Photo credit: Fonna Seidu, www.fonnaseidu.com.
Past lives in systems change
A hands-on storyteller & design geek for purpose-driven teams
A decade of experience in research, communications & collaborative/ UX design across sectors and niches: nonprofit, grassroots, academic, government and start-up.
Master of Public Health (UofT, 2014), graded coursework from a Master of Design program (OCADU, 2013-14) and BSc in Microbiology & International Development Studies (McGill, 2005): Cross-disciplinary expertise in community engagement, organizing and design for systems change.
One or two handfuls of scholarships, awards and fellowships from the curious realms of officialdom. (See more below if you’re into that stuff.)
A lifetime of creative collaborations, wordplay and writing workshops: literary nonfiction, live storytelling, performance poetry, and fiction.
An abiding passion for the art of meaningful conversations and questions, and a penchant for elevating social drudgery.
Mixed-methods analysis + empathy +
“Chris takes his work seriously and it shows in the results. He has a particularly perceptive skill at drawing out data that strategically matters to a client and then responding with an applicable tool or resource that helps achieve their desired impact.”
—Marc Langlois, PhD
Facilitator, Evaluator and Author of
“A Practitioner’s Guide to Developmental Evaluation” (McConnell Foundation)
What I do well: The right context at the right time for the right purpose
- Interviewing to surface key insights and content for broadcast, background research and field work.
- Synthesizing diverse expertise and data into actionable briefs and oral briefs for busy people on a deadline.
- Research methods with journalistic instincts: focus groups, literature reviews, survey design, various thematic analyses, and fact-checking, with competence in stats, database management.
- Schmoozing bigwigs, befriending children, and learning from aunties and grandmas.
Training & practice spaces
- “Evaluation Design for Complex Interventions” (semester), Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation, UofT (Winter 2014)
- “Strategic Foresight Studio” (semester), Strategic Foresight and Innovation Master’s program, OCADU (Winter 2014)
- “Business and Design Thinking” (semester), Strategic Foresight and Innovation Master’s program, OCADU (Fall 2013)
- “Qualitative Research Methods” (semester), Dalla Lana School of Public Health, UofT (Fall 2012)
- Various courses in public policy & governance, social & behavioural sciences, anthropology, community development & social movement strategy, and medical sciences.
Wordsmithing + editorial instincts + storytelling for messaging, art & design
What I do well: Curated stories, insights & experiences that align hearts, minds & hands
- Framing and facilitating research insights into content, stories & designs (services, products, programs).
- Writing and editing copy that delights your audiences/ users: web, features, long-form essays, instructional curricula, keynotes/ speeches, newsletters, top-notch emails.
- Serviceable sound design (Hindenburg), chase production (pitching/ story treatments), web design (Squarespace/ Wordpress), photo editing (Canva) & social media -- and keen to quickly learn more specialized software.
- Lifelong French language skills: Compréhension, expression, rédaction intermediaire.
Training & practice spaces
- “Audio Playground: Experiments in Radio” (5 weeks), Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, Sarah Geis (2018)
- Recent audio documentary credits: national SurroundSound Documentary Festival (2018) & "Constellations Audio" Podcast (2018)
- Longtime live storyteller & essayist: Raconteurs Storytelling Toronto (2014-17), Apt613.ca Ottawa (2010-12) & other journal publications.
- “PodCamp: Canada’s largest digital media un-conference” (3 days), Ryerson School of Media (Feb. 2016/17)
- “Storytelling: First Steps into the Art” (3 days), Storytelling Toronto (Nov. 2013)
Organized teams, projects & networks
UX/Agile systems + inclusive group facilitation + organizational development
What I do well: Light systems for creative collaboration that is effective & inclusive
- Organizing diverse teams & networks around project outcomes, design principles & healthy group dynamics that address complex system problems.
- Developing “Agile” workflows for collaborative project management -- that is, establishing priorities in ambiguity, developing consensus, framing clear proposals & 'prototypes', clarifying communication flows & team roles, orchestrating effective meeting processes, and managing on-the-clock client time.
- Herding all the cats -- that is, event logistics; coordinating among managers, freelancers & volunteers; facilitating effective meetings, workshops & team retreats; getting powerful people what they need; removing barriers for on-the-ground experts; exuding calm & authenticity within team conflict.
- The logistical practical stuff: Mailchimp, Google Suite, Trello, and other remote project management sorcery.
Training and practice spaces
- Intermediate, self-taught practitioner in Agile principles and tools for remote teams, with preference for Kanban structures in Trello and sprint review processes.
- “Experiential Cross-cultural Dialogue Training” (5 days), 4Rs Youth Movement (Summer/ Fall 2015)
- “The Art of Social Innovation” (3 days), Art of Hosting/ Exhibit Change (May 2014)
- “Promoting Empowerment: Working at the Margins” (semester), Faculty of Social Work, UofT (Winter 2013)
- “Creative facilitation” (2 days), Partners for Youth Empowerment (May 2013)
- “La Médiation comme Résolution de Conflits” (2 days, in French), Transport Canada (May 2011)
Credentials & community
Training & practice spaces
- “The Way of Shambhala” meditation courses (multiple weeks), Shambhala Institute of Toronto (2015-17)
- Vipassana silent meditation retreat (10 days), Quebec Vipassana Meditation Centre (Dec. 2014)
- “U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society & Self”, Presencing Institute/ MIT/ edX (Winter 2015)
- “Earth Defenders Nonviolent Direct Action Training” (3 days), Greenpeace Canada (Oct. 2013), and a range of youth activism conferences from 2009 to 2014
Scholarships, awards & fellowships from the ivory tower
- Social innovation fellowship, Laidlaw Foundation (2016)
- Canada Graduate Scholarship, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2012-14)
- Ontario Graduate Scholarship, UofT School or Graduate Studies (2012-14)
- Fellowships in public health policy & community development, Dalla Lana School of Public Health (2012-14)
- 1st Place, Student recognition contest, the Association of Professional Futurists (2014)
- Research fellowship, Institute for Health & Social Policy (2010)
- Provincial Excellence Aware, Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation (2005-09)