About us

The Impact and Innovation Unit is staffed by a highly skilled, interdisciplinary team with decades of combined experience in policy/program development and management, outcomes-based funding, evaluation, partnership brokering, and behavioural insights. 

Meet the team

Matthew Mendelsohn, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Results and Delivery)

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Matthew Mendelsohn is the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet for Results and Delivery in the Privy Council Office, leading the federal government’s Results and Delivery Unit and Impact and Innovation Unit.

Prior to returning to the federal public service, Matthew was the founding Director of the Mowat Centre, a public policy think tank in the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto. During that time he published and lectured widely on government transformation, democratic institutions and intergovernmental politics.

Matthew is a former Deputy Minister and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet with the Ontario government and a former Senior Advisor in the federal government’s Privy Council Office.

Matthew received his B.A. from McGill University and Ph.D. from the l’Université de Montréal, and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University for 10 years and has been an active volunteer board member for many not-for-profit organizations that support community engagement and improved social and economic outcomes.

Rodney Ghali, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet

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Rodney is the Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet of the Impact and Innovation Unit at the Privy Council Office, Government of Canada. He is responsible for leading the exploration and execution of new and innovative policy and programmatic approaches, focused on improving impact, accountability and value for Canadians. Prior to his current role, Rodney was Director General of the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada, where he was responsible for overseeing the Federal Government's policy and programs in the areas of healthy living and chronic disease prevention. Previously, Rodney spent a number of years at Health Canada in various positions such as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Minister and Director of Strategic Policy. He has worked on numerous legislative/regulatory initiatives and health-related issues including: food and consumer product safety, reproductive technologies, aboriginal health, blood safety and mental health. Rodney holds a Master of Science (neurobiology) from McGill University and a Honours Bachelor of Science (genetics) from the University of Western Ontario.  

Chad Hartnell, Director of Operations

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Chad Hartnell is the Director of Operations of the Impact and Innovation Unit in the Government of Canada’s Privy Council Office.  In this role, he leads work under Impact Canada, a cross-government initiative that works in partnership with government and non-government organizations in applying innovative financing approaches (e.g., challenge prizes, pay-for-results projects), new partnership models, impact measurement methodologies and behavioural insights in priority areas.

Over his federal government career, Chad has worked in Public Health Agency of Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Health Canada and the Privy Council Office. In these roles, he has worked on a variety of initiatives in the policy, legislative, and programming domains, including in healthy living/chronic disease prevention; Indigenous health, employment; social and economic development; and justice and public safety.

Chad holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi and Bachelor of Arts (economics and political science) from the Colorado College.

Elizabeth Hardy, Senior Lead, Behavioural Insights

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Elizabeth is Senior Lead, Behavioural Insights at the Impact and Innovation Unit overseeing the application of behavioural science to public policy challenges. Prior to joining the Government of Canada, Elizabeth held several senior leadership positions, including leading the Behavioural Insights Unit in the Government of Ontario, where she was instrumental in creating and building Canada’s first behavioural science team in government. To date, Elizabeth has successfully completed trials dealing with public health, financial decision-making, tax collection, regulatory compliance, and service delivery. She provides advice and guidance on the application of behavioural science to public policy, recently supporting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a member of the External Advisory Committee for Capacity Development. In addition, Elizabeth is Co-Chair of the Behavioural Insights Community of Practice in the Government of Canada and Chairs the pan-Canadian Behavioural Insights Network (BIN). 

David Donovan, Lead, Policy and Innovative Finance

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David is Lead, Policy and Innovative Finance at the Impact and Innovation Unit. Before joining the Privy Council Office, David was responsible for advancing private sector partnership and international development finance efforts at Global Affairs Canada. He has held roles in public, private, and academic sectors. David is the former research director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's University. He has published a number of articles relating to the international promotion of democracy, and on democratic and Parliamentary reform in Canada. He has also presented his views on democratic governance before a number of Parliamentary Committees and international conferences. David graduated with a BA (Honours with Distinction) in Political Studies and Master's in Public Administration from Queen's. He is also a Sauvé Fellow of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation based in Montréal. 

Julie Greene, Lead, Capacity and Partnerships

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Julie is responsible for developing partnerships and building capacity for the Federal government to use outcomes-based funding approaches, including Challenge Prizes and pay-for-success projects. Her team’s current portfolio of projects span social determinants of health, environment and inclusion.

Before joining the Privy Council Office, Julie was a key designer of an innovative chronic disease program, which was an early adopter in using matched funding with the private sector and pay-for-results methods. She co-led a program of research to explore these types of partnerships, and has jointly published several papers in this field.  Previously, Julie worked to advance tobacco control and mental health initiatives, and has always been passionate about understanding how to motivate and measure behaviour change.

Julie was educated at the University of Ottawa, holds a Master's Degree in Education (Counselling), a Bachelor of Social Science, and spent early years in her career working in clinical and community settings. Raised in the federal Health Portfolio, with feet firmly planted in policy, program and research positions, she is looking to further contribute to the systemization of public sector innovation.

Michael Haber, Lead, Public Engagement

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Dr. Michael Haber is Lead, Public Engagement, at the Impact and Innovation Unit. In this role, he is responsible for collaborating with federal departments and external partners to advance Impact Canada Challenge Prizes and Initiatives, and for supporting the IIU’s digital delivery model. Before joining the Privy Council Office, Michael spent 10 years with Health Canada as a Human Therapeutic Product Assessment Officer, a project manager, and most recently, as the department’s Government of Canada Entrepreneur to the Deputy Minister Task Force on Public Sector Innovation. Michael was educated at McGill University and holds a Doctorate and Master of Science in Neuroscience, a Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology, and a Bachelor of Science in Physiology.

Valérie Anglehart, Program Coordinator

Valérie Anglehart is the Program Coordinator at the Impact and Innovation Unit (IIU). She is responsible for working in close collaboration with stakeholders inside and outside government to help deliver on key priorities, including the IIU’s Innovative Staffing Program. Prior to this role, she was the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, Results and Delivery. Valérie was responsible for providing administrative leadership and developing procedural and copy edit guides for this newly established Secretariat. Valérie has an extensive background in Executive support. She has also led on the data validation exercise of the Order-in-Council transfers to Shared Service Canada, and worked on the Executive Performance Management and Talent Management Programs at Global Affairs Canada. A key strength that anyone interacting with her will appreciate is her humility and her ability to develop strong lasting partnerships.

Laurie Bennett, Multimedia Communications Officer

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Laurie is the Impact and Innovation Unit’s Multimedia Communications Officer. She focuses her efforts on increasing accessibility to the work of the IIU through the development of engaging publications and web-based products. Prior to her work with the IIU, Laurie served as VP of operations for Transpath, a medical diagnostics firm, and also did work as a videographer and online courseware developer for the University of Alberta. Laurie has an honours diploma in Interactive Media Design from Algonquin College, with specializations in digital publishing, motion graphics, and video productions.

Saskia Jarvis, Senior Advisor, Operations

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Saskia is a Senior Advisor at the Impact and Innovation Unit. She is responsible for providing support for various IIU activities, including building networks with federal departments and external partners to foster collaboration and advance the Government of Canada's experimentation and innovation agenda. She also provides support for the Deputy Ministers Task Force on Public Sector Innovation. Before joining the Privy Council Office, Saskia worked on a variety of health-related policy initiatives, with a focus on health promotion and chronic disease prevention. Saskia has experience in advancing private sector partnerships, and provided policy support for The Play Exchange, a national competition that sought transformative ideas to create healthier, active lifestyles for Canadians. Saskia graduated from Carleton University with a BA (Honours) in Sociology and a Master's of Arts in Sociology.

Craig Joyce, Senior Advisor, Methods

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Craig is a Senior Advisor at the Impact and Innovation Unit. He has held various roles in government in the area of evaluation over a period of ten years. At the IIU, he is part of the team responsible for supporting the development of the IIU’s framework for impact measurement. He is currently leading the IIU’s work to evaluate the impact of challenge prizes. Craig has a special interest in evaluating the impact of programs and policies on the quality of life of Canadians, as well as using quasi-experimental research methods in evaluation in order to rigorously measure impact. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Queen’s University, a Master of Public Administration, and a Master of Library and Information Studies, both from Dalhousie University.

Janelle Lanoix, Senior Advisor, Partnerships and Programs

Janelle is a Senior Advisor of Partnerships and Programs in the Impact and Innovation Unit of the Privy Council Office. She is responsible for supporting and collaborating with multi-sectoral partners to advance innovation, new partnership models, and outcomes-based funding approaches (e.g., prizes/challenges, pay-for-success, etc.) within government. Before joining the Privy Council Office, Janelle worked on a variety of health-related policy, legislative, and programming initiatives, in the areas of healthy living, chronic disease prevention and the legalization of cannabis. Janelle graduated from the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor Degree in Health Sciences and a Graduate Diploma in Population Health Risk Assessment and Management. She is currently doing her Master's in Public Health with the University of Alberta.

Jessica Ly, Executive Assistant

Jessica is the executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet at the Impact and Innovation Unit (IIU). In her role, Jessica serves as a primary contact for external offices and provides executive and administrative support to the Assistant Secretary and this office. 

Prior to working at the IIU, Jessica worked at Health Canada as a management executive assistant for a number of senior offices. Jessica has 10 years of experience as an executive assistant in the federal government and a former work background in hospitality and store management.

Sarah MacMaster, Junior Advisor

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Sarah is a Junior Advisor at the Impact and Innovation Unit of the Privy Council Office. She is the social media coordinator for the team and supports the Impact Canada platform. Before joining the Privy Council Office, Sarah worked as an administrative assistant to the Assistant Deputy Minister and General Director in the Federal-Provincial Relations and Social Policy Branch at the Department of Finance. Prior to that, she worked as the executive assistant and meeting coordinator for the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA). There, she was responsible for overseeing the planning and coordination of meetings and conventions. Sarah obtained her degree in History and English from the University of Ottawa.

Chris Soueidan, Visual Designer

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Chris is the Impact and Innovation Unit’s Visual Designer. He is focused on developing the digital brand behind the IIU and its related visual products. Chris worked as a user experience designer in the Information Technology Bureau at Global Affairs Canada, collaborated on web design projects with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, led the accreditation product design for the G7 Summit and runs Loogart, a Canadian visual design studio. He specializes in illustration, brand identity design, motion graphics, user experience and web. Chris holds a Bachelor of Engineering from McGill University in Montreal.

Alyssa Whalen, Advisor, Behavioural Insights

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Alyssa is an Advisor at the Impact and Innovation Unit. She is responsible for supporting the application of behavioural science and statistically rigorous experimentation methods to address complex policy and program challenges. Alyssa supports projects carried out both within the IIU, and by the Behavioural Insights Fellows within other government departments. Before joining the Government of Canada, she researched and studied at Queen’s University, concentrating in quantitative and qualitative consumer behaviour research. From Queen’s, Alyssa holds a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Science in Marketing, as well as certificates in Business and Social Impact.

Katharina Wolff, Senior Advisor – Policy and Impact Measurement

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Katharina is a Senior Advisor at the Impact and Innovation Unit. She is responsible for providing support for various IIU activities with a particular focus on test-driving new measurement approaches with key federal Department partners as part of the Government of Canada’s experimentation and innovation agenda. She is keen to help the IIU translate their impact and innovation agenda into the policy development cycle. Katharina comes from the Province of Ontario where she most recently designed and delivered a $50 million innovation What Works Fund for poverty reduction. Through this work, she spearheaded the use of evaluative design thinking and testing of innovative measurement technologies to help advance Government’s understanding of “what works”. Katharina has over 10 years of experience in strategic policy, and program design and implementation, including expertise in evaluation and impact measurement. Katharina is a graduate of Western University with a dual Business Commerce and Arts Degree, and a Masters of Art’s specialization in Program and Policy Evaluation.

Anke Shi - Executive Assistant

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Anke is the Executive Assistant to the Director of Operations at the Impact and Innovation Unit. In this role, she provides administrative support for the Director of Operations, secretariat support for IIU Management Meetings, and other administrative functions. Prior to this position, she worked at Canada Revenue Agency, University of British Columbia, and Statistics Canada in various administrative positions. Anke holds a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia.

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