The GAIN Team:

Gaining Advantage, Gaining Insight

The GAIN Team can help your non-profit organization increase capacity to meet the needs of the people you serve.

New thinking and agile strategies are necessary to address the increasing challenges faced by our community. The GAIN Team offers sustainable and no-cost solutions at a time of increased demand for services due to the influence of a turbulent economy, shifting donor preferences, and the impact of COVID-19. The GAIN Team is ready to partner with agencies to provide short-term urgent support as well as longer-term restructuring and capacity building. The GAIN Team will help your organization meet the increasing demand for your services.

As our city evolves, so do our needs. Your work changes lives, helping to build a resilient and caring community where everyone thrives.


A small team from our volunteer group of over 50 highly skilled private and public sector leaders will partner with your agency to provide help where needed. GAIN offers expertise in four areas and will work with your organization through these focused approaches:

  • Assess current structure to fine-tune practices for effective governance
  • Assist with alignment around board roles, purpose, strategy, and CEO relationship
  • Review risk management and board effectiveness
  • Guide organizations to develop, maintain, and update strategies and plans to achieve their mission
  • Work with leadership teams to embed strategy by clearly defining outcomes, managing risk, leading change, and evaluating results
  • Assist agencies in adopting and updating financial and budgeting policies
  • Provide financial modeling assistance as a resource to foresee financial needs and align with strategy
  • Build stronger leaders in your organization to strengthen team capacity and resilience
  • Increase organizational clarity and effectiveness through leadership
  • Enable and accelerate necessary changes in strategy and operations
  • Build IT strategies and policies
  • IT review process for end-to-end IT or IT projects systems
  • Help recruit IT staff or contract services
  • Advise on RFP processes


The GAIN Team partners closely with agencies to understand their context. GAIN Team members apply their professional experience to help build capacity in the areas identified by the agency, often offering a fresh perspective. Agencies work together with GAIN, providing time and resources to identify, plan, and implement the changes required to achieve the desired outcome.


Ashley is a human resources Talent Advisor for Inclusion & Diversity at TC Energy. She previously held roles in HR talent management and acquisition, including staff performance, mentorship programs, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. She has experience working in health care, energy, and the construction industry, leading programs focused on early career employees, culture change, career progression and staff connection. As a born and raised Calgarian she is passionate about contributing to the community and has worked with various Alberta-based programs for youth, mental health and basic needs.

Hernando (Nando) holds a BA and MA in Anthropology and is the Project Manager, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Lethbridge. He has extensive experience in non-profit management, qualitative research, social inclusion, leading social service programs particularly in the field of settlement and integration as well as working on equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives. Nando has worked with post-secondary, local governments and non-profit organizations in Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, and Canada. Over a decade ago, he made Alberta home and has been committed to strengthening the local community through his work with equity seeking groups and volunteer involvement. He spends most of his extra time enjoying outdoor activities in the Rocky Mountains year-round.

Shawn spent the first ten years of her career as a research scientist with Arctic drilling operations, which then led her into training, human resources, and organization development. She completed her career as GM, Talent Management at Nexen, providing support across the global organization. Shawn is currently an independent consultant and a Commissioner with the Calgary Police Commission. She serves as a board director for CAWST and Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary.

Rose is a financial professional with over 30 years of experience in a variety of Canadian and international business and finance areas. Her areas of expertise include strategic and business planning, financial controls and risk management, financial reporting, controllership and assurance, project management, treasury, and corporate finance. Rose has volunteered with the GAIN Team for over four years and has enjoyed applying her experience to work with various non-profit agencies in developing and renewing strategies to increase the success of the organization to contribute to the community.

Nadine is a facilitator and leadership coach with over 20 years of experience leading large-scale change projects, facilitating strategic alliances, resolving conflicts between and within organizations, coaching leaders, and facilitating leader development. She is an adjunct coach with the Center for Creative Leadership and LHH and a facilitator with the University of Calgary, LHH, Canadian Management Centre, and Conference Board of Canada. She has volunteered on the GAIN Team since 2014.

Cherry has over 35 years of IT experience working for both large and small organizations in Canada and internationally. She has held a variety of roles from IT Manager to Project Manager to CIO. She is able to adapt solutions to fit the size and requirements of an organization and has experience developing and integrating IT solutions for growing organizations both organically and through acquisitions. She enjoys helping non-profit organizations in Calgary to support their back office needs so that they can be more successful serving the community.


Interested in working with the GAIN Team to build capacity in your organization?
Or, maybe you want to offer your skills and experience as a volunteer. Please get in touch!



The Calgary Foundation and The City of Calgary FCSS provide capacity-building grants to non-profit organizations in Calgary.

Free Seminars and Toolkits:

United Way’s Capacity Building Self-Assessment Toolkit is comprised of best practices in organizational effectiveness. The toolkit is used as part of United Way’s funding review process and is now available for agencies as a self-assessment tool to identify strengths and opportunities in the following areas:

Legal educational films—available through Pro Bono Law Association—offer helpful legal advice to non-profits. Watch them on their YouTube channel.

Building the Capacity of Your Board:

Gahlinger Consulting Inc. partnered with United Way to create the following tools to help your organization build the capacity of its Board and Board Chair.

What is Capacity Building?

United Way of Calgary and AreaGAIN Team + Capacity Building