SPEAKERS & MENTORS

2020 FORUM SPEAKERS AND SESSION FACILITATORS

Meredith Adler

Executive Director,
Student Energy

Meredith Adler is Student Energy’s Executive Director. She oversees the strategy and operations of the organization and building a movement of students across the world committed to a sustainable energy future. Prior to taking over this role in 2015, Meredith acted as the Global Community Manager for Student Energy, where she developed the chapters model and managed online content and communities.  

 

Meredith is passionate about community, energy, and strategy. She thrives in dynamic environments and loves to build bridges between solutions and people. 


Prior to joining Student Energy, Meredith was Communications Coordinator for Clean Energy Canada where she project managed the Tracking the Energy Revolution report series and kept all communications trains running on time. Before that, she could be found doing anything from running a youth trail construction crew in the Cascades, to coaching a campus tours team, to working on youth leadership programming in Latin America. A degree in Geography from The University of British Columbia kick-started Meredith’s obsession with energy and environmental policy. 


If you can’t find Meredith in the office, she’s probably off on a mountaintop or hanging off the edge of a rock face somewhere – with her trusty dog Yoshi in tow. 

Jackie Bastianon

Director of Communications, Youth Climate Lab

Jackie Bastianon is a storyteller, community builder and climate activist based in the Ottawa area. She recently graduated from Carleton University’s School of Journalism, with a minor in Environmental Studies. She puts these skills to use daily as Communications Director at Youth Climate Lab to mobilize youth to take climate action. Jackie is also the Co-Founder of the PlantEd Project, which offers plant-based cooking workshops for people looking to live more sustainably. In her spare time, Jackie loves to practice yoga, cook vegan recipes and spend time outdoors. 

Gary Calicdan

Packaging & Print Ethical Buyer, LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Gary Calicdan is the Packaging and Print Ethical Buyer of Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics North America. Joining the company in February 2007, he has seen the business grow from 80 shops to over 250 shop. Along with growing the supply chain, Gary has led many initiatives to improve our ethics and sustainability in our packaging supply chain such as use of 100% recycled plastics and paper for all packaging and print materials. Gary has also focused on developing a local high quality recycled plastic materials supply base including ocean plastics and created closed loop systems through retail and manufacturing operations wherever possible. 

 

Gary is currently a council Director of The Packaging Consortium (PAC) under Pacific Region Leadership Council based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  

Prior to migrating to Canada in 2006, Gary was the Purchasing Manager of ALCAN Packaging and Avon Cosmetics back in the Philippines from 2001 to early 2006. 

Merertu Mogga Frissa

Program Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Electricity Human Resources Canada

Merertu Mogga Frissa is the Program Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) with over a decade’s experience in developing strategies and tools for organizations in the private, public and not-for profit sectors to create inclusive workplaces. She has authored and co-authored various articles for HR and people managers on bias-awareness and bias-reduction strategies to help improve decision making that affect organizations and employees.  In her spare time, Merertu mentors internationally trained professionals, providing support and guidance to help them achieve their career goals in Canada. 

 

Merertu holds an M.A. in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa. She has also earned a BA in joint Specialization in Anthropology & Sociology from the University of Concordia in Montreal. Merertu is a Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP). 

 

Mike Gerbis

CEO, The Delphi Group
CEO, GLOBE Series
Chair, Leading Change

Mike Gerbis is responsible for overseeing the growth and strategic direction of The Delphi Group and GLOBE Series. For two decades Mike has advised Canadian corporations, institutions and government on how to create long-term value by addressing environmental, social and economic risks and opportunities.

Mike provides clients with strategic advice and insight across six key service areas: strategic management, climate change, corporate sustainability, market intelligence and environmental policy and program design. Prior to joining The Delphi Group, Mike owned and operated a successful environmental engineering consulting firm, which focused on developing and implementing corporate pollution prevention strategies.

He is a sought-after speaker and has presented at some of the most prestigious sustainability conferences and events in and outside of Canada. He is also the co-founder of two not-for-profit organizations, The Climate Reality Project Canada (climate-reality.ca) and Leading Change Canada (leadingchangecanada.com). He is currently Chair of Clean Air Champions (cleanairchampions.ca), and regularly engages and educates youth and business leaders across Canada through initiatives such as SHAD Valley International (shad.ca) and TEC Canada (tec-canada.com).

Mike was named to Canada’s Clean50 for 2016 as well as Canada’s Clean16 for 2016, as leader in the “Consultants” category.

Mike holds a Master of Environmental Engineering degree from McMaster University and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering from Queens University.

Outside of work, Mike enjoys running, playing hockey and golf, and experiencing what the world has to offer with his wife and two boys.

Nadine Gudz

Vice-President, Academy for Sustainability Innovation

A seasoned sustainability leader and Clean50 honouree, Nadine led corporate sustainability strategy, partnership development and employee engagement initiatives for sustainable business pioneer, Interface Inc. for more than ten years. Currently completing her Ph.D. in sustainability education and organizational change, she’s Faculty for the Graduate Certificate program in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. Nadine is a LEED accredited professional who has served on the Boards of the National Zero Waste Council, US Green Building Council Education Advisory Committee and Canadian Business for Social Responsibility. She brings subject matter expertise on sustainability education, circular economy, biomimicry, corporate sustainability/climate strategy and speaks regularly on related topics. 

Michelle Gurney

Principal Consultant, Shift Consulting Inc.

Michelle runs a successful marketing and consulting firm, Shift Consulting Inc., based in Banff, Alberta. She brings more than 25 years of senior level communications and marketing expertise to every project. Her ability to identify audience insights through research, understand communication gaps, and apply proven strategic planning skills, has helped her develop innovative and integrated solutions that deliver solid results for clients.

Shift has been serving as consultants in the innovation space for 10 years, and she is proud to head up the communications team for Emissions Reduction Alberta.

Michelle is a storyteller at heart. She is also a certified facilitator and part-time faculty member at the Banff Centre’s Leadership Institute. 

Michelle has a degree in Communications, a diploma in Advertising and Public Relations, and accreditation as a professional communicator from the International Association of Business Communicators. Her work has been recognized with more than 25 international, national and regional awards. She is also a published author.

Sarah Hanson

Youth Forum Coordinator, Experiences Canada & Leading Change Steering Committee

Sarah Hanson is Anishinaabe from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, currently living, working and studying in Ottawa. Having finished a Biology degree from Queen’s University, where she gained valuable skills in science, advocacy and leadership, Sarah is continuing her education at Carleton University in Indigenous Studies.  

 

Prior to finishing her degree at Queen’s University, Sarah participated in an international internship for Indigenous youth where she lived and worked in Guyana, setting up robotics programs in five under-performing schools for youth in the capital. 

 

After returning to Canada, Sarah finished her Biology degree and began working at Crown Indigenous-Relations and Northern Affairs Canada as a Junior Environmental Policy Analyst. Through her work with the Indigenous Community-Based Monitoring Program, Sarah was able to combine her Indigenous ancestry to western science.  

 

She currently works as the Youth Forum Coordinator for Experiences Canada (formerly SEVEC). In the future, Sarah would like to continue sharing her inherent connection to the land with more youth worldwide while also helping to bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and western science. 

Alice Henry

Program Manager, The Elements Society & Project Coordinator, Share Reuse Repair Initiative

Alice is a facilitator and researcher specializing in the circular economy and lighter living. She is currently the Program Manager for Elements Society, an environmental education charity; the Project Coordinator for the Share Reuse Repair Initiative, a project on the Tides Canada shared platform; and an Associate with One Earth. She is the founder of Stoke Socials, semi-monthly get togethers for young people working in impact fields (social, environmental, and/or justice) to hang out with one another, create supportive communities, and stoke the sparks that drive them to continue their meaningful work. 

 

She is on the Youth Advisory Board for Waterlution’s Great Canoe Journey. In her spare time, Alice can often be found paddling, skiing, enjoying food, or cuddling with her dog. Her Masters degree at UBC explored collaborative decision-making and the perception of legitimacy within the context of the Great Bear Rainforest. 

 

Kate Hillyar

Manager Sustainability & Partnerships, Coca-Cola Canada

Kate Hillyar is the Manager of Sustainability and Partnerships for Coca-Cola in Canada. In her role, Kate leads the strategy for sustainable initiatives with a focus on the company’s global commitments around collection and recycling, sustainable packaging development, water usage and replenishment and climate. She also supports community engagement in line with Coca-Cola’s national community strategy. 

Prior to her current role, Kate worked in external communications for Coca-Cola, where she led PR campaigns supporting marketing and business objectives. Before that, she spent nearly a decade overseeing internal and external communications in the travel and tourism industry. 

Kate holds a BA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Diploma in Corporate Communications from Centennial College. 

Shalaka Jadhav

Design & Community Manager, Youth Climate Lab

Shalaka currently works at Youth Climate Lab as the Design & Community Manager. Disciplined as an urban planner, she often finds herself at the intersection of research and analysis, and employs design thinking to communicate data clearly, empathetically, and with an emphasis on accessibility to the public. 

As a twice-over immigrant, Shalaka is interested in pursuing questions around value relating to power and authority, and how to move towards reconciliation through climate justice. Keen on art-based methodologies, Shalaka has worked with elders from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and graduate students at the University of Alberta to produce an augmented reality installation that prioritized Indigenous approaches to knowledge and storytelling, and has previously produced a museum exhibit evaluating decent work and migrant worker justice. Shalaka also works in an editorial role for Textile, a magazine focused on uplifting and prioritizing underrepresented voices in the Region of Waterloo, during which she co-creates and produces workshops for youth. 

Dakota Norris

Program Manager,FutureXchange, Youth Climate Lab

Originally from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Dakota is a Gwich’in First Nation youth and recent graduate of the University of Saskatchewan. Dakota has been researching Indigenous topics in economic development, entrepreneurship, e-commerce, youth engagement, and global strategy for several years. He currently works as a Junior Research Scholar at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, examining how Indigenous Canadians can engage with Asia. 

 

In the past, Dakota has helped with Indigenous business competitions, setting up an entrepreneurship initiative at the Edwards School of Business, and consulted in marketing and management. Dakota will use his background with Indigenous topics, research, and entrepreneurship in his role as Project Manager for the FutureXchange program. 

 

Sandra Odendahl

Vice President, Social Impact & Sustainability, Scotiabank

Sandra Odendahl’s career mission is to enable business to be a force for good – good for the environment, communities, and the economy. She joined Scotiabank in late 2019 as the Vice President of Social Impact and Sustainability. 

 

Prior to her role at Scotiabank, she was the President and CEO of CMC Research Institutes, an environmental tech and innovation company that facilitates the testing and scale-up of technologies that reduce carbon emissions from industrial sources. 

 

She previously headed the Royal Bank of Canada’s Corporate Sustainability, Social Finance and Social Innovation teams.  Prior to joining RBC, she worked as an environmental scientist for Noranda in Montreal, and as an environmental consultant for BEAK Engineering in Toronto and Vancouver. Ms. Odendahl is Chair of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, and a board director of the Ontario Clean Water Agency. Sandra has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Ottawa and an M.A.Sc from the University of Toronto. 

 

She is a licensed professional engineer, and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder. Sandra lives with her husband and two children in Toronto.

Lee O'Connor

Sustainability Coordinator - Manufacturing, LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Lee O’Connor is a sustainability coordinator for Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, an ethics driven cosmetics company. Lee mitigates the impact of Lush’s manufacturing operations by finding opportunities and working cross-functionally to implement improvement projects, create environmental goals and conduct metrics work to understand where Lush’s impact is currently at and improve upon this impact. He has focused on many aspects of Lush’s impact but primarily focuses his time on waste reduction and re-use projects and is passionate about working up the supply chain to create circular systems to mitigate waste from entering Lush’s facilities. Lee has an educational background in business management, operations and lean. 

Angela Paley

Project Manager,
Student Energy

Angela is Project Manager at Student Energy, where she leads on project management, data management, and operations.  

Angela has years of experience in the environmental non-profit sector, working across communications, engagement, and policy. Before joining Student Energy, she was the Program Coordinator and Communications Specialist for Renewable Cities, an international program that supports cities through the transition to 100% renewable energy and energy efficiency. Based out of Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, she was responsible for organizing public events, stakeholder dialogues, regular communications and student engagement. Other previous stops include SFU Public Square’s Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver and the Recycling Council of British Columbia. She is also the co-director of Repair Matters, where she organizes regular repair cafes in the Vancouver area. Angela holds a BA in International Relations from UBC. 

 

She can usually be found on the local trails, making a mess in the kitchen, or dabbling in a variety of outdoor activities. 

 

Larissa Parker

Director of Programs,
Youth Climate Lab

As one of Forbes Top 30 under 30 Leaders, Innovators, and Visionary Entrepreneurs (Europe) and one of Canada’s Top 30 under 30, Larissa is passionate about environmental justice and works hard to build resilience and adaptive capacity in communities who need it the most. She has four years of experience working in international development, Indigenous affairs, and the energy sector. 

 

Larissa is currently in law school at McGill University, seeking to work in the fields of environmental and Indigenous law. She also holds an MSc in Environmental Governance from the University of Oxford, where she focussed her studies on climate change adaptation and resilience studies. 

 

Larissa is also heavily involved in the UN climate negotiations and has attended several COPs, most recently as a party delegate for the Seychelles, supporting the team on loss and damage and gender. 

She has held previous posts at the Overseas Development Institute, Canadian Federal Parliament, Ontario Energy Board, and Toronto City Hall. 

Shakti Ramkumar

Digital Engagement Coordinator, Student Energy

Shakti recently graduated from the University of British Columbia, studying Geography. She now works as Student Energy’s Digital Engagement Coordinator, leading in implementing Student Energy’s communications strategy. 

 

She has worked as a Sustainability Researcher for the City of Surrey, designed and taught a course on energy, climate science and sustainability for middle school students in her hometown in rural southern India, and has participated in a Students on Ice expedition to Antarctica. In her free time, she likes to read, cook experimental vegan meals, and appreciate dogs. 

 

Varshini Prakash

Executive Director & Co-Founder,
Sunrise Movement

Varshini Prakash is the Executive Director and co-founder of Sunrise, a movement of young people working to stop climate change, take back our democracy from Big Oil, and elect leaders who will fight for our generation’s health and wellbeing. As an undergrad at the University of Massachusetts, she took on the fossil fuel industry by pushing her university to stop investing in coal, oil, and gas.  

She led the campaign to victory after a 2-week long escalation involving thousands of students, alumni, and faculty. Varshini has been a leading voice for young Americans, including last fall when she helped lead a mass demonstration for the Green New Deal that went viral and put climate change on the map for Congress. 

 

Varshini’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, TeenVogue, BBC, The Washington Post and more. 

She was recently named to the Grist Top 50 Fixers for “people cooking up the boldest, most ambitious solutions to humanity’s biggest challenges.” Varshini currently lives in Boston, MA. 

 

Olivia Reshetylo

Director of Global Youth Engagement, Student Energy

Olivia is Student Energy’s Global Community Manager. She is responsible for the development and expansion of the organization’s student-led chapters around the world, empowering students to impact their communities, collaborate with the energy sector, and accelerate our sustainable energy transition. 

 

Olivia has a passion for leadership development and creating opportunities for youth to shape their own energy futures.  Olivia holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Mount Royal University. 

 

When she’s not working,  Olivia is happiest with her hands in the dirt gardening. She’s always keen for good conversation about sustainability and urban planning over some delicious local food. 

Anna-Kay Russell

Research Associate, Canadian Coalition for Good Governance & Leading Change Steering Committee

Anna-Kay Russell is an environmental policy professional and community leader with a mission to engage diverse communities, including governments, businesses, local activists and innovators, in the transition to a low-carbon and socially just world. 

 

Anna-Kay holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto, and a bilingual iBA in Environmental & Health Studies and Psychology from Glendon College, York University. She brings with her professional experience in research, the public sector (Natural Resources Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs) and non-profits, and currently works for the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, where she evaluates the governance practices of publicly-listed companies, including their environmental and social performance. 

 

A strong advocate for sustainability, equity and inclusion, Anna-Kay is excited to contribute her diverse skills to the Steering Committee as the Director of Strategy and Governance in supporting the growth and future direction of Leading Change. 

 
 

Ouri Scott

Architect AIBC, LEED AP
Urban Arts Architecture

Ouri Scott, a Tlicho Dene architect originally from the Northwest Territories, currently lives and works in Vancouver and thanks the Musqueam/xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Squamish/Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh/Sel̓íl̓witulh for allowing her to live on their territories as an uninvited guest. 

 

Ouri is driven to resolve preva­lent, yet often un-addressed design issues that face indigenous people. As a designer, she looks to develop a modern design language to react and respond to contemporary First Nations cul­ture. She is passionate about sustainable architecture, and sees it as honoring her role as a steward of the land.

 

Her recent work includes an award-winning concept for a net-zero, mixed-use development in Seattle that incorporates renewable energy strategies and intensive vertical farming.

 

Ouri is an active member of the RAIC Indigenous Task Force. She has spoken at conferences and community events in Canada and New Zealand on indigenous design and sustainable infrastructure development. 

Dominique Souris

Executive Director,
Youth Climate Lab

Dominique Souris is co-founder and Executive Director of the Youth Climate Lab where she works with a global team to support and accelerate youth-led climate policy, projects and businesses. While a graduate student at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) at the University of Waterloo and former Graduate Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), her research explored innovation in global climate finance governance as well as innovative financial mechanisms for refugee responsibility sharing.  

 

Dominique is a Board Member with the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and a Leadership Council Member with Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada. She was named among the Top 25 under 25 Environmentalists in Canada, Top 100 Visionary Leaders and Young Alumni Award by the University of Waterloo. 

 
 

Susan Uthayakumar

Country President,
Schneider Electric Canada

In her role as Country President, Canada, Susan Uthayakumar is responsible for overseeing all strategic initiatives in the country and driving Schneider Electric’s revenue and growth. She plays an integral part in elevating Schneider Electric’s presence in Canada as a leader in energy management and automation.

 

Prior to being appointed to the role of President, Susan had been a 13-year veteran of Schneider Electric. She was their Vice President, National Sales, Canada, responsible for developing and executing the sales strategy for the company’s electrical distribution and industrial automation products and solutions. Susan’s prior roles at Schneider Electric also included Vice President, Partner Business, Canada; Chief Financial Officer, Canada; Vice President Controller, North America; and Director, Mergers and Acquisitions, North America. Before joining Schneider Electric, Susan advised companies on mergers and acquisitions and growth strategies.

 

Susan holds multiple degrees in finance from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Consuelo van Beek

Senior Advisor and Manager, S&T Internship Program, Natural Resources Canada

Consuelo van Beek is a Senior Advisor and Manager of the Science and Technology Internship Program (STIP) at Natural Resources Canada. As a key departmental partner for the implementation of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, Consuelo has led her team since 2016, to sustainably grow the work experience program to better serve more youth and natural resource employers across Canada. Consuelo was recruited by NRCan in 2005 through the Policy Analyst Recruitment and Development Program and has worked on a variety of priority issues for the department over the years. Consuelo has a Masters in Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo and a B.Sc. in Geography and Economics from Trent University.  In her spare time, she enjoys being outside with her family, yoga and volunteering with the Canada-Mathare Education Trust. 

Helen Watts

Director of Innovation & Partnerships, Student Energy

Helen Watts is Student Energy’s Director of Innovation and Partnerships, leading collaborations with public, private and civil society organizations and advocating for meaningful youth inclusion in decision-making.  

 

Helen was a lead designer and implementer of Greenpreneurs, an entrepreneurship accelerator program for youth in the Global South co-led by Student Energy, Youth Climate Lab, and the Global Green Growth Institute. She continues to oversee and advise on the program as it enters its third year, to ensure the program continues to deliver on barriers youth face to entrepreneurship —including accessible education, local and global mentorship, and access to capital. 

 

Helen has spoken at forums around the world to advocate for the value of youth and to raise global ambition on climate and energy action. Helen published works for the 2016 World Social Forum and is one of Canada’s 2018 Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25.  

Before Student Energy, she was at the global youth leadership organization AIESEC, and with the International Organization for Migration at the United Nations reporting on migration policy. 

Britt Wray, PhD

Broadcaster, author, and storyteller

Science storyteller Britt Wray, PhD is the author of the book Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics and Risks of De-Extinction (published in 2017 by Greystone Books in partnership with The David Suzuki Institute). She has been a contributing host on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s national science TV show The Nature of Things, co-host of the BBC podcast Tomorrow’s World and guest host of Canada’s national radio show CBC Quirks and Quarks. 

Over the last decade, Wray has produced narrative science documentaries for outlets such as BBC Radio 4, CBC Radio 1, NPR, and Love and Radio. Britt holds degrees in biology and media arts as well as a PhD in Science Communication (with a focus on synthetic biology) from the University of Copenhagen. She is currently writing her next book about the psychological impacts of the climate crisis (to be published by Knopf-Random House). Britt is a 2019 TED Resident, a 2019 Logan Nonfiction Fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good, and has been a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Arthur L Carter Institute for Journalism. She is a TED speaker (her talk is called “How climate change affects your mental health”).

WHY ENGAGE WITH LEADING CHANGE AS A SPEAKER, MENTOR, OR ADVISOR?

Leading Change is a platform for you to share your insight and experience with some of Canada’s brightest sustainability leaders under 35 years of age.

 

We’re always on the lookout for people working in the private, public, and social sectors who are keen to join us in our vision of strengthening a national multi-sector, multi-generational network that can take on ambitious change and navigate times of uncertainty together.

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