OUR TEAM

Meet the experienced team at Level Playing Field

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Darby Lee Young

Founder and Principal Accessibility Strategist

Designated Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) Professional

“The moment there is the slightest barrier, my independence is gone.”

Darby’s ultimate goal has been to combine her lived experience with her professional life as an Accessibility Consultant. As a person born with mild cerebral palsy, Darby has been able to utilize this unique experience to her advantage, and her previous political appointments and competitive career as a para-alpine skier have provided her with an impactful perspective when approaching projects.
Darby’s previous political appointments and achievements include serving on the City of Calgary’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA) from 2011-2015, serving as the co-chair for two years. Darby also represented the City of Calgary at the International Summit on Accessibility in 2014. From June 2017 to June 2020, Darby was a member of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Over the last five years, Darby has been honored with numerous awards and achievements. In 2018 Darby was selected as one of Canada’s top 40 under 40. In February 2020, John Fluevog Shoes released the “Darby” Shoes. They are now available in multiple colors. In 2021 Darby was named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence 2021. Darby continues to breakdown barriers for persons with disabilities not only professionally but also personally in hopes that one day it truly makes a difference.

LPF has allowed Darby to offer her expertise to a wider range of clients. By incorporating universal design features in new builds and conducting accessibility reviews on proposed and existing facilities, Darby’s work continues to make a significant difference for many people living with disabilities and puts her team at the forefront of accessibility consulting. Through this work LPF has successfully contributed to the removal of barriers at the municipal, provincial and national levels, ultimately establishing inclusive environments.

In her spare time, Darby can be found at most sporting events, especially Hockey, Tennis and Chuckwagon Racing! She enjoys traveling and exploring new places for accessibility. Darby will always be seen on the sidelines cheering on her friends and family in all their adventures.

Darby Lee Young

Founder and Principal 

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Kristin Westlake

Accessibility Lead

Designated Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) Professional

Kristin has over 9 years of combined experience. She worked 7 years as a commercial interior designer until her passion for universal design led her to Level Playing Field. She has been on the project team for many centres related to Healthcare, Senior’s care, Recovery and Community Health, among others.

Kristin received her Bachelor of Applied Interior Design from Mount Royal University in 2013 as well as her registration through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). She is also a designated Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) professional.

Kristin’s passion for accessibility stems from a young age with her mom working as a nurse with Alzheimer’s patients. She has had many experiences working in senior’s homes and has always been an advocate for universal, inclusive design. Whether a person has a physical disability, cognitive or visual impairment, are aging, or a parent struggling to get a stroller through snow at an intersection, it is imperative that everyone has the same opportunity.

In her personal time, she enjoys many outdoor activities such as biking and playing sports. She loves sculpting, photography, and digital art as well as building old cars. She is also a master train set builder for her 4-year-old son Jax.

Kristin Westlake

Accessibility Lead

Black and white photo of Clara De Paoli, Accessibility Strategist, Level Playing Field

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Clara De Paoli

Accessibility Lead

Designated Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) Professional

Clara demonstrates a well-rounded and worldly background in Interior Design. Following her achievement of a Bachelor of Applied Interior Design degree in several additional Arts and Design courses at Mount Royal University, as well as her NCIDQ designation, Clara completed the Introduction to Interior and Spatial Design program at Nuova Accademia di Belle Art (NABA) in Milan, Italy.

Clara’s unique educational and professional background has provided her with over 10 years of extensive experience in the industry; project management in both high-end residential and corporate office design; contract administration, including site reviews and deficiency reports; furniture procurement, specifications, and space planning; and material and finish selections are some of the skills she has obtained in her repertoire. Her passion lies in being a part of creating inclusive spaces where the built environment can be fully experienced by all.

In her spare time, Clara enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and teaching the LPF Team different languages!

Clara De Paoli

Accessibility Lead

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Taryn Walker

Accessibility Specialist

Designated Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) Professional

Taryn has been working in construction for the past 2 years as an estimator for a local exterior contractor. She has led home renovations and overseen project trails for numerous clients, working directly with homeowners to achieve their budget and design goals. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Calgary, Taryn went on to obtain a diploma in Architectural Technologies from SAIT, during which time she also earned a certificate in Multi-Storey Timber Construction through VIA University College in Aarhus, Denmark.

Passionate about improving lives through better building practices and finding a peculiar interest in building code, Taryn joined Level Playing Field in 2022. While her experience in the field of accessibility is limited, she is excited to continue to learn and develop her knowledge in universal design to help create equitable spaces for all.

In her down time, Taryn enjoys traveling with her partner, learning languages, weightlifting, and brewing beer with her longtime friend. She also loves exploring the city by foot and never passes up an opportunity for a hike.

Taryn Walker

Accessibility Specialist

Black and white photo of Jesika Lindley, Accessibility Strategist, and Designated Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) Professional at Level Playing Field

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Jesika Lindley

Accessibility Specialist

Designated Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) Professional

Jesika has over 15 years experience working with individuals with disabilities in residential and community settings. It was this experience that led Jesika to enroll at the University of Calgary where she studied Human Geography with a focus on urban planning, sustainability and public policy. Her goal was to become involved with ensuring that the built environment meets the needs of all people, something that she sees as a fundamental barrier to those she has worked with.

After graduating, Jesika became a Project Manager, assisting individuals with limited mobility complete universally designed residential modifications. During her tenure as a Project Manager, Jesika completed the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) training course and is now a RHFAC professional. Jesika will further be using her RHFAC training in her role as Accessibility Strategist with Level Playing Field Inc.

Jesika spends much of her spare time volunteering. She is the Vice President of her community association and is actively involved with civic affairs, event planning and community engagement. She is also a member of the City of Calgary’s decision-making committee for Neighbourhood Small Grants. Outside of volunteerism, Jesika is either kayaking or spending time with her family and friends.

Jesika Lindley

Accessibility Specialist

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Dan Howard

Accessibility Strategist

Dan joined the LPF team in June of 2023. His varied background in fine arts and architecture brings an eclectic skillset in design, presentation, and analytical thinking. Despite being new to the fields of accessible and universal design, his passion for the subject matter and the goal of improving our built environment is what motivates him as an accessibility strategist.

Dan’s journey to becoming an accessibility strategist began during his Master of Architecture at the University of Calgary, where he took a class on accessibility with Darby. Participating in that class opened his eyes to the world of accessible and universal design, which marked the start of the road map to where he is today. His career began with Stantec Architecture, where he learned many of the skills and proficiencies necessary to succeed as a design professional. Dan now wants to take the skills learned and apply them to a more focused scope-of-work that makes a tangible difference to the world in which we live.

When Dan isn’t working, he spends his free time with family and friends, playing video games, going for hikes, and cheering on his Toronto Blue Jays.

Dan Howard

Accessibility Strategist

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Corinne Osmanski

Accessibility Strategist

Corinne Osmanski recently joined the LPF team in September 2023. Her diverse experience in construction, historic restoration, and architecture has shaped a unique perspective of design around the built environment. She believes spaces should be better equipped to provide communities with equitable opportunities, inclusive to all. She seeks to understand the ethos around current building practices and that argues accessibility should be at the forefront of any project. She knows that consciously integrating universal design solutions will help mitigate challenges people face in their everyday lives.

Corinne completed her Master of Architecture from the University of Calgary in 2023. Previously, she acquired her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boise State University, where her love of design, art, and construction was fostered. Post undergrad, she worked as an architectural conservator restoring historic masonry buildings in Chicago, Illinois where she became interested in how the built environment has changed over time and wondered what potential there is to build a better future for all members of society.

Corinne is fascinated with all aspects of design; from architecture to grand urban realm projects, Corinne believes design exists to serve people. Design should be convenient, efficient, and sustainable. She is passionate about contributing to spaces that are inclusive and accessible. Corinne recognizes design is not just the physical manifestation of an idea, it is the way people interact and navigate the world around them. She hopes her input on designs will positively impact society now and in the future.

In her personal time, Corinne enjoys researching topics relating to social and environmental sustainability. Corinne’s long-time passion is building projects from reclaimed materials; she sees the potential in the discarded and unused. When she is not making something, she can be found puzzling, hanging out with her cats, or doing something active outside.

Corinne Osmanski

Accessibility Strategist

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Nick Sommerville

Communication Strategist

Designated Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC) Professional

Nick has over 4 years of communications experience in various roles, primarily that of LPF’s Communications Strategist where he manages the procurement, development, and delivery of proposal and marketing efforts within LPF. He uses his combined experience in building management, communications, and accessibility consulting to write creative and authentic material for a collaborative approach to building spaces where all people can experience life – equitably and to the fullest.

Nick received his Bachelor of Communications from Mount Royal University in 2021 and has a background of 6 years in building management experience related to educational facilities. Nick recently achieved his Professional Designation from the Rick Hansen Foundation after completing his training with Athabasca University and is continuously looking to improve his understanding of accessible and universal design for an informed approach to how we can integrate universally designed solutions into our world to improve the user experience for everyone.

In his personal time, Nick can be found immersing himself in books, shows, and games, or illustrating worlds of his own through writing and sketching. He also loves exploring new places and searching for the ultimate ice cream shop with his wife.

For media inquiries please contact Nick at: media@levelplayingfield.ca

Nick Sommerville

Communication Strategist

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Jena Walker

Operations Manager/Accounting

Jena has over 10 years of bookkeeping experience and 5 years of experience running an electrical business. She uses her knowledge to run the operations of Level Playing Field; with a focus on the financial aspect. Her career in the electrical field has given her insight into the construction industry which is invaluable in working for Level Playing Field and its diverse client base. Her values of inclusivity and equality perfectly align with Level Playing Field’s mission to create spaces accessible for everyone.

In her spare time Jena runs her own business, sewing clothing for children. She also enjoys spending time with her family, hiking and going to the gym.

Jena Walker

Operations Manager/Accounting

Kristen Lipscombe Communications Director Level Playing Field

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Kristen Lipscombe

Consultant

Kristen has been an award-winning journalist and conscientious communications specialist for two decades. She has spent half of her career as a reporter at The Chronicle Herald and Metro Halifax, where she covered everything from politics to sports, and the other half working in communications for provincial, national and international organizations.

Most recently, she has worked in senior strategic communications and media relations roles in healthcare, including through the COVID-19 pandemic, both in Ontario and Nova Scotia. She is now working as a Senior Communications Advisor for the Government of Canada. She has also travelled the country and world as a media manager for Hockey Canada.

Kristen grew up in Kingston, Ont., and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Bachelor of Journalism and investigative journalism certification from the University of King’s College.

Kristen Lipscombe

Social Media Consultant

Black and white photo of Corinne Osmanski, Level Playing Field

 

Parker PR

Media Relations

For all media requests for Darby & LPF please reach out to Parker PR.

info@parkerpr.ca
403.919. 9452

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