• Monitor and evaluate SHIFT’s current governance structure, taking into account questions of accountability, distribution of power in decision-making, engagement of community- and university-based stakeholders, financial sustainability for participants and alignment with SHIFT’s values and ways of working.
  • Consider alternative governance models that may be appropriate for SHIFT, including the cluster model of governance developed by SHIFT’s Interim Leadership Team.
  • Provide recommendations to the SHIFT Steering Committee for a revised governance model, including an implementation plan, for 2020 and beyond.


During their 6 month mandate, members of the working group gathered information about the current governance model and explored potential alternatives by:

  • Conducting interviews with a variety of stakeholders, both internal and external to SHIFT

  • Hosting a focus group composed of Steering Committee members

  • Observing Steering Committee meetings

  • Researching other potential governance models and contrasting them current practices

Findings & Recommendations

Based on their research and analysis, the Governance Working group made the following recommendations for how SHIFT can develop an innovative governance structure that will better align with its mission, vision and values:

  • SHIFT commits to learning more about sociocracy-based governance models, and transition towards this model throughout its second year of operations 
  • SHIFT extends the mandate of the current Steering Committee for a period of 1 year to enable a successful transition to a new structure with as many of the current Steering Committee members as possible continuing in their roles, and recruiting new members into the existing structure if needed.


Furthermore, the working group recommends that SHIFT continues to invest in processes to strengthen and nourish a healthy governance culture, such as:

  • Creation of hubs enabling governance-related conversations and recommendations on focused topics to be developed outside of formal Steering Committee meetings.
  • Integration a culture of giving and receiving feedback prioritizing training, creating designated forums for feedback, and emphasizing safety of all participants 
  • Prioritize a flexible, consent-based decision making model and use other Sociocratic decision making principles such as consensus, democratic and chaotic when consent can’t be reached.
  • Creation of a conflict resolution process that allows conflicts to be held in a reflective and healthy manner. 
  • Make use of communication platforms and tools to connect SHIFT stakeholders 
  • Prioritize resources for training across all sections of the SHIFT community to create conditions for success during the transition to a new governance model.  

Working Group Lead:


Fabiola Mizero Ngirabatware was our Governance Advisor and led the Governance working group throughout their mandate.

Fabiola works as a consultant at the Center for Community Organizations. In her work, she has supported non-for-profits, municipalities, and academic structures to address structural challenges. She is passionate about human systems and anything that can shape organizational behaviors and learning. Fabiola's mandate is to monitor and evaluate the existing SHIFT Governance model in order to improve information flow and decision-making processes with the aim of developing a more fair, inclusive and experimental governance model.

For more details, you can review the job description that outlines Fabiola's responsibilities and mandate.



Jessica Cabana is deeply committed to reducing social inequities by building a more just and regenerative economy. Co-founder of the Hive Cafe Co-op and the Concordia Food Coalition, she brings a profound understanding of the Concordia student organizing and student politics landscape, as well as experience with a variety of alternative governance structures. In addition to these perspectives, she brings her experience as a member of the SHIFT Steering Committee to the working group.

Ernenek Duran is the Director of Programs at ONE DROP foundation. His extensive experience in local and international development projects has given him experience with a wide range of governance models and systems. He is eager to contribute these perspectives to SHIFT and connect with other governance practitioners through the working group.

Cheryl Gladu is wrapping up an interdisciplinary Ph.D. at Concordia University (Design & Management). Her main field of interest is designs that facilitate collective behavior change. This includes the design of democratic organizations and effective collaborative processes. Her studies in design for sustainable behavior change and knowledge of alternative governance models are great assets for the working group.

Jon Mcphedran Waitzer is passionate about collaborative and inclusive decision-making. They believe that the best way to make our diverse societies more inclusive is to increase the opportunity for every person and community to participate in the decisions by which they are affected. Their extensive work in bringing an anti-oppression lens to governance structures and the philanthropy sector are very valuable for the working group.

Eric Thananayagam is currently a student at Concordia University. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Arts & Science and is interested in organizational development. He has previous experience sitting on a board of directors at Champlain College. He is part of the working group because of his interest in SHIFT and his desire to learn more about governance

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