Staff - The Samara Centre for Democracy

Staff


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Kendall Anderson

Executive Director

Kendall became the new Executive Director for the Samara Centre in October 2019. Prior to this, Kendall was Managing Director, and oversaw all the programming and internal work of the Samara Centre, including the production of ground-breaking research reports and educational materials, as well as interactive online engagement projects like the Everyday Political Citizen. Before joining the Samara Centre in 2011, Kendall was an editor for ten years at Random House of Canada where she worked with bestselling authors of both novels and non-fiction. Kendall studied publishing at both Ryerson University and Simon Fraser University, and she has a BSc from the University of Guelph, which she currently only uses to prevent her two young children from contracting food-borne illnesses.

Kendall recommends checking out what Canadians expect from political parties



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Michael Morden

Research Director

Mike joined the Samara Centre from the Mowat Centre, a public policy think tank at the University of Toronto. Previously, he was a SSHRC postdoctoral research fellow in Canadian politics at Western and Wilfrid Laurier Universities, a senior policy advisor in the government of Ontario, and a research associate with the Mosaic Institute. Mike holds a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. He is responsible for leading the Samara Centre's program of democracy-boosting research and contributing to its mission of asking critical questions, producing new evidence, and linking knowledge to action. Michael is originally from London, ON, and he aspires to one day have a small cabin in the woods.

Mike recommends reading Cheering or Jeering, the Samara Centre’s first study of heckling in the House of Commons, because he’s trying to keep it civil.



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Adelina Petit-Vouriot

Research Associate

Adelina helps produce the Samara Centre’s illuminating research on politics, parliament, and civic engagement. She is committed to demystifying government and making Canadian politics more inclusive, approachable, and appealing. These broad interests led her to formally study politics in her hometown at the University of Winnipeg and, more recently, at the University of Toronto, where she completed her MA. Since then, she has been involved in Toronto’s non-profit sector, managing and developing civic engagement programming and resources for youth. She has found that participating in politics doesn’t mean knowing all the answers; it's more about asking the right questions. When such questioning occasionally becomes overwhelming, Adelina turns to knitting and walking other people’s dogs to refocus her priorities.

If you’re feeling like you could some direction on how to get more involved in your community’s decision-making, Adelina urges you to take a look at the blog post "I Marched. Now What?"



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José Ramón Martí

Communications Manager

Raised in London, ON, the son of Mexican immigrants, José has been a strong champion of everyday democracy. His concern for the state of democracy in Canada and abroad led him to study political science and mass communications at Western University, including placements in Toronto, New York City, and Kuala Lumpur. He then completed a master’s degree in public policy at New York University, where he conducted outreach, facilitation, and research into the city's participatory budgeting process. At the Samara Centre, José is responsible for overseeing all external communications and media relations. In his spare time, he volunteers with his local community land trust, throws parties for charity, and takes his dog on long walks through the city.

José is interested in all the ways we can make our democracy better. For a good place to start, he invites you to explore 50 Ways to Redesign Parliament.

José Ramón Martí
José Ramón Mart


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Christine Latimer

Operations Manager

Christine is a senior-level administrator and governance expert with over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector. At Samara, she provides cross-disciplinary strategic support to the staff and Board of Directors. Prior to joining the Samara Centre, Christine held governance and executive support roles with an array of non-profit and public sector institutions, including the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, OCAD University, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Government of Ontario. She has also served in Board governance executive roles with several non-profit arts organizations. Christine graduated from OCAD University with a double-major in Photography and Integrated Media. She is an internationally recognized visual artist, having exhibited work at over 250 galleries and film festivals across five continents. In her spare time, you can find her making things, fixing broken technologies, and watching movies.

Christine is passionate about active citizenship, and how the arts in particular can generate inclusive, intentional spaces for community building and critical discourse. She recommends reading the report Investing in Canadians' Civic Literacy.


Co-founders

 

Alison Loat

Co-founder

Alison Loat is the co-founder of the Samara Centre for Democracy and was the executive director from 2008 to 2015. She is also the co-author of the #1 best-selling book Tragedy in the Commons. The Samara Centre’s early work was used to develop federal legislation on democratic reform, improve politics curricula, the orientation of newly elected MPs and initiatives to improve citizens’ participation in politics. 

Alison is a member of the Premier of Ontario’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel and is on the board of the Banff Forum. She was also a fellow and instructor at the University of Toronto from 2007-2014 and served as the past president of the Canadian Club of Toronto, a director of the Toronto Community Foundation and a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Alumni Board.

Alison received several awards for her public service leadership, including the Queen’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, where she co-leads a disability rights initiative, and was named one of the WXN 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. She has degrees from Queen’s University (BAH) and the Harvard Kennedy School (MPP).

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Michael MacMillan

Co-founder and Chair

In 2007, Michael co-founded the Samara Centre for Democracy and continues to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors.

In 2011, he co-founded and is CEO of Blue Ant Media, a company that produces, distributes, and broadcasts television programming internationally.

In 1978, he co-founded Atlantis Films Limited with fellow Queen’s University grads Seaton McLean and Janice Platt. He was Chairman and CEO of Atlantis (which later became Alliance Atlantis) for almost 30 years.

Michael is also the co-founder and co-owner of Closson Chase Vineyard and Winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

A member of the Order of Canada, Michael has volunteered with numerous community and industry organizations over many years. He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College and co-author of the book  Tragedy in the Commons.

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  • Tuesday, June 30, 2020

    A Canada Day Message from Samara

    The Samara Centre's Research Director, Dr. Mike Morden, wrote this newsletter to our supporters on Canada Day. Catch up on what we've been up to and what we're planning.
  • Wednesday, June 17, 2020

    Samara Speaks at PROC

    Last week, the Samara Centre for Democracy appeared before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) to share recommendations on how Parliament should run during COVID-19. Read our full remarks here.
  • Tuesday, June 09, 2020

    The Samara Centre's 2019 In Review

    We invite you to read about our work last year, and hope it inspires you to support a stronger democracy and to share our impact with others.