Liz Rykert – President, Meta Strategies
Liz Rykert began her career as a social worker, working primarily in community development and prevention in the diverse downtown neighbourhoods of Toronto. Liz's interest in finding new approaches to support and engage the changing communities around her lead her to the early use of technology for collaboration, activism and citizen engagement. In an effort to find a theoretical basis for her approaches, Liz became a student of complexity science in 1994.
With an urge to bring it all together, Ms. Rykert founded Meta Strategies in 1997. Her firm specializes in working with the non-profit, charitable and public sectors to develop creative approaches to collaboration and working together. Her work combines social process with technology for real change.
As a positive deviance (PD) coach, Liz is supporting work at the University Health Network and Toronto East General in Toronto to reduce the spread of hospital superbugs and is part of the team on the Canadian research project on PD. Liz is also faculty for the Safer Health Now! Virtual Collaborative to reduce infections and improve hand hygiene compliance.
Networks are central to every aspect of Liz's work. Her recent collaborations with June Holley have led to a lively practice of network weaving and mapping in a range of settings including the units where PD is happening in hospitals.
Chris Black — Network Visualization and Analysis
Chris Black is an experienced consultant who has worked with dozens of not-for profit organizations over the last fifteen years, focusing on technology and collaboration. Working with Meta Strategies, he initially focussed on helping clients better leverage their networks through technology. Chris consulted with Health Canada's Office of Consumer and Public Information, helping them to consolidate numerous systems used to run public consultations on regulatory changes. From 2003 until 2009, Chris oversaw the development of Laureatespace, a bilingual online community of 3500 merit scholarship winners for the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation.
Over the last several years the nature of Chris' work has shifted to helping his clients understand social networks. Working for clients such as the Plexus Institute and the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, he has helped hospitals in both Canada and the United States create visualizations (maps) of their social networks as part of their efforts to stop the spread of hospital acquired infections.
Example projects include working with a network of people promoting tourism in New England and a group based at the University of Southern Maine looking to better support young people aging out of the foster care system in Greater Portland.
Chris is also responsible for the creation of specialized software to administer social networking surveys and has co-authored a user's guide for groups creating their own social network maps. Chris is an experienced trainer who loves to introduce people to social network theory, help them understand their own networks, and what they can do to improve them for better outcomes. Chris speaks both English and French. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal.
Barry Veerkamp — Project Management/Programming
Barry has over 15 years experience in developing web sites and web based applications. He has worked on a variety of projects both locally and internationally. He has developed online radio projects in South Africa, setup a computer labs in Bangladesh and developed dozens of online projects for diverse organizations throughout Canada and abroad.
Barry specializes in online database and custom website development, graphic design, technical consulting ,support and training. He brings a creative, fun and personalized approach to technical challenges and web-based solutions. Barry is energized by working with organizations that do more than just sell products online. Bringing his years of experience working with corporate, arts, non-profit and grass roots organizations across Canada and the globe, Barry is committed to providing clients with accessible tools and integrated solutions helping them achieve their goals both online and off.
Barry has extensive experience as a volunteer board member and has spent countless hours of helping groups better use technology as a volunteer.
Michelle Gay — Design
Michelle has been working with digital media since 1993 when she began as an Art Director at the award winning Mackerel Interactive Media studios. She has been designing interfaces and media works - starting back in the days of diskettes, moving to cd-ROM's, to enhanced CD's, to complex web-based projects and to standalone digital projection artworks.
Whether dynamic educational games designed to teach kids the fundamentals of polynomials, or presenting the Canadian Charter of Rights in multiple languages, to creating room-sized poems operated by touch-sensitive devices, Michelle brings her skills as a designer and artist to each individual project and each challenge.
Michelle has been working with the team at Meta Strategies over the past 2 years bringing her design sensibilities and experience to their projects. When not working with Meta Strategies she collaborates with her sibling (and particle physicist) on dynamically generated complex web or new media projects. Some past examples are designing and building the custom MySQL/PhP architecture and interface for the Canadian Charter of Rights online (including Unicode based languages such as Cantonese and Cree), designing and building the Smithsonian Institute's MySQL database for the New Orlean's CultureFest operations, to National Geographic Media kits, to designing web presence for independent artists which include dynamically presented AV elements.
Brian Elton — Web development
Brian has over 5 years of web development experience in both online application and pure marketing projects. He has developed numerous applications from scratch, being involved in every aspect of the application life cycle — analysis, design, development, testing and training.
Currently Brian's focus is on interface development, through which he has obtained expert knowledge of HTML and CSS
Brian has a Computer Programmer diploma from George Brown College in Toronto, as well as an Honours Bachelor of Physical and Health Education from a previous life.
Marie May — Bookkeeper
Marie is the president of May and Company Inc. and a consultant and advisor with more than fifteen years’ experience in developing and managing small business systems solutions. Her clients span a diverse array of businesses and not for profit organizations, some of which are also clients of Meta Strategies.
Marie has her CHRP designation and brings a broad range of skills and expertise to ensure best practice on a variety of levels including finance, administration, policy development/implementation, human resources, program development and project management. Marie's energy, commitment and proven ability to build strong relationships with clients and colleagues ensure success.
If you think Marie might have a role in assisting your organization, please contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-622-7823