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, Praxis Spinal Cord 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 enjoys travelling, exploring, and teaching 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. She provided colour commentary for CBC in its coverage of the introduction of sport climbing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Kimanda also serves on the Board of the Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence (PISE)
Jason A Keenan
Jason A 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.
After graduating from the University of Western Ontario with an MA in journalism, Jason started his storytelling career as an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor in B.C. and Alberta.
A recently political science graduate, Claudine is a Research Consultant at Ascent. After a decade in her home country of Venezuela, she moved halfway across the world to Oman, where she studied at an American International school for seven years. During this time, she learned English and Arabic and developed her passion for languages. This passion extended into international relations and politics, which led her to earn a BA in political science at Vancouver Island University.
Throughout her studies, she delved into learning more about international relations, Canadian politics, and additional languages like Mandarin and Japanese. She conducted independent research projects in her senior year on Canadian foreign policy and diplomatic relations, as well as Chinese cultural exports. She made the Dean’s List multiple times, was awarded Best Delegate at Model United Nations conferences, was Chair of a Security Council MUN conference, and earned speech and writing awards.
She is applying her passion for political science and research into her role at Ascent. She is also working with her former professor on an upcoming academic book about Canadian foreign diplomatic relations.
During not-so-busy days, Claudine enjoys spending her time reading comic books and playing video games.