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Our Team

Our Leadership

James de Gaspé Bonar, Ph.D., CEC, PCC

James de Gaspé Bonar, Ph.D., CEC, PCC

Founder & CEO

In a world of endless promotional hype, James Bonar, with his authentic style and aspirational methodology, supports clients navigate complex challenges, and create novel and impactful solutions. Clients who commit to working with James and his team at the Bonar Institute are not disappointed.

James has over 30 years of experience in Canada and the United States as a senior executive in business and the non-profit sector, and as a management consultant and professional executive coach.

He brings diverse experience in assisting individual and corporate clients. One example of the suite of services he uses is the Bonar Institute’s proven six-step results-based methodology which features emotional intelligence assessment, introspection techniques, and the setting of realistic SMART Goals. Interwoven in this process (the “science”) is the art of listening and providing you counsel on reaching your objectives. James is an avid sounding board and impactful advisor.

James has particular insight into the human dynamics underlying practical business situations; he assists leaders to see beyond the ordinary, to discover innovative possibilities and to embrace opportunities latent in the unknown.



Senior Director, Thought Leadership & Board Programs

John Barker is a thought leader and consultant who delivers impactful and actionable client insights and advice in these times of existential disruptions in local, national, and global economies, as well as society at large. John is a highly respected consultant with a track record of supporting multicultural management teams in startups and large and middle-sized organizations in North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East in adapting to major disruptions. John is a conference presenter and panelist at numerous international gatherings dealing with customer insights, analytics, and innovation.

His academic background includes a BA in Philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium; a Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School, New Orleans; and a Master of Science in Regulatory Compliance from Northwestern University, Chicago. John has the following certifications from the Compliance Certification Board (CCB): Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP); Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC); Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC); and Certified in Healthcare Privacy Compliance (CHPC).

Renuka Gamage MASc, MBA, PMP, CMP

Renuka Gamage MASc, MBA, PMP, CMP

Senior Director, Purposeful Leadership & Content Management

Renuka combines skills and knowledge from her highly diverse career of 25+ years including her research on new venture scale-ups and organizational leadership in support of new business owners and corporate clients. She has worked in multi-cultural environments, Sri Lanka, Dubai, and Canada.

Born and brought up in Sri Lanka, and an engineer in electronics and telecommunications, Renuka transitioned along a career path in corporate training, project management, bids/proposals management, teaching and facilitation to researching and consulting; she holds a Master of Applied Science in Technology Innovation Management engineering from Carleton University, an MBA, and a diploma in Electronics & Telecommunication engineering from Sri Lanka. She also holds professional certifications in project management (PMP) and in change management, diplomas in training and development, instructional skills for technical trainers (TVET), and in AI Business Strategy and Applications.

Giving back to the community, Renuka has volunteered her skills and knowledge generously and was awarded the ‘Best Volunteer in a Professional Field’ at the VOscars 2014 by Volunteer Ottawa. This award is given to individuals who have dedicated their professional skills to volunteer endeavors and to setting inspiring examples for the community. Currently, Renuka is a Sustainable Markets Fellow of the Sustainable Markets Initiative (an organization created by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in collaboration with the World Economic Forum; She is a board member and chair for Zonta JMK Women in Business scholarship committee at Zonta Club of Ottawa and serves as a mentor to new commers to Canada through local service agencies.

Renuka believes that ongoing and self-motivated learning are a process of broadening through which the sharing of knowledge-gained, that can help others achieve their goals.

Michael Hagley MASc., MBA, ACC, P.Eng.

Michael Hagley MASc., MBA, ACC, P.Eng.

Director, Coaching for Senior Leaders

Michael’s mission is to bring people that work together, truly together as a team. He guides his clients to achieve this and more!

He started his career as a Chemical Engineer in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S.A. He has experience in a number of industries including chemical processing and manufacture, automotive manufacturing, telecommunications. He worked in early-stage companies in online grocery, consumer goods, web development, and cannabis. Michael also has experience in traditional and digital media managing advertising, revenue and digital products.

Michael started his career as a Chemical Engineer in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S.A. He has experience in a number of industries including chemical processing and manufacture, automotive manufacturing, telecommunications. He worked in early-stage companies in online grocery, consumer goods, web development, and cannabis. Michael also has experience in traditional and digital media managing advertising, revenue and digital products.

In 2015, Michael completed his coach training at Adler and has gone on to work with clients in Financial Technology, Cannabis, Luxury Travel, Wealth Management, Technology Sales, Software Development, and more!

In his work with leaders, he helps them manage, lead and coach their people to outstanding results. In his work with teams, he helps build shared understanding, purpose, and a shared vision. Group and individual coaching are the final pieces of the puzzle that bring people that work together, truly together as a team.

Marie-Josee Levesque

Marie-Josee Levesque

Director, Organizational Impact

Marie-Josée is a fearless and proudly eclectic business and leadership coach with over 20 years of professional experience in public and private sectors, including consulting in Canada and internationally.

She offers introspective, research-driven and creative processes that foster system-thinking and supports the development of thriving organizations. She nurtures robust relationships, focuses on intentionality, and embraces the adaptive and creative power of the human mind.

Marie-Josée started her mindfulness journey in 2006 during an 8-month cycling trip across Europe and Central Asia with her life-long partner. She hit the road in Paris cold turkey, burned out from work and pedaled 10,000 km during one of Europe’s coldest winters, a spring plagued by rain and flooding, and the scorching summer heat of the Russian and Kazakh steppes. By embracing the physical challenges of the road, Marie-Josée developed her personal resilience and adaptability and learned about the power of trust and engagement in the moment. This fundamentally human experience changed her perception of life and the world.

Marie-Josée is an iPEC Certified Professional Coach with an Executive MBA. Nothing fires her up more than leadership, visionary energy, and playing fully the game of life.

Jennifer Hanna

Jennifer Hanna

Director, Learning, Training creation & Facilitation

Jennifer has worked as a performance and learning specialist and a leadership development facilitator for over 15 years. Her success in leading organizational learning strategies, designing leadership training programs, and developing high-performing teams is rooted in her understanding that an organization’s most important asset is its people. Jennifer’s background as an adult learning specialist and instructional design professional allows her to build learning solutions that are both engaging and impactful. Her truth is simple; when people learn and grow, companies learn and grow.

Through her work as a leadership coach, Jennifer cultivates the confidence and changes needed so that her clients love their job and perform their best. Whether you find her training, coaching, or designing, Jennifer will always be friendly, authentic, and full of purpose.

Devan Potter-Bonar

Devan Potter-Bonar

Director, I.T.

In a world where human interaction is migrating online, Devan strives more and more to create meaningful solutions to the technological problems that can prevent people from connecting in meaningful ways.

Devan has successfully completed the University of Toronto’s Full Stack Web Development — Coding Bootcamp. He is a mobile focused Certified Full Stack Web Developer specializing in creating user-friendly web apps and sites.

Understanding that Branding is as important as the product itself—sometimes more, Devan successfully developed and implemented wide-ranging brand concepts for clients. He has a very strong work-ethic, thirst for knowledge and ever-expanding experience. Determined and reliable, Devan is very attentive to the needs of his project’s end users. His training enables him to find imaginative, yet functional, solutions to issues as they arise. He keeps constantly evolving with trends and including new techniques in his projects.
Devan’s clear communication style facilitates teamwork and client satisfaction. He is excited to create intuitive apps that can be easily used by his corporate and individual clients day after day.

Jude Carriere

Jude Carriere

Director, Administration & Operations

Jude Administration Specialist providing remote business development and project management support to Leadership and Organizational Development professionals, and Leadership Coaches across Canada.

She is a client-centric professional who excels at developing effective relationships with key stakeholders and program participants to provide a seamless leadership development experience through coaching or skills development workshops and programs. With over 25 years of practice in a variety of office roles, Jude leads a team of administrative specialists who provide multi-disciplined support in all areas of program development and implementation, from the initial proposal through to final evaluation of the completed project.

Jude is pleased to be the Secretary and provide administrative support for a local charity. One of her proudest professional achievements has been leading the application for charitable status which was awarded on first reading with no requests for information or amendments required.

Jude lives in the beautiful Niagara (Ontario) region and enjoys long drives listening to podcasts with her husband and their golden retriever.

Our Associates & Team Members

John D. Bonar

Senior Advisor to the Founder and Principal

Providing impactful advice on private sector – government collaborative programs and international trade policy issues.

Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Mr. Bonar spent 32 years as Trade Commissioner in the Canadian Foreign Service. His multifaceted career included promoting trade and investment on behalf of Canadian exporters while on foreign postings.

He also managed numerous trade policy files during assignments at Global Affairs Canada headquarters, including:

  • promoting Canadian interests within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
  • protecting market access for firms selling the U.S. Department of Defense under the Canada –U.S. Defence Production Sharing Arrangement (DPSA);
  • leading export financing and foreign capital project reviews with Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC);
  • representing Canada on trade and the environment panels of the OECD in Paris.

John is pleased to join the Bonar Institute as a senior advisor to the Founder and Principal.

Major-General (Ret.) David Fraser CMM, MSC, MSM, CD, MA, BA

Director, Anticipant Leadership

Major-General (Ret.) David Fraser is one of Canada’s most accomplished leaders in both the public and private sectors. He is the President of Aegis Six Corporation of Toronto and sits on several boards.

David Fraser served for over 31 years with the Canadian Forces. Joining the Second Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), his career is highlighted by numerous operational tours around the world. He has served in command at every rank from lieutenant to major-general on operations commanding Canadian and multi-national troops. For his leadership he is one of the most decorated officers Canada has produced. He has been recognized for his leadership by the United States twice (Legion of Merit and Bronze Star), NATO, the Netherlands, Poland, the Atlantic Council and Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) as the Vimy recipient. He is the recipient of the Commander of Military Merit, the Meritorious Service Cross, and Meritorious Service Medal from Canada (leadership awards). David Fraser was the first Canadian general to have under command United States troops while he served as Commander Regional Command South under the United States Coalition. He led the transition from the US Operation Enduring Freedom to the NATO ISAF coalition. Canada was entrusted as lead nation for this operation and received many international accolades for its results attesting to MGen Fraser’s skill, diplomacy and experience. Upon return from Afghanistan, David was Commandant of the Canadian Forces College. The College is the Canadian Forces and Government of Canada’s premier masters accredited institute of higher learning for all middle and executive CF officers and now selected government officials. During his tenure, David instituted the international distance learning program for middle management (JSCP DL); the National Security Studies for CAF (Director and C-suite education) and selected government and private sector executive leaders; and enhancing Non Commission Member education towards their officer brethren. He has commanded the 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and LFDTS (responsible for all Army doctrine and training). During his tenure as Commander of LFDTS, he was instrumental in developing innovative training necessary for the new security environment. Taking his vast operational and staff experience, he conducted contingency planning and operations for Canada including the evacuation of Canadians during the Libyan crisis.

Upon leaving the Canadian Forces, David joined the private sector and along with his partners, raised funds for the creation of Blue Goose Pure Foods. In the span of 18 months, he along with his partners had acquired close to a million acres in Canada producing certified organic beef, chicken and fish and selling these products across Canada. Since then, he has taken his leadership and business skills to other companies achieving similar effects. Most recently, he was the COO for INKAS® Armored Vehicle Manufacturing until June 2016. Since then, he has worked with BMO on their Canadian Defence Community Banking Program.

He is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Toronto, holds a Master’s of Management and Policy, a graduate of Ivey Executive Program and is a graduate of the United States Capstone Program (Executive School for generals). His honors and awards including the Commander of Military Merit, the Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, the United States Legion of Honor and Bronze Star (for service in Afghanistan), and awards from the Netherlands, Poland, and NATO. He is the recipient of the Vimy award for contributions to leadership and international affairs and the Atlantic Council Award for international leadership. Today, he sits on the Open Text, Route1, CDAI, and Canadian Forces College Foundation Boards. He is a mentor at the Ivey Business School and is the co-author of Operation Medusa, The Furious Battle that Save Afghanistan from the Taliban.

Marielle Métrailler ECPC, PCC

Senior Associate Coaching, Training

Brings experience from across industries and markets to assist in the development of her clients.

Marielle is a leadership and executive coach working primarily with Managers with a background in science or technology who want to build and grow high-performance teams.

Originally from Switzerland and the holder of a bachelor’s degree in each Marketing and Sociology, she has worked in the corporate world throughout Europe and North America, applying her skill set to industries as varied as Luxury Goods, Biotech and pharmaceutical advocacy organizations.

A proponent of lifelong learning, she is always open to change and ready to learn new skills. She had the opportunity to work with highly performant individuals including VPs and CEOs in the pharmaceutical industry, preparing them for their meetings with government officials.

Marielle is an ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC), an Erickson Certified Professional Coach (ECPC) and a certified Nova profile practitioner.

Lalith Gunaratne CET, MSc

Senior Associate, Leadership & Mindfulness

Inspiring leadership excellence through mindfulness.

Lalith Ananda Gunaratne is a leadership trainer, facilitator and mentor weaving eastern and western philosophies and aboriginal wisdom into a tapestry of well-being and self-mastery for resilience in a fast-paced uncertain world.
Mindfulness practice based on martial arts is the foundation for his work in leadership, and as an entrepreneur, business developer and consultant.

His broad life and professional experience began as a pioneer to establish a solar energy venture in the late 1980s in Sri Lanka to renewable energy business development in Asia and Africa.

In 2002, he established Sage Training in South-Asia to facilitate team-centered leadership training for the private-sector, government, donor agencies and NGOs. He has led programs in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Indonesia, Maldives, Guyana and Canada.

He trained in Canada as a Mechanical Engineering Technologist and has a Masters in Responsibility and Business Practice from University of Bath, United Kingdom.

Donna-Lea Bowman

Senior Associate, Leading our Women Leadership Training Programs & Strategic Client Relationship Management Activities.

Empowering executives to develop meaningful relationships and impactful networks.

Have your organizational milestones understood. Be heard. Donna-Lea works with Executives to empower them to meet their goals, develop meaningful relationships and impactful networks.

Donna-Lea Bowman is a committed people-focused, bilingual, solution driven business strategist, mentor, and trainer. She works with a portfolio of businesses and institutions across diverse industries to help build value-based strategic partnerships.

Donna-Lea employs an empowering and consistently innovative results-driven approach to mentor, guide and advise clients to thrive in challenging and increasingly more complex business situations. Leveraging her extensive leadership management experience, she works with her clients to create attainable, actionable, and impactful objectives that address her clients’ individual needs. She seamlessly balances big-picture concerns with operational insights.

Donna-Lea works with Executives to identify challenges and then collaboratively creates an optimal road map for success.

Lingping Li, MBA

Senior Associate, Coaching & Training

Bringing extensive experience from  across industries and cultures to assist corporate, entrepreneurs, and individuals

With over 20 years of managerial experience in global companies and 3 years of coaching and mentoring experience, Lingping Li is committed to supporting clients in managing changes. She assists them in  adapting to new roles and environments, developing new competencies and skills, and achieving their successes in their desired way. 

Lingping has served as a public affairs professional at various levels in a number of global companies’ operations in China including the Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Foods, Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, and Alstom. She had 5 years of experience as a member of the Kraft Foods China operation management board. Her industry experiences ranged from fast-moving consumer foods, pharmaceuticals to large equipment suppliers. 

More importantly, Lingping is strong in understanding cultural dynamics and finding a win-win solution in a multicultural environment. As the Director of Government Affairs, PAC, the Coca-Cola Company China, she used to head the Food and Beverage Committee, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Beijing, evidencing and contributing to a Sino-US commercial negotiation and relations in a constructive way.   

Moving to Canada, Lingping became a coach, trainer and mentor in assisting entrepreneurs and managers to grow businesses and their careers. 

Originally from China, Lingping earned an MBA from the Judge Business School, Cambridge University, and now is an Erickson Certified Professional Coach. Lingping is a dedicated mindfulness meditator and regularly joines Vipassana 10 days of meditation. She believes in peace in mind, peace in the family, and peace in the world.  

Sandra Mutilva PhD.(c), EMBA, CRM, BHSc. RM (ret)

Senior Associate, Consultanting, Mentorship & Advisory Services, Research

Creating transformative leadership solutions for the health sector

Sandra is a healthcare leader, entrepreneur, innovator, consultant, expert witness, researcher and educator. Originally from Argentina, she emigrated to Ottawa, Canada, in 2002. She practiced midwifery and family reproductive health clinical services first in Argentina, in global humanitarian projects and then in Ottawa. Before leaving the profession in 2017, Sandra served as chief of midwifery services at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) from 2010 to 2016. In addition, she was co-founder of Ottawa South Midwives (OSM). Sandra obtained the Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Ottawa in 2017, followed by Executive Leadership and Machine Learning (ML) in Business certifications from Rotman School, a certificate in Risk Management (CRM) designation, a Medical-Legal Management Claims certificate from Osgoode Law School, and a diploma in Medical Informatics from the University of Chicago. Currently, she is a Doctoral candidate (Ph.D.) in Organizational Leadership (DOL) at Adler University (Chicago campus). 

Sandra is a visionary, confident and transformational leader. She is a lifelong learner, a self-motivated individual with a growth mindset to acquire knowledge and serve others. She advocates for women in leadership and is a trusted advisor to tackle the obstacles that diverse women have to develop executive leadership positions globally, the barriers to entrepreneurship in complex environments, and technology and innovation in health care. Sandra provides leaders with advanced evidence-based and risk management tools to respond in kind, focus on developing courageous followers, create more leaders, and imbed a healthy, fluid culture in organizations to retain and acquire human talent to execute the business strategy.    

When Sandra is not helping develop an enterprise or being a scholar, she practices martial arts, circuit training, yoga and running. She is an amateur astronomer and sommelier.

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