Anne Coughlan Founder, CEO, Lead Consultant
Anne has a unique background that encompasses business communications, behavioural science, and the performing arts. Twenty years ago, in collaboration with a client she envisioned bringing these worlds together to improve workplace communication — and Supporting Roles Interactive Training Inc. was born. A pioneer in the field of experiential executive training and development, Supporting Roles is now a leading global firm of elite talent that provides uniquely tailored experiential learning and coaching.
Transforming Management into Passion
Anne’s professional background includes management positions in communications for the London Downtown Business Association, Theatre Ontario, and the Toronto Association of Performing Arts. Since founding Supporting Roles, Anne’s expertise has continued to expand and deepen through partnering globally with top-tier talent, faculty, consultants, client partners, and thousands of participants from organizations, institutions, and companies the world over. Anne’s ongoing professional development is as diverse as her passions and her extensive list of clients. Selected current accreditations include Professional Facilitator Program Certification, (2018), Certificate in Communication Process: Bridging Theory and Practice (in progress, University of Guelph) and Transformative Facilitation Practitioner Certification, TRANSFORM8 (in progress Alchemy Worldwide).
A Talent for Acting and a Vision of Progress
Anne’s lifelong love of the performing arts gave rise to a 25-year (and counting!) career in theatre and television, where she has been an actor, director, writer, and producer and is a full member of ACTRA (Academy of Cinema, Television, and Radio Arts).
Since the inception of Supporting Roles, Anne has been captivated by how bringing learning to life through embodied scenarios increases the participants’ self-awareness and motivation to achieve business outcomes with newly acquired insights. Her professional skill and expertise in character creation and performance has been invaluable to her clients, providing the ability to create a context for behavioural change in professional learning settings.
Anne’s highly collaborative nature is one of the hallmarks of her creative philosophy and one of the key values of Supporting Roles. Anne is committed to delivering an exceptional client experience and has direct experience in numerous sectors including finance, advisory, transportation, energy, higher business education, progressive law enforcement, pharmaceutical and medical, workplace legal and mediation training, infrastructure construction and more.
An Ongoing Love of Learning
Her love of learning drives Anne to continually be on the leading edge of behavioural science and thought leadership in the workplace. Supporting Roles is a key vendor partner of the LTA (Learning Through Action) Faculty at the Ivey School of Business at Western University, and The Ivey Academy. Anne has personally been involved in the design and delivery of experiential business learning within top-level degree, graduate, and executive development programs.
Alongside her extensive, hands-on client portfolio, Anne contributes to business education research projects and has written behavioural business cases and sector-specific scenarios and courses for clients’ internal use, as well as for publication.
In 2012, Anne was nominated to the prestigious Ivey School of Business’s Quantum Shift Program through Ivey’s Institute for Entrepreneurship, acknowledging her business achievement as one of Canada's top entrepreneurs.
Phi Bulani Director, Talent Development, Business Actor Coach
Phi is a professional actor and a member of the Canadian Actors Equity (Stage) and ACTRA (film and TV) for over 25 years. He’s also been an actor-facilitator in the learning and development field just as long, as part of the core team that originated the Standardized Patient program at Western University’s Medical and Dental Centre. When his acting career led him to base out of Toronto, he continued to be involved in simulation based learning within the University of Toronto’s SP program focussing on programs for International Medical Students, Family Medicine, and Pharmacology, along with many other crucial certification protocols for Canada’s medical community.
Phi has a strong foundation in theatre and conservatory training, and has been mentored and directed by theatre professionals like Martha Henry, (Stratford Festival, The Grand Theatre London); Film by Marushka Stankova (DAWC, Sweden) and other notables such as R.H. Thomson, Douglas Campbell, Douglas Beattie and Norm Foster. While at the Actors Studio of Toronto, under the direction of his acting mentor; Alan Jordan (Haugen/Meisner School of Acting), he taught Master Classes on “Acting for the Camera” with many notable Canadian talents. Phi studied voice with internationally renowned vocal coaches Martin Chambers and Garnet Brooks, through the Faculty of Music at Western University.
His stage career has an enviable breadth from improvised and sketch comedy aboard the Starship Enterprise at The Second City, to the classical drama of Great Expectations at The Grand Theatre, London to portraying The King himself in numerous celebrated Elvis oriented musical productions. Phi is recognized as an Elvis Tribute Artist in that community.
Phi starred in the satirical film about life coaches called “The Gospel Of Phi”, which enjoyed success on the film festival circuits, most notably a screening at Cannes. Phi lives in Stratford, Canada with his wife and son.
He is a Certified Personal Trainer, Bronze Cross Swimmer, and holds National Life Guard Certification. He lives in Stratford, Canada with his wife and son, and is a proud lifetime comic geek.
Bridget Norris-Jones Operations Manager
Bridget manages day to day operations Supporting Roles, including contracting, hiring, training, key accounts client management. She’s responsible for key client delivery execution and is a trusted partner with Founder Anne Coughlan on existing and new business. Working with Supporting Roles in various capacities since 2014 has provided opportunities to execute multiple programs and multi-stakeholder projects across Canada, the US and the UK. She was the Lead Producer on the Bay Deconstructed program and managed the Canada wide school tours in 2018 and 2019 reaching more than ten thousand students in person. She also assisted in transitioning the program into a completely virtual experience in 2020 and continues to support its virtual deliveries. As Operations Manager at Supporting Roles, Bridget has implemented new processes and taken advantage of online platforms to streamline current systems. She prides herself on building meaningful relationships with clients and colleagues ensuring everyone can do their very best work.
Bridget is a graduate from the highly regarded, Conservatory Theatre Program at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. She worked regularly as an actor, musician (violin and vocals), and dancer professionally for many years after graduating.
No one was more was surprised than she was to be “bit” by the arts management bug along the way! She continued to stretch into producing theatre not just performing in it and soon her top-notch business management skills were in demand. Bridget’s experience has been hands-on, and her breadth of diverse experiences are directly related to ever challenging intersection of business administration and the performing arts. Before starting at Supporting Roles Interactive Training Inc. in 2014, Bridget regularly worked with theatre companies like; Trey Anthony Productions (How Black Mothers Say I Love You-2016), Nightwood Theatre Company (HER2-2014), 4th Line Theatre (Sponsorship Development - 2013), Contrary Company (Prisoner of Tehran-2012), SummerWorks (Ad Sales-2011) and Studio 180 Theatre (Our Class-2011, The Overwhelming, Parade- 2010, Stuff Happens-2009.)
She’s thrilled to continue to work with Supporting Roles for what soon will be 10 years! And recently she was proud to take on the position of General Manager at Northern Light Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta where she now lives with her husband and two sons.
Senior Associate, Education Consultant Supporting Roles
Original Facilitator, Bay Street Deconstructed (Show Me The Money Game)
Jane was key in generating and delivering the flagship program of a non-profit organization called Bay Street Deconstructed on behalf of Supporting Roles Inc. She delivered "The Show Me The Money Game" to groups of 100 grade 10 students at a time in person across Canada and in a few short years, more than ten thousand students and schools traditionally under represented in high finance learned about the world of financial services and related careers in a fun and engaging way.
Jane has been an innovative and dynamic educator of teens and teachers for over 20 years across three Boards of Education in Ontario, Canada and two International Schools in Spain. Within her recent tenure she was centrally assigned with the TDSB in The Career Centre supporting the Ministry of Education’s related initiatives and the "Student Success" initiative. Jane co-authored the Grade 10 Career Studies textbook and Teachers Guide WorkSmart, and its companion ThinkSmart, the Grade 11 and 12 Advanced Learning Strategies textbook.
Her writing, leadership and publications also include: Discovering the Workplace, a Resource Guide for English Language Learners and The Career Studies Credit Recovery Course for TDSB which garnered her the Elmer Huff Award from (OSCA) Ontario School Counsellors Association for “significant publishing contribution to Guidance in Ontario.” Selected recognitions include the Impact on Students Teacher Award from OSSTF, (Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation). She Co-Chaired The Status of Women Committee years. She was also awarded The Rita Lutz Teacher of the Year Award from Beal Technical Institute.
Jane was TDSB’s Lead Facilitator of the ongoing training of teachers, Guidance Counsellors, and Program Heads for two significant TDSB approved, Canada wide programs: Guiding Circles: An Aboriginal Guide to Finding Career Paths and Personality Dimensions (Personality Assessment for High School students and Adults).
Most recently, (June 2023) Jane worked on growing the secondary student co-op program at Kapapamahchakwew, Wandering Spirit Secondary School in TDSB. She cultivated further partnerships with Indigenous businesses for student placements. Kapapamahchakwew was the first indigenous-founded and led school in Canada and it provides Indigenous children with an opportunity to learn about Anishinaabe cultural traditions in a culturally relevant and supportive environment. Jane recently completed certification in Indigenous Canada from the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.
Kim Blackwell Account Director and National Casting
Kim has been producing, casting and performing in certain programs for Supporting Roles since 2009. Presently, she is the account director of key national clients in SR's portfolio. She casts and trains talent for those programs across the country and collaborates with Anne on all related elements to consistently deliver exceptional results for our clients and their participants.
It's hard to think of an area in theatre where Kim doesn't have direct experience. Demonstrating her relentless passion continues to drive her excellence. She's produced professional theatre commercially and in non-profit settings for over 30 years. She is an accomplished theatre director, dramaturge and publicist. She is also an actor was a stage manager, and of late Kim has added published and produced playwright to her accomplishments!
Along side the clients she looks after for Supporting Roles, Kim is the Managing Artistic Director at nationally treasured 4th Line Theatre and has been involved in all aspects of the company and its growth since 1992. As Co-Artistic Director of Contrary Company (Toronto, Ontario), she produced the highly successful adaptation of Marina Nemat’s memoir Prisoner of Tehran and Maja Ardal’s Dora Award-winning, You Fancy Yourself.
Kim was the Communications Manager at the Canadian Stage Company, Canada’s largest contemporary theatre, from 2001 to 2007. During her tenure she worked on the communications strategy for over 45 theatrical productions in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, England, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Hartford, Connecticut and San Francisco.
Kim received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Trent University, attended the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan College.
She has been twice nominated for the prestigious John Hirsch Award for Excellence in Directing: In 2015 through the Ontario Arts Council and in 2009 through the Canada Council for the Arts.