Frances Westley

Frances Westley

The J.W. McConnell chair in social innovation

Frances Westley joined the University of Waterloo as the J.W. McConnell Chair in social innovation in July 2007. In this capacity she is one of the principle leads in a Canada wide initiative in social innovation, Social Innovation Generation (SiG) a cross sectoral partnership to build capacity for social innovation in Canada funded by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, University of Waterloo and the Ontario government. 

Sean Geobey

Sean Geobey

Director of academic programs

Sean Geobey is the Director of academic programs for the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience as well as an Assistant Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo.


Ola Tjornbo

Archipelago consultants

Ola Tjornbo's research interests are primarily focused on social innovation, social-ecological transformation, governance and complexity, and social media and virtual social networks.


Katharine McGowan

Assistant professor, Mount Royal University

Lead researcher on the Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo project, Katharine has advanced work on Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience's (WISIR) developing social innovation theory based on historical case studies.

girl standing on a bridge

Nino Antadze

Visiting assistant professor of Environmental Studies at Bucknell University

Nino is a post-doctoral fellow with the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED).  Read about her current work on “Cross-sector alliances to solve complex environmental issues.” 

Kirsten Wright


Lead researcher on the Social Innovation Simulation project at Social Innovation Generation (SiG) / Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR), Kirsten is doing a PhD in systems design engineering.

John Abraham

John Abraham

Assistant Professor

 John Abraham

Melanie Goodchild - Photograph by Alisha Townsend for Grand Magazine

Melanie Goodchild

Senior indigenous research fellow and associate

Melanie Goodchild, moose clan, is a member of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation in Northern Ontario. She is the founder of the Turtle Island Institute, an Indigenous social innovation think & do tank (a teaching lodge). In her work, she weaves together her unique perspectives of Anishinaabe gikendaasowin (knowledge) with systems thinking/complexity theory and social innovation to address our society’s most intractable problems. Melanie believes in the teaching methods of her ancestors, in “coming to know” on the land, and so she supports initiatives that seek to connect people to ceremony, story, art, language and the land.

Melanie Chaplier

Melanie Chaplier

Post doctoral fellow

Melanie Chaplier is a cultural anthropologist from Belgium who just joined WISIR as a postdoctoral Research Fellow. She previously earned her PhD at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve and was a Fulbright Fellow at Dartmouth College in 2015-2016.

Terrellyn Fearn

Terrellyn Fearn

Research Associate

Terrellyn Fearn's research interests focus on Rematriation, ethical learning space, and healing centered design. Terrellyn has worked to transform systems by advancing wellbeing through Indigenous social innovation for over 25 years.

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