Samantha Sannella

Canada National Lead, Total Workplace • Canada

Samantha Sannella (image)
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Samantha Sannella

Canada National Lead, Total Workplace • Canada

As Managing Director, Consulting Services, Canada, Ms. Sannella specializes in design management, workplace strategy, occupancy planning, scenario development, project management and holistic building/land solutions. Her combined background in architecture, urban design, interior design, construction, development, and project management helps provide clients with strategies that are well- grounded through all phases of the real estate cycle.

Samantha’s focus is providing real estate solutions that maximize the experience per square foot of the occupant while aligning with the organization’s business objectives and culture. Her group focuses on real estate and built environment strategies that foster productivity, increase effectiveness, mitigate cost and reduce risk to help clients solve the complex challenges encountered at the intersection of real estate and business. Services include Design Advisory, Workplace Strategy, Occupancy Planning, Site Selection, Employee Engagement and Change Management, Facility Programming, Building Repositioning Strategy, Portfolio Optimization and Land Use Strategies.

Ms. Sannella was formerly a Studio Director and Workplace Strategy Expert at Stantec Toronto, the former President and CEO of the Design Exchange, Canada’s Design Museum and Centre for the Promotion of Design and a former professor of Interior Design at Ryerson University. Ms. Sannella was a practice leader for HOK Consulting Canada. As part of her career, Ms. Sannella has been instrumental to organizations through fundraising, public relations, and community involvement.

Ms. Sannella is passionate about Universal and Sustainable Design and teaches audiences about the critical connections between design and the economy, environment, and quality of life. In 2006, Ms. Sannella was named one of the top 10 most inspiring women in Canada and in March 2011, she was named Woman of the Month by Women's Post Magazine. In 2007, she was honoured by Ryerson University for her work within the design community. She taught part-time at Ryerson for 15 years.

Ms. Sannella is also the founder of Urban Retreat Homes which focused on the design of single-family homes as well as the design/build of custom luxury homes in Ontario. Over the course of her career, Ms. Sannella extended her expertise in residential design and construction to the multi-residential market by managing the development of condominium projects in Toronto and Barrie.

Ms. Sannella is a columnist for Reno and Decor Magazine and editor of Ontario Design, a trade publication for professional architects, designers, and contractors.

In 2006, Samantha was named one of the top 10 most inspiring women in Canada and, in 2011, she was named Woman of the Month by Women's Post Magazine. In 2007, Samantha was honoured by Ryerson University, where she taught part time for 15 years, for her work within the design community. As well, Samantha founded Urban Retreat Homes, which focused on the development of single-family homes and the design-build of custom luxury homes in Ontario. Samantha has also managed condominium development projects in Toronto and Barrie, Ontario

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • 2022 Vancouver Real Estate Forum, Panelist and Featured Speaker 

  • 2022 REIC Keynote Speaker 

  • 2021 Buildings Show, ROI of Wellness Initiatives in the Workplace 

  • 2021 PEO Workshops, Culture in the Workplace 

  • 2021 Urban Development Institute, The City Post-COVID 

  • 2021 MacKay Forums, Toronto & Vancouver, Workplace of the Future 

  • 2021 Q100 Montreal, Workplace of the Future 

  • 2020 CoreNet Seminar, Panelist, Future of Workplace 

  • 2020 KBC Kitchen and Bath Industry Post-COVID, Moderator 

  • 2020 Buildings Show, The Holistic Workplace, Speaker 

  • 2017 – 2019 BILD, Renovation and New Build Awards, Emcee/Host 

  • 2017 GTA and GTAA Home Show, Increasing your RE Value 

  • 2014, 2015 and 2016 Interior Design Show, Residential Real Estate Value 

  • 2014 GTA National Home Show Featured Speaker 

  • 2013 Interior Design Show and Toronto Home Show, Raising your Property Value  

  • 2011 University of Guadalajara, Design Week, Keynote Speaker 

  • Workshop Leader, Conference Board of Canada – Innovation and Design 

  • Speaker, Conference Board of Canada, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.  

  • Speaker, National Conference for the Society for Marketing of Professional Services (SMPS), Phoenix, AZ 

  • Keynote Speaker, Marketing Summit. American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) & the Society for Marketing of Professional Services (SMPS), Los Angeles, CA. 

  • Keynote Speaker, GSA Realty Leadership Forum, Baltimore, Maryland. 

  • Speaker, Public Works Toronto, Integrated Design. 

  • Speaker, Ministry of Attorney General's Office Management Forum, Toronto. 

  • Speaker (multiple years) IFMA and NACORE 

Publications and Television 

At Cushman and Wakefield, Samantha has authored numerous whitepapers regarding the post-COVID workplace, is a frequent guest on webinars and was recently a guest on the Steve Paikin show and CBC’s The National.  She was recently featured in the Globe and Mail regarding the Hybrid Workplace Trend as well as the City Space podcast regarding the future of cities. 

  • Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should” – Workplace Design
  • The Elephant in the Room - Territory in the Workplace.
  • Editor, Ontario Design (numerous years)
  • Regular Columnist for Reno and Décor Magazine (over 50 articles written)
  • Featured in numerous periodicals, such as Canadian Kitchen and Bath Design, the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and Women’s Post.
  • Hiatus, Essay “Designers as Superheroes” (Published in English and Spanish)
  • OURTOPIAS, Introduction 
  • The Art of Clairtone, Introduction 
  • Cool 60s Design, Introduction (Published in French and English)
  • Design in Canada, Introduction (Second Edition)
  • Treasure Channel, Modern Design Series” – Multiple Episodes
  • Breakfast Television, “Creating a Dream Home
  • Author of 'Amusing Workspaces and Workplaces, What's in Our Future?adapted for the cover story of Today's Facility Manager Magazine



Osler, Montreal

BC Housing, Vancouver

Foresters Financial, Toronto

United Way, Toronto

United Way, Edmonton
Aon, Toronto

USAA, San Antonio

Blue Cross, Houston

Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization, Toronto

TD Bank – Various Projects

CIBC - Various Projects

Conference Board of Canada

Spark Power Group, Oakville

Grantek, Burlington

United Way, Toronto & Edmonton

Japan Foundation, Toronto

Aventis Headquarters, Frankfurt
Grant Thornton, Houston

Nortel Headquarters, Brampton

Nortel, Montreal

Nortel, Calgary

Nortel, Ottawa

Nortel, Raleigh, North Carolina

Nortel, Richardson, Texas

GSA, Washington, DC



Pantex, Weapons Evaluation Testing Facility, Amarillo

Sandia National Labs, Joint Computational Evaluation Facility, Albuquerque

Kodak Wafer Fabrication Facility, Rochester

FBI Forensic Laboratories, Quantico, Virginia

MRO Hangar, Finance Prince Edward Island

National Institute of Standards and Technology



Markham MiX Lands

Moderna, Montreal

Kodak, Film Coating System Manufacturing, Rochester

Kodak, Medical Film Manufacturing, Rochester

Cummings Engines, New Diesel Engine Manufacturing Line, Columbus

General Motors, Detroit Michigan
(various projects)



Ontario Energy Board, Toronto

Spark Power, Oakville

MichCon / DTE Energy
Comprehensive Facility Masterplan
Detroit, Michigan




Toyota HQ + Tech Centre, Toronto

Aventis Headquarters, Frankfurt

NCAA Headquarters, Indianapolis

Amex Call Centre, Minneapolis

Sun Microsystems, San Jose

Novell Campus, San Jose

Schlumberger, Houston



US Consulate, Site Selection, Toronto

US Department of State, National Strategy, Canada

City of Toronto Streetscape Furniture

Canada Lands Corporation, Port Credit Marina Re-Development

US National Archives, Bethesda, Maryland + Washington, DC, Facility Expansion

Design Exchange, Strategic Plan, Toronto

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Master Plan, Boulder, Colorado

City of Toronto, AODA Improvements

PORTS Toronto, Interior Improvements



Confidential Client, PEI
Parma Court Improvements, Toronto

HV Mixed-Use/Condominiums, Barrie

HV Mixed-Use/Condominiums, Toronto

Low Rise Residential, Various Locations



Seneca Collage – Markham Campus

George Brown – Casa Loma Campus

Marshall McLuhan Centre, U of Toronto

University of Calgary, Information and Communication Technology Building

Houston Community College, Medical Education Building, Houston, Texas

Elementary School, 9th Ward, New Orleans, Louisiana

Ford Glass University, New Facility Program
Detroit, Michigan



McKenzie Vaughan Hospital, Toronto

Toronto Rehab Institute

Niagara Health, Niagara/Wellland/St. Catherines

Texas Department for Mental Health
New Residences for Dual Diagnosis Patients
Houston, Texas

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto]

  • 2022-2023, Quantic School of Business and Technology, Executive MBA 
  • 1993-1991, University of Houston, Master of Architecture 
  • 1991-1990, Louisiana State University, Graduate School of Architecture 
  • 1990-1986, Louisiana Tech University, Bachelor Interior Design, Minor Sociology, Magna Cum Laude, Graduating Honor: Designer of the Year 
  • 1986-1984, Southern Arkansas University, School of Speech and Performing Art 

Samantha has participated in several boards and community organizations including the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization, Ontario Place Revitalization, Humber College Industrial Design Program Advisory Board, Sheridan Collage Interior Design Advisory Board, George Brown College Curriculum Advisory and Kinder Canada.

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