Content Experts

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

– Steve Jobs

CAROL KOTACKAManaging Partner

Carol is the Managing Partner of Ryelle Strategy Group. A results oriented strategist, she specializes in driving transformational change and external strategy in the corporate, public and NGO sector.

An Adjunct Lecturer for the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation- University of Toronto, Carol has had the privilege of co-creating strategic vision and system wide solutions with organizations, residents, government entities as well as first responders. 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.

Her most recent positions include Vice President, Stakeholder Relations for United Way of Peel Region as well as Director, Communications & Public Affairs for Trillium Health Partners. Before moving to public sector, Carol managed national accounts in the manufacturing sector gaining experience in Business Development, Regulatory Affairs and Lean Process Improvement.

An Innoweave Coach supporting Social 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. She is currently working towards an Executive MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

Ashley Pettifer
Ashley Pettifer Director, Public Affairs & Partnerships

​​​​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 is currently pursuing her certification in Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability at University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.​

SAMANTHA ANGELDigital Engagement, Design Thinking, Data Visualization

Samantha is a seasoned communicator with over 15 year’s experience in design thinking ​and data visualization. As the Founder and Creative Director of Trellis Concepts, a boutique creative design firm that delivers customized marketing & communications packages, unique graphic design work and digital engagement solutions, Samantha supports organizations to drive outcomes through business to consumer platforms that fosters two-way engagement and increases knowledge and awareness of the organizations she is working with.

Samantha holds a degree in Material Art and Design from OCAD as well as Advertising Design from the International Academy of Merchandising and Design. Samantha serves on the Board of the Mississauga Arts Council. She has also served as the Chair of the Western GTA Summit, Co-Chair of the Summit’s Live Task Force and Innovation Task Force, Co-Chair of Mississauga Connects. She was the founding board member of Incubate Institute for Community Impact, an organization created to nurture and educate new grassroots nonprofits about best practices and professional development.

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 HOCHSTEINRetail 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.

IMRAN ILAHIBrand Development, All Aspects of the Marketing Mix

A passionate, classically trained marketer with extensive expertise in building highly recognized brands such as: CIBC, Green Works, Oreo, Run for the Cure and, most recently moving into the long term health space with Amica Canada.
Imran’s experience lives in developing creative strategy, positioning, short and long term innovation pipeline and customer centric engagement channels including TV, print, digital, social media, out of home and consumer promotion. Previous positions include Sr. Director- Brand for CIBC and Marketing Director for Clorox Canada. Imran’s education and training include executive leadership development at the Clorox Diamond Leadership Institute, Nabisco, Canadian Securities Institute as well as a Master of Business Administration from Heriot-Watt University in the U.K.

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.

SHELLEY LOTHIANResearch, 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.

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.

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.



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