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Synergy Associates was established in 1999 to conduct research and provide consulting services in governance, management, leadership, board and director evaluation, organizational development and strategic planning. Synergy Associates, headquartered in Ottawa, has a network of seasoned consultants in Ontario and Western Canada.


Mel Gill, B.A., MSW, is President of Synergy Associates, Consultants in Governance and Organizational Development. He is the author of the widely acclaimed best-selling book, Governing for Results: A Director’s Guide to Good Governance; the ‘Governance Self-Assessment Checklist’, a research-validated diagnostic, educational and strategic planning tool for boards; the ‘Board Culture Checklist’, all designed to assist boards in evaluating and improving their governance practices; Pour une gouvernance qui obtient des résultats : Rôles, responsabilités et relations du conseil d’administration; and, several published articles on nonprofit, corporate and network governance, organizational effectiveness as well as development of public policy. (See Publications) (See What Others Have Said).

He has been a frequent contributor to Charity Channel, Charity Village and the Canadian FundRaiser. His book was adopted as the core resource for the United Way Canada board development curriculum and several university and community college courses on governance. Leaders in the United Way, IMAGINE Canada, CICA, CSAE and many other organizations have endorsed this guide for directors as an excellent resource for board leaders. Mel is a frequent presenter at conferences across North America. He has presented several papers and workshops at national and international research and industry conferences, a number of which have been published in professional and trade journals. (See Publications)  

He is respected as an innovative thinker and a leading authority on nonprofit and public sector management, governance and organizational effectiveness. He brings perspectives from his studies in law, social work, psychology, political science and economics; experience as a senior manager in government; program, policy and budgeting analyst with the Saskatchewan Treasury Board; internal Treasury Board consultant responsible for implementation of a Program-Based Management Information System in several government departments; development of standards for management and funding of community services and employment grants to nonprofits and small businesses; CEO of one of the largest nonprofit social service agencies in Canada; and as a volunteer board member (executive and founding) with a score of local, provincial and national nonprofit boards.

He was awarded grants from the PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government and several federal government departments between 1999 and 2002 to support his research on governance in nonprofit and public sector organizations. Mel has received several honors for leadership in mental health services and children’s services.

Mel has been an advisor to United Way Canada on redesign of its board development curriculum and United Way International on the development of ‘Global Standards’ for ‘Governance, Privacy and Ethics’.

He was a Senior Associate of the Institute On Governance in Ottawa from 1999 to 2004. He has been on faculty with the ‘Fundamentals of Governance’ course offered by Queen’s University, School of Business, Executive Development Program and the Directors’ Education and Accreditation Program and Nonprofit Governance courses offered by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Canada (ICSA). He has also been a sessional lecturer in a number of university courses on the politics of change; health care, nonprofit and public sector governance.

Mel has been consulting, conducting research, writing, training and speaking on governance best practices and organizational effectiveness since 1999. During this time he has conducted governance audits, board/director evaluations, strategic planning and training and development of bylaws and governance policies with more than one hundred non-profit, public and private sector agencies, associations and corporations. 


All boards have the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively govern and enhance the effectiveness of the organizations entrusted to their stewardship.


Synergy provides board leaders with information, tools, advice and assistance necessary to effectively fulfill their governance responsibilities and enhance their performance.


There are several key commitments to which Synergy Associates will adhere in serving your unique purposes. These include:

•  We will work closely with you to ensure that your needs are understood and met.we will consult key players so that their views are understood and respected and will strive to optimize the prospect of 'buy-in' among key stakeholders.
•  We will bring our experience and knowledge to the assignment without imposing our own assumptions.
•  We will provide you with advice in a way that makes strategic sense to you and other key stakeholders.
•  We will apply the highest level of methodological rigour so that the end product stands up to objective review.
•  We will add value to your organization and its purpose.
•  We will ensure that our work is "user-friendly" so that when our work is complete, you are fully able to implement and build upon our work.
•  We will pride ourselves on delivering an excellent product that will ensure it serves truly useful strategic and operational purposes that support the aims and mission of your organization.


Government Agencies


  • Alberta Ministry of Community Services,
    • Child and Family Services Authority, Grande Prairie
  • Saskatchewan Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour
    • Saskatchewan Training Institutes (Community Colleges)
  • Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance
    • Saskatchewan Public Pensions Agency
    • Saskatchewan Public Employees Benefits Board
    • Saskatchewan Municipal Employees Benefits Commission

Government of Canada

  • Agriculture Canada
  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • Environment Canada
  • Health Canada
    • Health Promotions and Programs Branch  
    • NVO Health Division
  • Heritage Canada
  • Human Resources Development Canada

Provincial & National Associations

  • Air Canada Pilots Association
  • Athletics Ontario
  • Canadian Institute of Mining
  • Hockey Canada
  • Canada Mining Innovation Council
  • Canadian Community Newspapers Association
  • Canadian Credit Institute
  • Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) and Affiliates
  • Canadian Evaluation Society
  • Canadian Hemophilia Society
  • Canadian Literacy and Learning Network
  • Canadian Institute of Actuaries
  • Canadian Institute of Landscape Architects
  • Canadian Nurses Protective Association
  • Canadian Stem Cell Research Network
  • Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
  • Community Arts Ontario
  • Federal Superannuates National Association
  • Health Charities Council of Canada
  • Heritage Canada Foundation
  • Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Canada
  • Katimavik Canada, Montreal
  • Kahnawake Economic Development Council
  • L’Arche Canada
  • National Association of Friendship Centres
  • Nunavut Association of Municipalities
  • Ontario Community Legal Aid Clinics Association
  • Ontario Library Trustees Association
  • Parkinson Society of Canada
  • School Boards/Trustees Associations
    • Manitoba
    • Saskatchewan
  • Sierra Club, Canada
  • SNOLAB Institute (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, University Consortium)
  • United Way Canada
  • United Way Volunteer Leadership Trainers
  • South Central Ontario
  • Vancouver
  • United Way International


  • Calgary Centre for Nonprofit Management
  • Carefor Community Health Services (former VON Ottawa Branch)
  • Child and Family Services Authority (CFSA), Grande Prairie, Alberta (Also case study)
  • Child Find Manitoba
  • Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre of Calgary
  • Foundations
    • Community Foundations (several)
    • Hospital Foundations (several)
  • Hospice at Maycourt, Ottawa
  • John Howard Society, Kingston, Ontario
  • Native Friendship Societies (national and local)
  • Open Hands Society, Cornwall, Ontario
  • Perley-Rideau Veterans Health Centre, Ottawa
  • Police Services Board, Port Moody, B.C.
  • Queen’s University, CA Centre for Governance (research projects)
  • School Boards
    • Moncton, N.B.
    • Ottawa-Carleton, ON
    • Prairie Valley School Division, Regina, Sask.
  • Services to Children and Adults, Prescott-Russell
  • St. Leonard’s Society of Canada
  • Valoris Training Institute, Prescott-Russell, ON
  • Victim’s Services, West Parry Sound, Ontario
  • Wilfred Laurier Student Public Interest Research Group, Waterloo, ON

Private & Regulatory Sectors

  • Alberta New Home Warranty Program
  • Canada/Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board
  • Canada/Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board
  • Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) [Also case study]
  • CODE Inc. (now ESI – Electoral Services International)
  • Finning International/CAT, Vancouver
  • McInnes Cooper, Atlantic Canada Law Firm
  • OMVIC (Ontario Motor Vehicle Dealers Industry Council)
  • Ontario Electrical & Utilities Safety Association
  • TimberWest Forest Inc.


  • Altruvest, Toronto, Ontario
  • American Association of Fundraising Professionals
  • ARNOVA (Association for Research in Nonprofit Organizations & Voluntary Assns.)
  • B.C. Nonprofit Housing Association
  • Canadian Association of Police Services Boards
  • Canadian FundRaiser and Philanthropy
  • Canadian Society of Association Executives (National; Edmonton and Ottawa Branches)
  • Crown Conferences
  • Federated Press
  • Insight Conferences
  • Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Canada
  • IQPC (International Quality and Productivity Centre)
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation, New York, NY
  • Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta
  • Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • National Centres of Excellence
  • Queen’s University, School of Business, Executive Development Program
  • United Ways (National and local conferences)
  • YMCA Canada

Case Studies

  • Alzheimers Society of Canada
  • Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre, Ottawa
  • B.C. Fast Ferries Project (Study case, Queen’s Centre for Governance)
  • CFSA, Grande Prairie
  • Canadian Aids Society
  • Canadian Council on Social Development
  • Canadian Institute of Child Health
  • Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa, ON
  • CIRA
  • Community Health Services, Regina (Regina Community Clinic)
  • Kinark Child and Family Services, ON
  • Local Children’s Service Organization (composite: names confidential)
  • Local Service for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (name withheld)
  • Osteoporosis Society of Canada
  • Saskatchewan Health Authorities Governance
  • School Board Governance in Canada
  • Service Clubs (Leader Lions, Saskatchewan and Ottawa Kiwanis, ON)
  • Volunteer Ottawa
  • Windsor Group Therapy Project ON
  • York Children’s Aid Society, York Region, ON

Copyright 2009 Synergy Associates Inc.  All Rights Reserved