Ascent Strategy

rope team & studio

Conventional approaches
solve conventional problems.

We’ve spent years developing an approach built for the new reality of business. Ascent helps companies innovate profitably by harnessing the power of the abstract and analytical minds.

The abstract mind drives creativity, new ideas, and a deeper understanding of your customer.

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The analytical mind moves these ideas and insights towards feasibility and profitability.

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The result is growth.

about us

Meet our rope team

We are explorers driven by a passion for making new discoveries. Creative and curious, our world-class team of innovative thinkers spans a wide range of backgrounds. At Ascent, the worlds of art, science, and business collide in the pursuit of new insights to deliver our clients new capabilities and new competitive advantages.


Jeffrey Boutilier

Jeffrey Boutilier

President & Chief Strategist

Rachel Giatras

Rachel Giatras

Partner & Director, Business
Performance

Sam Karikas

Sam Karikas

Director, Creative Strategy

Tanya Zinkewich

Tanya Zinkewich

Director, Operations &
Studio Experience

James Spaleta

James Spaleta

Systems Analyst

Kyla Henry

Kyla Henry

Graphic Designer

Lucas Howlett

Lucas Howlett

Graphic Designer

Gideon Belete

Gideon Belete

Interactive Experience
Developer

Jeffrey Boutilier

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Jeffrey
Boutilier

President & Chief Strategist

Jeff has been reaching new heights for more than a decade – literally. As an experienced mountaineer, Jeff has scaled high-altitude peaks and he’s recently found a second home in the sky as a recreational pilot. His passion for adventure led him to the greatest journey on earth: entrepreneurship.

As Ascent Strategy’s Founder & Chief Strategist, Jeff’s task is to channel a client’s passion, creativity, and know-how into a business that can win. Jeff created Ascent to change the game and his approach is unabashedly unique. His honesty is incisive and his charisma invites candor from everyone he meets. While seemingly unconventional, Jeff designed Ascent around the leading science in management theory and he is constantly adapting Ascent’s methods to remain firmly based in the science of strategy.

Rachel Giatras

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Rachel
Giatras

Partner & Director, Business Performance

Rachel loves a good story–she’s spent her entire career helping brands tell their story through 13+ years working in the digital media and marketing space. An entrepreneur herself, Rachel not only understands the pain and pride points that come with running a business, she fully embraces the challenges of the unknown.

From processes and systems, to stakeholder engagement and business analytics, it’s Rachel’s job to build both your current and future story into everything you do.

Rachel is an investigator in her own right – fueled by a borderline unhealthy addiction to true crime docs. As it translates to the business realm, she’s always exploring, learning, and unearthing rich data and information to inform your next move. She also has a knack of taking complicated information and culling it back into easy-to-understand, actionable tasks so everyone is set up for success

Sam Karikas

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Sam
Karikas

Director, Creative Strategy

Sam is a free thinker. Driven by an insatiable desire for discovery she is constantly seeking to understand the mysteries of our internal worlds. With a philosophical inclination and an aptitude for in-depth research, she complements numbers and figures, with motivations and aesthetics.

For 12+ years Sam has been solving creative problems by becoming intimately knowledgeable about her clients’ business and customers to decipher the emotional algorithm of any particular challenge. Whether it’s product design, behavioural change or process innovation, she can turn the existential into the tangible.

Sam surrounds herself in books (literal piles of them), writes short stories and dissects movies in her spare time. Drawing on a near-obsession with human stories, Sam makes exploring even the most challenging problems an adventure.

She’ll bring you to the ledge to find a new and exhilarating perspective.

Tanya Zinkewich

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Tanya
Zinkewich

Director, Studio Operations

The heartbeat of Ascent, Tanya keeps the team moving (and smiling). Her two-steps-ahead approach and impeccable attention to detail keeps us in the right place at the right time. Deemed the task-whisperer, Tanya keeps the books balanced, plans noteworthy event, runs our studio operations and supports the team on 20+ projects at any given time without ever missing a beat.

Her infectious energy radiates throughout Ascent, the people and the space. All who walk through our doors is met with a comfortable, inviting studio experience which makes clients and guests feel right at home. Tanya’s fearless attitude finds her cruising the TransCanada on her 1200cc Harley Sportster and taking on new challenges as our world, the work, and the company evolves every day.

James Spaleta

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James
Spaleta

Analyst

James is a renaissance man, equal parts art and science. He is a photomicrographer, wine collector, musician, computer programmer, and he has recently become a motorcyclist. James is also a trained biochemist as well as being proficient in five languages, including French and C++. His vast skill set allows him to bring a fresh perspective to his job as an Analyst.

At Ascent Strategy it is James’ job to break things down, understand how they work, and put them back together better than they began. His work allows the freedom to creatively combine art & science to solve problems. Whether he is working with his plants to make them flower more often or playing a key role in the design & implementation of a new province-wide program, there is a method and it’s his job is to understand it.

Kyla Henry

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Kyla
Henry

Graphic Designer

Kyla is a part-time free spirit, part-time perfectionist which led her to a career in a creative field within a technical business. She enjoys the rigid yet free-flowing air of graphic design and is always willing to explore uncharted territory. Her unique expertise allows her to be adaptable, highly motivated, and full of ideas. She is always striving for the best possible outcome and looking to grow her skillset. In April 2019, she embraced the chance to learn alongside one of the world’s leading graphic designers (and her all-time idol), Aaron Draplin.

At Ascent, all things creative fall on land on Kyla's desk. She is known to absorb information, critically think and then execute anything and everything in a visually compelling way. Aside from design she is an avid adventure seeker, snowboarder, plant lover and carb enthusiast. In 2017, her design skills landed her a gold medal at a national competition and a seat at a world level graphic design competition in Abu Dhabi where she placed 6th.

Lucas Howlett

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Lucas
Howlett

Graphic Designer

Lucas lives life fully. A self-described explorer, if something out there exists, Lucas will try it—just ask him to show you his unicycle. Lucas applies the ‘try-guy’ philosophy to every design challenge, seeking inspiration from the world around us, and investing time and deep curiosity to solving design challenges.

Art is in his blood and runs in his family. He turned an early interest in fine art and painting into a passionate career that includes illustration, digital art, photo manipulation, and print. With his experience and a nanodegree in front end development he turns client and user needs into functional and attractive UX and UI.

Lucas is a believer in community and is drawn to anything where he can get into a flow state—whether it’s playing video games, skateboarding, basketball or devouring podcasts.

Gideon Belete

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Gideon
Belete

Interactive Experience Developer

A natural dot-connector, Gideon’s relentless curiosity keeps his mind searching for answers to “what is this” and “how does it work.” This curiosity is the source of ambition and creative fuel which motivates Gideon’s unquenchable need to learn. Following the completion of a BA in Economics in 2018, he continues to explore and immerse himself in today’s trending local and global issues.

His affinity for creative problem-solving soon led Gideon into the world of code, data and web development. His ability to synthesize complex information into insightful, meaningful sequences quickly moved his talents into the new era of data visualization. Combining economics and web development, Gideon crafts data-driven story lines worthy of their own sizzle reel. Beyond the numbers, Gideon solves mathematical music problems as he synthesizes sounds to produce his own beats.

studio

What better place to create the future than a century-old warehouse?



Our business design studio was shaped from raw space in a still-operational warehouse built over a hundred years ago. It serves as a daily reminder that the best ideas are the ones built to stand the test of time.

Soaring open spaces facilitate the creative collisions and collaboration that defines our process. Local craft brews (both of the roasted and toasted varieties) from the hottest micro-brew industry in the country fuel kinetic project sessions and late-nights. New spins are put on ideas and ping-pong serves. Every aspect of our space has been purposefully designed to support the unique way we work.

From the latest technology to the humble post-it® note, our studio is the perfect basecamp from which to serve our partners across North America.