With over 25 years as a communications and government relations consultant, Kimanda leads Ascent’s practice. After holding positions in conflict resolution at the BC Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and as a political assistant to a BC Member of Parliament, Kimanda joined a crisis communications consulting firm in 1994. Since then, she has provided strategic communications and government relations advice and services to a wide range of organizations, from international coalitions working on trade disputes to provincial health care associations. She has a strong track-record of success, particularly working with board reporting entities, such as the BC Cancer Foundation, the Legal Services Society, the Law Society of BC, the City of Dawson Creek, Genome British Columbia, the Rick Hansen Institute, Science World, Triumf, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Vancouver Prostate Centre, the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, and the BC Tech Association.
An experienced campaign manager, she often teaches at campaign schools, with a particular focus on increasing the number of women who run for office. She has also been a guest lecturer in the University of Victoria’s Masters in Public Administration program, related to the intersection of political imperatives and the public policy process.
In her spare time, Kimanda travels, explores and teaches climbing. She is a certified climbing instructor, a member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and spent a decade volunteering with the national climbing team, including coaching all over the world. She lead the team that hosted the first World Youth Climbing Championships to take place in North America and is the Chair and Director of Operations of the not-for-profit Boulders Climbing Gym.
Kimanda also serves on the Board of the Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence (PISE)
Jason Keenan is an Associate of Ascent Public Affairs, and the head of his own communications strategy company, Audience Public Affairs.
He has developed and implemented communications strategies for the provincial government, in the Office of the British Columbia Premier, for a global non-profit in the technology sector, and with a business industry association. The projects he has developed and overseen run the complete gamut of public affairs and communications – crisis communications, leadership, media relations, social media, issues management, strategic planning, and writing.
Along the way he’s delivered new approaches to stakeholder relations, revamped member communications, and brought an intensely pro-active approaches to getting key stories across to key audiences.
In all instances, it’s always about the story. It’s about building a narrative that connects with the audience on their terms, and brings them the story you want them to hear. Without a story, you end up with a lot of facts and words – often on a hard to read PowerPoint.
Jason started storytelling as an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor in B.C. and Alberta. He also blogs on topics like cross-cultural comparisons, book reviews, and pursing minimalist lifestyles.
A bilingual graduate of both Queen’s University and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Eden Toth is the latest addition to the Ascent team. She has a varied background in special event production and communication design and has worked in creative capacities for several not-for-profits, as well as the City of Vancouver and TED talks. Her most recent venture is a tech start-up that makes language programming more affordable for small Indigenous communities.
When not on the phone with Kimanda, she can be found sitting in the nosebleeds at the symphony, throwing stones at the local rink, or zipping across Active Pass in a ’78 Hourston glascraft to her home on Galiano Island.
Our newest consultant brings her communications, policy and outreach experience to the team.
Danielle is a graduate of McGill University and the London School of Economics and Political Science. As a journalist, she covered financial markets and general news in Bloomberg News’ London bureau.
Danielle is committed to making government more accessible to Canadians. She has worked in B.C.’s civil service, and also in several federal and provincial constituency, campaign and caucus offices. Danielle understands B.C. priorities, and enjoys helping individuals and organizations navigate Canada’s complex political landscape.
Danielle is a curling evangelist and an emergency management volunteer. In her spare time, she dreams of driving a fast lap around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.