Board of Directors
Board Chair: Shannon Lanigan (co-founder)
With a background in Health Sciences and Therapeutic Exercise, Shannon approaches design through the lens of overall well being. Her passion for urban design is fueled by topics that bring connection to community, the livability of space and design centred on human scale interactions.
Vice Chair: Rob Macaulay
An independent business consultant, Rob also serves on the board of the Calgary Public Library. He is a professional engineer and holds Master of Business degrees from Cornell and Queen’s universities. While he is deeply interested in the varied and far-reaching conversations that d.talks is fostering, his contributions to the board are mainly in the areas of governance and strategic planning, drawing from experience gained from a variety of for- and not-for-profit boards.
Secretary: Ernest Hon
Ernest is a graduate of New York University and keenly interested in urban places. He’s a photographer by night, revealing fresh perceptions of built form from Shanghai to Calgary and many cities in-between.
Treasurer: Maureen Hodgan (co-founder)
Maureen has a passion for architectural heritage and for community engagement around design. A graduate of the University of Calgary’s Masters of Environmental Design thesis program, she is focused on urban planning and all things ‘city-building’ related. She’s a former graphic designer with Anlända Digital Studio as well as an art historian and educator. Her blog, The Happy Urbanist, was voted best blog by Fast Forward Magazine, 2011.
Jyoti Gondek is the Councillor for Ward 3 in Calgary. Formerly the Director of the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business, she’s worked in both the public and private sectors since 1995. Launching Tick Consulting in 2002, she has provided strategic research support to clients in the land development and building industry. She has served as a citizen representative for the City of Calgary’s Planning Commission, is currently a director with the Urban Land Institute Alberta, and sits on the Calgary Economic Development Real Estate Committee. Jyoti was recently appointed as an academic advisor on the National Executive Forum on Public Property, and was honoured in May 2016 with the Canadian Sociological Association Angus Reid Applied Sociology Award.
Vera Parlac is a registered architect in Pennsylvania, U.S. and an assistant professor at the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. She received a diploma engineer in architecture degree from University of Belgrade and master’s degree in design from UCLA. Vera Parlac is one of the founding co-directors of the Laboratory for Integrative Design (LID), a design research laboratory where design is engaged as a broadly integrative endeavour by fluidly navigating across different disciplinary territories. Vera’s current design and research is focused on responsive material systems and informed by contemporary models in biology, material science research, and mechatronic systems. Prior to her appointment in Calgary, she taught design and other subjects at several universities in North America, most recently at Temple University, and in Asia, in Hong Kong. Vera has worked in architectural firms in Philadelphia, Toronto, Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles including Carlos Zapata Design Studio and Kieran Timberlake Associates
Marta Sensidoni is a Senior Architecture and Interior Designer at Kasian. Her breadth of experience includes architecture in Miami, Hong Kong, Paris and Latin America and her work is internationally recognized. Fluent in English, Spanish and Italian, she brings expertise in the cultural, commercial, government, sports and residential market sectors. Some of Marta’s noteworthy projects include the Esker Foundation Gallery in Calgary, the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York and the South Dade Cultural Arts Center in Miami.
Kara Tersen is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. Recently launching her own fund development and non-profit management consulting firm, she is working with the Environmental Law Centre (Alberta). Previously, she served as the Director, Philanthropy and Communications for the Alberta College of Art and Design including as a member of the President's Council. Prior to that, Kara was the Director, Development and Communications for the Nature Conservancy of Canada - Alberta Region. She is an active member and former board director of the Association of Fundraising Professionals - Calgary and Area. She served as the 2010 co-chair of the Calgary National Philanthropy Day luncheon and Philanthropy Awareness Week activities.
Mary Axworthy (MCIP, RPP) is a Principal, Urban Planning & Civic Engagement at Axworthy International Consulting, Ltd. She’s a former Director of Planning at The City of Calgary; a member of the Alberta Municipal Government Board; and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary Master of Planning Faculty.
Gerd Birkle (co-founder) is currently a lead engineer at Calatrava International who is interested in the intersection of design and the structures that shape form. He has a PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Calgary and a Dipl. Ing. in Civil Engineering from the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
Todd Hirsch has worked as an economist at numerous organizations for the past 20 years including the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canada West Foundation and the Bank of Canada. For almost a decade, Todd taught economics at the University of Calgary. He released his first book, The Boiling Frog Dilemma: Saving Canada from Economic Decline in 2012, his second, Halfway Home in 2016 and his third, Spiders in Space: Successfully Adapting to Unwanted Change in 2017. Todd provides economic commentary for many Canadian media outlets. He has served on the University of Calgary Board of Governors and is the chair of the Calgary Arts Academy. Todd recently received the University of Alberta's Alumni Honour Award and an honorary degree from Mount Royal University.
Kim O’Brien is the Executive Director of Horizon Housing Society. Formerly Vice-President of Investments for Boardwalk Rental Communities in Toronto, she managed a $1-billion-plus mortgage portfolio. She lends her voice to key initiatives such as the community affordable housing strategy and RESOLVE Campaign; serves on the Finance Committee for the Calgary Woman’s Emergency Shelter; and as a board member of the Alberta Global Forum.
Jaydan Tait is the Director, Development of Anthem Properties. He’s a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and a Canadian Green Building Council LEED AP.
Dale Taylor brings 45 years of experience in design and construction of major projects, including the Calgary International Airport Terminal Building and the original Mount Royal College Lincoln Park campus. He is an Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of Calgary, where he served as Director of both the Architecture and Industrial Design programs. Dale is a member of the RAIC College of Fellows, served as President of the Alberta Association of Architects and continues to represent the profession nationally and internationally.
Dale Turri is a fund development professional with over 25 years of experience both as an employee and a volunteer in the Calgary arts and culture community. She is currently a Business and Resource Development Strategist with Dale Turri Consulting and serves on the Board of Governors of the Alberta College of Art and Design. She has been employed as Director of Development with Theatre Calgary, TELUS Spark Science Centre, EducationMatters, and Vertigo Theatre and has been a valued mentor and advisor to a variety of charities across Canada.
Katherine Wagner is an architect and associate with DIALOG. She is committed to community involvement to the betterment of our built environment and the rich lives which it supports; she has contributed to Canada Council initiatives, the University of Calgary, YYC Doors Open and is a member of Calgary Arts Development and Calgary Public Art boards.
Executive Director: amery Calvelli (co-founder)
A design advocate, amery has worked with architects, artists and designers to renew connections with place; hosted radio interview program Space and Place for four years; and written articles and reviews about architecture. She’s served on the Boards of the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art and the SFMOMA’s Contemporary Extension.
Hye-Seung Jung is the Manager at d.talks where she does some heavy lifting on strategy and production of events, installations and other related programs. A visual artist with a focus on the observation of diverse built environments as they relate to human interaction and a sense of belonging, her work has been exhibited in Saint Denis, France, Berlin, Tokyo, Zurich, Toronto and Calgary. She serves on the Board of The New Gallery in Calgary.