Plenary Sessions

The program is under review.

Monday plenary

Creating, valuing, and using strategic information

In addition to physical, financial, and human resources, as well as systems of rules to tie them up, organizations cannot survive without information. Information can be routine, operational, or strategic; it can address the organisation itself, its competition, or its environment. Evaluation tends to produce information at the strategic level – sometimes internal, other times outward-looking – but there are other sources of strategic information. This plenary session will explore planning for knowledge impact, from before knowledge production to the end of the knowledge usage flow.

Moderator: Benoît Gauthier, CE, program evaluator in private practice for three decades and mainly manager of evaluation-related international not-for-profits, of late.


David Phipps, PhD (keynote)
Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services, York University

Dr. Phipps manages all research grants and agreements including knowledge and technology transfer for York University. He has received honours and awards from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators, Institute for Knowledge Mobilization, International Network of Research Management Societies and the EU based Knowledge Economy Network. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in knowledge mobilization and was named the most influential knowledge mobilizer in Canada. He sits on knowledge mobilization committees around the world and is Network Director for Research Impact Canada.


Kathryn Graham, PhD (discussant)
Executive Director, Performance Management and Evaluation, Alberta Innovates

Kathryn  is a co‐founder of the International School on Research Impact Assessment and was Director of the School when it was hosted in Banff in 2014. She is the co-director of the international AESIS course “Integrating Societal Impact in a Research Strategy”. She has over 25 years of strategic evaluation experience in health care, research and innovation. She is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has successfully implemented their health research impact framework and was instrumental in its application nationally and internationally.


Aimee White, PhD (discussant)
President and Principal Evaluator, Custom Evaluation Services, Inc., and President of the American Evaluation Association

Aimee White is a deeply committed Systems Oriented, Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment evaluation professional with 15 years of experience in community, nonprofit, corporate, and foundation evaluation practice. The topical areas of expertise are complex systems change initiatives (population-level change) addressing whole community and whole life-span initiatives, brain science (adverse childhood experiences, trauma, and resilience) child abuse and neglect prevention, ex-offender reentry, and poverty mitigation.


Andrea Peroni, PhD (discussant)
University of Chile and ReLAC (Red de Seguimiento, Evaluación y Sistematización de Latinoamérica y el Caribe)

Andrea is professor in public policy, social policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Chile. She is also an independent consultant, on issues of planning, social policies (gender, youth, culture, employment, education, participation, etc.) and evaluation, conducting studies and evaluations for national states and at the local level as well as for multilateral organizations. She co-founded EvalChile, the national Chilean evaluation network, and sat on the ReLAC Board for the past 10 years.


Tuesday Plenary

Evaluation in the Public Management Ecosystem: Essence or Anomaly?

Evaluation as a function has been positioned to play different roles in organizations and across institutions. It has been presented as a key mechanism in accountability, in management improvement and learning, and as a support to policy and planning. All the while evaluation has co-existed with other review functions such as various forms of audit, improvement systems such as quality management and planning, monitoring and measurement systems such as the balanced scorecard. Evaluation has also been associated with managing for results and results based management, however the specific links to these ideas have often been somewhat unclear.

Some might say that evaluation has not found its niche.  If anything it could be argued that the function has ceded territory (budgets, time and attention) to measurement initiatives, audit and other review functions which seem louder and clearer.  Is the ecosystem speaking? In a fast paced and dynamically changing system is evaluation – as originally proposed anyway – an endangered species?

This panel of experienced thought leaders will examine the questions of:

  • How does evaluation ‘fit’ into modern review and management?
  • What roles can evaluation play and what roles should it be playing?
  • How can the function best link to audit and other forms of review as well as to performance planning, monitoring and measurement?
  • What are the structural and the public management implications? (i.e., who should lead? Who should follow? How should the processes work?)

Moderator: Steve Montague, a career practitioner, lecturer, and author in the field of evaluation and performance measurement and a Fellow of the Canadian Evaluation Society.


Maria Barrados, PhD (keynote)
Partner, Barrados Consulting, Inc., formerly President of the Public Service Commission of Canada and Assistant Auditor General

Maria Barrados has a Ph.D. in sociology and is currently Executive-in-Residence at the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University. Maria started her career in the Canadian government as an evaluator, then moved to the Office of the Auditor General as a performance auditor eventually becoming an Assistant Auditor General. Her last government position was the head of the Public Service Commission of Canada. She is a member a number of boards and advisory committees and continues to pursue her interests in public service reform, governance, performance measurement and financial and human resource management.


Shelley Borys, PhD (discussant)
Director General, Evaluation, and Chief Audit Executive in the Office of Audit and Evaluation, a shared service for the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada

Shelley Borys holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Waterloo. Shelley is a Credentialed Evaluator, has received several awards from the Canadian Evaluation Society, and was inducted as a Fellow of the CES in 2014. Shelley worked for over 10 years as a consultant in evaluation, joining government in 2005, and led the evaluation functions at Environment Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada before joining the Public Health Agency in 2011 as the Director General of Audit and Evaluation.


John Gargani, PhD (discussant)
Expert in evaluation and various related review methods such as Social Return on Investment

John Gargani is co-author of the book Scaling Impact: Innovation for the Public Good (with Robert McLean), Past-President of the American Evaluation Association, and a practicing evaluator. He teaches graduate students and conducts research on evaluation methods for organizations working at the intersection of the private and public sectors. Current topics of research include methods for assessing the credibility of social return on investment estimates, techniques for reporting multiple perspectives on value, improved statistical models for payment for success contracts, and standardized measures of social impact. 


Wednesday Plenary

Inclusive Evaluation and Its Impact on Utilization?

With its commitment to inclusion, participatory evaluation has long been valued in the NFP sectors. In recent years,  governments and other decision-makers are increasingly asking for evaluations to be “inclusive”. Indeed, our Canadian evaluation competencies require attention to matters of diversity, as do the American Evaluation Association Guiding Principles for Evaluation. But what does conducting inclusive evaluations mean and why is it important for evaluation utilization? And what are the barriers to conducting inclusive evaluations and the strategies needed to address in the government and NFP sectors? 

This panel will engage leading evaluators working to increase diversity in our evaluation practices.

Moderator: Jennifer Birch-Jones (she / her / hers); a CE who identifies as LGBTQI2S+ and is a Senior Consultant, Facilitator and Trainer at Intersol.


Jane Whynot, PhD candidate (panelist)
University of Ottawa

Jane specializes in performance with a background that spans approximately fifteen years in independent management for both the public and private sectors. Jane is a recognized expert in gender based analysis plus. She was President of the National Capital Chapter of the CES, Chair of the CES-NCC Annual Learning Event, and co-chair of the 2014 CES conference. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Melbourne and is finalizing her PhD at the University of Ottawa.


Kim van der Woerd, PhD (panelist)
Member of the ’Namgis Nation of Alert Bay BC, and a principal at Reciprocal Consulting. 

Kim completed her PhD in psychology at SFU. Her dissertation was the recipient of the Michael Scriven Dissertation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Theory, Methodology or Practice. She also received the Canadian Evaluation Society Contributions to Evaluation in Canada Award in 2014 for her mentorship of Indigenous students and the 2018 BC Achievement Foundation Community Achievement Award, and BC Achievement Foundation Mitchell Award.


Silvia Salinas Mulder, MA (panelist)
General Coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Monitoring, Evaluation and Systematization Network (ReLAC)

Silvia is a Bolivian anthropologist, with a specialisation in Andean Studies and a Master’s degree in Decentralization and Public Administration. She cumulates twenty-eight years of experience as senior consultant, researcher and evaluator in the social development sector, linked to international cooperation, governmental and civil society organisations. She is recognised for her systemic and creative approaches to key poverty, development and exclusion topics, like gender, violence, rights, sexual and reproductive health, aging and adolescents. She advocates for transformative planning, management and evaluation approaches.