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The Future Skills Centre welcomes Fiona Deller as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Tricia Williams as Director of Research, Evaluation, and Knowledge Mobilization

A seasoned specialist in education policy and initiatives, Fiona Deller has spent much of her career conducting research and evaluation, creating and designing programs related to student equity, educational pathways, teaching and learning, and skills development. She will bring her strong experience of operational development to her role as Future Skills Centre’s Chief Operating Officer (COO).

As a member of the executive management team, Fiona will play an essential role in bringing to life FSC’s strategy to strengthen Canada’s skills development ecosystem. She will oversee FSC’s day-to-day activities, plans and procedures, and will lead the operations as the Centre continues fostering new approaches to skills development and job training.

Fiona has a background in stakeholder and government relations and strategic operations at a variety of different government agencies. Most recently, she was the senior executive director at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and prior to this held a senior management position with the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC). She has also worked for the Ontario and federal governments. Additionally, Fiona taught program evaluation and performance measurement for 8 years at Ryerson University. Fiona is passionate about designing practical solutions that meet students’ needs, and creating an accessible, user-friendly educational ecosystem.

I am excited to join the Future Skills Centre at such a pivotal time. The Future Skills Centre plays an essential role in our professional skills ecosystem by facilitating the collaboration between government agencies, learning institutions, businesses and local communities. It is also committed to encouraging new initiatives to develop skills training across Canada. I am looking forward to contributing to this momentum as our partners and ourselves work to bring new professional learning opportunities to Canadians.

Fiona holds a BA and MA in History from McGill University, and a PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in the field of higher education theory and policy.

Tricia Williams brings a strong background across anthropology, sociology and economics disciplines to her role as Future Skills Centre’s Director of Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Mobilization. She has particular expertise in the future of work including digital economies, skills development, migration and gender.

At the FSC, Tricia will lead a pan-Canadian research strategy focused on advancing the FSC’s strategic goals.  She will also collaborate closely with our partners on the broader evidence agenda, ensuring that knowledge is both generated and mobilized effectively for uptake and usage.

Prior to joining FSC, Tricia spent seven years with the Mastercard Foundation, leading research, evaluation and knowledge mobilization initiatives related to youth employment and digital economy across Africa and with Indigenous communities in Canada.  She has authored and overseen numerous reports, events and research programs to generate evidence and action around inclusive employment and development.

Tricia previously worked for the federal government in evaluation and policy functions, which she joined through the Recruitment of Policy Leaders program.  She also spent several years supporting immigrant rights organizations in the United States and community organizations in Haiti, where she lived for several years. 

We have a tremendous opportunity to create a more inclusive future that benefits diverse groups and people across Canada. I’m excited to join the Future Skills Centre and its partners in addressing the critical challenge before us. Through strategic inquiry into our ecosystem’s needs and priorities, robust evidence and concerted learning and dialogue, I believe we can create a more inclusive and prosperous economy that reflects our boldest hopes and visions of Canada.

In addition to an undergraduate degree, Tricia holds a Master’s degree in International Development Studies from the University of Guelph, and Master’s and PhD degrees in Sociology & Anthropology from Florida International University in Miami.