Leanne Clare

Founder and Lead Storyteller

Leanne Clare

The first story I remember telling was a lie.  When I was about five years old some family friends moved into a house in our neighbourhood. My Dad and I biked past the house but we didn’t have time to stop in and visit. When I returned home I told my Mom we had been to the house.  She asked what it was like inside and I gave her an elaborate description.  When she later learned I had told an entertaining – but false – story, my reward was having my mouth washed out with soap.  Luckily, the sharp taste of the soap didn’t wash away my interest in storytelling and I learned my lesson about the importance of reporting the truth.

Since that time I have told countless stories as a radio journalist for the CBC and as a communications and public engagement specialist for the David Suzuki Foundation.  I have collected deeply personal stories and reported on national events. I have come up with creative and compelling ways to engage citizens to take action on issues they may not even realize they care about. I have managed partnerships and projects with like-minded individuals in non-profits, governments, educational organizations and the business community to achieve common goals. I have broadened my perspective and added to my own repertoire of stories by living, working and playing in countries around the world.

I am currently a research associate at the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, under which this project is housed. I recently graduated from Carleton’s new Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program.  The Campfire Project is really one big storytelling experiment asking the question, “Can digital storytelling help citizens create change in their communities?”

I can’t wait to see what we discover.



Elspeth Tory

Lead Designer



After nearly ten years working as an animator and production manager in Montreal’s booming video game industry, I moved to Ottawa to raise my young family and enjoy a change of pace.  During maternity leave, I took on a number of volunteer projects for non-profits, where I encountered many frustrated organizations who were unable to update their html-based websites and needed guidance on social media strategy.  In response, I founded RedFish Graphics, an Ottawa-based web and graphic design company that specialises in helping non-profit organizations and start-ups.  Combining technical knowledge with graphic design, I help small projects with big ideas find their voice, and tell their stories.

The Campfire project, with its innovative approach to online engagement, is a project that appeals to my desire to better understand how people and organizations communicate. I’m excited to help breathe life into, and be a part of, its story.




Research advisors:


Shelley Boulianne, Assistant Professor, MacEwen University. Her areas of expertise include civic engagement and political participation. Dr. Boulianne is interested in survey research methodology, and the effects of incentives, sponsorship, and reminders in increasing response rates to web surveys.


Amanda Clarke, Assistant Professor, Carleton University. Her research addresses the intersections of public administration, civic engagement and information technologies. She is particularly interested in the implications of social media and related phenomena, such as crowdsourcing, open data and big data, for governments and civil society.


Tessa Hebb, Adjunct Professor SPPA, Sprott Business School and Dept. of Geography, Carleton University and Managing Director, 3ci, brings a deep knowledge of the nonprofit sector through her work on impact investing and social finance.


Paloma Raggo, Assistant Professor, Carleton University. Her areas of research include NGO governance issues, Nonprofit leadership, transnational activism, private-private governance systems as well as qualitative and mixed-methodologies.