Our team

We’ve built our company carefully to bring together professionals with an unparalleled understanding of government, policy and communications.

History

Since 1997, Summa Strategies has provided Canada’s leading organizations with strategic advice and expertise that delivers results for members, employees and shareholders. Founded by The Honourable Doug Young, Paul Zed and Ken Whiting, Summa’s history is grounded in common-sense Atlantic Canadian humility. That Atlantic influence and small-town sensibility lingers twenty plus years later, with partners hailing from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and rural Ontario.

Though the team has grown to include more Torontonians along the way, we pride ourselves on maintaining the honesty, thoughtfulness and candor of our founders in the advice we give our clients today.

Our people

Summa Strategies has recruited top talent from across Canada with a deep knowledge of politics and communications from both the public and private sector. Working with the professionals at Abacus Data, every client assignment draws on the skills and knowledge of our full team. This ensures that you get the best strategy and results for your organization.  

Click on our team members for short biographies, then call or email us to have a chance to get to know us personally.

Jim Armour

Managing Partner

Catherine Baril

Product Coordinator

Dominic Besner

Research Consultant

Alyssa Bishop

Research Manager

Kaitlynn Creighan

Research Consultant

Olivier Cullen

Senior Advisor

Mike Day

Senior Associate

Rhys Dumond

Consultant

James Gragg-Reilly

Director of Research

Kate Harrison

Vice Chair

Elliot Hughes

Senior Advisor

Kait LaForce

Senior Consultant

Meredith Logan

Senior Consultant

Robin MacLachlan

President

Sophie Normand

Consultant

Tim Powers

Chair

Josie Sabatino

Senior Consultant

Laura Seguin

Administration, Research and Executive Assistance

Ian Skipworth

Research Consultant

Claire Smith

Consultant

Carlene Variyan

Associate Vice-President

Ken Whiting

Executive Vice-President

Adam Yahn

Vice-President & Partner

Hon. M. Douglas Young

Chairman Emeritus

Our partners

Abacus Data is one of Canada’s most innovative and trusted public opinion and marketing research firms. Abacus uses the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research based advice to our clients. We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value.

Jaide

Kassam

Research Intern

Jaide is a research intern at Summa Strategies, concurrently pursuing her undergraduate degree at Carleton University. Her academic focus lies in Criminology and Criminal Justice, with a specialized concentration in Law. During her tenure at Carleton, she actively engaged with the Carleton Legal Women’s Network, fulfilling the role of a law mentor for undergraduate law and criminology students.

Jaide’s academic journey has been complemented by a series of political internships. She has engaged in various internship programs, including the Ontario PC Caucus Internship Program, the Parliament Hill Internship Program, and most recently, an internship with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport. Furthermore, she has been a dedicated volunteer in numerous political campaigns demonstrating her active involvement in the political sphere.

Through these multifaceted experiences, Jaide has cultivated a profound understanding of political dynamics and has amassed a wealth of knowledge and insights, both at the provincial and federal levels of government.

Beyond her professional and volunteer commitments, Jaide enjoys partaking in recreational sport leagues, fostering an active lifestyle, and cherishing moments spent with her friends and family.

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Robin

MacLachlan

President

Robin MacLachlan is President at Summa Strategies and a Director at Abacus Data. With nearly two decades of public affairs experience, he provides business and non-profit sector leaders with strategic counsel and advocacy to help them achieve their objectives.

His expertise in communications, stakeholder engagement and the legislative process was shaped by his experience as a political staffer. During his time in politics, Robin worked both as a Constituency Assistant and as a Legislative and Communications Advisor on Parliament Hill. He has extensive experience on political campaigns at all levels – some of it even successful!

Robin has worked with civil society and the non-profit sector, developing effective advocacy campaigns for the Rideau Institute on International Affairs. Since joining Summa, he has worked with businesses, industry associations and non-profit organizations covering a broad range of sectors, including energy and the environment, transportation, technology, financial institutions, labour, immigration, public safety, health and sports. A career path through politics, civil society and the private sector has taught him how policy is influenced from inside and outside of government.

Robin is a political strategist and regular commentator on TV, radio and in print for CBC, CTV, Global TV, CFRA, CPAC and the Hill Times, previously as a weekly contributor to the Power Panel on CBC’s Power and Politics. He has provided strategic communications advice to political leaders at all levels of government and offers media training to stakeholders.

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, out of the office Robin can be found playing football, softball or telling tales of his rugby career while cheering on the Ottawa Irish Rugby Club. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of Rugby Ontario and is on the Steering Committee for Youth Action Now – a Paul Dewar Initiative.

Robin holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Political Science from McGill University.

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Adam

Yahn

Vice-President & Partner

Adam Yahn is vice-president and a partner at Summa Strategies and specializes in communications, government relations, and managing and executing advocacy campaigns. Adam’s deep roots in Ontario politics and insights at Queen’s Park will be a resource for clients working and doing business in Toronto.

He brings extensive experience to Summa having worked within federal and provincial governments as a political staffer to a Federal Minister, Member of Provincial Parliament and Leader of the Official Opposition.

Prior to joining Summa, Adam was the Head of Government Relations at the Ontario Real Estate Association where he spearheaded the Association’s advocacy efforts in Ontario.

In his spare time, Adam is involved in Junior hockey. He previously served as the General Manager of the Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Ottawa and Masters of Public Administration with the University of Victoria.

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Daniel

Perry

Consultant

Daniel is a Consultant at Summa Strategies and provides clients with strategic counsel and advocacy to help them achieve their objectives.

Prior to joining Summa, Daniel worked in the Opposition Whips’ Office in the Senate of Canada, at Queens Park, and the Canadian Criminal Justice Association. Daniel is an experienced campaigner working on leadership races, general elections, and by-elections within all levels of government. He has received a number of awards for his campaign work and was recently selected by Faces Magazine as Ottawa’s Top Conusltant.

During the last election, Daniel was a reoccurring panellist on CBC’s “Power and Politics” and “CTV Morning Ottawa”. Now Daniel is columnist for a Hamilton and Niagara paper and a frequent guest on 900 CHML.

Daniel holds a Master of Political Management from Carleton University, a Joint Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in Communication and Political Science from the University of Ottawa and a Diploma in Business.

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Douglas

Young

Chairman Emeritus

Douglas Young headshot

The Hon. M. Douglas Young, P.C., Q.C. is Chairman Emeritus of Summa Strategies Canada Inc., and CPCS Transcom Ltd..

He has been involved in projects from coast to coast in Canada, as well as in the United States, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, Mexico and Australia.

A lawyer and businessman, he was elected to the federal and provincial levels of government in Canada between 1978 and 1997.

He served as Canada’s Minister of Transport, Minister of Human Resources, and Minister of Defence.

Mr. Young is a graduate of New Brunswick Teachers College, Saint Thomas University, and the University of New Brunswick.

Elliot

Hughes

Senior Advisor

Elliot Hughes headshot

Elliot is a Senior Advisor at Summa Strategies and provides clients with strategic advice, insight into how best to achieve their government relations objectives and how government decisions get made. His areas of expertise include defence, finance and tax policy.

Prior to joining Summa Elliot was Director of Policy to the Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence where he was responsible for the implementation of Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada’s Defence Policy.

Before that, Elliot served as Deputy Director of Policy – Tax for the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance. During that time Elliot supported Minister Morneau present three Federal Budgets and Fall Economic Updates, implement a broad range of personal and business tax changes, including carbon pricing and cannabis, and engage with Provincial, Territorial and international counterparts.

Elliot has worked for the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Lloyds Banking Group (London, UK) and Nutrition International, and has a B.A. from McGill University and an M.B.A. from Queen’s University.

Born in Toronto before moving to Ottawa in 2007, Elliot remains an avid fan of the Toronto Raptors.

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James

Gragg Reilly

Director of Research

James is well versed in parliamentary procedure, and assists clients and the Summa team on a variety of files including international trade, Indigenous affairs, justice, trade, and energy policy. James offers a wealth of experience in parliamentary affairs, having reported on federal legislation and energy from Ottawa for iPolitics. A former member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, James knows the nuts and bolts of how laws get passed in Canada.

Aside from his work on Parliament Hill, James has extensive research and communications experience. He worked with Amnesty International to build a system to profile cases of administrational segregation use in Canadian prisons and to provide research support for a number of interventions made in judicial proceedings for resource development projects. At iPolitics, James led detailed research projects, such as the development of a suite of products on the Legislative Review of the Copyright Act in 2018 in which he guided the team on everything from research to design. James also worked as a consultant for a company specializing in the production of Gladue Reports – pre-sentencing reports for Indigenous people who face a prison term as the result of a criminal conviction. He quickly took on a leadership and training role in the small company.

James is a passionate member of the arts community in Ottawa. He plays concerts with his music groups in major cities across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. But, James has deep roots in Ottawa and attended the University of Ottawa for his Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with Major in Political Science and Major in Ethics and Society.

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Jim

Armour

Managing Partner

Jim Armour is a Managing Partner at Summa and has extensive knowledge of media relations, communications, advocacy and advertising. His broad skill set gives clients the opportunity to take an integrated approach to achieving their objectives.

Prior to joining Summa, Mr. Armour served as Director of Communications and Marketing at the Canadian Medical Association where he played a key role in their efforts to improve access, reduce wait times and address Canada’s doctor shortage.

Mr. Armour worked on Parliament Hill from 1994 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2005. He was Communications Director for two Leaders of the Official Opposition and helped brand the launch of both the Canadian Alliance and the Conservative Party of Canada. This interest in marketing strategy and tactics was furthered by the two years he spent with one of Atlantic Canada’s top advertising agencies.

Originally from St. John’s Newfoundland, Mr. Armour has a B.A. (Hons) from McGill and a M.A. in Newfoundland History from Memorial University. He also earned his APR accreditation from the Canadian Public Relations Society and has a CAAP designation from the Institute of Communication Agencies.

Outside of the office, Jim serves on the boards of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Ottawa Convention Centre, Greo Evidence Insights and Eating Disorders Nova Scotia. He also sits on the editorial board of the international Journal of Communication in Healthcare.

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Kait

LaForce

Senior Consultant

Kait is a Senior Consultant at Summa Strategies, providing government relations and strategic communications advice.

Before becoming a GR Consultant, Kait worked in the communications space on Parliament Hill, where she was a Strategist and Writer at the Liberal Research Bureau. There, Kait produced communications products to support MPs and was a liaison between the Prime Minister’s Office and departmental staff to coordinate and manage digital communication strategy. Through this work, Kait developed strong skills in caucus relations, multicultural outreach, and social media and micro-targeting tactics.

Kait was also a Communications Advisor in the office the Deputy Government Whip, where she worked on issues management, media and stakeholder relations, including extensive interface with healthcare sector leaders.

Her previous experience also includes roles in the non-profit sector, working within the sponsorship space. She has managed relationships with stakeholders and corporate donors, and various communications and marketing strategies.

Kait is a graduate of York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English. She has been honored with the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award for her work in the non-profit sector and volunteer projects.

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Kate

Harrison

Vice
Chair

Katlyn Harrison is Vice Chair at Summa Strategies, specializing in communication and consumer issues.  She provides advice to clients in a variety of fields including telecommunications, finance, defence procurement, environment, public safety, retail, and transportation.

Kate leads Summa’s Ontario government relations practice, crafting and executing strategic public affairs plans for clients seeking to advance their priorities at Queen’s Park. She has worked closely with clients who are seeking grants, contributions and program support from both the federal and Ontario governments, positioning clients from several industries for success.

In addition to government relations work, Kate is responsible for developing targeted communications programs for national clients, as well as those at the Ontario provincial level.

Kate often provides commentary on current affairs and politics as a guest on CTV Power Play, CBC Power & Politics, local Ottawa talk radio stations, as well as the Sirius XM Radio Program Canada Talks. She has also contributed various articles for iPolitics on involving more millennials and women in Canadian politics. Outside of work, Kate is the Chair of the Canadian Advocacy Network, an organization which provides public and government relations support to non-profit organizations on a pro-bono basis.

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Ken

Whiting

Executive Vice-President

Ken Whiting headshot

Ken Whiting, Executive Vice-President at Summa Strategies Canada Inc., brings extensive experience in public affairs consulting, strategic communications, government policy development, and international trade.

At Summa, and previously with a leading international government relations firm, Mr. Whiting has managed complex public affairs programs and has provided strategic advice to major business and environmental associations, transnational corporations, and Canadian businesses. He offers clients many years of consulting experience and expertise in a wide range of sectors, including: forestry, fisheries and mining; environment and energy; foreign relations and international trade; privatization and public-private partnerships; transportation; and infrastructure renewal.

Mr. Whiting has an extensive background in international trade, economic relations, and investment promotion – having served in Canada’s Foreign Service for sixteen years with postings in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. He held senior positions in Canada in the departments of External Affairs, Industry, Trade and Commerce, and Regional Industrial Expansion, managing trade, investment/technology promotion, and economic development programs.

A lawyer by training, Mr. Whiting holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of New Brunswick and a Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from Carleton.

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Laura

Seguin

Administration, Research and Executive Assistance

Laura is usually the first person you meet when you arrive at Summa Strategies. By the time you leave, you will have had your fill of coffee and snacks. You will also swear that you’ve known each other forever.

With over 30 years in the service industry and in administration, Laura takes hospitality very seriously. She also has an uncanny ability to track down Summa consultants anywhere in the country, at any time of day or night.

Before coming to Summa, Laura worked at one of Ottawa’s leading advertising agencies. When she’s not looking after clients, Laura enjoys cooking, a good movie and spending time with family and friends.

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Meredith

Logan

Senior Consultant

Meredith worked for a number of Members of Parliament and Liberal Cabinet Ministers, including The Honourable Dominic Leblanc. When she left the Hill in 2008, Meredith was the Atlantic Desk in the Official Office of the Opposition.

Prior to joining Summa, Meredith was the Senior Advisor, Public Affairs, at the Mental Health Commission of Canada where she was responsible for government and stakeholder relations. Meredith managed the MHCC’s public policy positions and worked to influence decision-makers and improve access to mental health services in Canada. She also helped mobilize the provinces and territories to sign onto the earmarked mental health funding in the re-negotiation of the health accords.

Meredith is originally from New Brunswick and a graduate of Mount Allison University.

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Tim

Powers

Chair

Tim Powers is Chairman of Summa Strategies, a leading Canadian public affairs consulting firm, and the Managing Director of Abacus Data, an opinion research company, both headquartered in Ottawa. He offers clients a wide range of experience and expertise in the fields of business, communications and public policy.

Tim is the Past Chairman of Rugby Canada, Past Lead Director of the Park Lawn Corporation and a former trustee at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH). Mr. Powers is also a media commentator, frequently appearing on CBC’s “Power and Politics.” He is also a writer for the Hill Times newspaper in the nation’s capital.

Tim has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a Master of Arts degree (Atlantic Canada Studies) from St. Mary’s University, and a Master of Sciences degree (Media and Communications) from the London School of Economics. Mr. Powers has also studied Public Sector Management at Harvard University.

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Rhys

Dumond

Consultant

Rhys Dumond is a consultant at Summa Strategies and provides critical insight to the Federal legislature to help clients manage risk and policy objectives.

Prior to joining Summa, Rhys worked at the House of Commons where he helped lead the planning and execution of successful riding level communications plans, advised on policy and legislative matters to committee chairs, and worked with stakeholders to organize industry roundtables across a wide variety of sectors to help brief Members of Parliament.

Rhys holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History from Queen’s University with a focus on Canadian and US public policy and foreign relations. He also holds a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s with a concentration in organizational development and completed the Research Analyst post-graduate certificate at Georgian College.

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Mike

Day

Senior Associate

Summa Strategies Canada – one of the country’s leading public affairs firms – is pleased to announce the addition of L-Gen (Ret’d) Michael Day to their growing team. L-Gen Day will support the firm’s defence, procurement and security practice as a Senior Associate, bringing unparalleled knowledge and awareness of Canada’s defence landscape to the firm.

“Summa has a proud history of working with the world’s leading defence companies, supporting successful procurements and navigating an increasingly complex operating environment,” said Summa’s Vice-Chair, Tim Powers. “Mike adds depth to our already impressive team of consultants who are tapped into the government’s thinking on defence and security issues. He will no doubt provide significant value to our clients.”

L-Gen Day has commanded at every level and rank in a variety of units and deployments around the world. The majority of his field and command time has been as an Operator within Canada’s Counter Terrorist and Special Forces unit, commanding both Joint Task Force Two (JTF 2), and Canada’s Special Operations Forces Command. Mike also served in a number of Senior Staff appointments including the Canadian Armed Forces as a senior Military Officer in the Defence Policy Group and the Chief Strategic Planner for the future of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Following his time with the military, Mike has supported a number of private sector boards and serves as the president for his regimental charity. He will be a familiar face to many in the defence community, serving as a frequent moderator and host of sessions offered by the country’s leading defence associations.

“Understanding all pillars of defence decision-making – from political to civil service to military – is key for procurement success,” said Day. “I’m thrilled to bring my experience and knowledge to the thoughtful minds at Summa, who have a track record of delivering for their clients and a current, contemporary knowledge of how decisions are made.”

Day joins Kate Harrison, Alex Maheu and Elliot Hughes who lead the Defence Procurement Practice at Summa Strategies. Combined, the team brings together multi-partisan strategists who have served as trusted advisors to prime ministers and cabinet ministers overseeing defence files, as well as senior leaders in the Canadian Armed Forces.

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Claire

Smith

Consultant

Claire is a Consultant at Summa Strategies, with a strong background in research and security policy, from various international think-tanks and multiple levels of government. Claire recently completed her Master of Science in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford. In 2019, she graduated from Stanford University, with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, minoring in Communication, and specializing in International Security and Social Development and Human Well-Being. She balanced her undergraduate studies with her athletic scholarship commitments on the Stanford Women’s Track & Field and Cross-Country teams, and student leadership roles in various student clubs, including the Stanford Canadian Club. She competed on Team Canada at several international meets, including the IAAF World Athletics Cross Country Championships.

Claire has worked in international security policy research at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, in Stanford, California, and in administrative research and planning at the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal, at McGill University. She has completed internships at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and in various departments of the City of Ottawa, including the COVID-19 School Support Team, in Ottawa Public Health. She was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario.

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Faria

Amin

Research Consultant

Faria is a Research Consultant at Summa Strategies with a background in public policy and policy analysis. Faria recently completed her Master of Public Policy with a Collaborative Specialization in Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Human Geography in 2019. Faria held student leadership roles on the UBC Political Science Students’ Association and UBC Panhellenic Council and served as Executive Producer for the Munk School’s flagship radio show and podcast, Beyond the Headlines.

Faria has worked at the Great Lakes Office in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and volunteered for non-profit organizations and political campaigns at the federal and provincial levels.

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Carlene

Variyan

Associate Vice President

Carlene Variyan has worked at the most senior levels of the federal government, successfully leading policy, communications, parliamentary affairs, and other consequential work.

Ms. Variyan spent a total of 15 years working on Parliament Hill. Prior to joining Summa, she served Cabinet ministers in the federal government as a Chief of Staff, and prior to that as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Communications. In these roles, she advised Cabinet Ministers holding economic, social, and security portfolios, as well as central agencies. Ms. Variyan’s breadth of experience in government includes the delivery of a Federal Budget, the resolution of major collective bargaining disputes, the coordination of federal response to national security incidents, and collaboration with Canada’s energy sector on decarbonization and clean technology.

From 2014 to 2016, she served on the National Board of Directors of the Liberal Party of Canada, and is also a former Chair of the Judy Lamarsh Fund, which raises funds for women running for office.

Ms. Variyan has held senior roles on the Liberal Party of Canada’s national campaign teams for the 2015, 2019, and 2021 federal elections. She appears frequently as a political commentator and analyst on CTV, CPAC, and other media platforms.

Originally from rural Saskatchewan, Ms. Variyan holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) from Carleton University and is an accountant by training. She is fluent in both of Canada’s official languages.

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Ian

Skipworth

Research Consultant

Ian is a Research Consultant at Summa Strategies, with a background in grassroots politics, research and public policy. Ian recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, majoring in History, specializing in Canadian history, and minoring in Political Science. While living in Montreal he was heavily involved in federal politics, working on a number of campaigns, as well serving as Director of Policy at Liberal McGill. He was also Senior Editor for Historical Discourses, one the nations oldest and premiere undergraduate historical journals.

Ian has worked in policy research in both the public and private sector, conducting communications policy research at Rogers Communications, as well as public policy work for the Member of Parliament for Toronto—Danforth. He was previously chosen as a Liberal Party Summer Leadership Intern. Ian is a devoted, although often disappointed, Blue Jays, Raptors and Leafs fan

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Shifrah

Gadamsetti

Research Consultant

Shifrah brings her experience as a seasoned community advocate and registered nurse to her role as a Research Intern at Summa Strategies. Before working with our team, Shifrah was the Interim Chief of Staff to a Calgary City Councillor and has experience leading teams in government relations, and policy development focused on post-secondary education, gender equity, public health, civic engagement, and non-profit governance.

Shifrah holds a Bachelor of Nursing and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Minor in Women and Gender Studies. During her second term as the President of the Students Association of Mount Royal University, Shifrah was elected Chair of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. She has also served as a Canadian delegate for the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women and continued to champion issues of gender equity and inclusion as a political commentator with CBC Calgary, on Ask Her YYC’s Board of Directors, and as an Executive Advisor with the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Currently, Shifrah is completing her Masters of Political Management at Carleton University focusing on government relations and strategic communications and serves on the Board of YWCA Canada. Outside of the office, you can usually find her curled up with a cup of coffee and a good book.

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Josie

Sabatino

Senior Consultant

Josie Sabatino is a Senior Consultant at Summa Strategies, focused on providing strategic insight and helping clients meet their objectives in an ever changing and complex political and regulatory environment.

Prior to joining Summa, Josie spent nearly a decade in political communications. She has had the unique experience of working and providing communications and issues management advice for both a senior Cabinet Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition, while also serving in communications roles on the 2019 and 2021 federal election campaigns. Most recently, Josie was the Director of Communications for the Leader of the Official Opposition.

In the public affairs space, Josie provided guidance to clients on how to get their issues noticed by decision makers, and led the execution of digital campaigns designed to reach politicians and support staff within the federal and provincial governments from coast to coast.

Born and raised in Northern British Columbia, Josie is a graduate of the University of Northern British Columbia and holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science.

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Alyssa

Bishop

Research Manager

Alyssa is a Research Manager at Summa Strategies, specializing in public policy and research analysis. Last year, she completed an internship as a Research Analyst with the National Capital Commission. Here, she exercised her research, communications and analysis skills. She developed her stakeholder engagement and client liaison skills through pro-bono experience with the Samara Centre for Democracy, and with the Consulting Careers Initiative at the Munk School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. Alyssa has also worked in the office of an MP and has volunteered with multiple political campaigns. 

Alyssa recently graduated from the Munk School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, with a Masters in Public Policy. She also holds a joint Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from McGill University. She has volunteered in the non-profit sector, both in her community and throughout her education.

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Sophie

Normand

Consultant

Sophie is a consultant at Summa Strategies, offering strategic communication, public relations, and government relations advice.

Sophie brings a strong background in public affairs consulting to her clients at Summa. She has provided counsel on federal and provincial matters across industries including the automotive, health and tourism sectors. She has a proven track record of media relations, having landed key media placements in outlets like CBC, CTV, Politico and Global News.

Over the course of her career, Sophie has spearheaded major mental health awareness campaigns, advocacy campaigns, and small-to-large scale rebranding projects. She has extensive experience organizing events—from parliamentary receptions to panel discussions, to galas—in Ottawa, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

With over seven years of experience on Parliament Hill—first as a House of Commons Page, then for a Cabinet Minister, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the Senate of Canada—Sophie brings an unparalleled understanding of Canadian politics and the functions of the Parliamentary system in Canada.

A proud Franco-Ontarian, Sophie is fluently bilingual and a proud fan of the Montreal Canadiens. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in Political Science from the University of Ottawa, and a Master of Arts from The American University in Washington, D.C.  

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Olivier

Cullen

Senior Advisor

Born and raised in Ottawa, Olivier joined Summa after nearly two decades in marketing, communications, crisis and issues management, and relationship building in the private and public sectors. He has a deep passion for community, collaboration and helping clients achieve their advocacy objectives.

Olivier started in client management at marketing agencies, most notably with Ogilvy in London (UK) where he was one of the founders of the Ogilvy innovation lab. There, he worked with clients such as DHL, IBM, American Express, and British Airways.

Upon moving back to his hometown, Olivier joined the federal public service at the Department of Justice as a liaison to the minister’s office. In 2015, he moved to the political side of government, where he gained extensive experience as a senior advisor to ministers at four different portfolios.

For four years, Olivier worked for the Hon. Ralph Goodale at Public Safety Canada on issues management and operations. He also held the role of Indigenous Advisor, leading the overhaul of the national First Nations Policing Program. At Public Safety, Olivier worked closely with federal agencies in national security, cyber security, national policing, border issues, and corrections.

In 2019 he became the Director of Operations and Outreach to the Hon. Marco Mendicino at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. He later moved to Health Canada as a senior advisor to the Hon. Patty Hajdu working on pandemic response and recovery. Olivier also served as acting Chief of Staff and Director of Operations to Minister Hajdu at Indigenous Services Canada.

Throughout his career in politics, Olivier became known as a trusted advisor, a creative problem solver, and a master communicator who is widely recognized for his ability to form deep community and partner relationships across various sectors.  

Olivier holds degrees from Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. He is active in his community, has sat on many local Boards of Directors, is the recipient of volunteer awards, and is an avid hockey coach for his two young children, Jack and Elspeth. 

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Dominic

Besner

Research Consultant

Dominic is a Research and Public Affairs Consultant at Summa, pursuing his master’s degree in political management at Carleton University. Bilingual and born in Montreal, he holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa. Dominic brings a unique perspective on IT Security, intelligence, major capital projects, and defence policies, having worked for 15 years in the security and intelligence portfolio. His last job was as a Defence Construction Canada portfolio manager. Prior to that, he was a project manager on several highly secure real property projects and the head of IT security at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Dominic is an organized strategic thinker and a certified project management professional with very diverse policy interests such as finance, greening government, and government efficiency. He joined Summa ready to share his expertise on requests for proposals and treasury board submissions to help clients navigate the Ottawa bureaucracy. Dominic is a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, but we won’t hold that against him.

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Kaitlynn

Creighan

Research Consultant

Kaitlynn is a Research and Public Affairs Consultant at Summa Strategies. She spends her time doing Parliamentary research, written case studies, and managing research projects from inception to completion for our consultants.

Born and raised in Bedford, Nova Scotia, Kaitlynn graduated in 2021 from Saint Mary’s University with Honours in Political Science and a Minor in Sociology. Right out of the gate, Kaitlynn volunteered in back-to-back provincial and federal elections for the Liberals in the summer of 2021, and served as the President of her local Electoral District Association for the Nova Scotia Liberal Party in 2022.

Before joining the team at Summa, Kaitlynn began her career working in marketing and communications where she ran communications for nine Liberal MLAs and briefly spent time working in the constituency office of her local MLA before moving to Ottawa to complete her Master’s in Political Management at Carleton University. While completing her Master’s, Kaitlynn worked part-time as a Communications Assistant on Parliament Hill where she worked for two MPs of the Atlantic Caucus – Kody Blois, the MP for Kings-Hants, and Lena Metlege Diab, the MP for Halifax-West.

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Catherine

Baril

Product Coordinator

Catherine is our Product Coordinator at Summa Strategies, specializing in graphic design and photography. She spends her time working with us and our clients on design-related projects, such as brand identity, user experience, web and print design, and much more.

Before joining Summa, Catherine worked with small brands and start-up companies to deliver several design products, ranging from sales collateral to user interface designs.

Raised in Ottawa, Catherine attended Algonquin College, completing her diploma in Interactive Media Design with a co-op placement. Since then, Catherine has devoted her time to helping companies with the end goal of pulling off a sharp experience design for the user.

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