Our Team



Jill Andres

Changemaker in Residence

Jill is a facilitator, coach, and thinking partner. Through her company, Creating Value, Jill has worked alongside inspiring changemakers in the nonprofit, public and private sectors to amplify social impact through adaptive strategy, collective impact and systems change, service design and social enterprise. At Mount Royal University, Jill has embraced her role as Changemaker in Residence, working with students, staff, faculty and administration to co-create a campus-wide culture of changemaking. Jill supports the Be Local movement as Chair of the Board of REAP Calgary. She is increasingly interested in the role of mindfulness in social change.


Joel DeWiel

Changemaker Campus Coordinator

Joel DeWiel is in his fourth and final year at MRU, pursuing a Bachelors of Business Administration with a double minor in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He has a background in youth programming for inner-city schools in Calgary, as well as for Camp Chief Hector YMCA in the Rocky Mountains. Joel is passionate about community building and social innovation, and believes in the importance and power of responsible cultural leadership. Alongside the completion of his degree, Joel currently supports MRU's Institute for Community Prosperity as Coordinator of the Changemaker Campus Initiative, which seeks to strategically support a campus-wide culture of changemaking at MRU. He is always happy to meet new people over a cup of coffee, so please reach out and connect!


Peter Elson

Senior Research Fellow

Peter has been a senior researcher with the Institute since 2008. He previously spent fifteen years as a nonprofit executive director and community activist. Based in Victoria, he has a cross-appointment with the School of Public Administration at University of Victoria. Peter’s current research focuses on the impact of grant-making foundations, voluntary sector-government relations, and social enterprises. He is the author of numerous academic articles and two books published by the University of Toronto Press.


Walter Hossli

Changemaker in Residence

An MRU Alumnus, Walter took Momentum from a start-up to an award-winning organization with 20 programs and 4000 participants per year. After 15 years in the private sector, he studied social work before entering the community sector.  Walter serves in a number of volunteer capacities and has played key roles with several large collaborative or sector initiatives. For example, since 2003 he has been an integral part of Vibrant Communities Calgary (VCC), an organization dedicated to sustainable poverty reduction through the involvement of broad citizen and sector participation.  VCC has succeeded in elevating the City’s role in addressing poverty. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of The Calgary Foundation since 2010 and, as of 2015, on the Board of the Canadian CED Network. He wrote “Competition in the Voluntary Sector: the Case of Community Based Trainers in Alberta” published by the Muttart Foundation.  In addition to his leadership work in Canada, Walter regularly volunteers his time and knowledge abroad in Africa and Central America.  In 2011, Health Nexus and 3M Canada recognized Walter as a finalist for the 3M Health Leadership Award, acknowledging outstanding community leaders across the country who have enhanced their community through dedicated contribution and inspiring change.



Anna Johnson

Community Engagement Coordinator

Anna is a graduate from Mount Royal University's BBA program where she focused her studies on social innovation and nonprofit studies. While in university, Anna supported Enactus Mount Royal as VP of Project Development where she was involved in financial literacy and community development projects. Prior to working for the Institute, Anna worked for Creating Value Inc,  a social-purpose consultancy that works with organizations that are creating positive social, environmental, and/or cultural change. She currently serves on the stewardship committee of Calgary Can and is the co-founder of Solidariteas, a local social-justice tea company that supports violence prevention programs for women.


Pat Letizia

Changemaker in Residence

Pat Letizia has worked in the community sector for many years as Executive Director of Alberta Ecotrust Foundation.  She works across sector boundaries with foundations, governments and industry to share ideas and strategies for supporting nonprofit and charitable organizations that protect the environment and build healthier, vibrant and sustainable communities. Regularly invited to contribute her ideas and expertise in a range of advisory and leadership roles related to philanthropy, policy, governance, the environment and social innovation, Pat is currently appointed to the Alberta Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Initiative Leaders Council and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Environmental Grantmaker’s Network and the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. In 2012, Pat was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her collective contributions to the community.


Alix Linaker

Social Innovation Animator

Alix holds a BBA Honours specializing in marketing and international business, and a certificate in Community Economic Development, both from Simon Fraser University. Over the past two years she has worked for a social purpose consultancy, Creating Value Inc, where she has been able to combine her business knowledge and passion for social impact. In the community, Alix is co-chair of Calgary+Acumen, a local chapter of Acumen focused on championing social entrepreneurship and impact investing as an effective and sustainable vehicle to tackling poverty. Traveling whenever possible, Alix spent a semester studying in Finland and a summer as marketing intern with an NGO in Greece.


Tracy Pfeifer

Administrative Assistant

Tracy moved from Winnipeg to Calgary in July 2001 and started with the Institute in August 2001 when it was originally created.  She left her position working with the dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg to make the move with her husband. Tracy’s motto is “change is good” which has served her well as her roles are always changing and she loves the diversity her position brings. Tracy feels very fortunate to work with such an amazing team at the Institute for Community Prosperity.


James Stauch


James has served as a foundation executive and non-profit sector consultant with nearly two decades of experience working in the field of philanthropy. He has guided or advised on programs that support the emergence of community leadership, or that help organizations uncover new possibilities for their programming and operations in order to be strategic, authentic and enduring in their impact. James has worked extensively with communities in the Arctic and Far North, with the non-profit sector in the Calgary and Greater Toronto regions, as well as with Aboriginal communities and organizations across Canada.


Lena Soots

Changemaker in Residence

Lena is a sustainability educator, facilitator, and consultant with over 15 years experience working with local government, academic institutions and community organizations. Her work focuses on the intersection of sustainability and social innovation, with a focus on processes that foster deep collaboration and transformative learning. Lena comes to us from Vancouver, where she was the Program Manager and founding team member of CityStudio – an innovation hub for the City of Vancouver that brings students together with City staff to co-create and design sustainability solutions for the City. Lena was also a member of the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Steering Committee and is an Associate with the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University.

Affiliated Faculty

  • Yasmin Dean, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work and Disability Studies, Faculty of Health and Community Studies (main research/teaching interests - international education, including cross-cultural and Indigenous practices, community development)
  • Ray DePaul, Director, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, MRU (main research/teaching interests include entrepreneurship, innovation, strategy, fundraising, startups, mentoring, social enterprises)
  • Patti Derbyshire, Chair, Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, Bissett School of Business (main research/teaching interests - human-centered design, cultural marketing, community-driven entrepreneurship, new media)
  • Wendelin Fraser, Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, Bissett School of Business (main research/teaching interests - social enterprise & community purpose organizations)
  • Roberta Lexier, Coordinator, Cluster 3 (Community and Society), Department of General Education (main research/teaching interests - social change and social movements)
  • Jennifer Pettit, Department Chair, Humanities, Faculty of Arts (main research/teaching interests (main research/teaching interests - Canadian history and government policy pertaining to First Nations)
  • Mike Quinn, Director and Talisman Energy Chair for Environmental Sustainability, Institute for Environmental Sustainability, MRU (main research/teaching interests - interdisciplinary approaches to complex social-ecological problems, ‘resilience' analysis). 
  • Katharine McGowan, Assistant Professor, Social Innovation, Bissett School of Business & Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Waterloo (main research/teaching interests - social innovation history, Canadian history, Indigenous history, Indigenous social innovation, social innovation labs)
  • Catherine Pearl, Assistant Professor, Social Innovation, Bissett School of Business (main research/teaching interests - social enterprise, cooperatives, nonprofit management, marketing) 

Summer Interns and Research Assistants (MRU Students)

  • Timothy Lipp, Bachelor of Business Administration, General Management, and 3M National Student Fellow

SHAD Internship Program

SHAD is a registered Canadian charity that empowers exceptional high school students – at a pivotal point in their education – to recognize their own capabilities and envision their extraordinary potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers. Each year, SHAD provides the opportunity for 700+ students from across Canada and internationally to attend a month-long summer program, in-residence at one of their Canadian host universities, focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & math).

  • Amy Han, Grade 11 Student at Sir Winston Churchill, SHAD Summer Intern program
  • Hemish Minhas, Grade 12 Student at Dr. E.P. Scarlett, SHAD Summer Intern program