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Akendi manages for creativity and effectiveness.

The Akendi leadership team has the business experience, scientific expertise and design creative to deliver intentional experiences that will ensure organisational success and meet customers & user goals.

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Tedde van Gelderen

Tedde van Gelderen, MA

President - Toronto, Canada

Tedde infuses Akendi, its services and methodology with his drive to make customer and user experiences go beyond a singular product or service. Experience Thinking™ starts with the holistic experience customers and users have with an organisation over time, then guides the enabling technologies & content to create intentional experiences. In his view, Experience Thinking™ should become deeply rooted in organisation's creation processes, research usability testing and experience design in both public and private sectors.

Prior to Akendi, Tedde was a founding partner of Maskery & Associates in 2001. He has worked for companies including KPMG Management Consulting and Philips Design in the Netherlands and Nortel Networks in Canada.

Shaun Illingworth

Shaun Illingworth, PhD

Vice President - Ottawa, Canada

Ensuring research is relevant and actionable is what drives Shaun day-to-day. With over 17 years of experience in both enterprise and startup technology companies, Shaun is an experienced business strategist, creative thinker and market research executive with a rare focus on user-centered design and its resulting business value.

With extensive North American and European market research and market development experience, Shaun has successfully built several marketing and business relationships from the ground up – borne from a focus on customer values and the user experience.

Shaun began his career in Boston as a product and market research consultant; he holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Northeastern University and is a professional moderator and workshop facilitator.

Prior to joining Akendi, Shaun held a variety of senior management positions in strategic marketing, market research and business development, with companies like Nortel, March Networks, and Inuk Networks.

Dominira Saul

Dominira Saul, MSc

Chief Experience Architect - Ottawa, Canada

Dominira believes that behind every well-designed product or service there is a thorough understanding of the actual users and their needs.

Dominira Saul, having presented many influential research and design outcomes to clients at all levels of the private and public sector, is very adept at putting his beliefs into practice. Dominira remains focused on ensuring clear transfer of design recommendations and most importantly, rationale to our clients. Dominira is committed to working closely with clients to ensure their success. He is a fluently bilingual communicator who has lectured at the university level, and delivered many training courses.

Dom has an MSc. in User Interface Design from London Guildhall University, a BA in Psychology from Carleton University and over 12 years of usability research and interaction design experience in the UK and Canada.

Leo Poll

Leo Poll, PhD

Director - Cambridge, United Kingdom

Technically everything is possible, making it work for people is where the real challenges are. Addressing these challenges from an end-user perspective in a way that makes business sense is what has driven Leo throughout his career. With more than 15 years of experience he is able to bring an ability of strong lateral thinking combined with very broad domain knowledge of applications/markets and technical enablers.

Yvonne Shek

Yvonne Shek, MSc

Vice President, User Experience - Toronto, Canada

Yvonne is passionate about helping her clients make sound business decisions and meeting the needs of users and customers at the same time. This involves integrative thinking and using the most suitable UX methods for the situation. It sometimes even extends to creating new ways to solve problems. For example, Yvonne developed the “Scenario Description Swimlane Diagram” method during the time she worked with a government client. Since, this deliverable has been featured in two well-known user experience books: “Universal Methods of Design” by Bella Martin and Bruce Hanington (2012), and “See What I Mean – How to Use Comics to Communicate Ideas” by Kevin Cheng (2013).

Yvonne has over 20 years of experience in digital strategy, UX research, and interaction design; and ten years in managing teams of user experience consultants. She has worked with Fortune 500 and corporate clients, government agencies, universities, and non-profits. Yvonne often helps her clients make business and design decisions through workshops, facilitation, and coaching.

Prior to joining Akendi, Yvonne worked at Cossette, Sapient, and in recent years, partnered with Leo Burnett (Arc Worldwide). She worked at nForm User Experience Inc. before running her own consulting firm, Integri Consulting.

Yvonne has been the guest lecturer at various colleges and universities. Yvonne also attends and speaks at UX conferences and is an active member of the IA/IxD community. Yvonne holds a M.Sc. from University College London, and a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto. Prior to working in the private sector, Yvonne was a human factors research scientist at Defense Research and Development Canada in Toronto.

Athena Herrmann


Design Director - Toronto, Canada

Athena Herrmann is the design director at Akendi. She brings 16 years of expertise in website and interface design as well as brand identity, print collateral and mobile application design.

From concept to completion, Athena possesses a rare combination of design skills. She works with an immaculate attention to detail, a clear grasp of the target and message as a whole, extraordinary creative talent, and the production skills to bring her ideas to life. Athena delivers projects within budget and time constraints while maintaining Akendi's consistently high standards. She has had the opportunity to work with some of North America's most respected brands including The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, RBC, Whole Foods Market, SAP America, York Region, Blackberry, the Government of Canada, the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

Athena holds a BFA in Graphic Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York and has earned the professional designation of Registered Graphic Designer (RGD).


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Shaun Illingworth
Vice President

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