Meet Our Team

Ginny Santos

CEO, Neolé

Ginny Santos works primarily with organizations that truly care about their people and want a healthy workplace culture that enables and sustains high performance. That’s why she founded Neolé, a training, facilitation and event production company that specializes in designing and facilitating team development and retreats that make a lasting impact— resulting in increased engagement, productivity and retention, and most importantly, a healthy workplace culture.

Everything she does is influenced by her drive to have a positive impact, and the practical skills and knowledge she developed while completing a Master’s of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership and several graduate certificates in Solution-Focused Coaching, Nutrition Sciences and Productive Thinking. Ginny is also a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University where she teaches creativity and innovation to executive MBA students.

Originally from Spain, she is an entrepreneurial mother, a digital geek and an enthusiastic dancer in the privacy of her kitchen.

Laura Bowley

Chief of Opportunity

Laura’s mission is to create conversations that transcend differences and spark change. As a facilitator and meeting designer, Laura combines principles of participatory management with the power of technology to create virtual spaces that connect people and promote dialogue. She is an early adopter of Zoom video conferencing, which is her preferred platform for facilitating webinars, meetings, round tables, consultations and training. Laura also facilitates using a number of asynchronous online tools, and she is constantly on the lookout for new technology that will meet our clients’ needs.

Laura’s specialty is integrative thinking: she works with clients, both one-on-one and in groups, to problem-solve, generate big ideas, and act on them. Prior to joining Neolé, she was a location-independent communications consultant, doing the “digital nomad” thing long before it was fashionable! She has a Bachelor of Business Management and is a 2015 Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Most recently, Laura has been honing her facilitation skills through courses on Group Facilitation Methods and Transformational Strategies with ICA Associates.

Karla Smith

Expert Coach and Facilitator

Karla Smith is a Personal Transformational Coach, Speaker, Writer, and Self-Love Expert dedicated to showing people how to courageously choose self-love so they can live a life of their own creation.

She has a degree in psychology from York University and has her certification as a life-skills coach from George Brown College. For more than a decade, Karla has impacted hundreds of lives in her private practice, as a facilitator for various in-person and online groups, coaching from the stage, and leading and guest speaking at numerous workshops and retreats.
She believes that we are all capable and equipped to love ourselves deeply and when we make that choice we become better team players, able to build strong connections, communicate effectively and openly, while valuing ourselves and our team members.

Karla is a brilliant problem solver and deep thinker who offers a unique opportunity for groups to elevate personally, as well as, professionally. Her optimistic, uplifting perspective to life propels participants to take the inspired actions they need to deepen team relationships and grow as people.

Shilbee Dhalla-Kim

Passion Coach and Facilitator

Shilbee Dhalla-Kim coaches changemakers, entrepreneurs, and community builders in moving from confusion to clarity, from being stuck to action and from status quo to change. She has coached changemakers at organizations including Innoweave, Social Innovation Canada, and the United Nations Association in Canada, and has facilitated workshops for organizations such as Cossette, Accelerate Her Future, and the Kingston Economic Development Corporation. She is also an instructor at McMaster University.

She uses anti-oppressive, intersectional approaches to help people and organizations understand their power, agency and privileges within the context of structural, interpersonal, and internalized barriers. With over a decade of professional experience in the social innovation ecosystem, Shilbee coaches clients in clarifying values, leadership approaches, and innovative business models that align with their values.

She has previously served as the social enterprise manager at the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, manager at the Centre for Social Innovation in Regent Park, and workstream manager of Entrepreneurship Policy at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

Dan Bigonesse

Trainer and Facilitator

As a trainer and facilitator, Dan has spent his career helping people expand their thinking and discover new possibilities. With his quick wit, probing questioning skills and productive thinking techniques Dan helps clients engage their whole brain and find solutions to their challenges.

Whether facilitating a training workshop, a new product ideation, a strategic planning session, or just a plain old meeting, Dan brings his positive energy and focus to the task. He is known for delivering high content sessions in a relaxed and entertaining style. Underlying Dan’s passion for deliberate thinking is a deep commitment to helping people learn and achieve useful outcomes.

Dan is a past trustee of the Creative Education Foundation and on the faculty of the Creative Problem-Solving Institute. He is also a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Facet5 Personality Profile, the FourSight Thinking Profile, and NeuroColor, a unique, neuroscience approach to personality assessment.

Dan makes his home in Ottawa where he lives with his daughter and his crazy chocolate lab. When not working, you can find Dan hiking with his dog and listening to some mind-expanding podcasts.

Lina Gómez

Senior Project Manager and Event Producer

Lina Gomez has always been passionate about individual, team and organizational wellbeing. This has been a priority for her when planning and managing hundreds of global and local events ranging from 20 to 2000+ participants — in-person, hybrid, as well as virtually. Lina joined Neolé in early 2020 and has played a pivotal role in building the company’s approach to healthy workplace culture. She finds it very fulfilling to work with teams and get to witness their increased engagement, productivity and improved collaboration.

Most of her work experience is in the not-for-profit sector. Prior to joining Neolé, she worked at AWID as Forum and Production Manager for over 10 years. Lina has also worked for various initiatives and development organizations around the world, focusing on strategic development and logistics management. She holds a magna cum laude MBA from Universidad Icesi as well as an honours degree in International Project Management from Humber College.

Originally from Colombia, Lina is also a film producer, art aficionado and loves being by the ocean whenever she gets a chance.

Teresa Gerner

Project Manager and Event Producer

Teresa’s true passion lies in moving ideas into action through leading projects and events from inception to execution. Through meticulous project planning and implementing creative solutions, Teresa has successfully planned many virtual and in-person conferences, events & gatherings. Teresa is constantly exploring new possibilities to deliver the best outcomes by staying on the cutting-edge of the latest engagement tools, especially when it comes to virtual event producing.

Led by a passion for social justice, Teresa has substantive experience working for non-profit organizations locally and globally in various sectors including community development, mental health and youth homelessness.

Crystal Morris

Digital Marketing & Virtual Office Coordinator

Crystal Morris is a communications specialist and creative professional from the prairies. As a lifelong student of empathy and human connection, she has been leveraging digital platforms to build global relations for nearly 20 years.

Crystal’s relationship with remote work started in 2013, during which time she provided remote support to several teams across three provinces. Making information clear and accessible and providing a safe space to ask for support were her main priorities; her dedication to human-centred solutions opened opportunities that took her across Canada for multiple training and support roles.

She believes it is possible to bridge the digital gap to build meaningful connections online through patient communication and clever tech solutions.

When she’s not working on Neolé’s communication needs, she enjoys urban wandering with her creative equipment and baking for her loved ones.

Bri Carter

Designer and Multimedia Specialist

Bri Carter is a creative designer and multimedia artist with specialties in animation and illustration. Always looking to improve and expand her skills, she has done work in areas including illustration, web design, graphic design, 3D renders and animation. Bri always puts her best work forward for Neolé’s social media, videos, and website. She also uses her tech know-how and organization skills to format data in client reports and presentations.

With a passion for bringing joy and inspiration to other people, telling stories through imagery and having it resonate with others is the reason why Bri started her art journey. She believes strongly in the importance and connection of art and creativity to personal wellbeing. Growing up watching movies always had a huge impact on her, no matter the story. She wanted to be involved in the process and make the same impact for other people.

Tony Esteves

Virtual Facilitator, Event Producer & Coach

International facilitator, virtual event producer and Solution-Focused coach Tony Esteves is passionate about creating human connection. He holds a B.A. in Communication Studies, intentionally meets new people regularly and loves to play and improvise. Adventures in the Rocky Mountains keep Tony energized and grounded from his base in Calgary, Canada.

Having lived, worked or travelled to 40 countries, he has facilitated in-person learning experiences in North America, Europe and South Africa and learned a few languages along the way.

Tony is the creator of the Talk2MorePeople Project which evolved into a year-long journey of human connection. In that year Tony met over 550 strangers and his mental health was transformed for the better. Tony shares those insights with groups who value entertaining learning experiences and conversations through talks and workshops. Meeting a stranger is how he joined the circus and why he has a mirror suit. The Talk2MorePeople book was published in January, 2021 and teaches how to bring new opportunities, experiences and people into your life through face-to-face conversations.

Cara Jordan

Bookkeeper and Chief Financial Officer

As a contract CFO to start-ups, NPO’s and consulting firms, Cara manages all things financial at Neolé. Never one to put all her eggs in one basket, she finds that her intuitive nature, the diversity of her client base and the exposure to a range of perspectives and business interests/concerns gives her an advantage in meeting the needs of her clients.

With a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Victoria and with teaching certificates in Canada and the UK, she continues to be an advocate for Mathematics education reforms as a steering committee member of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences Education Forum and co-host of their annual Mathematics Education Research Day in January. More recently, she has become the Treasurer of Leading Word.

Backpacking through Central America, working her way across Australia and teaching overseas equipped her with a comprehensive education and a sense of global citizenship which translates to indispensable problem-solving skills and a passion for utilizing Mathematics as the tool for greater understanding of any company’s financial position and prospects.

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© Neolé 2023

Don’t miss the opportunity to get new resources, tips, and invitations to our free events focused on maximizing wellness, creativity and engagement in hybrid and remote workplaces.

Sign up for our newsletter!

Keeping people connected

© Neolé 2023