Liz Nield, MBA – CEO
Liz specializes in organizational design, training, and collaborative planning – especially in developing community and corporate sustainability plans. Her approach focuses on empowering people to discover, dream, design, and deliver. Liz is a creative and strategic systems-thinker and uses appreciative inquiry methods to establish integrity and trust in process participants. She is a strong and respected integrator, ensuring that community values and ideas are synthesized and embedded into public policy in every project she works on. Liz, has an MBA from Royal Roads University, and is also an accomplished speaker, trainer and proponent of “Guided Learning”.
David Dilks, MA – President
David has been a member of the Lura team for over 25 years, with expertise in designing collaborative processes, process and meeting facilitation, strategic planning, communications, and community-based social marketing. David is a well-known and respected facilitator, working collaboratively with clients, stakeholders and communities to foster constructive conversations that identify needs and priorities and develop innovative solutions and steps for moving forward. He has worked with government agencies and their stakeholders at all scales – internationally, nationally, province-wide, regionally and municipally to bring people and organizations together to discuss issues and chart a common path forward.
Susan Hall, MES – Vice President
Susan is an accomplished sustainability strategist with proficiencies in strategic planning, engagement, and research on environmental and social issues. She is a seasoned environmental professional with over a decade of expertise in systems thinking, ecological conservation, implementation and process design and project leadership. Her expertise is in collaborative planning projects that engage communities in the design, delivery and ultimately ownership of their strategic and sustainability plans. Susan has led dozens of sustainability planning processes over the past decade, including community, corporate and higher education/academic/or institution plans.
James McHardy – CFO
Jamie is CFO and partner at Lura and has over 9 years of financial and business management experience. He is responsible for the day-to-day and long term financial planning and success of the business. His business philosophy mirrors his personal philosophy and that is to deal with people and finances with integrity and honesty. He has an undergraduate degree from King’s College at the University of Western Ontario and holds various board member positions with a number of volunteer and committee groups across the GTHA.
Senior Consultants and Associates
Jim Faught – Director of Community Engagement
Jim is an accomplished professional with proficiency in project management, facilitation processes, community engagement, transportation and land use policy development and strategic planning. Jim has designed and implemented hundreds of community engagement programs throughout Ontario with communities, municipalities and the provincial government. Prior to working at Lura, Jim served as Provincial Stewardship Coordinator for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, where he designed and facilitated multi-stakeholder sessions for the forty community Stewardship Councils across southern and central Ontario.
Michelle Dagnino, MA, LLB/JD – Senior Engagement Specialist
Michelle is a one of Canada’s leading experts on community engagement and outreach, youth programming, and resource development. She is a seasoned thought leader with over a decade of leadership experience in the areas of organizational assessment, strategic planning, evaluation, facilitation and training with high profile organizations and associations. Michelle’s knowledge in private sector legal practice also complements the numerous consulting assignments she has fulfilled with non-profit organizations, municipalities, government ministries and private sector clients. Michelle has spoken at hundreds of conferences globally as an expert in multi-generational engagement across communities and organizations, and has been the founding program designer of over a dozen, multi-funded, non-profit programs focused on capacity building and enhancing creative thinking amongst youth.
Jeff Garkowski, MCIP, RPP, MES – Senior Planner & Project Manager
Jeff is an experienced planner that brings a diverse skill set to sustainability and collaborative planning projects. He has worked in a wide range of topic areas spanning environmental, social, cultural, and economic, and sees these elements as interconnected interests in all assignments. Jeff’s strengths lay in clearly defining project objectives and effectively achieving those objectives. He is a creative and strategic thinker and has successfully integrated behavioural change principles and social marketing techniques into community planning processes to better engage the communities he works in. Jeff is a Registered Professional Planner in Ontario and a full Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.
James Knott, B.Sc. – Senior Project Manager
As an adept project manager, James brings a disciplined and practical approach to the projects he manages and processes he designs. James believes that for projects and initiatives to be truly transformational, communities need to be involved throughout, and he thoughtfully designs processes in such a way as to facilitate meaningful and broad engagement. His specialty lies in managing and coordinating all aspects of engagement and consultation, including the synthesis and reporting of large volumes of public and stakeholder feedback. In addition to his project management skills, James also has a strong understanding of how to design the systems and frameworks necessary to coordinate meaningful progress reporting on the implementation of multi-agency/multi-department plans and strategies.
Sandra K. Znajda, MES, PhD – Senior Researcher and Evaluator
Sandra is a seasoned practitioner specializing in research, evaluation of project progress and impact, and communications. She excels at designing applied research approaches – interviews, focus groups, surveys, best practice reviews and more – that answer important questions and improve projects, programs and services. Sandra is a talented writer, transforming complex ideas or project results into clear, understandable, and visually appealing material for public audiences. Throughout her work she is dedicated to ethical and collaborative approaches that emphasize linkages across sectors and communities. Sandra has worked at building healthy, sustainable, and socially/environmentally resilient communities in local, provincial and international settings.
Ken Donnelly – Senior Associate
Ken has worked with Lura Consulting for more than 20 years, on projects across Canada, in the UK and in the Caribbean. Specializing in fostering positive environmental behaviours, Ken has applied Community-Based Social Marketing to a wide range of issues, including waste management, pollution prevention and air quality, as well as several health issues. With more than 20 years of community engagement experience, he is dedicated to bringing a wide range of stakeholders together to find common ground that will allow for sound planning and policy. Ken is also an international speaker and trainer on using behavioural psychology in sustainable development.
Niki Angelis, MSc - Community Engagement Specialist
Niki is a specialist in community engagement, coordination, and research with over five years of experience in the construction, social development and transportation sectors. Having worked on both private and public sector projects, her strengths lie in engaging and fostering relationships with community members. Niki strongly believes that meaningful community engagement is critical to the planning process. Niki has experience in the preparation of reports, presentations and social media management and marketing. Niki is a graduate of University College London’s Master in Building & Urban Design program with a focus on participatory planning.
Lily-Ann D’Souza, M.Pl. – Planner & Project Manager
Lily-Ann specializes in strategic planning, engagement and research. In her time at Lura, she has demonstrated a particular strength in research and report writing. Her strengths lay in identifying and clearly communicating themes and ideas reflected in quantitative and qualitative research results. She is also developing expertise in community engagement and collaborative planning processes, and believes they are an integral component to local sustainability. Lily is a graduate of Ryerson’s Master of Planning program, and was awarded the 2012 Ryerson Gold medal for her academic achievements.
Elizabeth Garkowski - Community Engagement Specialist
Elizabeth is an experienced and dynamic community relations, communications and engagement professional providing expertise to Lura’s community planning and construction projects. Her experience has allowed her to engage with multiple communities on a variety of topics including transportation, construction and renewable energy. Her skills lie in relationship cultivation and management to support collaboration and involvement. Elizabeth believes that being embedded within local communities and working closely with local stakeholders is the key to fostering trust and open communication to proactively identify and address community concerns. Elizabeth holds a degree in Communications from Wilfrid Laurier University with a post-graduate certificate in Marketing from George Brown College.
Joanna Milner - Office Manager
Joanna has been a member of the Lura team since 2014 and she helps to oversee systems and financial responsibilities of our Hamilton and Toronto offices. She has studied Sociology and Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Nursing at Mohawk College, specializing in Maternal/Newborn Care at George Brown College. Joanna also brings experience in Project Coordination and Implementation and with her understanding of project planning and quality improvements, she provides exceptional service to both our clients and our consultants. She is a member of Sustainable Hamilton Burlington, contributing to the Silver Sustainability Partner Designation that Lura achieved in 2016.
Leah Winter, MES – Project Coordinator
Leah has experience in research, stakeholder engagement, and project coordination with a focus on all pillars of sustainability. She has applied her knowledge and skills to both public and private sector projects in the areas of energy and natural resource management, infrastructure planning, and conservation. She also demonstrates strength in workshop/event planning and support. Leah is a graduate of the Master in Environmental Studies Program at York University with a concentration in Community Food Security.
Alex Lavasidis, MA (Planning) - Community Engagement Coordinator
Alex has experience in public engagement, facilitation, project support, and research. She has provided support on community engagement projects internationally, nationally, and locally on a range of topics including urban planning, governance, health services, youth engagement, and climate change. Her academic background in urban planning and environmental studies provides her with a strong knowledge base when supporting Lura’s long list of ongoing projects.