inspired by having an impact on society. CJ wants to be able to look back and feel like their contribution made a difference in the world. At Openly, they have opportunities to put their skills to work towards building a good and fair society.

CJ is a relentless storyteller who has toured all of Canada’s provinces and territories (except Nunavut which did not exist at the time).

Geetha Van den Daele

Associate

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Geetha Van Den Daele is an Openly Associate who finds inspiration everywhere! In every moment, she takes in and processes what she sees, hears and feels, whether that’s in a conversation, standing in line, hiking through the forest, or browsing Twitter. She is deeply inspired by people, their strengths, resilience and courage to share their truth.

Geetha loves designing conversations that help to bring people’s hidden gifts, talents and insights to light and that connect ideas, perspectives and initiatives. She is an active volunteer who takes pride in her openness, agility, curiosity and comfort with uncertainty and complexity.

Helen Tewolde

Associate

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Helen Tewolde has over 15 years experience in community development, community-based research design, program development and funds allocation. She has worked as a strategist, developer and manager in the nonprofit and public sectors, including United Way Toronto and York Region, City of Toronto, Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and currently at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). She has also supported the capacity development of numerous grassroots organizations.

She loves solving complex challenges with bright, curious minds who dream of improving or innovating archaic, dysfunctional and/or unresponsive programs, policies, systems and perspectives for the purpose of greater and deeper impact.

Jillian Witt

Associate

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Jillian works with a variety of organizations and foundations in Canada. She is the Community Engagement Consultant for The Philanthropist, a journal dedicated to the nonprofit sector in Canada.

Her volunteer time is spent helping grow La Ruche D’Art de NDG, a community project using the arts to build community in Montreal, Quebec. Jillian has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto.