About our agency
Tight knit and talented, we’re a team that brings out the best in each other. Our creativity, expertise, and design vision set us apart.
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You’ll love us at “hello”
With plenty of designers, studios and freelance options, our (potential) clients need to know how Initiate stands out.
From the first meeting to years down the line, many of our clients and our team have stayed with us across our 15 years of business. Maybe it’s our responsiveness and dedication, creative solutions or meaningful designs. Or perhaps it’s just our darn good looks? Regardless of all the valid reasons, we are clearly doing something right and want you to come along for the ride.
Substantial design experience
Initiate consists of a carefully curated team of highly professional and senior designers with diverse skill sets that quickly delivers high-impact results.
Others say it, we live and breathe it. Incomplete sentences, inconsistent use of punctuation and capitalization, or maybe a headline that just doesn’t quite work? Our designers read your content and will catch the little things, so you don’t have to.
Initiate Marketing excels in design for technology companies, producing work that embodies the elegance and creativity of classic design, yet appeals to the technology-savvy nature of this highly specialized audience.
Diverse perspectives drive creative innovation.
At Initiate, we are dedicated to cultivating an environment where diversity and inclusion are celebrated and encouraged, recognizing that they are not only about acknowledging our differences but also appreciating the distinct perspectives and talents that each individual contributes.
Our commitment to embracing diversity and fostering inclusion is rooted in our belief that this approach leads to a design agency that is not only more vibrant and creative, but also one that resonates with empathy.
“We strive to build a workplace and design community that mirrors the richness of the world we inhabit, positively impacting our clients and the broader global community.”
Michael Ball, Chief Creative Officer
We don’t just say our values, we live them
Our values apply to both our clients and our team—with different approaches for each.
Being accountable to our clients (and our work) starts at the top. The leadership team wants to lead by example and develop a team that understands the importance of only committing to projects that we can provide the best quality work.
We’re not afraid to admit when we’re wrong or when a task is outside of our wheelhouse. It’s important for us to be honest and transparent every step along the way. This builds trust in the solutions we provide.
We want to foster a family atmosphere in which each team member feels accepted, respected and appreciated. Honesty plays a key role in ensuring each team member feels they can speak up and be genuine with each other.
We’re not going to bullshit you and lead you down a path only for our gain. The success of our clients’ marketing efforts is the only reward we seek to achieve. To that end, being honest about our abilities is paramount.
We have had relatively low turnover in our team. We know we’re doing something right if our employees want to stay with us in a field where people bounce around quite a bit.
Our track record and client list speak for themselves. Most of our clients are still with us after 15 years. Our relationships are long-term.
We want to provide a stable environment for our team, allowing them to make long-term life decisions knowing that they will have a career with us for as long as they choose to stay.
Knowing that we have a solid foundation provides trust in our methods, processes and creative solutions.
Let us introduce ourselves
With one of the lowest agency turnover rates in Ottawa, we provide a safe haven for creatives to grow and explore together—over decades. Bonds are quickly developed at Initiate, as we contribute equally towards common goals. We enjoy supportive challenges, the powerful combination of passion and collaboration, and the opportunity to be ourselves and thrive through creative vulnerability.
Chief Creative Officer
With over two and a half decades shaping the visual narrative of some of high-tech’s strongest brands.
Michael Ball, our Chief Creative Officer, and founder, has interwoven best practices and design innovation to elevate the agency’s reputation while delivering results-driven creative daily. By stepping into more of a leadership and high-level client strategy role, Michael’s current focus is developing the talent within his team and supporting Initiate’s clients in strategic, brand-focused deliverables.
The goal is that the solutions that emerge from Initiate evoke emotions, inspire actions, and leave an indelible mark no matter the size or scope of the project. Outside of the office environment, his passion for the creative continues. He is an avid (hobby/home) chef obsessed with music, playing and collecting guitars. He can also be found at the gym, teaching Les Mills fitness classes and inspiring others to become better versions of themselves.
Chief Operating Officer
As Initiate’s resident bundle of energy, Jennifer is a force to be reckoned with. She’s got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire and the hotter, the better.
With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience and the help of a psychology degree, Jennifer has keen insights into customer behaviour, preferences and pain points. Combining this with a track record of exceeding targets, the ability to identify growth opportunities and the belief that change is a constant, she is integral to recent growth at Initiate.
As the Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer plays a pivotal role in shaping the company’s future direction, ensuring its long-term success and sustainability. Jennifer is responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive strategies that align with Initiate’s mission, vision and values while driving growth and profitability. Highly detail-oriented and passionate about KPIs and mitigating risk, Jennifer has already brought positive change to this organization in three short years.
Any spare time is spent in the gym teaching fitness or working on her fitness goals. A voracious reader, she can usually be found with her nose in a book or one of her favourite newspapers (actual paper, please). Spring and summer are the times to flex her green thumb, and she loves being able to grow food that her chef-like husband can cook with. Late fall and winter are reserved for putting together puzzles while singing along with Elvis, John Denver, Celine, or Whitney.
Carolyn is an innovative creative leader and design mentor with over 25 years designing.
Developing and managing successful creative strategies for the likes of Chrysler, General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada, Entrust, BlackBerry | QNX, the City of Ottawa and the Senate of Canada. She brings a unique approach to managing the relationship between strategic client requirements and visual implementation and has led teams to turn even the most complex project briefs into elevated, appropriate solutions clients love.
Carolyn is very curious, loves what she does and likes asking hard questions that encourage bigger thinking. She is fuelled by clever, functional, and accessible design and user experiences, design-thinking fundamentals, problem-solving, mentoring creatives for success, stretching herself personally and professionally, and a really really good cup of earl grey tea. Oh, and she also has a soft spot for black labs and charming graphic design humour. #iShotTheSerif
Digital Art Director
Kevin would have helped found Initiate if he could—he joined the company early on and hasn’t looked back.
From the start of his 25-year career, his passion was and continues to be motion. Kevin always puts extra thought into how things move—whether it’s in a video, animation, or when you scroll through a website. His style is clean yet playful, and is balanced with a pixel-perfect attention to detail that he applies across all of the projects that he manages at Initiate.
Kevin has been drawing since the time he could hold a crayon, and as a teenager his dream job was a computer animator at Industrial Light and Magic. Today, he continues to draw and paint whenever he can, and has found a passion for video editing after recording hours of footage of his kids. When he’s not busy being creative or collecting action figures, Kevin enjoys spending time in nature with his family—camping, skiing, biking, and walking his husky, Tokka.
Versatile and flexible, with 13 year’s industry experience, Jamie’s strength lies in his ability to move between design disciplines as clients requirements arise, at all times championing a focus on beautiful, but functional visual design.
Jamie approaches the root of every design request with a simple question, asking for a clear, visual answer. Finding that answer requires a level of focus that most designers do not possess, but it is Jamie’s sweet spot.
When not wearing his design hat, Jamie spends his spare time in the summer touring the countryside on his bicycle, and the winter on cross-country skis. If the weather isn’t suitable for either of these endeavors, he’s usually found in his home studio making strange electronic sounds and rhythms. And he also like eating pizza, just like you ; )
Senior Graphic Designer
As a UI/UX designer by day, a college design teacher by night, and a freelance designer and amateur mixologist in between, Anish is unequivocally passionate about all things design.
With over 20 years of experience in the industry, he has honed his skills and expertise to craft visually stunning, user-focused designs that resonate long after the first glance. Anish approaches every project with a keen eye for detail and a client-first mentality, as he truly believes that understanding the problem at hand is key to designing the perfect solution for you. He is always seeking new and innovative ways to push the boundaries of design, delivering creative solutions that help you effectively communicate and connect with your audiences.
His strong understanding of typography, UX patterns, and composition allows him to bring your ideas to life in a way that is both compelling and functional. He is committed to staying current with the latest design trends and techniques, constantly refining his skills to deliver top-quality work. Plus, he makes a mean Old Fashioned! Anish is excited to collaborate with you and learn how he can help solve your design needs. Cheers to great design!
Senior Graphic Designer
With over 25 years of professional graphic design experience, Melanie is a design force to be reckoned with and an integral part of the Initiate team. For the past eight years, Initiate’s clients have benefited from her seasoned layout abilities and strong design sense.
Melanie’s expertise is brand identity development and print and digital layout design. She has a remarkable knack for beautiful colour selections, carefully thought out font choices and application of graphic elements. Her design style merges graphic simplicity with well considered typography and imagery, and her strong attention to detail is what sets her apart. Melanie’s creative skills and distinctive outlook on the design process inspire both clients and the Initiate team.
Outside of work, Melanie has a passion for all things vintage. She is constantly on the hunt for that ultimate treasure, with a special love for Jadeite, Pyrex, white milk glass and vintage/antique kitchenware. If she’s not out thrifting, she might be dabbling in other creative outlets, such as macramé or weaving. Melanie has a deep affection for nature and the outdoors and enjoys life at the cottage with her family.
As a trained Relationship Coach, Camilla believes everything in marketing is in “relationship”, brand relationship, client relationship, team relationship and leader relationship.
With over 25 years of experience in business development, marketing, and sales, working with both national brands and agencies, Camilla specializes in business processes, project management, and client relations.
Camilla helps identify organizational blind spots and creates effective and efficient procedures, developing system roadmaps that lead to business and client success. The key to Camilla’s achievements is a genuine passion for building trusted and long-term relationships, her approach is proven to create, nurture and strengthen connections internally with the team and externally with clients/partners.
When Camilla isn’t integrated with the Initiate Team, you can find her riding her bicycle on the trails …always with a basket for impromptu purchases at farmers’ markets and holistic picnics. With a passion for food, Camilla empowers others to discover a healthy relationship with food, connecting gut and mind with her home-brewed kombucha.
Fran is a maestro in the craft of user experiences. While her specialty lies in creating digital masterpieces, her goal has always been to transcend conventional boundaries.
Nearly seven years ago, she earned her diploma in Graphic Design from French College La Cité. Since then, Fran has embarked on a journey to blend artistry and usability with a strong focus on web design. But beyond the pixels and code, lies an adventurer’s heart.
When not immersed in user-centered design challenges, you’ll find Fran exploring the great outdoors, crafting intricate wonders, or foraging for wild plants and mushrooms—a symphony of nature’s creativity. With Fran, the line between work and play blurs artistically, where innovation meets the wilderness. Every pixel tells a story, and every day is an adventure waiting to be embraced.
And don’t be surprised to spot Rocky, her four-legged dynamo, gracing the office with his boundless energy and infectious charm.
Ali not only possesses a talent for transforming concepts into visually captivating designs but also has a distinct flair for fashion, particularly in the realm of quirky sweaters.
The excitement of conveying messages through creative mediums, and the prospect of reaching a broad audience, fuel her continuous motivation and desire for more. Infusing a meticulous eye for detail into her work, Ali brings experience across various design domains, including motion, branding, layout/print, web design, and illustration.
While she may be relatively new to the captivating world of design, creativity has been an integral part of Ali’s life since its inception. Whether expressing herself through film, drama, music, fashion, or baking, creative exploration has remained a constant in her journey.
Christi is a multidisciplinary designer who loves to advocate for user experience and accessibility. At Initiate, she adds value to every project she touches and the team loves her warm, and cheerful spirit.
In a previous life, Christi briefly studied psychology, business, and worked in retail and sales for 10 years. Aptly described as “a natural leader” by close friends, she always moved into management roles, and there’s nothing quite like retail to train your people skills—so it’s no wonder the Initiate clients love working with Christi!
Wanting to pursue her innate passion for creativity, Christi went back to school and completed her Honours Graphic Design program at Algonquin College. An open-minded and conscientious creative professional, she found her stride, first doing user research and design work for Algonquin, then working in print production for an eco-design manufacturer, and more recently at an e-commerce design and marketing company building Shopify stores for SMEs.
In her spare time, she is a dedicated house plant mother, who loves self-development, museums and art galleries, reading, and generally being outside. Bringing design home with her, Christi loves DIY projects and decorating her home, mixing modern with vintage.
From the moment Morgan opened KidPix on her Grandmother’s brand new iMac circa 1998, she knew that graphic design was where she’d end up. After taking a detour into the world of film studies in university while also compiling 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Morgan landed post-grad from Algonquin College here at Initiate.
Curiosity is Morgan’s design weapon of choice and with that comes a willingness to jump in head first to any design challenge thrown her way. From motion design and web development to print layout and branding, Morgan has a keen eye for how the end-user will interact with the design. She focuses on bringing the analytical side of digital design and the intuitive aspects of traditional design together to create functional and creative end products.
When she’s not face-to-face with her MacBook, Morgan can be found (slowly but surely) assembling the ultimate turntable set-up so she can experience her vinyl the way it was intended to be heard, gallivanting through various fantastical settings while playing Baldur’s Gate 3, or hanging out with her niece in an attempt to secure the “World’s Greatest Auntie” title she knows she has always been destined for.
Geneviève’s path to graphic design has not been linear.
Having spent 15 years in a successful policy career in the fields of public health, governance, and Indigenous post-secondary education, she met a designer in the wild who inspired her to fully embrace her creative side, and in 2017, jumped into design with both feet. After completing a design internship at Greenmelon and ThinkSmith, she spent three years further honing her skills as a Graphic Designer/Project Manager at AN Design Communications before joining Initiate Marketing’s dynamic team in 2023.
Her expertise lies in brand identity development, as well as impactful print and digital layout design. Given her policy and management experience, Geneviève (you can call her G) brings a strategic, analytical approach to her work. She aspires to create assets that focus on accessibility without compromising aesthetics. G is fluently bilingual in French and English, and would love to become even more proficient in Spanish.
Geneviève’s passion for design is matched only by her enthusiasm for Formula One racing. When F1 isn’t in season, she reluctantly turns to travel, voracious reading and the creation of elaborate riddles and puzzles to pass the time.
After working in arts-based education, Owen transitioned into the world of graphic design, a choice that allows him to fully embrace his creativity in his professional life.
Owen’s strength lies in his enthusiasm for each new project. His eye for good design shines through in his work. He has a keen attention to detail and a passion for delivering outstanding design solutions. With a multi-disciplinary background, Owen’s true devotion lies in print design, where his expertise truly shines.
Outside of work Owen channels his creative energy into singing in his choir and knitting under the watchful eye of his cat Oscar.
Great design comes with even greater responsibility—and transparency
We love to fill our virtual rolodexes with talent we can tap into to deliver the best project for you. Instead of saying “we don’t do that,” we say “hold on a moment!” as we flip through our contacts and get you the best person for the job—whether you need a writer or an SEO expert. Bonus? We play well with others, delivering a cohesive design product with diverse perspectives and contributions.
- SEO Experts
- Graphic Designers
- Project Managers
- & More.
We’re always on the lookout for creative talent
If you’ve got mad skills and consider yourself a game-changer, then we’d love to hear from you.
Become a freelancer with us
Work on your own terms and we’ll hit you up when we need an extra pair of hands on deck! Join our freelancer roster to offer your creative expertise—we work with a variety of verticals and plenty of exciting projects, and there is always more room at the table.View
Graphic design internships 2024-2025
Time to join the real world! Whether you are freshly graduated or exploring a second career, Initiate is an amazing place to start designing. Our clients are well-known companies for which you can make a tangible impact (bragging rights included).View