Why The Discovery Group
The Discovery Group (TDG) is a consulting firm dedicated to the social profit sector. We believe that social profit organizations can change the world. Our mission is to help our clients envision change, determine how to make it happen, and put the necessary tools and skills into place for success.
We work side-by-side with our clients to understand the challenges and opportunities they face and develop a path forward that leverages their unique strengths in their specific context
We work with leaders who understand that a tight alignment between their mission, board of directors, senior leadership, and stakeholders will set the course for their organization to succeed.
President & Managing Director
Doug Nelson founded The Discovery Group with a vision to bring together a group of talented and compassionate leaders. Together they are aligned with his belief that the social profit sector represents individuals and communities coming together to change the world for the better. Collectively, they spearhead inspired strategies to help nurture that change. Described by the media as a 'fundraising phenom' and a 'true innovator,' Doug unravels complex challenges in aligning governance and philanthropic performance. His early development work in education propelled him to become the Chief Development Officer at the University of Alberta, and responsible for the second largest fundraising campaign in Canadian history. As President and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation for six years, he led the organization to revenue of $300 million, including a campaign that would launch the Personalized Onco-Genomic (POG) program. His work is award-winning in the areas of governance, culture, advocacy, and innovative granting, and he has raised nearly $1 billion for organizations in Canada and the United States. As President of the California Pacific Medical Centre Foundation, he led the development and execution of a campaign that would support the opening of two hospitals valued at $3 billion, shaping the future of care in San Francisco. Doug is also host of the leading social profit sector podcast, The Discovery Pod. With a photographic memory for baseball statistics, Doug had a childhood dream to be the first baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays. These days, he can be found remarkably often at a Bob Dylan concert.
Gina Cuthbert is Vice President at The Discovery Group. A fundraising professional since 2001, Gina has excelled at ‘in-house’ and consulting roles, providing strategic counsel for capital and endowment campaigns in the health, education, social services, and cultural sectors. A skillful architect of feasibility studies, she has a knack for distilling complex findings into actionable recommendations to accelerate campaign and organizational performance. Through her many years in major gifts and campaign management, Gina has been responsible for the development and execution of fundraising strategies for more than 50 organizations including the achievement of a transformational gift for Kwantlen Polytechnic University that enabled the construction of a $36 million named School, the first of its kind at the university. In her prior role at Victoria Hospice, she was responsible for the strategy and implementation of the planned giving program, resulting in 100% growth in confirmed expectancies over a two-year period. Gina is inspired by the power of philanthropy and by passionate leaders of small volunteer groups that make big things happen.
Director of Philanthropy
Allyson Haug is Director of Philanthropy at The Discovery Group, bringing a breadth of experience and dynamic leadership in strategic planning. She has led successful fundraising programs for multiple non-profit and public education organizations throughout Canada and the United States. As an authority in major gifts, Allyson specializes in corporate donors and private foundations. Her critical thinking is shaped by a deep understanding of organizational culture and genuine people engagement. These insights have been actively proven, within over twelve years devoted to Asante Africa Foundation, advancing children’s education in East Africa. After five years in development at the Universities of B.C. and Alberta, she became the Director of Individual and Corporate Giving at Alberta Cancer Foundation. She believes the social profit sector is the way to build a better community, and an opportunity to personally contribute to many socio-economic intersections, from healthcare, arts and culture, to literacy and education. She places great importance on educating our children and predecessors about the magnitude of the social and non-profit sectors. Leading a major gift team at Sauder School of Business, Allyson launched the Sauder Philanthropy undergraduate program to educate future business leaders on the importance of philanthropy. With fascination for languages, Allyson can be found contemplating speech and syntax whilst hiking on the world’s most beautiful mountains.
Christoph Clodius brings a unique perspective to his role of Vice President at The Discovery Group. A leader in the executive talent management sector for Ketchum Canada Inc. for nine years, he is an exceptional relationship builder and analytical thinker. As a member of the senior leadership team, he was instrumental in growing the western search practice and client base, with strategic planning that would result in a wealth of successful hires with a significant retention rate. His prior development work in the education, community organization, and social profit sectors has established his considerable knowledge base of philanthropy, advancement, and strategic planning. Christoph is driven by those in the social profit sector who are passionate about changing the world and finds great inspiration in finding that successful candidate whose life will also change for the better. His critical thinking and ability to access people for cultural fit, succession planning, and ultimate team building is exemplary. As well as being inspired by dedicated people with passion, he’s an advocate of all things cultural, with a penchant for literature, music, and martinis.
Margaret McNeil is the former CEO of Canuck Place Children's Hospice and winner of the 2020 Waterstone Award for Most Admired CEO in the broader public sector category. Margaret is deeply committed to strengthening the sector's impact on the lives of our citizens. Margaret has focused on making a difference in the lives of vulnerable populations and leading organizations to make significant and sustainable organizational change. The Beedie School of Business has recognized Margaret's leadership as 'Mentor of the Year' as has Business in Vancouver with its CEO of the Year Award in 2017. When not working, she can often be seen in the summer, in her wetsuit down at the beach, hoping to swim with the seals, and in winter, enjoying the mountains, especially downhill skiing.
Toni Armanno is an exceptional researcher in the social profit sector, providing top organizations with strategic advice for their fundraising goals for many years. Before joining The Discovery Group as Head Researcher, she established a prospect research unit during her nine years at the BC Cancer Foundation, delivering in-depth and thematic insights on individuals, corporations, and foundations. She has worked independently, collaboratively, and as a respected mentor, with extensive experience in the education and health sectors. As Research Officer in Development and Alumni Engagement at the University of British Columbia, Toni carried out complex research on individuals, corporations, and foundations, leading professional development sessions and overseeing special campaign initiatives. She worked closely with the Superintendent of Schools in her role with the Vancouver Board of Education, acting as the district contact with the Ministry of Education on statutory reporting and province-wide skills testing. Toni values ideas that are both grounded in facts and mindful of caring, and it is this dual perspective that is the root of her success. It is her belief that involvement in the social profit sector is a privilege, and one that advocates change where it makes a difference. With a deep appreciation for art, she can often be found at notable exhibits and performances.
Karen Gilmore is a Senior Associate at The Discovery Group, working with boards and senior leadership of social profit organizations to elevate community impact. A strategic leader, Karen has a wealth of experience in corporate and non-profit organizations at local, provincial, and national management and at board levels. A corporate lawyer for 40 years, both in private practice and as in-house counsel, she brings legal expertise and operational insight to complex strategic and governance issues. In her most recent position as VP and General Counsel at Fulmer & Company Investments Inc., Karen established the legal role, served as a key strategy resource, and led the corporate philanthropic work that was instrumental to the development of a social enterprise business. Karen received the Agnes Amelia Blizzard Award for her personal commitment to the mission of YWCA Canada and many years of service on their board as well as the board of YWCA Metro Vancouver. She has also served on the Grants Committee for the CKNW Orphan’s Fund, the Grants Advisory Committee for the Investment Readiness Program at Canadian Women’s Foundation and many other boards and committees in the legal profession. In recognition of her years of service, she has received the BC Community Achievement Award and the CCCA National Community Builder Award. Although Karen developed a remarkable talent for spoon playing, she thoughtfully decided to take her career in a different direction and become a lawyer and an empathetic champion of the social profit sector, believing that these are the organizations that will truly change the world. With a lifelong pull to the outdoors, Karen loves expansive nature and hopes to one day make tribute to the strikingly untouched Antarctic.
Karen Jeu is a Senior Associate at The Discovery Group, where she builds on her extensive experience in board development and governance, as well as strategic planning, cultivation, and stewardship in fundraising. In her former role as President of Sutter Health CPMC Foundation, Karen was responsible for leading an integrated development operation to support long-range fundraising objectives and their philanthropic output. With 30 years’ experience working with colleges and universities, including the University of Alberta, Karen has led strategic and operational delivery of high-profile cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship programs and support functions. She has been an ongoing mentor and motivator for team members, delegates, and donors in the country’s top academic institutions. With four sons, Karen has cultivated boundless energy, patience, and an acute appreciation for the small moments in life that influence others. She believes the social profit sector is the future for young people, not only for its end results, but to encourage those we interact with and help along the way.