Meet the Green Economy Canada team
Our team is a dedicated and passionate group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. One thing we all have in common: we are committed to working towards a future where environment, economy, and human well-being are synonymous. Here’s a bit more about the people who make our work possible.
Melissa leads the design and implementation of Green Economy Canada’s fund to incentivize GHG reductions across the network. She is experienced in advancing action on climate at local, national, and international levels, having supported stakeholder engagement for Waterloo Region’s climate change action plan development while at Sustainable Waterloo Region, and most recently having worked on the Partners for Climate Protection Program at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Melissa is passionate about enabling Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. She was named a Top 25 Environmentalist Under 25 by the Starfish Canada in 2012 and 2014, and holds a B.E.S. in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo. When offline you can find Melissa hiking in the mountains or biking along the Ottawa canal.
As Member Experience Manager, Laura is responsible for all facets of the support Green Economy Hubs receive from Green Economy Canada. She has spent a decade working in social change organizations (including The Otesha Project and Engineers Without Borders Canada) and has built her own coaching business, offering one-on-one support for social changemakers. Laura holds an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto, where she studied psychology and anthropology, and her professional development includes a diploma in experiential psychotherapy and a certification in Co-Active coaching. Originally from the mountains of Southeastern B.C., she relies on Toronto’s beautiful ravine network for rejuvenation and inspiration.
Mike is the founder of Sustainable Waterloo Region and the Executive Director of Green Economy Canada. Named an Ashoka Fellow in 2012, Mike is one of 52 Canadians within a global community of leading social entrepreneurs, each with a new ‘knock-out’ idea and high potential to scale their impact. Mike is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, has been selected by The Waterloo Region Record as one of Waterloo Region’s inaugural 40 Under 40, and was recognized as Young Alumnus of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year by WLU’s Alumni Association and the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, respectively. He was also named to the 2017 Clean 16 last year. Mike is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, where he concurrently completed a BBA and a BSc.
As Communications Manager, Jennie helps shape and tell the stories from across the Green Economy Canada network. She has spent over 9 years leading non-profit communications and fundraising, most recently at Tides Canada. Jennie brings a diversity of experience from her past roles as Staff Accountant at KPMG and Teaching Assistant in Financial Accounting and Organizational Behaviour at the Rotman School of Management. She holds a B.Com from the University of Toronto. Jennie is passionate about learning, beautiful and practical design, and the Toronto Blue Jays.
As Operations Coordinator, Alia works directly with the Managing Director to ensure the organization runs smoothly. Alia recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University. Her background includes roles in administration, community engagement and project management. With the support of Green Economy Canada, Alia helped launch Sustainable Kingston’s Green Economy program. Alia is passionate about community-driven, collaborative approaches to sustainability, and strives to be a social connector of people, ideas and intent.
Sarah Van Exan
Sarah oversees all aspects of Green Economy Canada’s operations and member support. She has over 16 years of experience working with diverse levels of government and Indigenous, non-profit and business partners to develop better policy and program solutions. Sarah has worked across a number of ministries and sustainability issues to support the greening of Ontario’s economy, including polluter pays, circular economy, and renewable energy policies. She began her career with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and was most recently a senior manager of Municipal Governance Policy at Municipal Affairs for the government of Ontario. When not working to create meaningful change, Sarah describes her approach to down time as “pursuing mediocrity in a wide range of areas”, from art to music to sports.
As Fund Animator, Alysha is responsible for creating engagement strategies to communicate Green Economy Canada’s Incentive Fund to Green Economy Hubs. Her background includes numerous roles in financial and statistical analysis as well as stakeholder engagement. She holds a B.A. in Financial Mathematics and a B.BA. in Finance from Wilfrid Laurier University. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, fire spinning and playing board games.
Victor takes on various special projects at Green Economy Canada. He is currently helping us examine how we need to scale to achieve our intended impact in Ontario, and beyond. Victor has worked on a wide range of environmental projects, including an attempt to prove the presence of emissions-income relationship in Europe. He has long had an interest in sustainability and the increasingly crucial role it plays in the modern economy. Victor graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta which a focus on economics and political science. He also has a master’s degree in economics from Queen’s University and helped support the launch of Green Economy Kingston as a volunteer. Victor is an avid soccer enthusiast and enjoys reading and travelling as much as he can.
As the Network Development Strategist, Katrina is exploring new opportunities for Green Economy Hubs outside the province of Ontario. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience as the previous Executive Director at Niagara Sustainability. She’s passionate about the work of Green Economy Canada and is excited about the progress towards the low carbon economy.
David takes on various special projects at Green Economy Canada. He is currently working directly with staff to analyze and interpret reporting data from Green Economy HUbs. David has a background in energy efficiency, sustainability program design, and environmental awareness campaigns. He graduated from Western University with an Honors Bachelor of Science as well as a Master of Environment and Sustainability. In addition, David has also attained a Master of Development Practice from the University of Waterloo. As part of this program, David assisted universities in Vietnam with the design and implementation of campus-wide energy efficiency and sustainability programs. When not working, David enjoys spending his time travelling and reading.
As Member Communications Coordinator, Susie curates key conversations and activities, and spreads relevant news across Green Economy Hubs. She has a background in biology and mathematics from McMaster University, along with a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication. She is excited for the opportunity to volunteer with Green Economy Canada and to support Green Economy Hubs.
Emily supports and assists the Member Experience Manager in developing and improving resources for Green Economy Hubs to ensure they run smoothly. She was previously the Business Development Manager at Sustainable Hamilton Burlington where she aided in growing the organization to improve and fast-track environmental progress. Emily is passionate about the transition to the low-carbon economy and the associated education that comes along with it. On her down time Emily enjoys reading, hanging out with her dog, and attempting to sew.
Jeff is a Fine Arts graduate from the University of Waterloo, and holds a post-graduate diploma in Film Production from Sheridan College and a Bachelor of Education from Queens University. He is currently completing a Masters of Inclusive Design from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Jeff founded the Joy Apparel project in 2006, a socially conscious t-shirt company and was recognized as the St. Jerome’s University Alumni of the year in 2009. Jeff brings a diversity of experience as a social entrepreneur, educator and inclusive designer. He is currently the director of the New Media Lab at APIS in Seoul, Korea. In his spare time Jeff makes stop-motion films, rides his bike and takes photos of random strangers.
Board of Directors
Paul Bubelis is the Executive Director of the Sustainability Network which he co-founded in 1997. He is a also founding Director of Green Economy Canada and sits on advisory committees for Ryerson’s Certificate in Sustainability Program, Green Living Enterprises and the Ontario Nonprofit Network. He judges Earth Day Canada’s Hometown Heroes Award and the City of Toronto’s Green Awards. Prior to his work at Sustainability Network, he served as Executive Director of the Ontario Environment Network and spent 5 years at Environment Canada managing a community funding program. He has also consulted to grantmakers, government and NGOs. Paul obtained a biology degree from the University of Guelph, attended the University of Victoria and has a MSc from the University of Toronto.
Since 2008, Karen Clarke-Whistler has been TD’s Chief Environment Officer, responsible for developing and leading the bank’s environmental strategy, which has been key to its rise to the top of the league tables for environmental performance in the North American banking sector. Under Karen’s leadership, TD became the first North American-based bank to be carbon neutral. In 2012, she led the design and launch of TD Forests, which aims to help grow and protect North American forest habitat. An environmental scientist who is widely recognized as a thought leader, Karen has been named one of Canada’s Clean16 for her outstanding contribution to clean capitalism.
Tim Draimin is Executive Director of Social Innovation Generation (SiG). He guides SiG’s support for Canada’s growing network of academics, practitioners, social entrepreneurs, allied institutions and partnerships expanding Canada’s Social Innovation ecosystem. Tim was the founding CEO of Tides Canada Foundation, leading the Foundation’s expansion, established Canada’s first national support system for social entrepreneurs – Tides Canada Initiatives – and supported a globally replicated model of integrated conservation: BC’s Great Bear Rainforest initiative. He is a frequent advisor to government, non-profit associations and business. He has worked for or consulted in Canada and abroad was involved in many UN activities representing civil society. In addition to CoLab, Tim is on the board of Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), Trico Foundation, Centre for Social Innovation, Sustainability CoLab, and advises Grand Challenges Canada, Partnership Brokers Association and the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.
Matthew J. Hoffmann is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. He is also Co-Director of the Environmental Governance Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Professor Hoffmann has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the George Washington University. His research and teaching interests are centered on climate change politics and global environmental governance. He is the author of Ozone Depletion and Climate Change: Constructing a Global Response (SUNY Press 2005) and coeditor with Alice Ba of Contending Perspectives on Global Governance (Routledge 2005). His most recent book is Climate Governance at the Crossroads: Experimenting with a Global Response after Kyoto (Oxford University Press 2011).
Ken Whyte is President of Quarry, a marketing and advertising agency in Waterloo Region. Ken is proud to represent Quarry as a bronze-level GHG emissions reductions member of Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Regional Sustainability Initiative. As Quarry’s President, Ken focuses on leading the business and ensuring Quarry has the resources and skills needed to transform brands for complex businesses. Ken lives and breathes Quarry’s core beliefs—take accountability, act with urgency, be a builder, seek collective wins and grow with purpose—and over the past 25 years at Quarry, has consistently challenged the team to ‘imagine something better’ for Quarry clients, the organization and themselves. Ken is a past Board of Director for the Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integrated Network, one of 14 LHINs set up across the province of Ontario to bring health care leadership, integration, and funding to a local level, as well as past Director of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. Ken holds a BBA (Honours) from Wilfrid Laurier University, is a father to seven, and feels he is “truly blessed by having met and married his soul mate, Colette.”
The Green Economy Canada Culture
We are a lean organization that works at a quick pace to achieve meaningful impact. Our team brings good judgment, a sense of humour and passion for grassroots sustainability and systems change.
- We are bold, ambitious and optimistic. Our vision is for an economy that makes environmental sustainability, human well-being, and business success synonymous.
- We care about what we each accomplish, not where we work from or how many hours we put in. We want working together to feel effortless and the ways we work together to be intuitive.
- We embrace innovation: we’re willing to take risks, we know we’ll make mistakes along the way, and we push ourselves to apply what we learn each time. It’s okay to fail.
- We have fun, enjoy working together, and laugh often.
- We’re not satisfied with the status quo: we don’t think “because that’s how it’s always been done” justifies a course of action. We challenge each other, think critically, and strive for objective decision-making.