Meet the Common Approach team

The Common Approach is a community-driven initiative. Each part of our expanding network of partners and supporters, including the Champions group, a national social purpose organizations advisory committee, a social funders advisory board, and a newly formed board of directors, among others, are playing a foundational role and helping to set the stage for widespread adoption of its standards. 

Supporting all these groups is our staff team, which serves as a secretariat for the Common Approach. 

 

Picture of Kate RuffKate Ruff, Common Approach Lead and Assistant Professor, Accounting, Sprott School of Business

The Common Approach was a collective vision brought to life by a grant and some great people. As the lead on that grant and the next, Kate anchors the team’s focus in a perseverant patience that understands the long and winding road of systems change. 

Kate is a full-time faculty member at Carleton University. As an academic, Kate is mindful of what’s gone before and the need to situate the Common Approach in dialogue with other standard-setting and impact measurement initiatives. She is grateful that her academic role affords her the time to do just that.

Kate spends much time thinking about the power of standards—both to do good and harm. The Common Approach must be values-driven; not results-driven.  She is thrilled by the incredible group of values-driven staff, directors and partners that have come together to help articulate a  flexible impact measurement standard that is thoughtful about power and where it is held and how it is used. 

Garth Yule, Strategy and Operations Lead

As Strategy and Operations Lead, Garth ensures that our team has the tools and systems in place to do our best work. He helps facilitate our shared strategy to achieve the Common Approach’s vision for impact measurement standards.

Garth’s career has been varied, including stints with private companies, government, non-profits, and grassroots organizations, with a common thread of social responsibility. A skilled communicator, Garth is known for his ability to bring complex ideas and concepts to life in interesting ways. 

Garth grew up all over Ontario, ultimately finishing highschool in Romania and then France, due to his father’s work in the energy sector. He now spends his time on Canada’s West coast with his family, where the occasional dance party may break out thanks to their shared love of electronic music. 

Picture of Alicia RichinsAlicia Richins, Partnerships and Standards Lead

Our Partnerships and Standards Lead, Alicia Richins, is on a personal mission to advance the UN SDGs through advocacy, capacity building and community building because she knows we can’t solve wicked problems working in silos. 

Collaborative work for a more equitable world has been Alicia’s focus through two degrees at York University, her on-going work at Leading Change, and her participation in the Centre for Social Innovation changemakers’ program. Alicia joined the Common Approach because of its community-driven focus, and because of the power of impact measurement – especially a flexible approach to impact measurement – to help coordinate progress. 

Alicia credits her sense of global citizenship to growing up as a citizen of Canada who had never been to Canada, the daughter of a pilot who travelled widely. And she blames her dad for steering her away from her chosen career of concert violinist, telling her that she had gifts that could change the world more than her music would.

Photo of Valerie AdriaanseValerie Adriaanse, Communications Lead

Our Communications Lead, Valerie Adriaanse, is a multi-passionate sustainability professional with a penchant for storytelling. She applies this gift to clearly articulate the Common Approach’s mission and vision, and connect with our growing community.

Since turning her degree in English Literature into a career in environmental sustainability and renewable energy, Valerie has over a decade of experience with charities and social enterprises looking for a better way to do things, and she knows exactly how to encourage them to expand their metrics for success. In pursuit of better ways to operate the economy, this Climate Reality Leader is on a mission to secure a more equitable future where we all have the chance to thrive. After all, we’re all stuck on this rock together.

A Southern Ontario gal, Valerie is a global citizen and lifelong learner who can often be found singing along to her ever-growing collection of vinyl records.

Photo of Cara McGonegalCara McGonegal, Collaborator and Researcher

A Collaborator and Researcher with the Common Approach, Cara applies deep critical thinking and reflection to the curation of practical evaluation tools and methods for community work. She is committed to reimagining how we assign value, and to thinking through how impact measurement can be a tool that enables reciprocal relationships. Her work includes community engagement to decipher how the Common Approach can humbly and meaningfully continue on the path of reconciliation.

Cara comes from a large family of entrepreneurs and adventurers. Her life and career have been an exploration of self, self-in-community and connection in many forms. She has travelled and worked across Canada and internationally, including time spent with Indigo Books & Music and Grand Challenges Canada. She professes to be in love with the landscapes of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cara lives in Ottawa where she is learning to cultivate the power of being in a community with shared values.

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