Learn about our Team

Jessica Delaney

Jessica Delaney


Jessica has a strong desire for bringing people together to get things done. Based in the Vancouver office, Jessica works with the team to develop, implement and report on engagement and communications strategies that focus on building common ground.

With a background in strategic communications, facilitation and engagement, Jessica is a skilled facilitator and effective communicator who can help lead groups through complex, potentially confrontational processes, all while working to build social capital for ethical, values-based organizations. Jessica earned her Certified Public Participation Professional (CP3) designation through IAP2 Canada in 2017.

She strongly believes in the power of communities and partners to enhance the decision-making process when there is a transparent and meaningful process for participation. Jessica has a Bachelor of Journalism and Political Science from Carleton University, a Master of Arts from UBC, is a certified professional facilitator through IAF and is a licensed IAP2 trainer.

What’s your favourite engagement tool and why? I love the mix of online and in-person and feel like it’s always about trying to find the right balance. For example, I think a good, old-fashioned workshop is really effective at bringing people together in-person, but then live tweeting the dialogue, or following up with online surveys or discussion boards, can be really effective. My favourite engagement tool is the combination of tools that gets results.

 Rob Needham

Rob Needham

Managing Director

As our Managing Director, he currently works out of the Delaney Lake Country office, with a primary focus on managing project timelines and financial analysis and reporting for all Delaney engagement projects.

Prior to joining the Delaney team, Rob served in leadership positions in the amateur sport and recreation fields, most notably as the Executive Director Sport at the Canadian Paralympic Committee, managing multi-million dollar budgets and working at the international, national, and local level to deliver innovative and enduring programs which enhanced participation while also supporting elite performance.

Throughout his career, Rob has fostered a series of collaborative partnerships with a wide range of interested parties to ensure members of a community have a voice in identifying future needs and priorities. He excels in developing and articulating a clear strategic vision, a critical component in guiding the development and implementation of large-scale national programs.

Rob enjoys being outdoors, and in addition to skiing, hiking, tennis, and coaching soccer, he has recently taken up mountain biking (against his better judgement) in order to keep up with his oldest son and to spend time in all four seasons on SilverStar mountain.

Kristi Merilees

Kristi Merilees

Director, Engagement and Communications

Kristi is a self-described “people person” who is happiest in an environment where she can work face to face with individuals or groups. A skilled public engagement and communications professional with many years’ experience working in municipal government and public sector environments, Kristi understands that it takes multiple voices to achieve a balanced discussion. Her previous role in local government community relations was pivotal to managing issues and helping to inform, engage and support key partners, community groups and business associations. Her collaborative approach to working with staff and communities is key to creating environments that support shared dialogue and connection.

Kristi believes that when individuals can share their viewpoints, experiences and differences in an environment where they feel welcome and heard, that is when some of the truest engagement occurs. She has a certificate in Leadership from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), a Graduate Certificate in Professional Communication Management from Royal Roads University, a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University and a certificate in IAP2 Foundations in Public Participation and in Facilitating Engagement.

What’s your favourite engagement tool and why? I love any engagement tool that results in a roundtable sharing of ideas and discussion, such as a World Café or workshop. It’s exciting when multiple perspectives exist in one discussion. The value of sharing these differences can result in increased understanding and connection.

Brenda Kortekaas

Brenda Kortekaas

Manager, Learning and Development

Brenda likes to find new ways to be organized and efficient in her workspace. She is dedicated to high service standards and attention to detail. The friendly voice on the phone, she supports the training practice with client liaison, invoicing, data entry, planning, and logistics. An organized, “always-on-top-of-things” administrator, she is especially happy making our participants feel welcomed even before they walk into a training session. Thanks to her, our trainers are always confident everything is ready to go!

She has a diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Humber College and a certificate in public participation from IAP2.

What’s your favourite engagement tool and why? I recognize the value of templates. Templates are an effective technique for my administrative duties to keep me organized – before, during and after each course. Our D+A training team uses many types of templates to collect, record and report data to deliver high-quality and enjoyable courses; of course, we use templates extensively in our P2 work as well.

Danielle Armengaud

Danielle Armengaud

Manager, Data Insights and Reporting

Danielle has a profound understanding of the importance of using sound research as a tool in successful engagement and communications strategies. A seasoned public opinion and market research specialist, her expertise in design, moderation, analysis, reporting and presentation of surveys, focus groups and executive elite interviews is brought into the mix on many D+A projects. Her expertise is largely focused on clients in the public affairs realm. In particular, she has played key roles in projects conducted on behalf of many federal and provincial government departments and municipalities, as well as NGOs and associations.

Her goal for every engagement is to take research findings to the “next level,” integrating them successfully and seamlessly into her clients’ decision-making process, communications and strategies, and translating them into actionable insights for any audience, whether high-level executive decision-makers within governments or businesses, or the general public. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Journalism (high honours) from Carleton University and attended the Environmental Journalism Academy, University of Maryland – University College. She is also a member of the Market Research Intelligence Association (MRIA) and has been a speaker at its Ottawa chapter.

What’s your favourite engagement tool and why? My favourite tool is the one that fits the goals and desired outcomes for a client best, while at the same time ensuring that all interested and affected parties have the opportunity to be engaged in the most meaningful ways possible. Depending on the needs of an organization and the people it wishes to engage, anything from an intimate in-person setting to a large-scale online collaborative community solution may yield the best outcomes. I think that tools should be chosen based on the end-game, and should not be the drivers of the engagement process.

Shahla Gulistani

Shahla Gulistani

Coordinator, Engagement and Communication

Shahla moved to Canada in 2015 to pursue the International Baccalaureate diploma at an international boarding school where she represented Afghanistan. She has received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of British Columbia where she received the Young Global Citizen and the International Leader of Tomorrow awards.

She understands the importance of representation and inclusivity in engagement and works to amplify the voices of those who are often marginalized. Whether she is working with community groups, businesses, or individuals, Shahla brings a thoughtful and compassionate approach to every interaction and seeks to build bridges wherever possible.

Shahla believes in the power of community and the importance of creating spaces where everyone feels welcome and valued. She is committed to fostering connections and promoting understanding among diverse groups, recognizing that true collaboration and innovation come from a variety of perspectives and experiences. Shahla is thrilled about the opportunity to work alongside engagement experts at Delaney and is eager to expand her knowledge of engagement tools to promote meaningful dialogues and facilitate collaboration.

What is your favorite engagement tool, and why?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite engagement tool. I believe any tool that aligns with the desired objectives and is used effectively has the potential to create meaningful outcomes. An important factor in choosing the right tool for me, however, is considering the accessibility of that tool for the community or individuals we want to engage. We have to ensure that the tools we use are accessible and inclusive to them regardless of their background, education level, or language.

Dayna Russell

Dayna Russell

Learning and Communications Coordinator

Dayna’s background in the legal field has not only equipped her with technical skills but has also instilled in her with an eye for detail. Her ability to handle sensitive information with discretion has earned her a reputation for reliability and trustworthiness with her colleagues.

Dayna’s desire to make a positive impact extends beyond her workplace, reflecting her commitment to creating a better world for those around her. Dayna’s professional approach and genuine desire to serve others, makes her a compassionate and valued team member.

My favourite engagement tool would be pop-up events. I believe pop-up events allow an opportunity for everyone to get involved and share information with one another. This creates connections between community members allowing them to come together to create a sense of belonging. They can play a significant role in enhancing the success and vitality of a community. Pop-ups also provide a great way to share information with a diverse audience.

Shairose Ukanji

Shairose Ukanji

Manager, Communications and Storytelling

Shairose is passionate about making a difference through her work. She is a skilled corporate communications and brand management professional and has worked across industries from higher education and healthcare to management consulting, IT and retail e-commerce.

Shairose believes that corporate communications and storytelling go hand in hand, and whether you are communicating with shareholders, employees or the general public, what you say and how you say it can make a profound difference in building your brand’s reputation. Creating compelling brand stories is Shairose’s superpower, and putting that into practice has enabled her to ignite passion for a shared purpose among the teams she has worked with.

Having worked for more than a decade in strategic communications, content marketing and management, public relations, change management and audience engagement, she takes pride in her ability to look at the big picture not only to achieve objectives but also to influence decisions. Shairose maintains a positive outlook and is constantly curious to learn new things.

Welcome! This is our dedicated team. Did we say that we would love to work with you? Don’t be shy – get in touch!