Taco bout a passionate squad!

Meet the team

Ann King, Chief of Getting Stuff Done

Ann King

Chief of Getting Stuff Done

Purpose

I assist leaders in meeting their goals. I am the team cheerleader and 'herder of cats!

Happy place

I love supporting teams and being the person people turn to for information as well as encouragement. This often looks like:

  • Connecting people through meetings and social gatherings
  • Providing project support
  • Research and sourcing
  • Meeting set-up and facilitation support

Journey

After working in the child-care sector for over ten years, I changed careers and have since then supported teams in organizations such as the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), the Government of Alberta, and the Alberta Motor Association (AMA).

I am passionate about providing the best support to clients based on their individual needs. I find many of the skills used in working with children of all ages are useful in working with adults as well! I have been an Executive Assistant for more than ten years and currently enjoy working remotely as a Virtual Assistant.

Fun fact: I have provided support for community engagement events as a mascot named Teddy!

Life-changing moment

When I realized my daughter was officially an adult! I was suddenly in a new world where I could focus my attention on myself and not on my dependent. For me, it was a bit of a challenge because my role as a mother, and how I self-identified, had revolved around her for a long time. I felt safe in the knowledge that raising her was my role in life. Now, I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to add a confident adult to the world and to now be able to learn more about myself as an individual.

Connect with Ann
Brittany Vine, Experience Designer

Brittany Vine

Experience Designer

Purpose

I work with creative leaders who commit to awareness and action as they shape the world around them.

Happy place

I am happiest when in search of solutions. Whether I am asking questions to better define the problem, analyzing + synthesizing data, or putting ideas into action, I find joy in moving projects forward and solving problems. A few areas I’m passionate about:

  • Human-centred design and service-design
  • Community engagement
  • Research and evaluation
  • Experiential based learning and adult education

Journey

I’ve always been motivated by a passion for community and a desire for a better world. As a young adult this meant that before I finished my undergraduate studies I spent 1.5 years in West Africa (Burkina Faso & Ghana) serving and learning with community-based non-profits. I then took up a career in higher education, specializing in service-learning at The University of Calgary. This specialization took me to Boston for graduate studies and dual fellowships at Merrimack College and Harvard University.

I returned to the non-profit sector, this time in my hometown of Calgary, taking on roles in community engagement and program development. In my role as Director of Programming at Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids I met Pablo and Jeff, and had the opportunity to be a client of The Ally Co. (TACO) team for nearly three years.

In 2022 I accepted a role with The Social Impact Lab, a collaboration between The United Way of Calgary and J5 Design, where I work full-time as Manager of Innovation and Customer Experience. I consult with TACO on select projects, and I love learning with, and contributing to, the incredible teams I work with in these roles.

My professional practice is also informed by what I do when I’m off the clock - currently I’m working on my coaching certification, and am learning daily about how to harness the super-powers of my neurodivergent brain at work and home.

Life-changing moment

The most profound moments in my life have been the moments that put into focus what really matters in this world. A few years ago I found myself in the middle of the street at midnight, watching as flames overtook the top floor of my home. It sounds cliché, but in that moment, I recognized it didn’t matter to me if I lost all my belongings because the people and dog I loved were safe.

That’s how I know that at the end of my life I won’t be thinking about material things. But I might be thinking about the:

  • Joy I experienced and witnessed handing a child to their parents for the first time
  • Sacredness of being able to care for someone in their last days
  • Way that the puzzle pieces that make up my life never seem to fit until I see them in hindsight, and then: I wouldn’t have them any other way because I can see how much I grew while trying to make them fit where they didn’t belong.

In the Western world we tend to view time as something that’s always passing us by, but in West African cultures time is something that is always in abundance and always ahead of us. I practice holding these two perspectives; while there are life changing moments that have shaped me, I also firmly believe there are many more life changing moments ahead.

Connect with Brittany
Jeff Barrett, Content Designer

Jeff Barrett

Content Designer

Purpose

I create content that is impactful on people's lives.

Happy place

Spending time with my family, whether that is around the dinner table sharing laughs and stories. I am lucky to have most of my family here in Calgary and getting to spend time with them!

Journey

Back in 2016, I graduated from Mount Royal University in their Broadcasting program. I jumped right into the field with Ride Guide TV helping them catalogue and splice all of their content in the past 15 years.

Shortly after, I got a position with a small startup, Bootkik, as an assistant video editor, and this opportunity was incredible as I was mentored in developing my video editing skills. I created content that was posted on their social media platforms and I knew that this was the field for me.

I have done some freelance work over time, which eventually led me to Virtual Gurus! I have been a part of Virtual Gurus for over a year now and they have put me in touch with incredible organizations such as The Ally Co.!

Life-changing moment

My life-changing moment was when I joined the Calgary Power Hockey League in 2005. The CPHL is a competitive hockey league for people with disabilities and uses a power chair for daily living. The CPHL introduced me to a world I didn't know was possible for me - meeting like-minded individuals who compete week after week. It has also given me the chance to travel across North America and Europe to compete against the best our sport has to offer!

It's incredibly rewarding to see the sport continue to grow as more players join to compete - allowing me to be a mentor like those before me when I originally joined!

Connect with Jeff
Jeff Couillard, Co.CEO | Director of Learning and Development

Jeff Couillard

Co.CEO | Director of Learning and Development

Purpose

I help people connect with their power, align with what’s most meaningful, and take positive action towards it.

Happy place

I love all things teaching, facilitating, speaking and consulting. My sweet spot is helping leaders and teams engage in meaningful dialogue, identifying challenges and opportunities and creating the conditions for high levels of trust and engagement. This often looks like:

  • Core Values, Purpose, and Vision Exploration
  • At-Risk vs. At-Stake Understanding + Direction
  • Alignment with Corporate and/or Board Expectations
  • Clear Strategies (choices), Ownership, and Action Plans
  • Effective Communication for Engagement and Action

Journey

Having spent many of my earlier years leading teams and helping to build world-class addiction treatment programs, I’ve developed a skill set and approach to change that is grounded in the human experience and a deep understanding of power and motivation.

I’ve worked with a wide range of leaders (and their teams) over the years, on a single mission - to help build world-class, human-centred organizations that create the kind of impact that we usually only dream about.

Life-changing moment

In my late 20s, halfway through our first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This event kicked off a series of life-changing moments, including a TEDx talk, quitting a senior leadership role to pursue life as an entrepreneur, and a deeper focus on living (and helping others live) a meaningful life.

Connect with Jeff
Julie Chrapavy, Workplace Analyst + Consultant

Julie Chrapavy

Workplace Analyst + Consultant

Purpose

I help improve workplace experiences by supporting teams to design and develop processes, experiences, and services that are meaningful, usable, and impactful.

Happy place

I love thinking about things at a systems level and at a human interactions level. By tying together human, digital, and physical interactions, I work to create and improve more fulfilling and purposeful work experiences.

I get fired up every time I gain insight into what motivates people to do what they do and am curious about how technology and process improvement can change someone's experience.

This often looks like:

  • Utilizing human-centered design methodology to build empathy
  • Conducting discovery and research sessions to uncover challenges and understand user motivations, experiences, and pain points
  • Analyzing data from surveys, ethnographic research, and analytics
  • Assessing systems, processes, and workflows
  • Developing and providing recommendations based on findings
  • Working collaboratively to turning insights into ideas, impact, and actions

Journey

My career journey has been anything but linear or typical. My motto has always been that when life presents an opportunity, I say 'yes', even if it's something I don't think could be possible for me.

A few of those 'yes' conversations have become some of the best opportunities of my life. From working at a startup pharmaceutical company, to moving to New York then Singapore to work as a Project Manager for a tech company, to transitioning into the world of consulting in workplace experience.

Life-changing moment

A friend of mine reached out to me in 2015 to see if I was still looking for work. He mentioned that the company he worked for out of New York was hiring for a Project Manager. My first thought was to turn him down, my inner voice told me I wasn't good enough for a job like that nor did I have the skill set.

After choosing to say 'yes' to the conversation with him and a series of serendipitous events I was hired on by that company and within a month packed up my entire life and moved to New York. From there I ended up moving to Singapore and eventually landed back in Calgary.

This experience forever changed the way I think about things that come into my life. Being open to life and what it might bring opens doors which could at times seem unimaginable. The journey hasn't always been easy, but it's always been worth it.

Connect with Julie
Leah Fink, Experience Facilitator

Leah Fink

Experience Facilitator

Purpose

I help protect people from the pain of damaged relationships by teaching them the skills they need to have meaningful connection, both personally and professionally.

Happy place

I love speaking and facilitating in order to provide a new outlook and to help develop skills that serve people in all aspects of their life.

My passion is in creating activities that help foster empathy, healthy conflict, and a deeper sense of connection. This often looks like:

  • Exploring values, needs, and strengths
  • Deepening effective communication strategies
  • Creating feedback systems that lead to real, impactful change
  • Examining factors that may be affecting interpersonal cooperation, and
  • Understanding what the problem actually is in order to find a powerful solution.

Journey

When I was a teenager, I was fortunate enough to start a journey of personal development, and since then I have been driven to help others understand more about themselves - what they want in life, and how to achieve that.

For the past 14 years, I have held different roles that have allowed me to support others' growth to that end. Many of these positions included using an experiential component, as I believe this is the best way to create impactful change.

I also discovered that I love group facilitation, as there is so much learning that is done in community. I have a deep belief that people should not need to 'hit rock bottom' before they can improve, so being able to include components in my work - that proactively support mental wellness - is very important to me.

Life-changing moment

I had a friend who was in a low part of their life and contemplating suicide. They chose to reach out in a dark moment, and I was able to identify what was happening and get them the help they needed. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to have this impact.

What really stuck with me was the fact that situation would not have been possible if we had not already invested in that relationship - so they would feel comfortable reaching out when it was needed.

This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about helping people do proactive work both in relationships and mental health.

Connect with Leah
Pamela Perez, Grants and Funding Advisor

Pamela Perez

Grants and Funding Advisor

Purpose

I help advocate for vulnerable audiences and visible minorities by designing and implementing meaningful DEIB practices.

Happy place

I have two happy places! The first is the ocean (preferably the Caribbean), as it has always brought me peace and reminds me of home and roots.

My second happy place is my home, where and when I'm with my son, and surrounded by people that love, respect, and see me as I am. I love the feeling of safety and family.

Journey

Academically, I have a Bachelor's in psychology. From there, my career journey has included various roles in the Human Resources and People + Culture space - from being a Partner, to specializing in areas such as recruitment, learning and development, DEI, and more recently facilitating and consulting.

Life-changing moment

Two come to mind.

The first being my son - from dealing with infertility, unsuccessful IVF treatments, and being pregnant during Covid.

The second was moving to Canada, after having lived in South America - experiencing extreme cold winters, getting used to the diversity of people and cultures, the language, finding employment, and situating myself in a new country without my family.

Navigating my cultural and personal programming has been a hard process, but one I'm truly grateful for.

Connect with Pamela
Pablo Romero, Co.CEO | Director of Workplace Consulting

Pablo Romero

Co.CEO | Director of Workplace Consulting

Purpose

I help courageous, human-centred leaders to take responsibility for themselves, their teams, and their world.

Happy place

I love collaborating, innovating, and creating with others in the People and Workplace Culture space, helping leaders and teams to design meaningful and impactful experiences, services, and relationships. Here's what that can look like:

  • Leading with Human-Centred Design
  • Transforming Culture and Experiences
  • Re-imagining the Employee Journey
  • Building Adaptive Capacity with Autonomous Teams
  • Designing meaningful careers
  • Developing conscious and effective communication skills
  • Learning how to use conflict/tension to innovate and connect

Journey

Self-expression, autonomy, and change have always been leading values of mine, so over the last 20+ years I've had the opportunity to experience a diverse mix of industries, organizations, and roles.

From managing a sales and marketing practice at age 20 in the consumer products industry for global brands like Pepsi, Unilever, Shiseido and Coty Prestige, to leading large and dispersed teams in customer and employee experience and operations for a global investment firm, to helping human-centred leaders and some of North America's best places to work to design and implement impactful workplace experiences - it's all been an incredible journey so far!

Life-changing moment

After years of not listening to my body, and at the age of 30, I got really sick…and my marriage was in jeopardy, we were expecting our first kiddo, I’d resigned from my high-paying job in beautiful SE Asia, and we were heading back to Canada with no home or employment.

I made the decision to use what I’d learned, and put my energy into humanizing the workplace - a structure and collective that holds the power to enrich the lives of its people and community.

What's one of your life-changing moments?

Connect with Pablo

Questions? Thoughts? Feedback? Whatever it is, we would love to hear from you!

team@theallyco.world