Hi, I’m Sameer Vasta.

I’m a public policy and public affairs professional with an academic background in cultural anthropology.

I have worked on various projects in the areas of public sector transformation, digital government, open data, energy conservation, healthcare transformation, international development, and organizational change.

I currently work at the Ontario Digital Service, focused on people, specifically employee experience, organizational design, and diversity and inclusion. I teach digital-era governance, service delivery, and policy-making at the Masters of Public Service program at the University of Waterloo, with a focus on ethics and equity in the digital space. I also currently serve on the board of the Community Knowledge Exchange, am an advisor for a few small non-profit organizations and social enterprises, and am a mentor to a handful of early-career public servants.

I regularly speak, host panels, and facilitate workshops on community engagement, organizational innovation, public service transformation, and digital leadership, including at events such as SXSW, International Open Data Conference, RightsCon, the Policy Community Conference, Canadian Open Data Summit, PodCamp, Mesh, GTEC, and many more.


Experience

Lecturer and Course Instructor, Government in a Digital Age
Masters of Public Service, University of Waterloo
January 2019 - present

Developed and delivered first Masters-level curriculum focused solely on digital government in Ontario.

Lead, Employee Experience
Ontario Digital Service, Government of Ontario
June 2016 - present

Created the governance model and organizational design of the Ontario Digital Service and was a founding member. Launched the People Board, the Diversity Report, the Inclusion Pledge, new performance planning approaches, and other employee experience programs for the organization. Collected, articulated, and established the Ontario Digital Leadership Principles. Currently an advisor on the Inclusion Reference Group for the Inclusive Diversity Office.

Course Instructor, Public Policy and Data
School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto
February 2015 - December 2016

Developed and delivered a hands-on professional education program for mid-career professionals at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Special Advisor, Organizational Change
Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Ontario
July 2015 - May 2016

Part of team that established the renewed Open Government Office, including creating its governance, communications, and change model, for the Government of Ontario.

Manager, Public Affairs
MaRS Discovery District
January 2012 - December 2015

Launched and developed the branding, programmatic vision, and government relations approach for MaRS Data Catalyst. Created initial strategy and approach for the Green Button and MyHealth initiatives. Acted as main point of contact for government relations on matters of data governance and sharing.

Senior Advisor, Digital Governance
Ministry of Government Services, Government of Ontario
May 2010 - January 2012

Part of team that conceived of and planned the strategy for Ontario.ca, the consolidation of Ontario’s web holdings, and a new approach for digital in the province. Led the development of the governance modelling and financial modelling for the project, and published an internal report that paved the groundwork for the government’s current digital governance.

Opinion-Editorial Columnist
Bell Sympatico
September 2010 - January 2013

Wrote and published a digital op-ed column every weekday for homepage spotlight on current and emerging news events.

Community Engagement Strategist
The World Bank
January 2009 - December 2010

Wrote, obtained approval, and operationalized the first ever Social Media and Engagement Strategy for the World Bank. Revitalized the Bank’s blogging platform and created new processes for executive and expert blogging. Part of team that conceived of, planned, and launched the World Bank’s first data portal, the first of its kind open data site for the non-profit and development sector.

Senior Analyst, Emerging Technologies
Ministry of Government Services, Government of Ontario
May 2008 - Jan 2009

Strategist, Digital and Editorial
Ismaili Council for the European Union
February 2007 - January 2009

City Writer / Film Critic
blogTO
July 2005 - May 2006

Lead Interaction Designer
Bibliocommons
January 2006 - February 2007

Communications Strategist
Say Communications
June 2005 - June 2006

Online Communications Developer
Georgetown University
October 2001 - January 2003


Governance

Community Knowledge Exchange
Board of Directors
August 2017 - present

Urban League of London
Board of Directors
January 2017 - June 2019

Univox Toronto
Board of Directors
June 2014 - February 2015

Ontario Award Holders Association
Special Advisor to the Executive Committee
November 2010 - December 2015

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award - Ontario
Board of Directors
January 2006 - May 2008


Get in touch

If you have any questions about my work, or about the issues I am passionate about, please do get in touch. If you’re ever in the area, come join me on my aimless strolls around the city, or for an espresso and conversation; I love making new friends.