Helen Ries

Helen Ries

Community Builder, External Consultant and Evaluator

Since the day my brother was born, I have been fighting alongside him so he can have his just and rightful place, and for his full belonging in the world around him. From being included in games as children to challenging social policies that lead to poverty, there are endless constructs in the fabric of our society that prevent full and inclusive citizenship for vulnerable people.

This foundational experience lead to a professional focus on community and society. In particular to designing, planning, leading and evaluating of social and community programs dealing with complex problems including enhancing women’s leadership, opening job markets for internationally trained workers, ensuring the availability of literacy and basic skills programs in communities and more.

My work and my business exist to support the people and organization that create better systems, a better society and opportunities for people who are vulnerable, excluded and underrepresented. From grassroots initiatives to establish, long-running programs, I do this through program evaluation, strategic planning, facilitation and capacity building. I work at building positive, meaningful and sustainable systems through smart social policy and bringing people together to build strong and caring communities.

I have a Masters in Business Administration and am completing a Graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation from the University of Ottawa.

Professional Memberships

Current and Past Projects

Below you will find a list of current and past projects that I have consulted on:

Current Projects

The Community Food Hub: Evaluator for a collective impact initiative to bring organizations together for bulk, nutritious food purchases.

Planned Parenthood Ottawa: Evaluator for two programs including Parent Peer Leadership and Sexual and Reproductive Health for vulnerable communities.

Citizen Advocacy Ottawa: Evaluator for Lifetime Networks Ottawa Pilot Project building support networks for persons with mental illness.

Ontario Coalition for Change to the Disability Gifts and Assets Limits: Leader of province-wide constructive engagement initiative to enhance financial security for persons with disabilities.

Women’s Economic Council – Jigsaw Puzzle Project: Advisor for a three-year project to increase economic prosperity for women in Canada by fostering their participation in enterprises with a community economic development (CED) focus.

Recently Completed Projects

Sexual Assault Network: Evaluator of Project SoundCheck a project launched to address sexual violence music festivals through bystander intervention.

Ontario Independent Facilitation Network: Evaluator of competencies for the profession of independent facilitation and planning.

Ottawa Food Bank: Strategic Planner for the Ottawa Food Bank through widespread and diverse public consultation.

EcoEquitable: Strategic Planner for 2017-2020 plan conducted over two days with internal stakeholders.

Canadian Association of Community Living: Advisor and Facilitator for National Community Forum for Robust Safeguards in Bill C-14.

Ottawa Tool Library: Facilitator for strategic direction and governance planning.

Citizen Advocacy Ottawa: Facilitator and Note taker for a stakeholder engagement pilot project to build “Natural Supports” for persons living with mental illness.

Carleton University: Guest Course Instructor and Facilitator for Disability Studies: Policy and Activism (DBST 4001).


Past Projects

Coady International Institute: Mentor (for two cohorts) for Canadian Women’s Foundation Leadership Institute to support emerging leaders working in community economic development.

Ottawa Police Service: Facilitator and Note taker for an OPS Let’s Chat Priorities stakeholder consultation on proposed 2016-2018 Business Plan.

Catalyst X: Evaluator of Needs Assessment to support program’s participant growth and partnership development.

Environmental Project Management Solutions and Sustainability: Evaluator for project (Phase 1 and Phase 2) evaluated business process and results, identified gaps and risks, planned (strategic, marketing and financial), conducted financial analysis and establish performance metrics.

Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities: Evaluator and Trainer for Implementation of the Literacy and Basic Skills program Performance Management System.

Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities: Evaluator and Trainer for Implementation of the Employment Ontario Information System (EOIS) Case Management Database that comprised part of the Performance Management System.

Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities: Facilitator of half day session on “Building Better Working Relationships” to over 150 staff members for the All-Staff Meeting.

Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities: Evaluator and Trainer Implementation of the new Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF)  for the Literacy and Basic Skills program.

Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities: Evaluator Community Footprint Analysis of  Literacy and Basic Skills services delivery inequities in Eastern Ontario.

Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, Government of Ontario: Evaluator of Apprenticeship Modernization Project – Certificate of Qualification Program Review.

Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities: Program Designer for Apprenticeship Modernization Project re-design of the Certificate of Qualification Program.

Lifetime Networks Ottawa: Negotiator and Facilitator of merger of Lifetime Networks Ottawa with Citizen Advocacy Ottawa.

Employment Ontario, Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities Ontario Skills Development: Consultant to analyze labour market issues, provide program support and administer funding for qualified Ontarians.

BioTalent Canada a Practical Assessment program, Skills Development at Work Project:  Project Manager of project to create a Practical Skills Assessment program to facilitate the entry of highly skilled Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) into the biotechnology labour market.

Algonquin College, Allied Health Program: Grant Writer for a proposal to build Allied Health program. The grant resulted in over $2 million in government funding.

Centre for Academic Leadership, University of Ottawa Women’s Academic Leadership Mentoring Program: Program Designer and trainer to create and deliver a mentoring program for Women’s Academic Leadership at the Centre for Academic Leadership.

University of Ottawa Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Program Coordinator to combine the administrative processes for the three educational institutions participating in the collaborative program.

University of Ottawa Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Evaluation Report Coordinator to write two evaluation reports for the program’s internal and external accreditation processes.

My First Business

Canada House English Language Centre. Founder and director of an educational tour operating business from start-up to a solid revenue generator of over $1.2 million a year. Business was sold to a competitor in 2003.