Executive Profile

Darcy Dobell, Founder and Principal Consultant at the wabe, is a seasoned NGO executive and strategic planning consultant known for creativity, authentic community and stakeholder engagement, inspired alliance-building, and operational excellence. She has a strong record of success in organizational leadership and development, and a proven ability to unite diverse players around shared goals.

Since 1996, the wabe (previously DJ Dobell Consulting) has delivered policy, planning, program development, and communications expertise to philanthropic foundations, Indigenous groups, NGOs, governments, and community organizations. the wabe's recent clients include the Coastal First Nations–Great Bear Initiative; the Tides Canada Marine Planning Fund; Vancouver Fraser Port Authority; and the SFU Shared Decision-Making Project.

Darcy has an unparalleled understanding of the dynamic interplay of Indigenous rights, economic interests, social and political issues, and ecological trends that characterize Canada’s public policy context. In navigating this space with her clients, Darcy also draws on a deep personal commitment to ecology and community. 

Skills & Capabilities

  • Organizational leadership and transformation in a broad range of settings
  • Deep knowledge of issues and opportunities relating to conservation and sustainability
  • Ability to articulate inspiring visions, and translate these into operational goals and tangible results
  • Equally comfortable in community halls and corporate boardrooms
  • Highly successful fundraising and donor relations
  • Exceptional oral and written communications skills; expertise in internal and external relations

Professional Appointments

Vice President, Conservation and Pacific, 2009-2013

Executive leadership of one of Canada’s largest and most-respected conservation organizations, known for its science-based, solution-oriented approach and for delivery of meaningful ‘local to global’ results. Management of cross-functional regional and national teams of professional staff. Together with VP, Conservation & Atlantic, management and oversight of an $11-million annual program budget. Actively involved in all aspects of organizational governance including strategic and operational planning, financial and workforce management, brand development, and internal and external relations. 

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, Province of British Columbia
Policy and Negotiations, 1990-1996

  • Director, Treaty Mandates: Led development of cross-sectoral policies, strategies and mandates to guide the province in treaty negotiations with First Nations. Undertook strategic analysis and cross-ministry consensus-building to develop a unified approach to complex policy, legal and strategic issues; managed professional staff and budgets as well as communications and outreach in a highly sensitive political environment.
  • Negotiator, Lands and Resources: Participated in the negotiation of co-management agreements between the province and aboriginal groups; including the Clayoquot Sound Interim Measures Agreement, the first comprehensive joint stewardship agreement in BC.
  • Policy Analyst, Natural Resources: Provided research and analysis, developed briefing materials and Cabinet submissions, and prepared communications materials.
  • Other postings in the BC public service included secondments to Forest Renewal BC (policy and program development: workforce adjustment and First Nations), the Cabinet Planning Secretariat (provincial government strategic plan on Aboriginal issues), and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Aboriginal fisheries policy and negotiations).

Volunteer Positions

Coast Opportunity Funds
Director & Chair, Communications Committee, 2013-present

COF is an innovative conservation finance institution that advances First Nation leadership in sustainable economic development and conservation management on the BC coast. COF comprises two distinct funding agencies with a combined value of $120 million: a not-for-profit economic development corporation that invests in sustainable business initiatives; and a registered conservation charity. Roles include oversight of client and external communications; active engagement in grant review and decision-making; hands-on strategic and operational planning.

Clayoquot Biosphere Trust
Director & Co-Chair, 2004-2012

The CBT is a joint First Nations/non-Indigenous community foundation that grants $150,000 annually to community development projects; and also designs and delivers regional monitoring, capacity-building, and other community programs. Elected Co-Chair of the Board 2006-2008; responsible for executive oversight, Board governance, chairing Board and community meetings, public relations.

Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative)
Director, 2008-2009
As Director of this dynamic and entrepreneurial ENGO, provided governance expertise and leadership through a period of transition that included a renewed strategic plan, comprehensive organizational restructuring, and re-branding. Canopy is known for its successful work with business in several sectors to green product lines and supply chains.

Raincoast Education Society
Founding Chair & Treasurer, 2000-2004
Managed a community initiative to establish an independent vehicle for environmental and cultural education programs in Clayoquot Sound. Led planning, program development, and fundraising to create a sound and effective organization with a stable and diversified funding base, effective internal operations, strong regional support, and a province-wide network of institutional partners and supporters.