Our Team

With over 50 combined years of education, experience, content expertise and leadership in Canadian social and health program, service, policy and issue development, principals Michael Sharpe and Barbara Power provide valuable insight and practical consultant services to the public and non-profit sectors.  Individually and together they are well respected and best known for their compassion, collegiality, creative energy, integrity, social intelligence, leadership, innovation and professional excellence.

the best part of having experience is sharing it with others

Michael and Barbara each bring unique talents, skills and content expertise to their practice.  They share a thirst for knowledge and integrate individual and collective learning and intelligence with their academic achievements and practical experience developed over their years in community work and with the public service (national and provincial).  Individually and together, Michael and Barbara have established critical links and networks and enduring relationships with a diverse range of colleagues, stakeholders and experts.  This enriches their ability to respond to client need for dynamic solutions and sustainable results, to understand the broader context while focusing on the real issues and tasks at hand.



Prior to co-founding Purple Oak Consultants, Michael built over 20 years of senior-level experience with the federal public service of Canada in the fields of public health, health product regulation, environmental health and health care policy.  Michael is a veteran of program planning, development, management and evaluation, as well as strategic planning and organizational change management.  His experience and successes are broad: from leading roles in three of Canada’s national responses to international disease outbreaks to developing a strategic policy framework for climate change and health.  He was responsible for reinvigorating the Canadian Strategy for Palliative and End-of-Life Care, and negotiating the development and implementation of a new regulatory requirement for national standards for the medical device industry.  He completed a tour of duty with the World Health Organization in Geneva.  Michael’s broad experience gives him a comprehensive perspective of what goes into making a whole health system work. 

Michael is a graduate of the University of Victoria (British Columbia) and of Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario).  He spent a decade as an officer in Canada’s military reserve and is a past president of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra Association. 



Barbara has a diverse background in the non-profit, private and public sectors.  She has many years of experience as a health care professional in long-term, acute care and palliative care settings and as a community advocate for people with disabilities and families of persons serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.   

She spent 18 years with the Canadian federal public service.  At program, policy and managerial levels she facilitated development and provided advice and leadership on a variety of health, social and population issues in the fields of disability, seniors’ and women’s health, diversity and multiculturalism, palliative and end-of-life care and chronic disease management.  Barbara is a veteran of issue identification and development, project and program planning, development, implementation and evaluation, policy development and analysis, gender based analysis, strategic planning, intersectoral collaboration, team development, and public information and awareness.

Barbara is a graduate of St. Thomas University (Fredericton, New Brunswick), Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario) and the School of Complementary Therapies (Ottawa and Vancouver).  She has co-chaired and served on a number of boards, national advisory committees and working groups and has been a complementary and alternative medicine practitioner since 2001.

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