P:N's organizational philosophy is to maintain a small and efficient roster of experienced professionals and to draw upon this roster on a project-by-project basis. This roster is composed of qualified and experienced individuals, all of whom have demonstrated ability and field experience. P:N normally adopts a team approach in its assignments, and endeavors, wherever possible, to provide gender-balanced services. We believe the application of more than one mind to the task enhances the quality of the product.

To learn more about our staff and consultants, click on the names below:

Philip Cox, Executive Director - organization change, evaluation, planning, results-based management

Area of expertise: planning, leadership, diversity/multicultural education, organization change

Philip Cox specializes in performance management of international and Canadian social development. He applies participatory approaches to monitoring and evaluation; and to training in results based planning, management and reporting.

Since 1990, Phil has evaluated more than twenty-five separate projects in health, income generation, vocational training, water and sanitation, institutional strengthening and community development. Phil's approach is to engage project stakeholders as co-evaluators, rather than subjects. "The most successful evaluations, allow people from many walks of life to exchange views in an environment of trust and in the knowledge that good reflection can lead to better results."


Eimer Niilo (nee Rogers), Business Manager

Eimer photo
Eimer was born in Dublin, Ireland and has travelled and worked throughout the world (Holland, England, India, America, Australia and south East Asia) before settling in Calgary to raise a family. Her work experience covers project management in publishing and managing teams in busy marketing and branding studios. A true team player, she brings to PlanNet her innate ability to organize and inspire.

Stan Benjamin, Founder - education, evaluation and monitoring, urban management


Areas of expertise: policy, program and project planning and management; monitoring and evaluation; education and training; urban and regional planning; urban management and policy; low income housing and urban services; institutional organization and delivery systems; and community development.

Stan’s 40 year career has spanned work in North America and abroad: in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and former Soviet Union. He spent 8 of these years living and working in Tanzania, Thailand and Indonesia.
While the majority of his consultancies have been CIDA funded, he has also undertaken assignments for numerous other development organizations including the World Bank, various United Nations agencies, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as several NGOs and faith-based agencies.

He has undertaken a total of 67 assignments in: policy, program and project planning and management; monitoring and evaluation; human resource development, education and training; urban and regional planning; urban management and policy development; low income housing and urban services; institutional organization and delivery systems; and community organization and development.

Based on his numerous and diverse project and program level exposure, Stan has developed special expertise in RBM-based planning, monitoring and evaluation.


Muhammad Ajmal - governance, education, health

Areas of expertise: governance, public sector and non-profit, project planning and management, comprehensive social and economic development planning, use of tacit knowledge and Innovative means for community education and health, corporate social responsibility, international trade and development, capacity building and change management.

Ajmal has worked in international development, program and project management, policy analysis and evaluation for more than fifteen years. He has worked with different organizations both in Canada and abroad. He has conducted consulting assignments for Asian Development Bank, US Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development (UK) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) directly or through their funded projects. He holds a Masters in Development Planning (Practice), University of Queensland, Australia and a Masters in Economics from Pakistan. He is also a qualified medical doctor with a passion to contribute for social change, community empowerment, and public health of the marginalized communities. He likes to see himself as a tackler of large problems with collaborative local solutions which are sustainable. He has lived, travelled and worked in Canada, Australia, USA, South Asia, China, Thailand, South Korea and Philippines. He is currently associated with Four Worlds Center for Development Learning, Fig Tree Foundation and teaches in Continuing Education at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Calgary.


Wayne Bobrosky - education, private sector development

Area of expertise: education, private sector development, strategic planning, project management

Wayne Bobrosky has over fifteen years of direct experience in the areas of Business, Social Services, Education, and Project Design and Management. He has worked with a variety of groups both in Canada and around the world, having lived and worked in the Czech Republic, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and The Bahamas. Besides holding an MBA, Wayne has bachelor degrees in Political Science and Social Work as well as professional teaching certification (province of AB).
Recent projects include: work on the Community Development Learning Iniative (CDLI) sponsored by the United Way/City of Calgary and Calgary Foundation; and multiple program evaluations for the Coalition for Equal Access to Education.


Pamela Branch - results-based project and program design, monitoring and evaluation, institutional capacity building

Managing Director PSI (our sister organization), Senior Consultant

Areas of expertise: governance, institutional strengthening, economic development, education

Pamela Branch has twenty five years of professional experience in the field of international development, including 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Her consulting practice reflects her strong commitment to economic growth and governance as key inputs to development, and much of her work in institutional and capacity development is to promote those aims. With degrees in accounting and economics, she has developed solid international experience in private sector development, including three years in Ghana managing a technology transfer project to support small scale industry with 10 offices and 300 staff nationwide. She is a strong manager who can deliver results and has the ability to work across sectors, bringing in outside expertise as needed. Ms. Branch has worked on all aspects of performance review and measurement, including internally as a project manager, and as an external monitor, evaluator, auditor and reviewer.


Denise Buchner - health systems, education, disabilities

Area of expertise: health systems, education, disabilities

Denise has worked with community-based projects locally and internationally for the past 19 years.  She is a recent PhD graduate in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Calgary.

Her thesis work was a qualitative study of health and disability in Laos.  In 2006, Denise spent six months living in the rural village of Phatang, Laos with two of her children where she collected data on village experiences with health and disability. In 2008 Denise won a SSHRC award to support this research. Previously, Denise completed a MA degree at UBC where she studied cultural interpretations of Deafness in Swaziland.

Denise's research interests include international health systems, community development, cultural interpretations of health and disability and international / development project evaluation. Denise is currently a sessional instructor at UofC - teaching community development in community rehabilitation at in the department of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies.

Denise has extensive experience working with many community-based organizations (many of them dealing with disability issues)
across Canada and internationally.


Margie Cook - governance, human rights, monitoring and evaluation

Margie Cook (small size)
Areas of expertise: governance, human rights, monitoring and evaluation

Margie Cook brings a solid background of over 20 years in governance and project management with a strong focus on governance and elections, human rights, media and civil society as well as monitoring and evaluation. Since 2001 she has managed multi-donor UN-managed election programs in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Cambodia and Afghanistan; is a former Chief Electoral Adviser to the UN in Afghanistan and led the DFID, DANIDA and CIDA-funded Drivers of Accountability Programme (DAP) in Kenya, a $50m programme focused on issues of impunity, reform and demand for accountability as well as reporting for impact and results, political and programming advice and grants management. Margie has conducted many short-term high-level needs assessment and evaluation missions for the UN and other agencies including DFID, the EU, Commonwealth Secretariat, DANIDA and IFES in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Fiji and most recently in Yemen.  Since 1987, Ms Cook has been retained as the Senior Political Consultant (Elections) to the National Nine Television Network in Australia. She is a former Director of Public Affairs at the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1996-2001) and before that worked in her own business providing support to AusAID and development-based NGOs. 

As of April 2015, Ms Cook is Manager of the 4 year TRACE programme in Zimbabwe funded by DFID, DANIDA and AusAID.  Of late, she has also advised on the DFID-funded Deepening Democracy Programme in Nigeria and the Accountability Programme in Zambia, both funded by DFID and managed by the British Council.  In several of her last assignments, Margie has concentrated on aligning program management tools including log frames, scorecards, risk and mitigation assessments, program reporting and other tools with  progress against goals, impact and results in line with the ICAI and DFID value-for-money and effectiveness criteria.


Chandra Coomaraswamy - gender, community development

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Area of expertise: gender, community development

Ms. Coomaraswamy is an International Development and Gender specialist holding a Master’s degree in Women Studies with extensive field experience.

In her capacity as development consultant she has contributed to VSO, Development and Peace, WUSC, FTO, CIDA, Asia Foundation and several other International development agencies in project evaluation, research, and gender mainstreaming projects, need assessments and community capacity building. She has also been volunteering with immigrant serving organizations on settlement programs in Toronto.

Previously, she has served in various management capacities with several International Development and humanitarian organizations such as the International Federation of the Red Cross/American Red Cross, World University service of Canada, Fredrich-Ebert-Foundation, and several others.  


Paul Cox - private sector development, agricultural economic development, CSR

Paul Cox March 2010
Area of expertise: Monitoring & Evaluation, Rural, Agricultural and Regional Economic Development, Private Sector Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Socio-Economic Impact Assessment

Paul Cox is a researcher and consultant with over 30 years of international and domestic experience in socio-economics, agricultural/resource economics, project management and business. He has an academic background in geography, agricultural economics and development studies (an interdisciplinary doctoral program in economics, sociology and political science), and has worked as a school teacher, a provincial government northern development officer, a socio-economist and economist for a major energy company and, since 1992, as a senior consultant.

Paul Cox has consulted for a wide variety of clients, including international financial institutions, government agencies, corporations, industry associations, municipalities and non-governmental organizations. He has experience using a broad range of applied social science research methodologies and has conducted field research in diverse settings in Canada and 30 other countries. Most of his recent project involvements have been in socio-economic and environmental impact assessment, regional economic development, institutional strengthening/capacity building and monitoring & evaluation (M&E).


Rob Enns - strategic planning, community development, monitoring and evaluation

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Areas of Expertise: team building, strategic planning, community development, training & capacity building, participatory monitoring & evaluation, organizational development

Rob has a passion for enabling people to work together to set their goals and achieve them. He has worked in numerous roles, including trainer, facilitator, coordinator, monitor and evaluator.

Rob has been involved in international development programs in Asia, Africa and Canada. Having lived in Bangladesh for over twelve years, Egypt for one year, as well as India, Ethiopia and Tanzania for various periods of time, he has a deep appreciation for the importance of developing trust and mutual respect with people in the host communities. He is proficient in Bengali and has taken steps to develop some understanding of other languages when appropriate.

Rob has filled a wide variety of roles, from country director of an organization with over 200 staff members to the monitor of many different types of projects and organizations. He has seen CIDA from all sides (working in projects funded by CIDA, monitoring programs on CIDA’s behalf and evaluating CIDA’s own long-term programs in two countries) and has worked in programs with other international funders, so he is ready to help organizations build their programs and increase their efficiency in achieving the goals that are important to themselves and their funding agencies.


Jim Freedman - conflict resolution, governance, micro finance

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Area of expertise: conflict resolution, peace and security, humanitarian assistance, governance, micro finance

Jim conducts applied policy research in the areas of conflict reduction and building stability in fragile states.

A reputable private sector is regarded as a critical factor and recent research has consequently been focused on helping extractive industry companies meet standards of social responsibility while simultaneously increasing their competitive position.

Equally important is the capacity of host governments to respond by improving their capacity for resource governance in the interests of stability and providing equitable benefits to the population. Jim has completed over 50 assignments in 22 countries.

Clients and partners include host governments, private enterprises, international organizations, donor agencies and civil society organizations.


Colin Funk - organizational development, community development, facilitation

Area of expertise: facilitation, community development, business/organizational development
Colin has been associated with P:N since 2004. He is a renowned facilitator and program designer in the area of creativity and leadership development. 
He has spent the last 20 years working as a facilitator, director and theatre producer throughout western Canada. He is a graduate of the BC Institute of Technology – Broadcast Communications (1981), and a graduate of the Vancouver Playhouse –Theatre Arts and Dramaturgy (1985).
Colin is the current Artistic Director of ReWild Theatre (Cortes Island, BC). Since 1989, he has led the creation of unique leadership and community development initiatives that bring together the arts, ecology and business through the medium of Theatre.  
Colin has also held a number of positions at The Banff Centre (Banff, AB) as Arts Administrator, Program Coordinator and Creative Program Director of The Banff Centre’s Leadership Learning Lab.  Colin is currently faculty at the Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute at the Banff Centre.
Colin is also the founder of Corporate Funk, a leadership and organizational development consultancy, and works as a Facilitator with the Reframe Leadership Consultancy in Banff, AB, and the Pacific Centre for Leadership in Canmore, AB.  

Colin Funk
(778) 348-0652

Catherine Hickey - project management, environment

Catherine Hickey
Areas of expertise: project management, results based management, monitoring and evaluation, project design, policy, gender

Catherine is an experienced project manager, having managed multiple local community and international projects. Catherine earned a Master’s Degree in Geography from the University of Western Ontario, conducting research focused on the necessities and challenges of adapting to climate change in Guyana at a national level. Since then, she has worked on a variety of projects in Canada and Africa, contributing to project design, project management, monitoring and evaluation, project work planning and reporting, integrating gender, proposal writing, and budget monitoring and management. Catherine has worked on projects with areas of focus relating to:
  • Improving access for low-income families in Canada to fresh produce
  • Integrating climate change into national and regional poverty reduction strategies and development policies
  • Increasing the number of health professionals with training in emergency procedures related to maternal and child health
  • Curriculum development and enhancement
  • Providing information on agroecological methods to farmers to improve food security
  • Developing small enterprises for rural youth to improve livelihoods
  • Gender training and awareness to improve food security and to improve the lives of women


Noel Keough, Chair of the Board - urban development, institutional strengthening, environment

Noel Photo
Area of expertise: land use and urban development, institutional strengthening, energy, environment, water supply and sanitation, sustainable community planning, social economy

Noel has 20 years experience working in community development both locally and internationally. His work has included local renewable energy assessment and design, sustainability education, community development, popular theatre, sustainability indicators design and technology assessment. Through his unique experience Noel has been successful in building bridges between community groups and planning and engineering professionals.

Internationally, Noel has worked in Central America, Central and South East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Locally, Noel has worked with community groups in Alberta, Newfoundland and British Columbia. 

Noel is also a co-founder and current senior researcher at Sustainable Calgary Society, a member of the National Working Group for the Canadian Index of Wellbeing and is Assistant Professor of Sustainable Design in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary.


Matt Knapik - urban design and architecture, concept animation

Area of expertise: urban design and architecture, concept animation

Matt Knapik is a Calgary-based designer, facilitator, and educator. He earned Masters Degrees in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Calgary, where his research focused on the potential for ecological renovation in suburban neighbourhoods. He is the founder and principal of the design practice kilometre, which is developing thematic specialization in urban landscapes, education spaces, development, and organizational transformation. Matt teaches as a sessional instructor in the architecture program in the Faculty of Environmental Design, and co-hosts the radio show Charmer’s Almanac on CJSW.

Kendra Ramdany - public policy, project management, Aboriginal relations

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Areas of expertise: public policy, program and project planning and management, environment, Aboriginal relations

Kendra has over 10 years of experience working in the corporate and non-profit sectors in the areas of public policy, environmental affairs, and Aboriginal relations. She is skilled at working with a diverse group of sectors and interests to develop positive and pragmatic policy solutions.

Kendra has consulted for a number of non-profit and corporate clients in the areas of environmental conservation, governmental relations, and community and international development. Kendra holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the University of Calgary.

Kendra is the Principal Consultant with A Better World Consulting and can be reached at

Sheila Robinson - health policy, results-based management

Area of Expertise: health policy and planning, program evaluation and results-based management

Sheila has over thirty years experience in global health and organizational capacity development spanning fieldwork, program planning, management and evaluation, research, training, and leadership.

She holds a B.Sc. in Nursing, an M.A. in Development Studies, and a Ph.D. in Community Health Sciences/ International Health Systems. She has extensive experience in health development programs and evaluation in Asia, and has also worked in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as Canada.

Her approach to capacity development includes assessing individual and organizational strengths and needs in light of strategic direction and internal and external contexts. She employs participatory methodologies for assessment, planning and evaluation.  

With P:N colleagues she has developed and continues to evolve innovative processes and tools for outcome-based management training and coaching in work with organizations.


Rebekah Seidel - community development, strategic planning, gender

Rebekah Seidel cropped July 2010
Area of expertise: Community Development and Engagement, Collaborative Initiatives and Collective Impact, Strategic Planning, Developmental Evaluation, Outcome Mapping, Gender

Rebekah Seidel (MSW, RSW), Director of creo, inc., has worked in community development based programs and projects domestically and internationally for over 25 years. This has included work in rural and small communities as well as urban centres in Canada, Central America, the South Pacific and Asia. 

Rebekah has provided facilitation and leadership to planning processes, assessments and analyses, coalition building / collaborative initiatives, and program monitoring and evaluation. She has enhanced inclusion and participation with cross-cultural groups, marginalized sectors, regional bodies and networks (domestically and internationally), international organizations, and rural/remote/northern communities.

Community and organizational capacity building, inclusive participation, critical assessment and empowerment have been a major focus in Rebekah’s working methodology.


Sarah Skett - education, HIV/AIDS, community development

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Area of expertise: community development, education, HIV/AIDS, youth and gender engagement, volunteerism

Sarah is a community development and community education expert with ten years of experience in international project research, design, consultation, and management. She has expertise in developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating initiatives on orphans & vulnerable children, youth and gender engagement, education, community needs, housing, sanitation, private sector development, and tourism in developing countries. Sarah has expertise working with vulnerable and culturally diverse groups, the private sector, governments, NGOs, academia, international financial institutions in multi stakeholder projects, some carried out in multiple countries.

She has extensive experience in curriculum
design & development, teaching & facilitation in both developed and developing countries, ranging from young children to adults in a variety of circumstances, from elementary schools to prominent Universities in both Canada and East Africa. She has expertise delivering innovative solutions at the local and regional level that foster mutually beneficial relationships and encompass a participative approach. She has shown she facilitates, directs, and evaluates projects that foster mutually beneficial partnerships, improve efficiency, and while at the same time meet deadlines and budget requirements.

Sarah has a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Calgary, and a Masters in Geography from Queens University.


Samira Smirat - gender, environment, community development

Area of expertise: Gender, Environment, Community Development

Ms. Samira Smirat is an experienced social worker, community development professional and manager, with 18 years in the public and private sectors.   She currently heads Plan:Net Limited’s office in Jordan where she manages and participates in its main project activities.

Her primary professional experience is with the social and economic empowerment of low-income communities – in particular, women - using participatory development methodologies.

She has expanded her initial public-service work-experience in the housing and environment sectors into a much wider sphere of consulting, primarily with internationally funded development projects. Samira is an experienced community facilitator, monitor/social researcher and trainer of monitoring and evaluation methodologies (Results Based Management (RBM), Outcome Mapping, Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) and Appreciative Inquiry).

Much of her professional practice since joining Plan:Net (P:N) occurred within the context of gender and/or environment projects funded by international donors such as CARE International, GFA, IFAD, IDRC, and GTZ.


Susan Smith - health, community health, disaster relief, education

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Areas of expertise: health, community health, disaster relief, education

Having lived and worked in numerous settings internationally, often under difficult circumstances or with few resources, Susan has gained a wide range of professional and interpersonal skills that were honed over more than thirty years of work in the global development sector. Her responsibilities have ranged from directorship of disaster relief and emergency services; the design of complex processes of community health and development in conditions of isolation or destitution; to the evaluation of large scale projects.

For the past seventeen years Susan has been actively engaged in development and research work in an impoverished area of rural Mexico as well as undertaking contracted short-term consultancies internationally. As a senior health specialist Susan has completed consultations in Mozambique, Bolivia, Columbia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Honduras, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malawi, Bangladesh and China. She speaks, reads and writes English and Spanish.

Susan is the founder and Executive Director of Atzin, a non-profit humanitarian organization based in Cuernavaca, Mexico, with a sister association in Canada. Atzin’s work has been concentrated in Tlamacazapa, a rural indigenous village of 6200 people in the northern part of the State of Guerrero because of its sheer complexity. Evolving since 1997, Atzin’s integrated programs focus on four sectors: Health and Healing; Income Generation for Women; Community Education and Literacy; and Environment, Water and Sanitation. Each program is based on the principles of social participation; continuous learning; investigation with action; and environmental and economic sustainability.

More than any technical intervention, Susan recognizes that true development requires resolve, a sustained determination.
No one can actually empower someone else or hand them a stronger spirit or more self-confidence. A sense of empowerment always starts with a spark of possibility and grows from within - the nurturing of that inner spark is the real work of human advancement. Our development task is to create many opportunities for learning and for building within, opportunities that cultivate resilience, courage and happiness. The many means for enabling more enriched lives, especially for women, will become clear.

Susan holds a PhD in education, specializing in community health and development and participatory-action research. Her primary focus has been on the complex determinants of health and well-being for groups and communities and on the design of transformative processes necessary for human development.