What Clients Say

It was a pleasure working with someone so organized and knowledgeable in this area. Mary’s consulting style is extremely professional and the work that she conducted met all of our expectations and more. Mary organized our project to ensure that the maximum amount of employee engagement occurred, and she ensured that communications were effective and promptly provided to all stakeholders. Having Mary lead our records management project successfully generated buy-in throughout the organization.
Debbie Schachter, Director
Learning Resources and Student Affairs and Services
Douglas College
Mary helped our office develop an implementation plan for our records management program. We received great value for money from her work. She got us to speed quickly and proactively managed the engagement to make sure all deliverables were met and on time. I found her to be very knowledgeable in her field, and appreciated all the value adding ideas she provided during our project meetings. She also used an array of tools and techniques to gather information and better understand our organization. The final implementation plan we received is now being used as our roadmap for fully implementing the program in our office.
Bill Gilhooly, Assistant Auditor General
Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia
I have known Mary for 15 years. She helped put my psychology practice on a solid business footing, assisting with the setup of financial, scheduling and recordkeeping systems, and helping to grow the business through effective marketing. Her personal qualities of honesty, loyalty and dependability make her the kind of person who will safeguard your best interests. At the same time, she doesn’t shy away from offering a potentially unpopular opinion, if that is what’s needed. Mary is a hard worker and an excellent problem solver, and I have never known her to shy away from a challenge.
John R. Cook, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist
Mary’s approach was brilliant. She quickly assessed our internal processes and gave us specific action steps to improve our efficiency and productivity. She was collaborative, respectful of our staff’s input, easy to work with and, at the same time, had the tactical ability to zero in on making changes that work in our unique non-profit environment.
Barb MacLean, Executive Director
Family Caregivers’ Network Society
Mary Colak was hired by the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) to develop an implementation plan for our records and information management program. I was the Project Liaison for the project and Mary was the Project Manager for our Records Management project. Not only did Mary complete the project on time and within budget, but she also provided more value than we anticipated. This included investigating and proposing possible EDRMS solutions, and being instrumental in helping us change our way of thinking about records management and how it will benefit our organization. In fact, we are now about to move forward with the implementation plan this fall.

In working with Mary, I found her to be very knowledgeable, patient, enthusiastic, an excellent facilitator and project leader. She is extremely well organized, has superb project management skills, and her communication skills are without reproach. She is a consummate professional. Above all, I felt that Mary’s concern for JIBC went beyond just completing this project for us; she showed a genuine interest in helping us be successful.

It’s been a pleasure working with Mary and based on our experience with her leading our Records Management Project we would highly recommend her.
Gary B. Munro, Director, Technology Services
Justice Institute of British Columbia
Mary Colak was part of the Education and Development Services team during a large- scale, enterprise-wide system implementation project at WorkSafeBC. Mary’s role included identifying training needs for two job groups at WorkSafeBC and working with subject matter experts to develop training materials.

Mary was a valued member of the team, known for her excellent knowledge of instructional design, ability to look at the big picture, and stay calm on a project with tight timelines. I particularly appreciated Mary’s ability to look for value-added opportunities and offer performance consulting suggestions.
Dasha Malinovich-Rowe
Senior Manager, Education & Development Services
WorkSafeBC
While working on the implementation of our new records classification system, I found Mary to be very knowledgeable and helpful in explaining details about the system to all staff. In addition, Mary’s tact and diplomacy in dealing with different personalities in a large corporate environment is a tremendous asset to the successful completion of a project of magnitude (like this one). I would be happy to recommend Mary to any organization wishing to employ a highly professional manager.
Sheri Bates, Manager, Facilities and Administration
Tourism British Columbia
Mary completed two ORCS development projects for us [while I was with the Ministry of Forests] – one for a new program area in the Ministry of Forests, and the second for Forest Renewal BC. Mary quickly grasped the subject areas and produced a design that worked! Mary did an exceptional job within time and budget. I would recommend her analytical expertise to anyone looking for efficient systems designs.
Shirley Jasperse, Ministry Records Officer
Ministry of Forests
Mary works with a view to organizational efficiency…She quickly identifies problems in business areas and designs systems to correct those problems to everyone’s satisfaction. Her records management and organizational skills are superb.
Floyd Mailhot, Executive Director
Chief Information Office
Mary is an excellent facilitator – a confident public speaker who gets the participants to ask questions without being judgmental. She creates an atmosphere of support, trust and empathy.
Bruce Foster, Records Services Officer
Government Communications and Public Engagement
While I was with the BC Archives and Records Service, I was Contract Manager for a project to amend and update the Information and Technology Section of the Government-wide Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS). Mary was the Contractor for this project and I was very impressed with her analytical approach to records management and critical eye for business requirements. In addition to updating the Administrative Records Classification System, Mary was also involved in writing records descriptions that incorporated information and privacy considerations when this concept was still in its infancy in BC. I would highly recommend Mary’s professionalism, analytical skills and adaptability to anyone interested in business excellence.
Peter Smith, Director of Freedom of Information
Ministry of Transportation and Highways
Working with executives and key staff, Mary did an excellent job of quickly identifying our key requirements and recommending a comprehensive yet specific series of actions to address our major challenges. The entire project, from initial contracting through to final recommendations was within budget, timely, and of real value to the organization.
Scott Borland, Vice President, Grants and Community Initiatives
Vancouver Foundation
Tourism BC, as a young crown corporation, needed to put in place a records management system to meet Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy as well as Document Disposal Act requirements. Mary Colak was hired to design and implement a records and information management system (affectionately known as TRIMS) that is logical, organized, and functional, i.e. easy to use to promote consistent application.

The project included classification of both administrative and operational records with appropriate retention and disposal requirements, interviews with management and key line staff, education and training of staff, and development of training/reference materials for the ongoing application of the system. 

Mary readily took on the challenge; with her professional and pragmatic approach – always with integrity – met all milestone deadlines and successfully implemented the program within budget.

Records management, I have found, is often a misunderstood function and as such staff sometimes tend to place a low priority to it. However, a sound records management system is the foundation of an organization and is a significant contributing factor to its success. Through Mary’s leadership, guidance, and expertise she gained the necessary ‘buy-in’ from all staff (line to management) and was able to change perceptions through awareness and increased the level of importance of this critical function.

Anyone having the good fortune of Mary providing her management consulting skills for a project within their organization will not be disappointed with the results.
Marlena Buckley, Manager, Budgets and Contracts
Tourism British Columbia
I hired Mary Colak to provide myself and my staff with practical advice and techniques on how to manage what sometimes appeared to be overwhelming workload. I wasn’t looking for a personal coach, but rather, someone who had the experience and knowledge of how to assist us in managing calendars, emails and office.

At our meetings, Mary candidly addressed typical impediments to effective job performance including how cluttered or poorly managed physical space and time management can be a hindrance to job performance. She not only offered suggestions on how to work through elements that were impeding efficient and effective handling of workflow, but she also showed us how to get a handle on our work environment (both physical and electronic). In fact, she held our hands through it – both the practical and psychological aspects.

One of the key things that Mary helped me with was to “downsize” my office clutter and remove items that were not adding value to my job efficiency. I also learned to separate items that belonged in my office from those that belonged at home.

Through Mary’s guidance and expertise, she not only changed our perceptions about overwhelm, but helped decrease it by providing information about its sources and how to deal with them. As a result of this project, my office continues to be much improved in increased available physical space and decreased electronic space.

For me, the value of this project has extended beyond just my office at work. I continue to use the tools and techniques that I learned from Mary both at work and at home. I feel more organized overall.

I highly recommend Mary to anyone looking to improve the efficiency and productivity of their workplace. With her pragmatic, pleasant and professional approach, she will enable you to save time while getting more done at work and reap the reward of more free personal time as a result.
Mike Kelley, MA, Director, Business Service Desk
Information Management Branch
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources
I have had the pleasure of working on a volunteer basis with Mary over approximately the past six years. That includes four years together on the Council of the Institute of Certified Management Consultants of BC and, for the past two years, as a former member of Council and a Fellow of the Institute while Mary was the Institute President.

Mary has also served at the national level, including as a member of the Board of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants and as a member of the National Certification Committee.

Mary’s contributions to the Institute and to the management consulting profession generally have been absolutely outstanding, including creating many new initiatives that have greatly raised our communication with members, our profile in the broader community, and continuing professional development opportunities for our members. This is on top of all the other things that she does in her professional and personal life.

I have no hesitation in strongly recommending Mary in either a professional or personal capacity.
Eric C. Vance, MA, FCMC, MCIP
Principal, Eric Vance & Associates
As a long time employee with my organization, I had many years of experience at a manager level, but the changing work environment created a need for me to adapt to new best practices. In this regard, Mary Colak was hired to assist me with implementing best practices, including improving my organizational and time management skills.

I met with Mary on numerous occasions to work on various aspects of my office environment. This included discussing and implementing an ideal physical office space layout that greatly enhanced the efficiency of workflow and created an atmosphere of calm. In addition, Mary also showed me how to maximize use of electronic office tools such as MS Outlook to enable efficient prioritization of work and time management.

Working with Mary, I felt that she primarily considered my professional interests and personality in her approach while enabling me to work smarter. Our time was well spent in planning for my professional future and improving my organizational and time management skills. In addition, the skills that I learned also transported seamlessly to my personal life.

I highly recommend Mary Colak to anyone interested in improving their efficiency and productivity skills in both their workplace and personal lives.
Ralph Scheurle, Manager, Animal Care Services
University of Victoria