Learn about our Team

Richard M. Delaney

Richard M. Delaney

President and Principal, Collaborative Decision-Making

Richard’s professional mission is to help people and organizations work effectively. He is driven to uncover conflict, opportunities for growth and inefficiencies, and then to create collaborative spaces where people can work together to solve problems and create excellence. He provides project oversight and technical guidance for all engagement projects and, with almost three decades of engagement experience, is the lead trainer for both International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and D+A engagement capacity-building workshops.

Richard is a life-long learner and career-long teacher. He is a Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) and holds certificates in National Issues Forum Moderation, Post-Disaster Facilitation and Public Participation. He obtained his Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Carleton University, in 1994, and a diploma in Forest Management from Sandford Fleming, in 1976. Richard is a licensed IAP2 trainer since 2007; IAP2 faculty member since 2012; Ontario Hospitals Association Governance Centre for Excellence faculty member since 2011. He also co-led the IAP2 Foundations redevelopment team from 2012 to 2014. He is IAP2’s most prolific trainer, providing more than 60% of all Canadian Foundations training.

What’s your favourite engagement tool and why? I like to work with representative processes – groups of people representing the entire community who come together for collaboration. Our world is filled with complexity. Helping people to understand these complexities, and then working together to build the credibility of their brand, and to develop durable solutions, is very rewarding. Regardless of what you call them, task teams, advisory committees, panels and juries are made up of passionate, community-minded people who want the best for their constituents. It is truly inspirational to work with them.

Jessica Delaney

Jessica Delaney

Principal, Strategic Communications and Engagement

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.

Valerie Delaney

Valerie Delaney

Principal, Learning and Development

Valerie is committed to ensuring that D+A training meets or exceeds the expectations of all of our course participants. A professionally trained educator, she promotes the principles of adult learning and the needs of adult learners, and works with our trainers to support their training activities. Valerie is passionate about learning environments where people are motivated, energized and comfortable, so they can engage fully in their own learning and skill-building activities.

Valerie believes that the learner’s journey is unique for each participant and builds that notion into her training design and development activities. She has Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Education degree from Ottawa University. She is an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT) and a member in good standing of the Ontario College of Teachers. Valerie also oversees the administration and human resources functions at D+A, which is led by her business and life partner, Richard.

What’s your favourite engagement tool and why? My activities are primarily related to training, and there is an engagement technique that really speaks to me, the trainer, and the importance of creating a positive environment – World Café. This engagement technique, with its café-style set up, is great to use in certain situations. It’s a small-group activity where people can feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. It’s powerful for building rapport and gathering lots of information in a short amount of time.

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

Specialist, 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.

Brittany Mason

Brittany Mason

Specialist, Engagement and Communications

Hailing from a healthcare background, Brittany has spent much of her career helping patients and staff be heard. She believes that wisdom comes from the minds of many and that by enabling stakeholders to meaningfully engage in decision-making, organizations will develop more inclusive and sustainable projects and programs. Brittany brings her analytical mind in addition to her engagement, communications, facilitation, project management, and change management skillset to help clients achieve their engagement goals.

Brittany is based in the Vancouver office and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Victoria. She integrates a human-centred ethos with her scientific and analysis-based approach to projects. Through her work in patient experience, system transformation, change management, and beyond, Brittany believes that stakeholder engagement can play a key role in supporting organizations’ decision-making.

What’s your favourite engagement tool and why?

My favourite engagement “tools” are information and curiosity. While it’s important to go into an engagement session with as much background information on a subject as possible, it’s also important to stay curious and impartial. In this way, you can both facilitate productive dialogue and enable all voices to be heard, both of which are needed to make informed decisions.

Naomi Devine

Senior Designer + Digital Engagement Specialist

Naomi is dedicated to bringing the best of design - from problem-solving to branding, graphics implementation, and even filmmaking - to every project she works on. Based in Victoria, Naomi works with the team to ensure that our visual communications work is designed for impact and understanding. She has a detailed background in public engagement, policy development, and design thinking which she has used to facilitate public sector processes, both large and small, to help community members find common ground and move to action on a variety of complex files. Naomi is a skilled and experienced facilitator and has also completed the IAP2 Foundations in Public Participation course in 2011.

What’s your favourite engagement tool and why? My favourite tools are the ones that give as much value to the client as possible. Finding the tool that will accomplish this outcome is an exciting part of the process for me. In some cases that means the tool will be a digital one if that is the best way to reach out to and include the community group in a decision that is being taken. In other cases it’s participatory video; in others still, it’s face to face interactions. In most cases, it is a combination of tools that will be most appropriate and I love engaging in that challenge.

Danielle Armengaud

Danielle Armengaud

Specialist, Research and Communications

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.

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