From Melinda

Melinda Seated Sometimes I joke that “I just want things to work properly”, like the Dyson Vacuum inventor.  For me, working properly means that teams and organizations have been carefully designed to deliver the outcomes they believe in.

I often work with people and groups who describe their services in the language of outcomes such as, “We create effective teams” or “We help people become full participants in the community” or “Our [city, town, county] is the best place to live, work and play.” I believe in these things too, but believing isn’t enough.

My mother’s legacy to me was a powerful personal commitment to justice, equality and diversity, which has informed my life and my career as a lawyer, community developer, municipal manager and consultant.  However, throughout my career, I have often found that despite our best intentions, our aspirations don’t materialize because we neglect the critical work of organizational design, policy, process and accountability that enable our beliefs to come true.

Admittedly, I’m not an expert in the service you provide; I don’t plow snow, write code, counsel youth, nor can I explain cyclonic separation like James Dyson. But I am an expert in helping you see your organization strategically from the angles of process, policy, input, output and delivery, so you can provide the best services to your clients and citizens.

If you think this sounds a bit boring or process-bound, some of my greatest insights have come from conversations at coffee shops with municipal gardeners, rides in snowplows with maintenance workers, visits to conversation circles, rockin’ with newcomer youth groups, or while taking in the bravado of front line staff whose passion for their work was palpable, and who were afraid that change would hurt their vulnerable clients.

I believe what you believe, that our communities can be just, safe, open, accessible and effective. That’s why I bring a lot of passion and energy to helping people and groups map the pathway from their hopes and dreams through to a strategy and action plan to make those dreams a reality.  (Honestly, I’ve even been told I can make policy writing interesting.)

Other consultants can tell you what you need to do, I believe in teaching you how to do it.

Contact Melinda

Degrees and Distinctions (Read More)

LL.M. (Cambridge, 1990, Queens’ College)
LL.B. (McGill, 1989)
B.Sc. (Physics/Math – Alberta, 1986)
Fellow, Cambridge Commonwealth Trust
Pegasus Scholar of Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Study
Fran Horvath Award for Employment Equity 2010

Professional Accreditations (Read More)

Called to the Bar and admitted as a Solicitor of the Ontario Court of Appeal by transfer, 2006
Called to the Bar and admitted as a Solicitor of the Law Society of British Columbia, 1991
Management Windsor Certificate 2010
Master’s Certificate in Municipal Leadership 2012 (Schulich School of Business – York University)

Skills and Experience (Read More)

Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative:
Facilitation Consultant

  • Planning and leadership of 10 year strategic visioning meeting for GLSLCI Board of Directors consisting of 12 mayors representing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Region.

City of Vancouver:

Manager of Performance Measurement and Business Transformation

  • Development of Centre of Expertise in Performance Measurement as first incumbent manager.
  • Development and implementation of Vancouver comprehensive Service Planning and Metrics Process from metrics framework design, metrics development for 73 services across 21 departments, annual service reviews and service planning as reported in 2013 and 2014 Annual Budget Reports.

City of Windsor:

Office of Continuous Improvement Manager

  • Development of an Office of Continuous Improvement as first incumbent manager including budget development, staff recruitment, charter and workplan development
  • Supervision of a comprehensive risk / controls / governance assessment of a major municipal corporation resulting in summary reports by department and service outlining issues, areas of improvement and risks
  • Project manager on major reorganization and strategic planning projects including transit services, fleet services, fire services and key performance reporting for all departments and services
  • Project Manager on Key Performance Indicator Project to create first Corporate Strategic Action Plan report card
  • Acknowledged Contributor to “Lessons from Performance Management Leaders: A Sample of Larger Local Governments in North America” Shayne Kavanagh, Senior Manager of Research, Government Finance Officers Association 2013

Service Delivery Review Transformation Program Manager

  • Development and management of a comprehensive Service Delivery Review Program / Portfolio of Projects including development of various project management tools (Project Charters, Project Templates)
  • Change management program development and implementation
  • Development and maintenance of the City of Windsor Inventory of Programs and Services
  • Management and oversight of Service Transformation and Improvement projects estimated at over $5 Million

Employment History (Read More)

City of Vancouver (September 2012 – February 2014)
Manager, Performance Measurement and Business TransformationCorporation of the City of Windsor (February 2005 – 2012)
Manager, Office of Continuous Improvement (2010 – 2012)
Manager, Service Delivery Review Transformation Program (temporary position) (2008 – 2010)
Diversity and Accessibility Officer (2005 – 2008)Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia (December 2001 – June 2004):
Solicitor to the Public Guardian and TrusteeUniversity of British Columbia Faculty of Law (September 2001 – May 2004)
Adjunct professor of law: Perspectives: Dispute Resolution.Munro•Parfitt, Lawyers (October 1993 to December 2001):
Partner – Litigator/Mediator.

Publications and Presentations (Read More)

  • Panelist on Identifying, Costing, and Selecting Alternative Service Levels, Government Financial Officers Association Annual Convention, Chicago, Illinois, June 9-13, 2012 (co-panelists include CFO, City of Toronto and CAO, City of Chicago.)
  • Presentation on behalf of Canada and Windsor to “MixCities”, the 3rd Annual Conference of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, Toulouse, France, November 18-21, 2009.
  • Change Management in the Public Sector: Windsor’s Service Delivery Review, Presentation to the Strategy Institute Conference, Change Management in the Public Sector, April 22, 2009
  • Municipal Reference Model V2: Becoming Part of an Interjurisdictional Vision, National Webcast sponsored by the Municipal Information Services Association, July 15, 2008.
  • Challenges of Being a Welcoming Community, Presentation to the 10th Annual National Metropolis Conference, April 2008, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Civic Engagement in the Diverse Metropolis.  Presentation to the 9th Annual National Metropolis Conference, March 2007, Toronto, Ontario.
  • Presentation on behalf of Canada and Windsor to the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism.  Madrid, Spain, June 2006
  • Being Accountable on the Big Stage:  One Municipality Considers Joining the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination.   Our Diverse Cities, No. 2, Spring 2006.
  • Report of the Woodlands Project of the Public Guardian and Trustee.  Prepared for the Public Guardian and Trustee, August 2004
  • Really, Really Good Reasons to Mediate in the Workplace.
  • Peopletalk, Journal of the Human Resources Management Association, March 2000.

Professional and Community Associations:

  • Institute for Citizen Centred Service:  Joint Councils Service Mapping Sub-Committee
  • Municipal Reference Model V.2, Authoritative Reference Model Working Group.
  • Municipal Services Task Force on Service Based Budgeting and Planning, sub-committee of the Regional Committee of Chief Administrative Officers for Southwestern Ontario.
  • Ontario Provincial Steering Committee for UNESCO Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (2006 – 2008)
  • Association of Municipalities of Ontario Resource Team for the AODA Employment Standards Development Committee (2006-2008)
  • Canadian Bar Association Judicial Advisory Committee (2001-2004)
  • Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.,
  • Editorial Board for The Verdict magazine (2001-2004)
  • Litigation Committee (2003-2004)
  • West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)
  • Legal Committee (1999-2004)