TACO-bout a passionate squad!

Meet the team

Aligned in values and purpose

A shared need for deeper connection, along with a desire to be part of something truly meaningful, moved our three founders to launch The Ally Co. (TACO) in 2019.

Today, we are a growing community of professionals weaving together our diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and abilities helping teams to align their intentions with desired impact

Our core values

Cultural cornerstones, our core values are ingrained in our company's identity and help guide our thinking, decisions, and actions. They keep us grounded and accountable to what is most meaningful.


We use power proactively with care, skill, and wisdom. This means we understand the different types of power and how they show up in relationships. It also means, that in our own power, we acknowledge our privilege, invite feedback, and act both consciously and responsibly.


Meaningful change requires an awareness of systemic forces, and the skill and willingness to challenge the status-quo. This means we seek to create understanding, alignment, and agreement by exploring different experiences and beliefs, power dynamics, structures, and other deeply rooted forces.


Human connection, belonging, and impact are the heart of our work. This means we endeavour to lead with empathy and compassion - activating deep listening and meaningful dialogue to understand people's true needs, values, and goals.

Always learning

We live and thrive at our growth edges. This means we step outside of our comfort zones and lean into compassionate curiosity, experimentation, and transformation. It also means we do not have all the answers and work hard to avoid "expertitis".

Creatively simple

We are clear, concise, and direct in in how we reach and move people. This means we check our biases and assumptions and operate in lean, responsive, and practical ways when it comes to our work with teams.


Our work can be deep, emotional, and tough AND also connecting, exciting, and fun. We bring as much of ourselves as we can to our work and the people we meet. And we look for opportunities to recognize and celebrate our differences through connecting and fun moments.

Brittany Vine, Experience Designer

Brittany Vine

Experience Designer


I work with creative leaders who commit to awareness and action as they shape the world around them.

Happy place

I am happiest when in search of solutions. Whether I am asking questions to better define the problem, analyzing + synthesizing data, or putting ideas into action, I find joy in moving projects forward and solving problems. A few areas I’m passionate about:

  • Human-centred design and service-design
  • Community engagement
  • Research and evaluation
  • Experiential based learning and adult education


I’ve always been motivated by a passion for community and a desire for a better world. As a young adult this meant that before I finished my undergraduate studies I spent 1.5 years in West Africa (Burkina Faso & Ghana) serving and learning with community-based non-profits. I then took up a career in higher education, specializing in service-learning at The University of Calgary. This specialization took me to Boston for graduate studies and dual fellowships at Merrimack College and Harvard University.

I returned to the non-profit sector, this time in my hometown of Calgary, taking on roles in community engagement and program development. In my role as Director of Programming at Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids I met Pablo and Jeff, and had the opportunity to be a client of The Ally Co. (TACO) team for nearly three years.

In 2022 I accepted a role with The Social Impact Lab, a collaboration between The United Way of Calgary and J5 Design, where I work full-time as Manager of Innovation and Customer Experience. I consult with TACO on select projects, and I love learning with, and contributing to, the incredible teams I work with in these roles.

My professional practice is also informed by what I do when I’m off the clock - currently I’m working on my coaching certification, and am learning daily about how to harness the super-powers of my neurodivergent brain at work and home.

Life-changing moment

The most profound moments in my life have been the moments that put into focus what really matters in this world. A few years ago I found myself in the middle of the street at midnight, watching as flames overtook the top floor of my home. It sounds cliché, but in that moment, I recognized it didn’t matter to me if I lost all my belongings because the people and dog I loved were safe.

That’s how I know that at the end of my life I won’t be thinking about material things. But I might be thinking about the:

  • Joy I experienced and witnessed handing a child to their parents for the first time
  • Sacredness of being able to care for someone in their last days
  • Way that the puzzle pieces that make up my life never seem to fit until I see them in hindsight, and then: I wouldn’t have them any other way because I can see how much I grew while trying to make them fit where they didn’t belong.

In the Western world we tend to view time as something that’s always passing us by, but in West African cultures time is something that is always in abundance and always ahead of us. I practice holding these two perspectives; while there are life changing moments that have shaped me, I also firmly believe there are many more life changing moments ahead.

Connect with Brittany
Jeff Barrett, Content Designer

Jeff Barrett

Content Designer


I create content that is impactful on people's lives.

Happy place

Spending time with my family, whether that is around the dinner table sharing laughs and stories. I am lucky to have most of my family here in Calgary and getting to spend time with them!


Back in 2016, I graduated from Mount Royal University in their Broadcasting program. I jumped right into the field with Ride Guide TV helping them catalogue and splice all of their content in the past 15 years.

Shortly after, I got a position with a small startup, Bootkik, as an assistant video editor, and this opportunity was incredible as I was mentored in developing my video editing skills. I created content that was posted on their social media platforms and I knew that this was the field for me.

I have done some freelance work over time, which eventually led me to Virtual Gurus! I have been a part of Virtual Gurus for over a year now and they have put me in touch with incredible organizations such as The Ally Co.!

Life-changing moment

My life-changing moment was when I joined the Calgary Power Hockey League in 2005. The CPHL is a competitive hockey league for people with disabilities and uses a power chair for daily living. The CPHL introduced me to a world I didn't know was possible for me - meeting like-minded individuals who compete week after week. It has also given me the chance to travel across North America and Europe to compete against the best our sport has to offer!

It's incredibly rewarding to see the sport continue to grow as more players join to compete - allowing me to be a mentor like those before me when I originally joined!

Connect with Jeff
Jeff Couillard, Co.CEO | Director, Learning and Development

Jeff Couillard

Co.CEO | Director, Learning and Development


I help people connect with their power, align with what’s most meaningful, and take positive action towards it.

Happy place

I love all things teaching, facilitating, speaking and consulting. My sweet spot is helping leaders and teams engage in meaningful dialogue, identifying challenges and opportunities and creating the conditions for high levels of trust and engagement. This often looks like:

  • Core Values, Purpose, and Vision Exploration
  • At-Risk vs. At-Stake Understanding + Direction
  • Alignment with Corporate and/or Board Expectations
  • Clear Strategies (choices), Ownership, and Action Plans
  • Effective Communication for Engagement and Action


Having spent many of my earlier years leading teams and helping to build world-class addiction treatment programs, I’ve developed a skill set and approach to change that is grounded in the human experience and a deep understanding of power and motivation.

I’ve worked with a wide range of leaders (and their teams) over the years, on a single mission - to help build world-class, human-centred organizations that create the kind of impact that we usually only dream about.

Life-changing moment

In my late 20s, halfway through our first pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. This event kicked off a series of life-changing moments, including a TEDx talk, quitting a senior leadership role to pursue life as an entrepreneur, and a deeper focus on living (and helping others live) a meaningful life.

Connect with Jeff
Julie Macdonald, Director, Marketing and Communications | Leadership Brand Strategist

Julie Macdonald

Director, Marketing and Communications | Leadership Brand Strategist


I help leaders and teams reconnect with the magic of what they do, and build strategies that invite others to rally behind it.

Happy place

My happy place is the moment when I’ve just asked you a question, and the answer you give makes your eyes light up. It’s from there that I have the privilege of building powerful and authentic brand strategies – both for individual leaders and teams.

Here are a few of the things I offer:

  • Personal and leadership brand development
  • Strategy facilitation
  • Persona development
  • Social media strategy and management


My love of storytelling began at family gatherings growing up. Before the wine was opened, the atmosphere came alive with boisterously shared memories and anecdotes, each of which revealed a part of our larger family story. But beyond the laughs, tears, and happy memories, these stories imbued us with a sense of comfort, belonging and identity. We found our place inside them.

Whether leading a team or growing a brand, I know the most powerful tools we have as brand marketers are the stories we tell. Crafting stories people want to be part of is how we break through the clutter and inspire engagement.

My career has led me through many different industries - from banking and post-secondary, to hockey and clothing and apparel. And while my education and early experience is in public relations, I eventually evolved my practice to include digital marketing, marketing technology, and brand development.

Because, as I heard on a podcast once: good stories, well told, will change the world.

Life-changing moment

In May 2021, my dad was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. In the 15 months that followed, I experienced professional highs and lows, while watching my dad’s health deteriorate.

Eventually, my mental and physical health began to suffer – as it turns out, that was a blessing.

In March 2023, I quit my corporate job, took on some contract work and incorporated my own company not long after that. It meant I was able to rest, to grieve, to get my body healthy again, reinvest in my relationships, and find work with teams I believe in – like The Ally Co.

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Kate Woodford, VP, Operations | Director, Project Success

Kate Woodford

VP, Operations | Director, Project Success


I harness co-design to support people and groups through complicated or complex scenarios, while keeping projects on track.

Happy place

My fundamental goal is to steer projects through the process by making a plan and seeing them through to a positive solution. By employing a variety of human-centred facilitation and project management tools, I help people and groups get from uh-oh, oh no, and huh!? to aha!

Here's a few ways you might encounter my contributions:

  • Action-oriented, thoughtful, co-designed project plans
  • Ongoing project management and coordination
  • Adjusting and adapting plans to accommodate team insights and needs
  • Human-centred meeting design and facilitation


I say I'm originally a facilitator, project manager, and designer by accident, but a professional partner, problem solver, and organized human by choice. At its core, my work has always been in pursuit of enabling the right people, with the right tools, to tackle the challenges in front of them.

My educational background is in business and public policy, which has enabled me to work in the private, non-profit, and public sectors. My work has taken me from the arts and culture sectors in Calgary and Toronto, to social impact analytics, alumni relations, and strategy consulting. I am constantly on a journey to find the next project, place, or team I can help next.

Life-changing moment

My life changing moment is an ongoing one. As the older sister of a brother with cerebral palsy, I've consistently had the privilege of looking at the world as a really fascinating obstacle course to be navigated. I'm inspired by his determination to participate in and contribute to his world. My brother has taught me to look at the world with a curious, compassionate, problem-solving lens that isn't about "can't or won't", and always about "how". There's nothing you can't do without a little ingenuity, the right team, the right tools, a great plan...and a back-up plan.

Connect with Kate
Leah Fink, Learning and Development Facilitator

Leah Fink

Learning and Development Facilitator


I help protect people from the pain of damaged relationships by teaching them the skills they need to have meaningful connection, both personally and professionally.

Happy place

I love speaking and facilitating in order to provide a new outlook and to help develop skills that serve people in all aspects of their life.

My passion is in creating activities that help foster empathy, healthy conflict, and a deeper sense of connection. This often looks like:

  • Exploring values, needs, and strengths
  • Deepening effective communication strategies
  • Creating feedback systems that lead to real, impactful change
  • Examining factors that may be affecting interpersonal cooperation, and
  • Understanding what the problem actually is in order to find a powerful solution.


When I was a teenager, I was fortunate enough to start a journey of personal development, and since then I have been driven to help others understand more about themselves - what they want in life, and how to achieve that.

For the past 14 years, I have held different roles that have allowed me to support others' growth to that end. Many of these positions included using an experiential component, as I believe this is the best way to create impactful change.

I also discovered that I love group facilitation, as there is so much learning that is done in community. I have a deep belief that people should not need to 'hit rock bottom' before they can improve, so being able to include components in my work - that proactively support mental wellness - is very important to me.

Life-changing moment

I had a friend who was in a low part of their life and contemplating suicide. They chose to reach out in a dark moment, and I was able to identify what was happening and get them the help they needed. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to have this impact.

What really stuck with me was the fact that situation would not have been possible if we had not already invested in that relationship - so they would feel comfortable reaching out when it was needed.

This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about helping people do proactive work both in relationships and mental health.

Connect with Leah
Pablo Romero, Co.CEO | Director, Workplace Culture

Pablo Romero

Co.CEO | Director, Workplace Culture


I help courageous, human-centred leaders to take responsibility for themselves, their teams, and their world.

Happy place

I love collaborating, innovating, and creating with others in the People and Workplace Culture space, helping leaders and teams to design meaningful and impactful experiences, services, and relationships. Here's what that can look like:

  • Leading with Human-Centred Design
  • Transforming Culture and Experiences
  • Re-imagining the Employee Journey
  • Building Adaptive Capacity with Autonomous Teams
  • Designing meaningful careers
  • Developing conscious and effective communication skills
  • Learning how to use conflict/tension to innovate and connect


Self-expression, autonomy, and change have always been leading values of mine, so over the last 20+ years I've had the opportunity to experience a diverse mix of industries, organizations, and roles.

From managing a sales and marketing practice at age 20 in the consumer products industry for global brands like Pepsi, Unilever, Shiseido and Coty Prestige, to leading large and dispersed teams in customer and employee experience and operations for a global investment firm, to helping human-centred leaders and some of North America's best places to work to design and implement impactful workplace experiences - it's all been an incredible journey so far!

Life-changing moment

After years of not listening to my body, and at the age of 30, I got really sick…and my marriage was in jeopardy, we were expecting our first kiddo, I’d resigned from my high-paying job in beautiful SE Asia, and we were heading back to Canada with no home or employment.

I made the decision to use what I’d learned, and put my energy into humanizing the workplace - a structure and collective that holds the power to enrich the lives of its people and community.

What's one of your life-changing moments?

Connect with Pablo
Pamela Perez, Grants and Funding Advisor

Pamela Perez

Grants and Funding Advisor


I help advocate for vulnerable audiences and visible minorities by designing and implementing meaningful DEIB practices.

Happy place

I have two happy places! The first is the ocean (preferably the Caribbean), as it has always brought me peace and reminds me of home and roots.

My second happy place is my home, where and when I'm with my son, and surrounded by people that love, respect, and see me as I am. I love the feeling of safety and family.


Academically, I have a Bachelor's in psychology. From there, my career journey has included various roles in the Human Resources and People + Culture space - from being a Partner, to specializing in areas such as recruitment, learning and development, DEI, and more recently facilitating and consulting.

Life-changing moment

Two come to mind.

The first being my son - from dealing with infertility, unsuccessful IVF treatments, and being pregnant during Covid.

The second was moving to Canada, after having lived in South America - experiencing extreme cold winters, getting used to the diversity of people and cultures, the language, finding employment, and situating myself in a new country without my family.

Navigating my cultural and personal programming has been a hard process, but one I'm truly grateful for.

Connect with Pamela
Ricardo Ramirez, Senior Consultant, Employee Experience

Ricardo Ramirez

Senior Consultant, Employee Experience


I create people-centric experiences for a better world.

Happy place

The future fascinates me and I love spending time thinking about what it might hold. A better product, a better service, a better world will always inspire me.


I am originally from Caracas and I have been living and working in Toronto for over 14 years.

Throughout my career, I have been relied on to support the design and development of innovative products and services, and to lead cross-functional teams from research to implementation.

I have had the opportunity to hold a number of consulting/advisory roles for industry-leading organizations throughout the Americas, specializing in Design Thinking and Digital Transformation. 

My background is in Computer Science with post-graduate studies in Entrepreneurship and Small Business and Leading Organizations and Change. I'm NN/g UX and Scrum.org PSU I certified and have been accredited as a Service Design Practitioner by the Service Design Network (SDN).

Life-changing moment

In my early twenties, I came to understand that the country I had grown up in, did not have much to offer me any longer. This realization kicked off my immigration journey, which meant leaving behind family, culture, and certain ways of being. At the same time, I kicked off my journey of self-discovery and learning, which continues to yield today.

Connect with Ricardo

Questions? Thoughts? Feedback? Whatever it is, we would love to hear from you!