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Circle Group is a fundamentally interdisciplinary team. We are united by our shared commitment to pluralism, curiosity, and open dialogue.



John Di Palma, Principal / Founder

John has collaborated with national and global brands on design research and customer experience strategy. On the agency side, he has advised marketing leaders in the organizational integration of service design principles and methodology. With an eye toward design practices and platforms of interaction, he addresses the entangled social and infrastructural factors that shape organizations. He was Senior Editor for The Alpine Review and co-author of Parachutes. He holds a B.Sc.E. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.Des. in Interdisciplinary Design.


Reid McKay, Managing Director 

With a background in economic policy and financial regulation, Reid has provided business analysis and perspective for leaders in the junior mining, insurance, pension, and employment benefit industries. His work in the public realm has also supported the efforts and vision of policy makers and regulators at the municipal and provincial level. Through engagements with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the City of Toronto, Rogers Media and others, he has created and curated media strategies aiming to advance industry and regulatory discourse. 



Marie-Eve Bélanger

Marie-Eve is an experience designer and design researcher based in Toronto. She leverages her experience as a qualitative researcher and a visual communicator to help clients understand their customers, craft compelling experiences, and ultimately build empathy for users and stakeholders alike. She is a member of the advisory board for the Canadian Chapter of the Service Design Network, and has co-organized Aerials Symposium, Toronto Global Service Jam 2014 and 2015, and the Canadian Service Design Conference. She holds a BFA in Design Art as well as a MI in Information Systems.


Eli Burnstein

Grounded in a foundation of academic philosophy, Eli’s advisory approach balances intellectual rigour with creative, lateral thinking. He is led by a purpose-driven curiosity, asking core questions that lead to key insights. Eli is Communications Lead at Connected Lab. He maintains a meticulous eye for detail while developing comprehensive communication programs. Finally, as a hobby, Eli runs a popular event series in Toronto that reinvigorates the thrill of classic scholastic competition, based around traditional spelling bees and debate clubs.


Patrick Pittman

Patrick has spent his career poking, prodding, pushing, telling stories and building communities across platforms. He is co-editor of The Alpine Review, and a partner at No Media Company, an editorial research and strategy studio. He was previously the creative and editorial director of Toronto agency Totem, where he worked and won awards with some of North America’s largest brands. He has been a correspondent for Monocle in Australia, the South Pacific and Canada, and has worked for many other magazines, radio stations and organizations around the world in the independent, community and commercial sectors.