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  The Tamarack Team
 

Tamarack's central office is located in Waterloo, Ontario at the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement at the University of Waterloo - Conrad Grebel University College. To promote a modern work environment, Tamarack staff work where they live and connect through software that enables a virtual work environment from home-based offices. Below you will find the contact information for our staff by clicking on their picture or scrolling down the page. As always, for any general inquiries email: tamarack@tamarackcommunity.ca.

Paul Born

Paul Born
President
Liz Weaver

Liz Weaver
Vice-President
Lisa Attygalle

Lisa Attygalle
Director of Engagement
Sylvia Cheuy

Sylvia Cheuy
Director,
Seeking Community

Louise Merlihan

Louise Merlihan
Director of Engagement
   

Kirsti Piirtoniemi

Kirsti Battista
Manager, Vibrant Communities Canada - Cities Reducing Poverty

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher
Manager Learning Events, Tamarack Learning Centre

Caroline Mills

Caroline Mills
Manager of Operations

Muhammad Hadi

Muhammad Hadi
Finance Coordinator
     

Zoe Fleming

Zoe Fleming
Community Animator, Tamarack Learning Centre

Heather Keam

Heather Keam
Community Animator, The Learning Centre

Christie Nash

Christie Nash
Community Animator, Deepening Community

Natasha Pei

Natasha Pei
Community Animator, Vibrant Communities
William Snyder

William Snyder
Video and Media Animator
Megan Wanless

Megan Wanless
Community Animator, Engagement
Amy Zoethout

Amy Zoethout
Community Animator, Vibrant Communities

Please direct inquiries of a financial nature to finance@tamarackcommunity.ca

Meet the Tamarack Team

Paul Born, President - Paul Born grew up in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia as the son of Mennonite refugees. This in part is what made him deeply curious about and engaged in ideas that cause people to work together for the common good, work that he describes as collective altruism. He holds a Masters degree in Leadership is considered a global leader in helping organizations and communities to develop innovative ideas that motivate people to collaborative action.

Paul is the President and cofounder of the Tamarack Institute which since 2001 has provided leadership in Canada on issues of citizen engagement, collaborative leadership and community innovation. More than 12,000 subscribers engage in Tamarack's learning communities. Tamarack also sponsors Vibrant Communities Canada, active in cities across the country and that has so far reduced the impact of poverty for more than 200,000 people.

Prior to Tamarack, Paul was the Executive Director and co-founder of the Community Opportunities Development Association one of Canada's leading community economic development organizations that was recognized by the United Nations as one of the top 40 projects in the world. Paul was elected into the world's largest network of social innovators, as a Senior Ashoka Fellow in 2013.

An Author of four books, Paul is a motivational speaker who loves the power of stories.

Learn more about Tamarack at www.tamarackcommunity.ca or about Paul at www.paulborn.ca.

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Paul Born, author of Community Conversations

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Liz Weaver, Vice-President - Liz leads the Tamarack Learning Centre providing strategic direction for the design and development of learning activities.  The focus of the Tamarack Learning Centre is to work with community leaders to co-generate knowledge and become a collective force for social change.  Liz is one of Tamarack's highly regarded trainers and has developed and delivered curriculum on a variety of workshop topics including collaborative governance, leadership, collective impact, community innovation, influencing policy change and social media for impact and engagement. 

Prior to this role, Liz led the Vibrant Communities Canada team and assisted place-based collaborative tables to develop their frameworks of change, supported and guided their projects and helped connect them to Vibrant Communities and other comprehensive community collaborations.

Liz was the Director for the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction, which was recognized with the Canadian Urban Institute's David Crombie Leadership Award in 2009 and was a collective impact initiative. In her career, Liz has held leadership positions with YWCA Hamilton, Volunteer Hamilton and Volunteer Canada.   In 2002, Liz completed a Masters of Management for National Voluntary Sector Leaders through McGill University and her thesis ‘Storytelling and the Voluntary Sector' was published.  Liz was awarded a Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2002 for her leadership in the voluntary sector, was an Athena Award finalist and in 2004 was awarded the Women in the Workplace award from the City of Hamilton.

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Lisa Attygalle, Director of Engagement - Lisa is an artist and communications specialist who is passionate about engagement, customer loyalty, and the use of technology. In her role at Tamarack, Lisa leads efforts to improve the learner experience to enable increased engagement and collaboration across the Tamarack Learning Communities and community-based projects. She heads up Tamarack's integrated communications, database and online spaces, and constantly advocates for simplicity in infrastructure, frameworks and design. Lisa also facilitates sessions on Community Engagement and Continuous Communication to educate others in applying the principles of marketing, advertising, customer loyalty, and user experience to community initiatives.

Lisa comes to this work with 7 years of experience at Quarry Integrated Communications - one of Canada's leading communications firms, where she worked with clients in agribusiness, healthcare, financial services and technology. Lisa brings private sector knowledge to public sector work. Hailing from Australia, Lisa also worked on major water infrastructure projects as the liaison between Government, Engineering and the Community.

In her spare time Lisa runs Hope Studio - an art drop-in program based out of the Working Centre in downtown Kitchener. The program allows for guests to create, design and enjoy art while being in community with others, with the goal of offering hope, healing and the discovery of their own intrinsic value through art. She is also a Trustee of the KW Awesome Foundation - a group that provides no-strings attached grants for "awesome" community-based projects.

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Sylvia Cheuy, Director, Seeking Community - Sylvia helps to design and deliver learning opportunities that profile, disseminate and share the resources, tools and experiences to Tamarack's vast network of learners primarily via the Tamarack Seeking Community Learning Community site. She is also the Editor for Tamarack's e-magazine Engage!

Between 2005-2013, Sylvia was Executive Director to Headwaters Communities in Action (HCIA), a grassroots citizen initiative that fosters collaborative leadership and action in support of a long-term vision of well-being for Ontario's Headwaters region. Tamarack played a key role in launching HCIA and it has given Sylvia first-hand experience implementing a collective impact initiative. Sylvia recently completed her Masters Diploma in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo where she explored opportunities to create change within regional food systems.

Sylvia is also an active volunteer with the breakfast program at her children's school and also served on the Board of Community Living Dufferin for nine years. She was instrumental in securing $2.8 million in funding for CLD's shared home with Theatre Orangeville, the community's professional theatre company. Sylvia lives in Caledon, Ontario with her husband John Graham and their three children: Gabriella, Garrett and Sean.

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Louise Merlihan, Director of Engagement - In her role at Tamarack, Louise leads efforts to enrich the learner experience across all Tamarack platforms. She heads up Tamarack's integrated communications, database and online spaces, and is also the Tamarack lead on publications.

An experienced facilitator, Louise has been designing and supporting local and national communities of learning since 1997. Most recently she served as Senior Consultant, Learning & Development at the University of Guelph where she designed and facilitated key learning programs for staff and faculty, and provided strategic consulting to departments across campus, including coaching for staff and leaders, performance management support, team building and development, strategic planning, and facilitation. She also coordinated the University's celebrated Leave for Change program.

From 2001 to 2008, Louise worked with Tamarack as the Director of its award-winning Learning Centre. During her tenure she launched and edited Engage! magazine, edited a number of the Institute's publications and aides for action, and managed the team that produced Tamarack's first Communities Collaborating Institute. From 1997 to 2000, Louise worked with Opportunities 2000, a millennial poverty-reduction campaign in Waterloo Region.

Louise is a certified facilitator for a number of assessments and inventories and is working towards a professional coaching designation.

She has been an active volunteer with the Kitchener Public Library for over a decade. She lives in a walkable, vibrant neighbourhood in Kitchener and always has some project on the go.

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Kirsti Battista, Manager, Vibrant Communities Canada - Cities Reducing Poverty - Kirsti works with the VC team as the Manager of the Cities Reducing Poverty initiative. Previous to this position she was a Community Animator for the Tamarack CCI learning community and the coordinator of Tamarack's multi-day learning events such as Champions for Change, Evaluating Community Impact and the first ever Collective Impact Summit.

Kirsti has a Masters in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden; a certificate in International Project Management from Humber College and a Bachelor's degree in International Development from the University of Guelph.

Kirsti is passionate about community service and engagement and has served in a variety of volunteer roles over the years. Some of her memorable service experiences include building homes and interviewing post-Hurricane Katrina survivors in Mississippi, working on community selected development projects in rural Costa Rica, and assisting the organizing team at the 2011 UN and World Bank International Strategy for Disaster Relief Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, Switzerland.

In her personal time, Kirsti enjoys hiking, yoga, travelling and spending time with friends and family. She currently resides in London, ON with her partner Rob.

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Kirsti Piirtoniemi

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Carrie Fisher, Manager Learning Events, Tamarack Learning Centre - As Manager of Learning Events, Carrie has a genuine aptitude in mentoring, motivating and relationship building. She leads Tamarack's enthusiastic team of event professionals to create and develop an outstanding learning events program that members and stakeholders find valuable and engaging.

Carrie is extremely passionate about philanthropy, community development and being a successful and productive global citizen. As a lifelong continuous learner, Carrie strongly believes in a good balance of academic and vocational knowledge. Her formal education includes psychology, public relations, non-profit and event management. Carrie's extensive professional experience includes event management, marketing and public relations for notable businesses and non-profit organizations in Alberta and Ontario, Canada, including MacEwan Conference and Event Centre at the University of Calgary and hotel resorts in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

In her spare time Carrie enjoys family time with her daughter, husband and dog; a German Shepherd named Saansa. She is involved in several organizations including Amnesty International, Leadership Education Program (U.W.O.) and continues to pursue higher education, currently in Social Justice and Peace studies at the University of Western Ontario (King's).

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Caroline Mills, Manager of Operations - As the Manager of Operations for Tamarack, Caroline is the team's champion and culture keeper. She has managed teams both large and small and she knows that the true value and energy of an organization lies in the people. She has a well-honed skill for ensuring that everyone has a part and that individual strengths are elicited. Creating strong and engaged teams is one of Caroline's true passions. She also oversees the organizations financial management including budget planning and controls, administration including facilities, governance and HR. Tamarack is a remote based organization and Caroline will build on Tamarack's capacity and platforms to become one of the most robust remote working organizations in the country.

Caroline comes to Tamarack with a background in marketing and communications where her work focused on financial services, strategic planning and Foundations. She also owned and operated her own yoga studio, Sahayoga. In 1999, her worlds collided when she joined the GH Wood Foundation as a Director and learned the true value of social justice and the importance of giving back to her community. For over 16 years, she has been an active volunteer and consultant to not for profit agencies in the GTA providing communications briefs, funding proposals, managing partnerships and designing digital strategy campaigns. She believes that we are not fully realized until we can be of service to those less fortunate.

When not sitting at a computer, Caroline tends to her family: her husband , her two boys, and a wheaten terrier named Lola. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and yoga teacher/student.

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Muhammad Hadi, Finance Coordinator - Muhammad Hadi has been in the accounting profession since 2003. He has volunteered and worked at various not-for-profit organizations both in Canada and in the United Kingdom. He completed his BA Honors (Accounting) Degree from the University of Wales and migrated to Canada in 2008. He undertook a Post-Graduate Accounting program at Wilfrid Laurier University and completed his CPA, CGA designation in March 2015.

Hadi loves challenging tasks and believes that there is always room for improvement and he devotes himself to working to achieve that high level.

In his personal time, Hadi enjoys spending time with family, especially his six year old son. He loves camping, travelling and is passionate about history.

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Zoe Fleming, Community Animator, Tamarack Learning Centre - Zoe's career efforts have always been focused on strengthening individuals and communities. In her role as a Community Animator in the Learning Centre, Zoe will engage with our members on our Communities Collaborating for Impact online community and develop relationships with our local partners to deliver one-day workshops across the country.

The knowledge and experience she gained with Leadership Calgary, Alberta Correctional Services, BanffLIFE, Alta Care Resources, Volunteer Calgary, Volunteer Canada and the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration, has given her the ability to understand community from many angles, at a micro and macro level. Her work has connected her to individuals across the globe and with various types of community engagement organizations – each one bringing new stories, resources and inspiration.

Zoe's education is in criminology and she is a professional Certified Volunteer Administrator. These two fields merged for Zoe, deepening her ability to focus on strengthening individual and community engagement. She believes that every individual has a role to play in strengthening community and should feel a sense of belonging to the human story. In order to understand and fulfill our roles in the global community, we must never stop seeking, understanding, learning and sharing.

Zoe is passionate about her family, adventure, learning, human stories, community, nature, and feeling alive!

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Heather Keam, Community Animator, The Learning Centre - Heather comes to Tamarack from the public health sector and will be working alongside the Learning Centre Team to deliver the best possible learning experiences both on-line and at our face to face events.

She has a passion in helping communities to realize that they are in charge of their future and to take leadership in assessing their own resources and needs.  Heather believes that people have choices. They can either sit back or let others determine their future or they can stand up and create their future. Over the last few years she has attended many of Tamaracks learning events as a participant and is now excited to be a part of the Tamarack team.

Heather has 13 years' experience in creating action at a grassroots level.  She loves guiding groups through program planning, implementation and evaluation of local efforts. She has a Bachelor's degree in Heath Studies from Brock University, a Graduate diploma in Nutritional Science from Canberra University, Australia and a Graduate Diploma in Health Promotion from Canadore College. Heather has presented at several provincial, national and international conferences regarding her work on walkable communities and building healthy communities.

Heather resides in the Woodstock area with her husband and three boys. When she is not walking on the beach at sunset, she is either camping or volunteering her time at her children's school, sitting as a member on the Preschool Board or working on events with the local Optimist club.

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Christie Nash, Community Animator, Deepening Community - Community engagement and striving for social justice have been strong threads throughout Christie's personal and professional life. An active volunteer with a number of community organizations, Christie has worked in the non-profit sector for almost ten years. She has a strong understanding of the intersection between the governance and practice of building healthy, inclusive, and hopeful communities. Christie is deeply committed to the notion that when people work together they can overcome complex issues and that diversity is our greatest strength. She understands that community conversations must be multi-faceted, dynamic, and that building relationships takes time.

Christie first began working in partnership with Tamarack when she was the Coordinator of the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network where she helped facilitate a coordinated approach to the delivery of services for those living in poverty in the Peterborough region. She holds an M.Ed from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto where she focused her research on youth participation in democratic processes, peace building, social justice, and environmental education.

With her home base in Peterborough, ON, Christie loves her gardens, books, running, yoga and playing Ultimate. Family is at the centre of her life, with two young children, Paxson and Evelyn, and husband Mark.

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Natasha Pei, Community Animator, Vibrant Communities - Natasha brings online content to life and engages our members in the Vibrant Communities learning centre for poverty reduction. Natasha's involvement with Tamarack began with the Communities First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) project, where she worked as a Research Assistant in the Poverty Reduction Hub, studying effective ways community-campus engagement can be undertaken to have real benefits for the community.  

Natasha's background education and experience is in social work, with community capacity building and community engagement lying at an intersection of the structural perspective and strengths-based practice. Natasha's previous role as a Project Coordinator with Beijing and Shanghai Roots & Shoots introduced her to coordinating place-based community strategies, responding to the unique needs of different groups, and taught her about the impact of collective efforts.  

In her free time, Natasha spent several years dedicated to volunteering with a collective community kitchen, where she learned to incorporate anti-oppressive practices and about creating safe spaces for each of our unique ideas and personalities to thrive. Natasha is based in Ottawa, ON, but loves travelling and exploring new cultures and communities. Her passions in life are all outdoors (when the temperature is warm) with family, friends, and lots of laughter.

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William Snyder, Video and Media Animator - Will has a passion for film and loves using it as a medium for expressing peoples' stories. He started at Tamarack in the summer of 2013 as a part time videographer and editor, and joined the team full-time in June 2014. William has made many community related videos - from event footage to award winning music videos, and specializes in creative cinematography.

Before Tamarack Will was a free-lanced videographer, making videos for people from various schools and companies, such as NPH Guatemala. In his spare time, William makes various genres of film and especially loves artistic cinematography. He has won many awards for his work including the Charlie Film Festival award and has had his videos on the Kitchener Cube.

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Megan Wanless, Community Animator, Engagement - Megan is overjoyed to be joining the Tamarack team as the Community Animator, Engagement, and looks forward to working collaboratively with the team and to support groups and individuals dedicated to moving the needle on issues that are important within their communities.

Megan has always had a passion for discovering new ways to face complex social issues in the communities she has been a part of. With a background in theatre, Megan has used her love for the stage as a platform to not only bring stories and issues to life, but as a vehicle to work with marginalized individuals in playing out their own stories and struggles through an applied theatre lens. With a Masters in Africa and International Development, and experience working in Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda and South Africa, Megan brings a diverse perspective to her work and a joy for learning and embracing new cultures and viewpoints.

Megan has been working in the not-for-profit sector for several years, as well as taken on a number of volunteer roles with organizations such as Right to Play, Motionball and the Rotary Club. Her most recent role was serving as the Development Manager at Special Olympics Canada based in Toronto.

In her spare time, Megan loves to practice yoga, sing in pop-up choirs and experience the beauty of northern Ontario at her family cottage.

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Amy Zoethout, Community Animator, Vibrant Communities - Amy joined the Tamarack team in 2012 and spends her time working on database management, social media, website changes, and graphic design. Amy began her career in journalism, working at small, weekly newspapers, which gave her the opportunity to get involved in a variety of different aspects of the communities in which she worked. These experiences led to a desire to get more involved in working more directly with people and she has since worked with a number of not-for-profits and community-based organizations in marketing, website management, and social media.

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Paul Born Mark Cabaj Liz Weaver Laura Zikovic Learn more about Paul Born Email Paul Born Learn more about Mark Cabaj Email Mark Cabaj Learn more about Mark Cabaj Email Dal Brodhead Email Sylvia Cheuy Email Garry Loewen Email Rachel Brnjas Email Liz Weaver Email Laura Zikovic Michael Toye Email Paul Email Michael