Meet the Team


James de Gaspé Bonar

James de Gaspé Bonar

Ph.D., CEC, PCC

Founder & Principal

Brings diverse and practical experience in assisting executive and corporate clients.

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.


Devan Potter-Bonar

Devan Potter-Bonar

Director, IT & Administration

Connecting people with technology.

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…



John Barker

John Barker

JD, CCEP, CHC, CHPC, CHRC

Senior Associate, Thought Leadership, Consulting, Change Agency

Offering actionable insights and advice to clients around the globe.

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

Renuka Gamage

MASc, MBA, PMP, Change Management Practitioner (APMG) certified

Senior Associate, Learning Centre & Content Management

Preparing organizations for global scale.

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;  https://www.sustainable-markets.org/about). 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.



Nicky Pitt

Nicky Pitt

MA, ACC

Senior Associate, Coaching, Training, Facilitation

A vibrant leadership coach and facilitator.

Nicky works with senior leaders and leadership teams globally. Coaching since 2013, her extensive corporate and professional experience help ensure a meaningful partnership with leaders at all levels – enabling an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.

Nicky has facilitation and leadership coaching experience in a variety of industries, including financial, health, utilities, pharmaceutical, technology, public sector, and nonprofit organizations. Her specific areas of expertise are leadership coaching, team dynamics, and high-potential acceleration. Whenever Nicky is designing a program, or facilitating, she uses a personalized and collaborative approach. As a facilitator and presenter, Nicky captures the hearts and minds of learners through thought-provoking, experience-based presentations.

In working with her coaching clients, Nicky seeks to facilitate a deep understanding of what the individual wants to gain from the coaching process – and how success will be measured. She focuses on raising self-awareness and works with clients to provide a clear perspective of what they want to change; resulting in a plan that is made part of the individual’s enduring capabilities. She has been successful in working with leaders who are creating change, driving innovation, and navigating transitions.

Clients appreciate her sincerity, integrity, her discerning questions, and the humour and energy she brings to the engagement.


Marielle Métrailler

Marielle Métrailler

ECPC, ACC

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

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.


John D. Bonar

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.



Donna-Lea Bowman

Donna-Lea Bowman

Senior Associate, Mentoring & Training Leaders to Thrive in Complex Situations

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.


Andrew Akrouche

Andrew Akrouche

MBA

Senior Associate, Strategic Relationship Building & Business Development

Enabling clients to achieve success in complex strategic initiatives and business relationships.

Andy Akrouche is acknowledged as the industry leader in developing and managing adaptive, dynamic Public-Private and Public-Public relationships. He helps organizations design and implement change that matters aligned with organizational and partners goals, implement high performing relationships by moving business arrangements from fundamentally static transactions or deals to adaptive relationships based on flexibility, agility, and ongoing stakeholder collaboration.

Andy’s passion is to help his clients achieve success in complex programs and initiatives, modernization programs, digital strategy development and enablement, Outsourcing, AFD, Commissioning, Public-Private Partnerships, Public-Public Partnerships and Shared Services. He delivers executive seminars and training programs on Relationships Management, Relational Contracting Management, Outsourcing, ASD, Commissioning and PPP Management. He is the author of the book, Relationships First: The New Relationship Paradigm in Contracting. Andy is also the Chair of the Canadian ISO 44001.

Andy is the founding partner of Strategic Relationships Solutions Inc. (SRS), a knowledge-based relationship management firm.