our team

Tanya Darisi

Tanya Darisi

Co-Founder

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

Lisa Watson

Co-Founder

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, 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. Formerly Strategies for Social Impact, Lisa has worked for over 20 years across  government, non-profit and the private sectors.

Sean Duffy

Sean Duffy

Project & Systems Coordinator

Sean is inspired by the opportunity to do math and interact with the best aspects of humanity on a daily basis. With every project he takes on, he develops a deeper understanding of issues than he had before.

Sean loves kiteboarding and adventuring outdoors, and is also passionate about space/time, the universe and astrobiology.

Emma Dickson

Emma Dickson

Associate

Emma is an Openly Associate who is inspired by community leaders who dismantle oppression and injustice in their community, each in their own way. She finds their passion contagious! She sees leaders in all shapes and sizes, and not only charismatic, visionary stereotypes. Emma considers community members the “expert” rather than herself. Her role is simply to extract and code their experience. She loves that she gets to learn continually and have the flexibility to be responsive to new ideas, while bringing empathy to her projects.

Katharine Zywert

Katharine Zywert

Associate

Katharine Zywert is an Openly Associate and 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?

CJ Deacoff

CJ Deacoff

Associate

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

Geetha Van den Daele

Research Associate

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

Helen Tewolde

Associate

Helen is an Openly Associate who has over 15 years experience in community development, community-based research design, program development and funds allocation. She’s worked as a strategist/developer/manager in nonprofit and public sectors (including United Way Toronto, City of Toronto, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and currently HEQCO) and 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.

Dean Marino

Dean Marino

Associate

Dean is an Openly Associate who thrives when he knows his work is meaningful and can inspire change. For most of his adult life, he’s only done work that values creativity and espouses his personal values and beliefs. This is echoed in his work with Openly, OISE and as an artist. Dean is a talented songwriter and musician who has toured the country and shared the stage with some of his musical heroes, playing for thousands of people. For six years, he ran a world-class recording studio, Chemical Sound and worked with amazing contemporary musicians.