About Viswali Consulting

Viswali Consulting

Our Mission

We advise, inspire, and collaborate with individuals, organizations, and communities to bring clarity of purpose, build relationships, and design strategies for change.

Our Expertise

We deliver on our expertise in human-centred planning, and provide services in career mentoring, community relationship building, research and writing, public speaking, and training.

Our Approach

We reflect on existing systems, connect with diverse stakeholders and Indigenous knowledge keepers, and facilitate strategies for action to effect individual and systems change.

Our Social Commitment

We are committed to addressing inequity and inequality in planning processes and policy systems and to being stewards of inclusivity.

Guiding Ethical Principles

We draw inspiration from ethical principles in Indigenous education as presented by Kirkness and Barnhardt (2001) “The Four Rs – Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, and Responsibility;” these principles are foundational to our values and guiding practices:


for people, their histories and lived experiences; for diverse cultures, and for all living things.


linking ideas to actions and to diverse communities’ needs and assets as we connect in person or virtually.


in the exchange of knowledge and learning and in building meaningful, mutually beneficial, and sustainable relationships.


for active and equitable participation among diverse participants in planning and decision making, as well as in stewardship roles.

Guiding Practices

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

We affirm an unwavering commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in everything that we do at Viswali Consulting. We believe that people with diverse expertise and experience can facilitate learning, action, and change for themselves and for society. We promote understanding of intersectionality and work with Indigenous and racialized communities to challenge colonial constructs that deter systems change and personal well-being.

Systems Change

Moving beyond downstream thinking, we facilitate developing solutions that are based on research about dynamic systems. We recognize and benefit from the collective intelligence of different stakeholders and knowledge keepers. Instead of proposing solutions that only work within an existing system, we believe in designing strategies for change that advance purpose for individuals and for society.

Human-Centred Approach

We weave connections among people through relationship building across cultures and geographies. We convene different people and resources to illuminate different ways of knowing and doing, and connect with each other to exchange insights, strategize, and plan together.


We strive to uphold the principle of collaboration that is foundational to community development and reciprocity in relationship building. We believe that convening people of different expertise, cultures, and experiences can help seek out the dynamics at play and develop meaningful solutions to problems.


We indulge in inspiration to confront adversity with our clients, and to foster hope in planning for a shared and sustainable future.

About Leela Viswanathan

Leela Viswanathan

Dr. Leela Viswanathan RPP, FCIP,
Founder and Principal

As a human-centred planner, I have over 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit and government sectors, and in academia. I focus my skills and emotional intelligence to develop collaborative approaches to planning, policy making, and community relationship building. As an enterprising scholar, I have spent over a decade as an award-winning university teacher and qualitative researcher in urban planning and geography. As a forward-thinking strategist, I am happiest when I am co-creating knowledge and developing strategies for overcoming adversity and solving problems for social impact.

I am client-focused and results-oriented. I meet my clients where they are at and that’s where our journey starts together. I work with my clients to achieve optimal results in meeting project goals that we shape together.

I am an active listener. I actively listen to my client’s stories and will ask questions to inspire their emotional intelligence and reignite their purpose.

I am curious and experiment with new ideas. If something piques my curiosity or my client’s sensibility, I will research it to find out all that I can, whether it is to learn something new or to test old assumptions.

I am a champion of diversity and inclusivity. I have a lifelong commitment to promoting the rights and needs of racialized and other equity-seeking communities, and to learning about, and acting upon my treaty responsibilities and accountability as a settler on Indigenous lands.

I am agile and adaptive. I believe in documenting, sharing, and exchanging expertise, both learned and experienced, through a practice of self-reflection and experimentation with emergent strategies catered to the situation, project, and client.

I can ask tough questions, generate lots of ideas, and execute them to a high standard. I have been trained to ask questions to facilitate discovery and design thinking that get to the heart of the matter, in order to find meaningful answers, and implement solutions with attention to detail.

I am a continuous, lifelong learner. I earned a PhD in Environmental Studies and an MES (Planning) from York University (Toronto) and a BA (Sociology) from McGill University (Montréal). I have in-depth experience as a qualitative researcher, academic, project manager, and Registered Professional Planner (RPP) and am always eagerly seeking and testing out new learning opportunities through courses, travel, and conversations.

I am here for you. Please feel free to get in touch through the contact form!