Helping you build healthy and prosperous communities

 

 We specialize in advising business, governments and organizations on building healthy and prosperous communities. We believe that effective community engagement in local decisions leads to innovation, and makes a lasting positive impact.

Our expertise is in managing complex policy and decision making environments to deliver lasting results. We focus in the following areas:

  • smart growth
  • downtown revitilization
  • open government
  • neighbourhood development
  • community wellbeing
  • resource and natural heritage protection
  • community energy
  • municipal governance

Consulting Connecting Collaborating

Consulting

Consulting - People reviewing display 

We draw on our experience and leadership to help you plan and execute business strategies, keeping them on time and on budget. We can help you navigate the tricky waters of government relations, stakeholder and community engagement, and development approval.

See our offering

 

Collaborating

Collaborating image with bees

We believe strong collaboration brings the best to our clients. We work to make the most out of the resources you have. And we complement our projects with an extensive network of collaborators as wide as the field we consult in.

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Connecting

Connecting at Market Square Guelph

We are all about connecting people and ideas. We just can't help ourselves. As a result, we are involved in a substantial way with several organizations who also work for healthy and prosperous communities. We are urban connectors!

See our connections

Karen Farbridge

Karen Farbridge is a proven change agent who knows how to effectively provoke new conversations and inspire innovation.

She has been recognised by local, provincial and national organizations for her leadership and commitment to building more liveable and sustainable communities. Her strength lies in her ability to manage complex policy and decision making environments to deliver results. This experience includes eleven years as the mayor of Guelph.

Drawing from her extensive experience, she can help you get out of the weeds and think about big picture opportunities and how to implement them.

 

About Karen

 

 

Karen Farbridge Speaking
 

 

 

Speaking Events

Connecting people and ideas is best done in person. Karen Farbridge is a skilled communicator with a wide range of successes and experiences to draw on. If your event needs a keynote, panelist or guest facilitator, Karen will build an immediate connection with your audience. Karen is speaking at the following events:

How to Decide: Engagement, Information and Capacity
October 4 - 5, 2017. Positive Energy, Ottawa.

Leadership for Sustainability
October 6, 2017. Planet Haliburton.

The Evolution of Local Government
November 10, 2017. Masters of Public Administration in Local Government Alumni Association, Western University.

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“Karen’s vision for the renewal of our downtown not only paid economic dividends to the entire city through the growth of the tax base but established a positive environment for collaboration and innovation.  Her consensus-oriented approach helped to bring together players from every sector and political leaning to create exciting initiatives.”

Doug Minett, co-founder of The Bookshelf & CEO, Talonedge

 

“Karen is a change agent who can effectively challenge status quo thinking and approaches to provoke new conversations and inspire innovation.”

Kate Power, Executive Director, Family Counselling & Support Services for Guelph-Wellington

“Karen Farbridge has been the best municipal leader in Canada in advancing a sustainable city future.  Adding to that is the most advanced community energy plan in the country.  Ever since I was in Guelph a few years ago to kick off the Guelph sustainable city citizen’s engagement process, I’ve followed Guelph’s incredible progress and success under Mayor Farbridge’s leadership.”

Michael Harcourt, former Mayor of Vancouver & former Premier of British Columbia

“Karen was hired on by MyHEAT for her strong connections in both government and environmental affairs in the province of Ontario.  Needless to say, she was extremely influential in getting us meetings with decision makers and municipal leaders that we likely would not have obtained otherwise.  Karen has a solid understanding of the political landscape and how best to approach it with our business. I would highly recommend Karen and would not hesitate to contract her for similar business in the future.” 

 Chris Pettigrew, Business Development, MyHEAT 

 

“Karen has an incredible ability to engage with individuals and groups to probe for insights and new perspectives. She effectively leads conversation that generate new ideas and models for solving complex energy challenges." 

Ian McVey, Project Manager, Ontario Climate Consortium

Urban Connector Blog

Informed and engaged citizens make our communities great. Urban connectors are innovators, change makers, and city builders. They are people who get involved to make their community a better place. With two-thirds of the world population estimated to be urban dwellers by 2050, we need to get cities right – for people, governments and budgets. More than 8 of 10 Canadian already live in urban environments where there are endless opportunities to grow healthy and prosperous communities. This blog explores some of these possibilities.

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Failure to Launch

October 12, 2017 — In the American romantic comedy, Failure to Launch, Matthew McConaughey’s character, Tripp, lives at home and shows no interest in leaving a comfortable life under his parents’ roof. In some respects, this is the tale of local government in Canada. In the movie, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Paula, is hired by Tripp’s parents to encourage him to leave the comfort...

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Engaging for Positive Energy

October 9, 2017 —   Energy regulators, policy makers and academics recently met in Ottawa for the last of three workshops hosted by Positive Energy, an initiative of the University of Ottawa. These workshops have taken aim at the decline of public confidence in energy decision-making, from pipelines to wind turbines. Their work documents several social, value and technological changes that the current energy...

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Community Energy in Centre Wellington Builds Resilience

October 3, 2017 — Financing community energy projects was the focus of the September's QUEST Ontario Caucus meeting which was hosted by the Region of Waterloo. The Region presented preliminary results of their research into financing mechanisms. They provided a handy summary of mechanisms that included: capital reserves, revolving funds and trusts, loans, debentures, equipment leases, on-bill financing programs, soft loans, local improvement charges,...

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