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Available Instructors

Here is a listing of Advocacy School's currently available Instructors

  • Nora Sobolov

    Training Offered: 

    Nora Sobolov, a seasoned executive and leader of change, has worked in policy development at the federal, provincial and municipal level and is familiar with what it takes to realize policy goals, create and execute multi-tier projects and build effective working partnerships. She provides advice, tools and executive coaching to set the table for successful policy negotiation and non-partisan campaigns. With a background in negotiation, mediation and collaboration, Nora has created consensus among unlikely allies on important issues.

    Nora brings over 25 years of experience as a VP of government relations for the cooperative and credit union system where she successfully created and led several campaigns and policy initiatives and as a senior executive and CEO starting, restructuring and managing organizations in the non-profit, private, co-operative and public sectors. As the former CEO of the Lung Association, Nora Chaired the development of a multi-sectoral health framework, which received a mention in the Speech from the Throne and a 10 million dollar funding commitment.

    Most recently, she has co-founded the Community Forward Fund, a loan and financing fund for charities and nonprofits. Nora holds a Masters of Law from Osgoode Hall, York University (specializing in negotiation and alternative dispute resolution), a Masters of Social Work (specializing in non-profit management and policy) from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Urban Planning from the University of Toronto.

    Organization: Nora Sobolov Consulting Inc.
  • John Stapleton

    John Stapleton worked for the Ontario Government in the Ministry of Community and Social Services and its predecessors for 28 years in the areas of social assistance policy and operations. During his career, John was the senior policy advisor to the Social Assistance Review Committee and the Minister’s Advisory Group on New Legislation. His more recent government work concerned the implementation of the National Child Benefit.

    He is a Commissioner with the Ontario Soldiers’ Aid Commission and is a volunteer with St. Christopher House and Woodgreen Community Services of Toronto. John was Research Director for the Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults in Toronto and was the co-chair of the working group associated with this project. He is undertaking an Innovations Fellowship with the Metcalf Foundation. He teaches public policy and is a member of 25 in 5.

    John has published op-eds in the Globe & Mail, National Post and the Toronto Star. He has written reviews for the Literary Review of Canada and written articles and studies for Ideas that Matter, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation, the Caledon Institute, The Toronto Dominion Financial Group, the Metcalf Foundation, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, The Toronto City Summit Alliance and many others. John serves on the Board of Directors of the Daily Bread Food Bank and he is the President of the Canadian Horseracing Hall of Fame

    Organization: Open Policy Ontario
  • Lisa Stilborn

    Lisa Stilborn is the Ottawa-based Chief Operating Officer of Temple Scott Associates where she manages TSA's public affairs practice which offers strategic counsel on federal, provincial and municipal issues.

    Lisa’s senior public affairs expertise is the result of over twenty years working in both the private and public sectors. She is an experienced leader in multi-disciplinary approaches that combine government relations advocacy with other issue management techniques such as coalition building, stakeholder relations and media relations to leverage these activities and achieve client goals.

    Organization: Temple Scott Associates Inc.
  • Donna Thomson

    DONNA THOMSON began her career as an actor, director and teacher. But in 1988, when her son Nicholas was born with severe disabilities, Donna embarked on her second career as a disability activist, author and consultant.    In her book, "THE FOUR WALLS OF MY FREEDOM", (McArthur and Co., September, 2010), Donna examines her personal family experience through the lens of Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach and a wellbeing index created by Sabina Alkire, co-creator of the Bhutan Happiness Index.  Donna examines how social innovation leading to practical solutions for families can thrive even in times of austerity - a subject she blogs about regularly.  

    Donna is the International Advisor to the PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship including its social enterprise Tyze and is a trustee of the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies.  She is the co-founder of Lifetime Networks Ottawa, a PLAN affiliate and is a member of the Cambridge University Capability Approach Network.  Donna holds degrees in Fine Art (Theatre), Education and Theatre in Education.  Donna’s interest in new modes of social engagement for marginalized families led her to sit on numerous boards such as the London International Festival of Theatre, Women for Women International Leadership Circle and Dovercourt Community Association.  Donna has spoken on disability and family wellbeing extensively, including at the London School of Economics, the Skoll World Forum, and the International Centre for Evidence in Disability.  

    Donna is married to James Wright, Canada's former High Commissioner to the UK.  She has 23 years of experience in giving and coordinating the care of her two children.  Donna is also the daughter and part-time caregiver to her mother who is 90.