An agent of change

Relationship Matters

The Team

Relationship Matters is a transforming force, which helps shape positive change in an ever-changing world. A little company co-founded by Kim Barthel and Bob Spensley in Victoria, BC, Canada, it has been expanding to include Hilary LeRoy Gauthier and Eugene Hayduk, Marie McKenzie and other esteemed colleagues will soon be announced. A few ways that this organic organization touches and shapes the lives of people around the world are through supporting, teaching, mentoring, innovating, inspiring and sustaining people and organizations that support a lot of people.

With a propensity to travel, a contagious will to help, and a growing capacity to connect with web-based training, Relationship Matters contracts with private clinics, school boards, hospitals, government agencies, NGO’s, universities, group homes, not-for-profit organizations and even corporations. Each service arrangement or partnership is unique, depending on the professional/personal development needs and the local context.

Kim has added another and deeper understanding of how trauma impacts all of the children and families I work with.
— Carol Armann, OTR\L


Bob Spensley


Bob’s purpose as a natural connector is to bring people together for the greater good.

As CEO and Co-founder of Relationship Matters, he helps create training programs and supports for professionals world-wide, in many different forms. This involves developing relationships with various partners, co-creating a multitude of contracts, strategizing resource materials, workshops and consultations, and navigating a diversity of inspiring projects.

From 2001 to 2014, Bob was Co-founder and Principal of Sequoia Energy, initiating and developing responsible large-scale renewable energy projects (wind and run-of-river hydro) across North America. Bob’s greatest joy and focus was on understanding and helping to nurture healthy community dynamics and business partnerships in a new and meaningful industry.

From 1992 to 2001, Bob worked in the field of education in the Canadian Arctic.

He had many roles, from supporting Inuit teenagers from remote communities to helping to create and manage a range of learning programs at Nunavut Arctic College. He was at a time and place to witness extreme social change; he got to work alongside many respected elders, always aimed to promote empowering learning environments, and learned imminently more than he taught.

Bob speaks four languages fairly fluently with enthusiasm, and then was humbled with Inuktitut, despite best efforts. Academically, Bob has Honour Degrees in History and Spanish Literature, a Certificate in Adult Education, an Honorary MBA (it’s a good story), is certified as a community development facilitator by the International Association for Public Participation, and continues to gain experience related to counselling and communication. His greatest strengths, as always, are the people around him.



Hilary LeRoy-Gauthier


Even at the very beginning of her career when she was first working in the field of Mental Health, Hilary always had a clear goal of becoming an Occupational Therapist. Her focus was naturally on how best to serve others with humility, integrity, and authenticity. Today, with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, an MBA, a Certificate in Adult Education and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Leadership Studies, Hilary’s educational pursuits have led her to work serving others in the fields of Health, Business, and Education. Her work in the past 25 years as a clinician, manager, small business owner, facilitator, trainer, and leader have all allowed her to follow her clear passion and

skill in serving others in their pursuit to live fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Her most recent work in Adult Education across a diverse cultural group in the Northwest Territories has provided her with the opportunity to further grow her skills, knowledge, and expertise in the area of Business and Leadership. She is also certified in the EQ-i 2.0 tool, allowing her to weave together leadership, emotional intelligence, and personal growth.

Hilary’s work with Relationship Matters is a perfect fit in bringing these diverse experiences together to continue her mission to serve others in their important work of becoming more of who they are.

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Eugene Hayduk


Eugene is a compassionate therapist from Winnipeg who has been supporting adolescents and adults for over 30 years. His genuine approach and emphatic nature have allowed him the privilege of assisting numerous people on their healing journeys. Eugene values the time he spends with his clients and truly sees it as an honour to be able to walk alongside them. He uses a number of therapeutic intervention methods available to him and will offer a treatment plan that is realistic and goal-oriented. He practices from a Client Centred Perspective, and relies on Solution Focused Therapy, Therapeutic Conversation and a Problem-Solving Model, to name a few. 

He has worked extensively with at-risk, adolescent youth and their families for most of his career. He has been certified to conduct threat and risk assessments for youth who have shown signs of causing legitimate danger to their communities or themselves. Eugene spent twenty years at Marymound, an adolescent

treatment centre, working in a variety of roles, but mostly as the Day Treatment Coordinator.

His role was to assist with intake, treatment planning and follow up for Outpatient Students and their families. He currently works for the River East/Transcona School Division as a School Social Worker and also has a thriving private practice. Eugene and Kim share a long professional relationship; they first met over 20 years ago when Kim was a consultant at Marymound, an adolescent treatment centre where he worked. They have since had many professional collaborations. Of note, Eugene acted as Kim's Consultant/Sounding Board while she was working with Mental Health Services in Nunavut; they consulted on numerous high-risk cases on a regular basis.

Eugene values relationship and will be happy to connect with you and support your emotional and psychological needs. He looks forward to the opportunity of supporting you or your family member.

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Marie McKenzie


Marie McKenzie, MS OTR/L is an experienced private practice Occupational Therapist living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Throughout her career Marie has held many roles in support of children with neuro-diversity and their families. She previously developed and managed the Occupational Therapy Department at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She has consulted with many area school systems and for 20 years was the owner and director of Pediatric Therapy Services, a private outpatient clinic.

She is certified in Sensory Integration and Praxis testing, trained in Neuro-Developmental Treatment and was previously a Neuro-Developmental Treatment OT Instructor.


In addition to being an Occupational Therapist, Marie is also a Physical Therapist, receiving her master’s degree through the Georgia State University Physical Therapy Department.

Currently she is completing her PhD program at the University of Georgia in Toxicology. Her research focuses on birth defect prevention and is based on developmental influences of environmental contaminants.

Marie is compassionate and loving in her approach with children and families, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience for collective problem-solving, always helping those she supports to become their best selves.

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