Shift Lab 2.0 (2017-2020).

Understanding the value of grassroots approaches to social change, shift lab stewards lay the foundation for growing the three key groups involved in Shift Lab 2.0

Community Voice and Context Experts

An ever growing collective of organizations and people with lived experience that are interested in or already working on addressing racism and poverty in Edmonton. This group acts as a bridge connecting community experiences to the lab process. People and organizations are compensated for their time, and expertise  when engaged in interviews, and workshops.

Lab Backbone Stewardship

A group of 5 people that represent diverse ethnocultural community perspectives and have knowledge and know-how around the coordination of human-centered design thinking and change labs. This group will steward the design of the lab, research and gather data to ensure the lab is rooted in sound principles, coordinate and organize the logistics of the lab, and help co-facilitate lab sessions.

Profiles >

core lab team

A diverse group of people in 4 teams with backgrounds in human rights activism, lived experience, design thinking, systems thinking, anthropology, service innovation, community building and human services. This team undertakes on the ground research with community to explore assumptions, ideas, and realities around racism in Edmonton. After their research, they ideate possible solutions and then test the proposed solutions to ensure assumptions are kept in check.

Profiles >

what is a social innovation lab?

To aid the move from roundtable talks to action, a promising approach has emerged in the social innovation ecosystem. Often called a social innovation lab, the approach draws on the strengths, empathy, creativity, and wisdom of a collective to explore new ways of making progress on a complex challenge. These labs are guided by convening diverse perspectives on an issue, gaining insight from people with lived experience of a challenge, facilitated ideation, building prototypes of solutions, and testing them to see how they work on the ground with people. A lab creates a safe zone for a collective to explore, question assumptions, be bold, be agile enough to adapt as learning emerges and experiment with solutions. As evidence emerges of what prototyped solutions are working, solutions can be scaled and spread to impact systemic change. To help scale solutions systemically, key champions are needed who can open doors, steward policy shifts and build capacity for embracing change.

a lab exploration is
about the journey
and the goal

Edmonton Shift Lab 2.0 was about exploring and proposing interventions to address racism at systemic and on the ground levels. While the aim was to develop innovative prototypes to help address the issues and needs of our communities, the journey towards this goal was equally important. The collective learning that emerged and continues to develop from the lab was a vital part of the process. As we moved forward together in Shift Lab 2.0, we were diligent about documenting the learning of what was working and what wasn’t so that the journey was as transparent as possible and designed to build and share knowledge for future anti-racism and change making efforts.

The work of Shift Lab 1.0  and 2.0 has been shared internationally as an exemplary social innovation lab that centered indigenous knowledge well and co-created with a diverse collective promising interventions that continue to scale. 

“A two way process to learn about each other’s culture,
‘interculturalism’, will lead to stronger sharing.”

Community Voice

An ever growing collective of organizations and people with lived experience that are interested in or already working on addressing racism and poverty in Edmonton. This group acts as a bridge connecting community experiences to the lab process. People and organizations are compensated for their time, and expertise  when engaged in interviews, and workshops.

““The words “If people would just…” are never a part of an effective social innovation. If your goal is to create social change, strong arguments will rarely suffice. You must also understand people’s behaviour and design solutions that disrupt habits.”


This group stewards the lab design and process, coordinates activities, and organizes the logistics of the lab.

Ashley Dryburgh
Ashley DryburghLab Design and Steward

Ashley is an anti-racist feminist who has committed her personal and professional development to learning and talking about racism, with a particular focus on engaging her fellow white folks. In previous work, Ashley pursued graduate research with a focus on whiteness in Canadian queer communities and was the Executive Director of the Facilitating Inclusion Cooperative, which provided community-based research training and services for immigrant and Indigenous women. In her role at ECF, she is exploring the development of targeted granting opportunities that will support the broader Edmonton community.

Help steward the Shift Lab process

Support prototypes as they emerge

Amplify the hard work already happening in Edmonton around racism and poverty

Sameer Singh
Sameer SinghLab Design and Steward
Sameer Singh is a local community activator with a background in journalism, documentary film-making and business incubation. He has worked with aboriginal communities in Canada and abroad, and in the cultural sector with South Asian communities. He learned how to tackle “wicked” problems during his MBA at the Rotman School of Management, where he co-created the Rotman Design Challenge. He continued as a service designer at Telefonica in Spain and in Alberta at the Banff Centre. Currently, he oversees innovative fundraising practises at the University of Alberta.
Steward the community into, through and out of the “wicked conversations” surrounding racism and poverty

Develop new ‘cultural design’ frameworks

Challenge (and be challenged) on how we derive the concepts of racism and poverty in Edmonton today.

Jodi Stonehouse
Jodi StonehouseLab Design and Steward
Jodi Stonehouse is of Cree and Mohawk descent from the Michel First Nation. She is working on her MSc with the Faculty of Resource Economics & Environmental Sociology at U of A. Her interests are Indigenous law, urban Indigenous issues, Indigenous women and Indigenous feminism. She is the producer & broadcaster of ACIMOWIN, an Aboriginal Radio program on CJSR. Her work is dedicated to uplifting and educating audiences worldwide, and through this program she strives to break down social barriers to improve the perception and understandings of Indigenous people to broader community. Her work celebrates Aboriginal people and their success stories as well as their trials & tribulations to demonstrate the complexity of indigeneity and the 21st Century.
Aleeya Velji
Aleeya VeljiLab Design, Steward and Coordination
Aleeya is a budding social innovator that enjoys cycling, BMX, and gardening. Aleeya thinks in systems and developed her understanding of complex environmental, social, and economic challenges through her work as an educator, an ABSI Connect Fellow, and as an intrapreneur at the City of Edmonton. Aleeya currently shares her brain with the City and ABSI Connect, exploring how to infuse design thinking and systems thinking into the daily work habits of large and small organizations.
Help steward the Shift Lab Process

Support the design and implementation of solutions alongside community

Learn in action and enhance the learning of all

Ben Weinlick
Ben WeinlickLab Design and Steward
Ben is driven by the desire to help people and community get better at navigating and problem solving complex challenges together. He’s an innovator and collaborator at heart and will show you how he doesn’t just throw those words around lightly but acts on them. Currently, Ben is a senior leader at Skills Society and leads Social Innovation R&D through the Action Lab. Skills Society  is one of the largest disability service organizations in Edmonton and has a long history of innovation related to rights, citizenship, and community inclusion of marginalized populations. Ben regularly facilitates human centred design lab explorations around complex issues for the public sector, non-profits and community. His work stewarding social inclusion initiatives like Project Citizenship and an inclusion think tank Citizen Action Lab has been featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and he has received some awards including the MacEwan University distinguished alumni and the Avenue Top 40 under 40 award.
Help community and lab team to co-design solutions

Help design and steward the shift lab process

Be a bridge between groups making up the shift lab collective

“Ending racism means making ‘the other’ less intimidating – having fun, sharing culture and stories. Why do we always make it boring and dull? It should be about empowering, joy and celebration.”

Core lab team

Tamreen Arif
Tamreen ArifCore Lab Team Member

Raised in Montreal, Tamreen Arif moved to Alberta in September 2013. By day, she works in the Government of Alberta , and her previous policy experiences range from economic development in rural Alberta to mining in south America. She currently holds a Master in Public Administration and a Bachelor degree in Political Science and Economics. Tamreen has been involved in gender equality and social justice issues for several years.  In 2017, she co-founded a local non-profit organization called the InspireHer Society, which focuses on redefining leadership for all genders. At her core, Tamreen is passionate about creating a genuine sense of belonging for every member of our community. She enjoys painting, acing trivia contests and eating anything covered in cheese. In her spare time, Tamreen is always on the hunt for the best poutine in town! She’s excited to join Edmonton Shift Lab and take part in unique an action-oriented exploration of racism in Edmonton. 

Jaime Calayo
Jaime CalayoCore Lab Team Member

Jaime Calayo is a graduate of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation Master’s program at the Ontario College of Art and Design. My exploratory approach to strategic communications and public engagement pushes me to communicate socially complex issues in innovative and emotionally impactful ways. I believe change comes from the public and that my role is to provide the tools and frameworks to those I work with to design that change for themselves.

Gilman Cardinal
Gilman CardinalCore Lab Team Member

Gilman Cardinal is a Bigstone Cree Elder.

Rebecca Craver
Rebecca CraverCore Lab Team Member

Rebecca is a pastor who works with the Edmonton Moravian Church.  She is active in interfaith work, has been as an advocate for hotel and airport workers, and has a strong desire to engage in deep and transformative relationships with others.  In her professional life, Rebecca has focused her attention on institutional transformation and new ways of serving the community through development of new ministries. 

Rebecca holds a Master’s of Divinity from Moravian Theological Seminary and participated in the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Cohort while working in Indiana (2010-2012).   Rebecca chairs a taskforce focused on resourcing congregations within the Moravian Church Northern Province around healthy practices and ways to support existing ministries.  She is also the co-host of the podcast, Create in Me, about Christian worship, creativity and spirituality. 

Rebecca and her spouse Bobbie moved to Edmonton in 2012 from Indianapolis, IN.  They are parents to Theodore and Arthur.  Rebecca enjoys theatre, dancing with her children, and meaningful conversations.

Darryl De Dios
Darryl De DiosCore Lab Team Member

Darryl is a University of Alberta student. He is working on an after-degree with a double major in Sociology and Human Geography. He is a big-time nerd who, along with religiously listening to philosophy podcasts, practices self-care by reading history and old philosophy textbooks. Over his years in University, he has gained a passion for theory and identity politics, which he now hopes to take into the world of community-building and community-advocacy.

Although he is yet in the beginning stages of building up his credentials and life accomplishments, his lived-experiences as a Filipino-born immigrant lends him much insight into the intersection between racism and poverty.  He hopes to work in the field of systemic design, and to continue learning more about the foundations of systemic thought, collaborative social action, and how social innovation might cultivate community-based solutions to complex social issues.

Kevin Drinkwater
Kevin DrinkwaterCore Lab Team Member

Kevin loves to work in problem spaces where complexity and need drives the opportunity to design new solutions.  He believes in bringing curiosity, creativity and courage to the teams and projects he is privileged to be a part of.  He’s an entrepreneur who manages J5, a design and innovation consultancy helping corporate clients grow, and co-founder of The Social Impact Lab, a partnership between J5 and United Way where the team is applying innovation and design thinking to complex social issues in Calgary.  Kevin’s portfolio of community impact work includes assisting Capital Region Housing with tenant experience, Calgary Homeless Foundation with business model exploration and future casting, First 2000 Days Network with business model innovation, United Way Calgary with strategic planning, Alberta Health Services with experience and service design for e-mental health, and new venture design in the children and youth mental health space.

Eileen Edwards
Eileen EdwardsCore Lab Team Member

Two things have motivated and shaped Eileen’s journey: her passion for working alongside and in support of people, and her deep faith in a Divine love.

This has led her to a life dedicated to community service and development. Using her Doctorate in Psychology and Masters of Divinity, she has served in universities, rehab facilities, private practices, community centres, and as a pastor for congregations. No matter what community she’s in,  she finds herself drawn towards opportunities to teach, support, care for, and love people.

As a life-long learner, Eileen is most fulfilled when in those positions that allow her to work with a diverse group of people. Through a variety of perspectives she is pushed to grow. She is inspired by peers whose visions for a bigger, better, more inclusive world have led to creative solutions for complex and difficult problems.

In between those moments, Eileen finds comfort and joy in reading, cooking, and camping – especially with family and friends. There, beauty becomes quite tangible. Nature’s bright colours, the smells of spices that help a cuisine take shape, the laughter and smiles of her children and spouse – they remind her of the love she’s received, and the love she works to instil in the world around her each day.

Ilene Fleming
Ilene FlemingCore Lab Team Member

Born and raised in small town Alberta, Ilene Fleming enjoys travelling the wide-open prairies, exploring the Rocky Mountains and spending time under sunny blue skies in search of music festivals.

As a MacEwan University Alumni, Ilene’s educational background includes Early Childhood Development and Human Service Administration. She has volunteered on boards for both provincial and local associations that are aligned with her passion for supporting young children and their families, as well as professionals working in the early childhood sector.

Ilene joined United Way of the Alberta Capital Region on the Community Building and Investment team in 2004. Her current role as Director of Strategic Initiatives focuses on age appropriate skills and development in the early years; children and youth having the community supports they need to succeed in school; and individuals and families having access to comprehensive mental health supports. She is inspired and amazed by the power of community to come together to create pathways out of poverty.

She is most proud of being the mother of two young children who teach her something new every day, and make sure she takes time to play and be playful!

Navneet Gidda
Navneet GiddaCore Lab Team Member

Navneet is a 22-year-old community organizer and freelance writer. Having recently graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in Political Science and Philosophy, she is interested in the intersections between media and political activism. As a writer, Navneet hopes to shed light on the weaknesses in our political systems and advocate for the inclusion of more diverse voices in political journalism. She is currently working on developing a magazine that gives local writers of colour an opportunity to publish their work. In her free time, Navneet enjoys reading or exploring the local music scene. Prior to pursuing writing full-time, Navneet worked at a non-profit in Washington, D.C. then served as the Constituency Manager for Premier Rachel Notley here at home.

Carla Hilario
Carla HilarioCore Lab Team Member

Dr. Carla Hilario is an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. Her parents immigrated to Canada in the late 1980s from Pampanga, Philippines and she was raised on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Watuth), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples. Carla’s program of research explores youth health equity with a focus on the mental health of marginalized and vulnerable young people.

Derek Jagodzinsky
Derek JagodzinskyCore Lab Team Member

My desire to be part of Shift Lab arises from my passion and purpose in life.  For the past decade, I have been operating a fashion company called luxx ready to wear where I have focused my attention on altering negative perceptions of Indigenous culture through art and design.  I have an Indigenous heritage that I heavily draw creative inspiration from and from which I largely derive my values.  I recently completed my Masters in Industrial Design, where I completed a brand development project titled ‘Modern Indigenous.’  This involved using product thinking and design methods to create a new Indigenous identity that integrates traditional knowledge and skills with modern society. Being a double minority, I understand the hardships that Indigenous people as well as members of the LBQT community have to endure and I am deeply motivated to change this.

Johnny Lee
Johnny LeeCore Lab Team Member

Johnny Lee is a Social & Environmental Justice Advocate sitting with the Indigenous Circle and End Poverty Edmonton as a lived experience adviser for nearly 4 years now. Advised Trauma Informed Edmonton, sat as Guiding Counsel member for RISE- Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton and conducts Social Justice Walks speaking on the issues concerning Edmonton’s downtown core & inner city front-line services. Strength from the Creator and years of volunteer experience for numerous organizations such as Greenpeace, the Mustard Seed, Lady Flower Gardens has provided wisdom and the passion to be a force in the field of societal change.

With a view and the voice for a wide range of issues from politics & Indigenous Rights, to food securities and conspiracy theories, Mr. Lee’s an avid activist online as well as at many rallies, marches and blockades. He has done public speaking engagements for universities, civil servants, church groups, NGO’s and the media. More importantly, Johnny’s spent time on the front lines at the Swanson Island occupation site, Unist’ot’en, and front gates of the Kinder Morgan/Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project on Burnaby Mountain.

Toni Letendre
Toni LetendreCore Lab Team Member

Toni Letendre is the Director of Education in her home community, Alexa Nakota Sioux Nation, Alberta. Her educational background is a MA in Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation and a BA in Native Studies.

She grew up as an urban Indigenous youth in Edmonton, AB. Through her experiences with racism and sexism, her mission in life is to uplift and create opportunities for Indigenous youth to become their best selves.

Naureen Mumtaz
Naureen MumtazCore Lab Team Member

Naureen Mumtaz is an academic researcher and a design educator, whose work involves teaching and learning through participatory design thinking. Mumtaz is working towards her interdisciplinary PhD (Education and Design studies) at University of Alberta. In her dissertation she explores participatory design-based research methods to inform community responsive curricula to foster intercultural understanding amongst youth from ethno-culturally diverse and marginalized communities. Her professional/teaching experience is highlighted by her strong affinity to address social justice issues for the wellbeing of individuals and systems. Mumtaz’s innovative research work has garnered academic recognition and awards. She believes in pedagogy and research that draws from the thorough understanding of local contexts and epistemologies. In her work, she says, “I enjoy crossing boundaries and linking seemingly unconnected dots.”

Rabia Naseer
Rabia NaseerCore Lab Team Member

Rabia Naseer has a Master in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Alberta.  She currently is working with the Government of Alberta Status of Women as a senior advisor in gender based analysis plus policy, training and programming collaborating with cross ministry and community partners. She has contributed to discussions and initiatives in women leadership, anti-racism and human rights through working with the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and Opening the Potential Mentee Program.  Also Rabia is passionate in facilitation and public speaking through being involved in toastmasters and presenting to various organizations on anti-racism and human rights issues. Currently Rabia is working on developing a social change women leadership intensive program aiming to diversify leadership skills in newcomers and mothers. As a mother of three, she is always looking for ways to engage with the community and involve her children in various ways.

Annand Ollivierre
Annand OllivierreCore Lab Team Member

Annand is a father of two daughters, a husband, an engaged citizen, an optimist, and a Strategic Foresight Analyst with the City of Edmonton. As a first generation Canadian who was born, raised, and continues to live in Edmonton, he has become comfortable with both fitting in and not quite being a part of the mainstream all at the same time. His experiences have shaped his capacity to be a bridge builder and through his work, he uses a holistic perspective that encourages collaboration and empowers organizations to apply new frameworks, methods, and tools for greater impact. He cares about social innovation because the field places a focus on bringing together many perspectives and doing the messy work of digging in and discovering what is holding complex challenges in place. He believes that through this work what is discovered newly is our collective human capacity and know-how to build solutions that shift and transform systems for the better.

Paz Orellana-Fitzgerald
Paz Orellana-FitzgeraldCore Lab Team Member

Paz Orellana-Fitzgerald is fascinated with people’s relationship to the designed objects and spaces that comprise their lives. Her belief that insight into the human-object relationship is the key to meaningful and sustainable design, has led her to work on projects that inform and inspire the design of meaningful and sustainable products and work environments, both in the public and private sector. She holds a Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design and a Master of Arts in Material Culture, both from the University of Alberta. Currently, Paz works as a design researcher for a local tech start-up, asking the many questions whose answers shape the organization’s design decisions.

Helen Rusich
Helen RusichCore Lab Team Member

Helen Rusich is a Project Manager with REACH Edmonton, who has been working in communities since 1982.

She is also the Edmonton and Provincial coordinator for the Coalitions Creating Equity.

She works at building capacity and enabling culturally appropriate community building. Finding people, connecting them to networks and helping to mobilize them.

Essi Salokangas
Essi SalokangasCore Lab Team Member

Essi Salokangas is a clinical pharmacist with a passion for improving health outcomes in vulnerable populations using evidence-based practice, empathy, and humor. Essi was a co-founder of the Adherence & Community Engagement (ACE) Team, a pharmacist-led, interdisciplinary community outreach team that provides an individualized approach for the care of complex individuals with multiple barriers to care in Edmonton, Alberta. She was recognized as an Avenue Magazine 2018 Top 40 Under 40 for “bringing health and dignity to the most vulnerable.” Currently, she is the first clinical pharmacist on the Addiction Recovery and Community Health (ARCH) Team, a specialty consult service for patients with substance use disorders and social inequity, at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. This team is the first of its kind in North America and works every day to change hospital culture by advocating for and facilitating harm reduction, management of substance use disorders, social stabilization, health promotion, and connection to community care for vulnerable individuals. Essi is a passionate advocate who believes in social equity, trauma informed care, and providing dignity to her patients. In her spare time, she is a crime documentary aficionado, music enthusiast, and an admirer of all dogs.

Rosanne Tollenaar
Rosanne TollenaarCore Lab Team Member

Rosanne has supported the capacity needs of organizations and community throughout her career in the nonprofit/voluntary sector, working primarily with social service, health, education, and cultural organizations. She is constantly seeking to understand the complex ecosystem of people and their environments, which compelled her to join the Government of Alberta in 2015 to experience first-hand this component and perspective of the larger system. She joined Culture and Tourism’s Community Engagement Branch working with nonprofit organizations from a program and policy context. Most recently, supporting small community organizations to obtain funding for projects addressing racism and discrimination, through the newly formed Anti-Racism Community Grant Program. To keep her connection to community, and love of working with teams, Rosanne currently chairs the Alberta Public Employees Campaign, coordinating the efforts of 26 Government Ministries raising vital awareness, engagement, and funds for United Way supported organizations across Alberta addressing poverty, homelessness, and mental health challenges. Her passion for community and community impact drives her to explore opportunities to make a difference, and to enable others to realize the incredible impact they can have.

Lisa Zhu
Lisa ZhuCore Lab Team Member

Currently, Lisa supports newcomers at an Immigration and Settlement agency. She holds a degree from University of Alberta in Education and diploma in Digital Media and IT from NAIT. She is a strong believer in social equity and taking an active role in social issues. At the heart of many of society’s most difficult issues are people, their assumptions, prejudices, and ingrained behaviors. Behavioural science has always been a compelling subject to her, particularly its application to the real world. With Shift Lab, she looks forward to exploring empathy and behavioural change as it pertains to racism.

“Racism and stereotypes are major issues. People have stereotypes about me too, as a new Iraq Canadian.”


Researchers during the discovery phase of Shift Lab 2.0

  • Behaviour Change Researcher- Galdys Rowe
  • Indigenous Epistemology Researchers – Jacqueline and Hunter Cardinal, Jodi Stonehouse
  • Racism and Anti-Racist Practice Researchers – Centre for Race and Culture Edmonton

Indigenous Advisory

  • Toni Letendre
  • Johnny Lee
  • Toni’s family
  • Jacqueline and Hunter Cardinal
  • Littlechild family
  • Diane Roussin and Winnipeg Boldness

Speaker Series Influencers

  • Shelly Tochluk
  • Daryl Davis
  • Trevor Phillips

Lab Process Inspiration

  • Sam Rye
  • Cheryl Rose
  • Frances Westley
  • Diane Roussin
  • Mark Cabaj
  • George Aye
  • Melanie Goodchild and Turtle Island Institute
  • Converge Conference SFU participants
  • Spark Conference participants
  • LABWise participants
  • Angela Pugh
  • Gina Rembe
  • Joshua Cubista
  • Lauren Morgan
  • Mark Holmgren
  • Nathan Heintz
  • David Prodan
  • Zaid Hassan
  • Mark Cabaj

Community Supporters and Influencers

  • David Eggen (Minister of Education)
  • Wendy Boje (Assistant Deputy Minister, Anti-Racism Secretariat)
  • Jeff Samsanow (Edmonton Quotient)
  • Hunter Cardinal (Naheyowin)
  • Renee Iverson (Homeward Trust)
  • Roya Damabi (CoLab)
  • Sharon Matthias (Matthias Inc.)
  • Courtney Schulze (ActiveCare)
  • Karen Korchinski (AB Dept. Justice and Solicitor General)
  • Darcy McDonald (Government of Alberta)
  • Sahana Parameswara (Gateway Association)
  • Leo Wong (Roundhouse)
  • Naomi Mahaffy (ABSI Connect)