Strategic Steps President

As the President of Strategic Steps, Ian has had the opportunity to work with dozens of municipalities, associations, societies, and voluntary sector organizations across Western Canada and beyond. He lives in the space between appointed or elected officials and the organizations’ managers.

As a nationally recognized Certified Management Consultant (CMC) his areas of interest include local government, libraries, post-secondary education, health, non-profit organizations and community safety.

His career background includes working with municipalities, for the Alberta provincial government, in oil and gas, emergency services and in the volunteer sector.

Since 2000, Ian has worked on governance and structural reviews, strategy development and implementation, and orientations or refreshers for boards of directors and elected officials. He has done this both as an employee of government and as a business adviser in the private sector, working for himself and others.

For seven years, Ian worked with four provincial government departments in Alberta and three in Manitoba as they aligned their operational work to their business plans.

Ian is an occasional author for Municipal World magazine and local newspapers, writing on topics such as social media use in municipalities, business planning for municipalities, the future of local government, and most recently, a three-part article about measuring community well-being in Canadian municipalities.

Ian also hosts workshops and speaks at various conferences in Canada and the United States, typically on the topic of good governance, change in government and the importance of strategic planning.


B.A. Economics
Senior Consultant

Kelly has extensive experience pushing the boundaries of strategic planning and building alignment with organizational functions. Kelly has been and will continue to be a public servant. To Kelly, this means embracing a passion for people, for community and for all the potential there is when it all comes together.

In 2017, when Kelly acted as the Director of Corporate Planning, Strathcona County received a CAMA (Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators) award for the implementation of Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) in communities.

Drawing inspiration from PBB and receiving an endorsement from its founder, Kelly continues to use it as a foundation to support municipalities and non-profit organizations through an innovative strategic planning process.


Collaborative Efforts

By working on an associates model we are able to partner with many talented experts. 
Strategic Steps creates a team tailored to each client's specific needs in order provide the best possible value for each and every client. 
Meet some of our professional associates here!


George B. Cuff & Associates Ltd. 

Established in 1984, the firm of George B. Cuff & Associates consists of a wide variety of seasoned professionals who offer their services on a per diem basis. As a result of this approach, and as President of the firm, George Cuff is able to assemble the best minds in a particular field. This can be done on short notice for significant engagements. His firm provides a variety of specialized consulting services to mostly public sector clients principally in the areas of board and council governance, governance reviews, trouble-shooting, staff and elected official training, and special projects.


Engagement Expert and Professional Development Provider

Maria deBruijn is a much sought after critical thinker and consummate problem solver, with over 20 years of achieving successful outcomes. Maria has advised and supported many organizations in enhancing their internal and external engagement efforts, developing and facilitating corporate planning initiatives, and providing professional development and training. Maria is an International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) trained public and stakeholder engagement practitioner. She holds a Master’s degree in Communications and Technology from the University of Alberta, and previously served as Director of Research on the Canadian International Association for Public Participation Board.


Planning, Communications and Issues Management

Carissa is a writer, speaker and trained facilitator. With her collaborative, strengths-based approach, she helps clients develop achievable strategic and communications plans. Her experience spans senior leadership positions in non-profit and government sectors. Her facilitation techniques and strategic advice is sharpened by her work as a journalist, publicist and senior political advisor. She is trained in IAP2. As a writer, her essays have captured magazine awards and been anthologized. Her debut book, Little Yellow House: Finding Community in a Changing Neighbourhood (University of Alberta Press, 2018), was a finalist for the Edmonton Book Prize. She is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau of Canada, and is an experienced presenter at conferences, Professional Development days and in-house trainings.  Her boutique consultancy, Halton Strategic, is based in Edmonton, Alberta.


Empowering Excellence with Individuals and Organizations

Laurie Fenske offers solution-based coaching to clients throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Laurie focuses her high-energy executive coaching sessions to achieve substantial improvements in the areas of productivity, leadership skills, staff management, and communication. In team coaching sessions, she utilizes behavioral analysis to enable team members to better understand their colleagues, in the goal of working together more harmoniously.


Economics of Well-Being

Mark Anielski is an economic strategist specializing in measuring the well-being and happiness of nations, communities and businesses. Mark holds three degrees from the University of Alberta: Economics, Forest Science, and Masters of Science in Forest Economics. For ten years he was professor of corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship at the University of Alberta’s School of Business. He has lectured internationally on the economics of happiness and well-being in Canada, the US, China, Tahiti, The Netherlands and Austria.


Governance and Legislation - Processes, Advice and Services

Chris Belke has worked in a variety of roles in municipal governance resulting in a unique, well-rounded understanding of the processes and challenges faced by municipalities.  For nine years he was the Chief Legislative Officer of a city in Alberta and for 18 years he provided advice and services to municipalities in various professional positions with Alberta Municipal Affairs.  He was also elected to Council of an Alberta town for four terms, and has served in various committee and volunteer positions.  Chris currently provides advice and services in the areas of legislation, governance, elections, bylaws and policies.


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