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About Us

Refinery gives clients the real feedback and the right tools they need to develop their leaders and inspire people to do great work.

We’re a highly skilled team with diverse, deep business and life experience. We share a natural curiosity, passion for our work, and a desire to develop our clients. We’re always learning, evolving and sharing.

Refinery Leadership Development

Client Engagements

Years In Business

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Meet our Facilitation, Coaching & Leadership Team

Sue Abuelsamid, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

Sue Abuelsamid is a specialist in cultivating leaders with a focus on using curiosity as a tool for engagement in authentic dialogue and designed relationship that brings about sustainable, impactful, and effective leadership. An experienced facilitator, educator, and professional certified coach, Sue brings a wealth of experience to deliver results that lead to real culture change and enables clients to design their ideal teams and lives while connecting with their whole selves.

 

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Judith Asher, Facilitator

Judith Asher is global Executive Coach and Facilitator with 20 years’ experience working across multiple industries with clients ranging from some of the world’s leading multinational Fortune 500 companies to startups and NGOs. Highly skilled in communications and leadership development, Judith brings a unique cross-cultural expertise to her work. This, combined with her sense of humour and genuine commitment to fostering the personal and professional development of others are distinctive features of her engagement with clients.

Originating from Montreal, Judith has lived abroad for most of her life. Speaking English, French and Italian, she has lived on four continents and has worked extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America.

 

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Chantal Bédard, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

Over the last 30 years, Chantal held several senior leadership roles in three business areas: talent development, marketing and sales. As the senior learning and development director, she has transformed the learning culture of one of Canada’s largest telecommunication companies business sales organization. Fluent in English and French, Chantal is a certified business coach (PCC) from the International Coaching Federation and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Sherbrooke.

 

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Fawziah Bhatia, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

Fawziah is a Professional Executive Coach, Leadership Facilitator and Motivational Speaker whose passion lies in unlocking the limitless potential within individuals and teams, guiding them toward self-discovery and professional excellence. She is an impactful storyteller, empathetic, and solutions focused.

Fawziah’s innate ability to connect with clients has been shaped by the richness of her experiences working with diverse populations. With over 10 years of experience in HR Actuarial Consulting, she has an in-depth understanding of corporate culture and strategic problem solving in high stress environments. Fawziah has also facilitated sessions for leadership in both the private and public sector and across global markets including North America, Europe, East Africa, Central Asia and Australia. She has facilitated discussions with leaders on topics such as career development, effective communication, allyship and empowering teams.

 

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Catherine Burdett, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

Prior to becoming a coach, Catherine spent over 20 years in the workplace having held senior roles in management and leadership. An accomplished facilitator and executive coach since 2009, she is highly knowledgeable in the fields of emotional intelligence, resilience, and mindfulness as pathways to transformational, sustainable change and impact. Her coaching philosophy is steeped in a holistic perspective, allowing clients to see and experience themselves differently to achieve the desired results. Catherine is a PCC level coach from the International Coaching Federation.

 

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Ralph Cochrane, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

As an Executive Coach, Ralph brings broad experience garnered from a diverse career in which he worked with over 250 executives globally across many industries. His strong business acumen and strategic mindset build upon a firm foundation of solid business knowledge and experience. Ralph’s focus is helping leaders and teams create accountability in the workplace, develop coaching skills for leaders to create sustainable results, and improve executive presence. A dynamic and engaging facilitator and who leaves a lasting positive impression, Ralph shares experiences in his sessions and is a great storyteller.

 

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Barry Forward, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

Barry Forward is a Vancouver-based Certified Executive Coach with 20+ years’ marketing and executive experience including CEO, President and Board Director (public and private companies), Community Governance Board Member, and Vice President Marketing and Communications. Barry has worked with large corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, early-stage start-ups, government agencies and the non-profit sector.

 

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Sue Bock, Facilitator

Sue is a recognized executive coach, consultant and facilitator with over 25 years experience in organizational development. Her collaborative approach with clients brings lasting relationships and focused results. Sue’s diverse background has led to a unique approach to leadership and workplace development. Her passion for coaching weaves through all her work including mentorship programming, strategic planning, board development, feasibility studies and community development. Sue intentionally coaches leaders to embrace the importance of their role and develop those around them to do the same.

 

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Jennifer Johnson, Facilitator

Jennifer, a seasoned professional with over 30 years in Human Resources, specializes in Leadership and Executive Coaching, Human Resources Consulting, and facilitation. With a strong belief in the competitive advantage of effective leadership, she approaches her clients with a systems perspective to strengthen their leadership capabilities. She excels in facilitating vision and strategy sessions, providing thought partnership to business leaders, fostering leadership and team development, and mediating conflicts. She has a passion for helping leaders and their teams work intentionally to create a stronger future.

For over 10 years, Jennifer has formally been coaching senior leaders in R&D, Operations, functional areas and business owners across many industries like health care, manufacturing, construction and hospitality. She has coached and developed high-potential talent for Director and Vice President roles and has worked with leaders on executive presence, personal satisfaction, leadership impact, emotional intelligence, confidence, change management, and influence.

 

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Faris Khalifeh, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

Faris is an international leadership coach, consultant, and facilitator with over 10 years of experience working with clients from different industries ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. His corporate background has given him a unique perspective on life coaching, leadership, and training. Faris coached more than 1000 leaders globally across many industries.

His passion for coaching is visible through all his work including teaching, mentoring, consulting, community development, and serving on boards including The International Coaching Federation (ICF). Faris is also a Keynote Speaker and spoke at many international events alongside well-recognized thought leaders such as Bob Burg, Celina Caesar-Chavannes, and Dorie Clark.

Prior to becoming a coach, Faris spent 10 years in the workplace having held senior roles in management and leadership.

 

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Dan Buchner, Facilitator

Dan is an award-winning designer, entrepreneur, educator, and leadership facilitator. As the former Vice President of Leadership at the Banff Centre, Dan provided overall leadership, strategic direction, and program philosophy focusing on leadership for social innovation.

His recently published book, “How Might We…Championing Design Thinking In Your Organization?” has drawn accolades from leaders around the world who are striving to bring innovation and practical ideation to their organizations.

 

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Rachel Irvine-Halliday, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

With over 30 years of global experience spanning academia, non-profits, and Fortune 500 companies, Rachel is a veteran of facilitation. Specializing in comprehensive workshops, she cultivates executives, teams, and leaders. She focuses on developing empathetic leaders, fostering high-performance teams, and advancing diversity and inclusion while achieving concrete business outcomes. Known for her engaging, impassioned, and authentic style, Rachel serves as both a learning guide and a catalyst for transformative thinking in 21st-century leadership.

 Her extensive career includes designing and executing executive programs across North America, Europe, and Asia. Her mastery covers leader advancement, executive coaching, career growth, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and crafting high-impact people strategies for corporate goals. Grounded in people-centric learning, Rachel engages audiences through introspection, trust-building, and impactful developmental exercises.

 

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Sam Houston, Leadership Coach

With almost 30 years of global senior leadership experience in operational engineering, construction, and mining, Sam is a master at coaching clients to success. He helps his clients transform underperformance into increased profit, streamline dysfunctional structures, and build high-performing teams. Sam’s an expert in growth strategies, project and portfolio management, PMO development, strategic planning, performance management, and business development. His deep technical expertise in engineering and project delivery is balanced with his know-how in leadership, strategy, business change, sustainability, digitalization, and diversity and inclusion. Sam is engaging, inspiring, and relentlessly dedicated to ensuring his clients succeed.

 

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Ben Miller, Facilitator

Having led leadership and team development workshops in a variety of countries and companies. Ben’s success is attributed to his engaging facilitation style, curiosity and passion for learning. Ben brings a business background with a Master’s degree in Organizational Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is trained in improv, worked in creative development in film and television and led business development for the e-learning platform, Pollenzie. Ben enjoys developing creative leadership programs.

 

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Dave Momper, Facilitator

As a Refinery consultant, Dave provides a down to earth, yet dynamic style of facilitation drawing on both an analytical and relationship-focused mentality to leadership. He seeks to empower innovative, mindful, and resilient leaders who can navigate the constant nature of change and innovation in our modern working environments.

After leading business development for two award winning creative agencies in Denver, Colorado, Dave developed a deep passion for creativity, the power of storytelling and the art of listening. In conjunction with the Growth-Mindset and a design-thinking philosophy, Dave infuses many of these key leadership aspects into every interaction and program he facilitates.

Dave has a Bachelor of Science & Business Administration – Finance from the University of Colorado, and is a Certified Listening Practitioner, Certified in DISC Behaviors & 12 Motivators.

 

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Vanessa Lesperance, Facilitator

Vanessa is a decolonial facilitator who thrives on creating safe and brave spaces in order for folks to feel heard, seen and valued.

Vanessa is a mixed heritage Metis woman originally from Treaty 1 (Winnipeg). She is on a mission to invoke heart-centered transformation and decolonize business.

Vanessa has 12 years of corporate experience and thrived on creating strong, productive and engaged teams. She has worked extensively with Indigenous women entrepreneurs with the not-for-profit Indigenous LIFT Collective. Her economic reconciliation work includes advocating for improvements with federal ministers on Indigenous procurement; designing and delivering entrepreneurial and leadership programs; holding online circles; and overseeing the creation of a decolonizing business online course.

She has presented at Fairleigh Dickinson University, the 2020 Kindness Matters Conference, Surrey School District, Royal Roads University, HILTI North America and has hosted “Indigenous Enough” circles for Google and Trent University.

She is also an instructor at the Justice Institute teaching courses on Power and Privilege and Relational Leadership.

 

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Lauren Morrison, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

As a certified Career & Business Performance Coach, Lauren’s work is dedicated to helping women — largely women of color — get clear on the next steps to take in their careers (in corporate settings as well as independent entrepreneurship) and figure out how to show up as their whole, authentic selves in every aspect of life.

Prior to becoming a Career Coach, Lauren spent 13 years working in corporate. There, she went from entry-level to Director within 6 years, won multiple awards, spoke at several corporate events for women, black professionals and youth as well as assumed the role of marketing and communications lead for the Black Professionals Network.

Throughout her career, she has coached and mentored many in the professional space. Those who have benefited from her leadership, mentorship and coaching have gone on to build executive presence as well as earn promotions, exceptional performance ratings, and increased salaries. Lauren is an Associated Certified Coach (ICF Certified), Certified Personal & Business Performance Coach (ACSTH), EQ-i 2.0 Certified, and Project Management Professional (PMP).

 

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Dagmar Meachem, Leadership Coach

For over 15 years, Dagmar has worked with leaders locally and internationally at all different levels of crisis, business models and personalities, coming alongside them through their change, growth and transformation as they take the next step in reaching their full potential. Her focus and methodology for change is to help create more courageous individuals, as she believes in courage as a catalyst for change, pushing us to act, move forward, and power through challenges. She is an accomplished leadership coach, facilitator, entrepreneur and change maker.

Dagmar’s approach is one of compassionate and focused encouragement, where her clients are held accountable to the goals they set together. Her specialty is being a supportive and consistent force in helping her clients face their challenges head on and grow and develop because of them. Dagmar is an accredited Certified Professional Coach by Erickson Coaching International, Professional Certified Coach (PCC) by the International Coaching Federation and is EQ-i 2.0 Certified.

 

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Ana María Larenas Mackay, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

Ana María has developed her career as a psychologist and consultant, always inspired by her passion and main interest in life, which serving people in their development and transformation. With that goal in mind, the world of work and business has been a propitious setting for deploying and growing her coaching and skills development competence. Ana María is an expert in listening to clients and understanding their dynamics, empathizing with the participants of our programs and discovering the strengths to take them to the next level of development.

 

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Louise Poisson, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

Louise likes to get off the beaten path. She uses her intuition and resourcefulness to move ahead and succeed where others become skeptical, begin doubting, and choose to stop. Her distinctive style, eclectic and straightforward, are in sync with her need to try new and varied methods, approaches, and ways of doing and being, which have led her to develop a great talent for listening, understanding and inspiring contemporary leaders.

After working in the communications industry for 20 years, Louise turned to coaching where she uses her experience as project and multicultural team manager to help leaders reach their full performance potential. Louise helps her clients grow through relationship dynamics, that is, the relationship people have with themselves, others and their environment.

Louise specializes in reconnecting leaders with their “power within” while equipping them with the tools they need to effectively mobilize their teams. She helps them set new targets using a systemic vision and establishes a climate of trust to encourage leaders to innovate and dare to be different. As a lever of change, she inspires optimism, co-responsibility and cohesion.

 

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Ashley Ross, Leadership Coach

With over 20 years of senior leadership and business development experience in healthcare technology, Ash offers tailored coaching that drives personal and organizational success. With a strong background in leading multifunctional organizations and managing complex operations, Ash is dedicated to empowering leaders. In his coaching, Ash leverages a rich toolkit grounded in psychology, enhanced by his MSC in Coaching for Behavioural Change and extensive certifications. Ultimately, he strives to guide clients towards success with confidence, unlocking their potential and igniting personal and organizational progress.

 

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Pam Schmidt, Facilitator

Specializing in high engagement and high inquiry facilitations, Pam partners with leaders and works with them to design custom facilitations. She is a leader and organization development consultant, working in both private and public sector. Pam holds a Master of Applied Behavioral Science and has training and/or certification in: Human Systems Dynamics Co-Resolve, Deep Democracy, The Art of Hosting, Large Group Conferencing, and Problem Solving through Human- Centered Design Thinking.

 

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Lisa Slavid, Facilitator

Lisa is an organizational consultant, keynote speaker, cartoonist, and executive coach. She designs and facilitates programs on leadership, innovation, DEI, and strategic planning, and is known for coining the term “learned hopefulness” in relation to expanding ones’ sense of creativity and agency.

Her DEI facilitation work spans several decades and many industries, including higher education, non-profits and global corporations. Expertise in this area encompasses foundational DEI theories, inclusive leadership, and encouraging the framework of compassionate life-long learning on this topic. Her gentle yet energetic style helps people and organizations reach their highest potential through the frameworks of positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, creativity and innovation.

Lisa is also a trustee for Semester at Sea who spent 25 years as a higher educational professional. An extensive traveler, she is always seeking ways to help people, organizations and communities thrive.

 

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Carolina Sougarret, Executive Coach, Leadership Development Facilitator

Carolina brings on a valuable combination of HR expertise having worked on important multinational organizations in various HR roles together with Leadership Development and Coaching skills that enable a powerful systemic view appreciation for business context and people strategy.

Her passion is coaching people and being able generate awareness on improvement areas and talents, empowering them seek actions that will build the best version of them.

She enjoys generating collaborative work networks, keeping abreast of the latest trends in the world of work, education and human capital, achieving impact and influence in what she does.

 

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Erin Waddell, Leadership Coach

Over a wide-ranging career, Erin has been a successful international speaker, executive coach, transformational change manager, leadership development facilitator, management consultant, accountant, educator, software technology consultant, researcher, and project manager. She is passionate about coaching in ways that enable clients to embrace change, align goals, think creatively and achieve results.

Erin is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA), Project Management Professional (PMP), and holds a Master of Arts in Leadership. She actively contributes to the global community through volunteer work with organizations supporting education, health and infrastructure in developing countries. She is a volunteer director with Health Reach Canada and an active participant on development projects in Nepal, Tanzania and Mizoram, India.

Erin is also engaged in her professional communities as Director of External Relations with the International Coach Federation and past Chair of the Calgary Chapter of CPA’s.

 

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John Whitehead, Facilitator, Leadership Coach

John Whitehead is an experienced leader, facilitator, and Professional Certified Coach (ICF Credentialed), with over 40 years of senior leadership and management experience. John holds a Masters Degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC, and before becoming a Certified Executive Coach (CEC, Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC,) held a senior operational position with a leading national organization, achieving significant recognition for his results. John’s clients have included senior and emerging leaders in various industries including major utilities, mining, sports, Hi-Tech, entertainment, retail and direct sales, along with coaching other coaches and training professionals.

 

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Stacie Wilkinson, Leadership Coach

Stacie Wilkinson is a Calgary based Executive Leadership Coach.   Educated as an engineer she has worked with STEM leaders of all levels who are inspired to be better and make a difference. Prior to becoming a coach, she spent 25 years in both technical and business roles in Canada’s energy industry. Her experiences include strategic planning, operations management, business improvements, and implementing profitability optimization and cost reduction tactics. She has built teams, implemented processes, managed change, and created great leaders. She has worked at and held Director and Vice President roles at Suncor Energy, Husky Energy, Parkland, and Accenture.

 

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Cathy Williscroft, Leadership Coach

Cathy is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of experience in operations, human resources and organizational learning.  Drawing on her rich background in consulting, facilitation, and program design, Cathy seamlessly integrates these skills into her coaching relationships. She supports leaders on individual growth goals and teams on group process, as a fierce advocate for transformative change. 

Her coaching emphasizes strengthening relationships, increasing personal responsibility and achieving results with purpose and confidence. Cathy’s approach is grounded in principles to enhance awareness while shifting perspectives and focusing on essential elements. She is a strategic thinking partner supporting leaders through the often-challenging process of unlearning and relearning mindsets and behaviours that get in their way of achieving their highest potential. 

 

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