Our people and partnership team

Interested in joining a passionate and committed team?

Do you believe in the power of human ingenuity to solve the wicked sustainability challenges of our generation? Do you want to help unlock it? You belong with us.  Join a  Canada-wide partnership of industry leaders and practitioners, academic researchers and policy experts, highly-trained convenors, facilitators, and program designers committed to solutions.

Explore Opportunities

Meet Generate Canada’s Board of Directors

Cynthia Wright dedicated her career to environmental protection and conservation. In early years she focused on integrating science and policy to develop plans, policies and standards in conservation authorities in Ontario, in the Alberta Forest Service and in the federal government with Environment Canada. She was with Environment Canada for over twenty years, working on challenges such as reducing toxic substances and conserving species at risk. Along the way Cynthia developed an interest in making organizations more effective. Within Environment Canada she took positions of increasing management responsibility that exposed to her to the full mandate of the department and all aspects of running a large organization. She ended her career as the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environmental Stewardship Branch, responsible for the department’s legislative policies and programs for environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. One of her main focuses was to implement a systems-based approach to developing and implementing regulations.

Cynthia has a Masters degree specializing in resource policy from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. Since retiring, she has volunteered with non-profit organizations and enjoys the variety from pulling out invasive species to improving management effectiveness.

Ken has over 20 years of experience in a variety of accounting and finance roles in the for-profit, not-for-profit and volunteer space. In particular, he enjoys refining and integrating financial systems to be more efficient for staff and useful for end users. Most recently, he served for a decade as the Director of Operations for the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), where he directed the financial affairs of a $100MM consortium of universities and allied stakeholders through a merger with a similar-sized charity.

He has served as a board member treasurer for multiple community organizations, including housing cooperatives, arts centers and parklands associations.

Ken is a CPA, CMA, and has an MBA Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta. Ken lives in Ottawa with his wife Stephanie and two sons. He is an amateur carpenter, paddler and basketball fanatic.

Stewart Elgie is a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa. He is the founder and chair of the Smart Prosperity Institute, Canada’s major environment-economy think tank and research network. He is the co-founder of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, which generates expert reports on market-based approaches to protect the environment.

Elgie started his career as a Bay Street lawyer. He left to do a Masters at Harvard, and then took a job in Alaska with a public interest environmental law firm, including litigating over the Valdez oil spill. He returned to Canada and founded Ecojustice, now Canada’s largest non-profit environmental law organization, where he was counsel on many precedent setting cases in the 1990s, including four wins in Supreme Court of Canada. In 2003, he left a successful legal career to go back to school at Yale for a doctorate in law and economics. Since then, he has focused his research on how to how to harness economic forces to solve environmental problems.

Elgie has chaired or served on many government advisory bodies in the environment and sustainability area. In 2001, he was awarded the Law Society of Upper Canada medal for exceptional lifetime contributions to law – the youngest man to receive the profession’s highest honour. In 2015, he received Canada’s Clean 50 Award, for Thought Leadership. Since the birth of twin boys in 2012, he no longer has any hobbies.

Andrew Heintzman is a managing partner and a co-founder of InvestEco Capital. Founded in 2001, InvestEco was one of the first Canadian investment companies to focus on sustainability. InvestEco manages a number of venture capital funds that invest in companies that promote health and sustainability in the food sector. As part of his work at InvestEco, Andrew sits on a number of corporate boards, including Mara Renewables, Maple Hill Creamery, LesserEvil and Maison Le Grand. Andrew has been a director of a number of Canadian charities, including MakeWay Foundation and CanadaHelps, and is the author of The New Entrepreneurs: Building a Green Economy for the Future, published by The House of Anansi Press. Andrew has a BA and an MA from McGill University.  

Marie-Helene Labrie joined Cogeco as Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications in November 2018. She has more than 20 years of broad experience in government relations, public communications and marketing. Prior to joining Cogeco, she was at Enerkem starting in 2008, most recently as Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications, where she built the company’s corporate image and reputation, positioning the organization as a global leader in the field of biofuels. Previously, Ms. Labrie worked with a range of companies as a communications consultant from 2006 to 2008, and from 1997 to 2006 she held roles at CAE including Director, Strategic Planning and Marketing. She began her career with the Government of Canada from 1993 to 1997, working on diverse portfolios. Ms. Labrie holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Université Laval in Québec City, where she also completed a Masters in International Business. 

Nishadi Liyanage (she/her) is the Responsible Supply Chain Program Manager, Maker Well-being at lululemon. She has more than 13 years of broad experience in corporate sustainability and non-financial risk management in Sri Lanka, Australia and Canada. This includes strategy development, managing strategic projects, measuring impact, and ESG reporting in several industries, including leisure, apparel, construction and mining and metals. Nishadi holds a Master of Sustainability degree from the University of Sydney, which she completed on a full-ride Australia Awards scholarship administered by the Government of Australia. Nishadi is also a UN SDSN Fellow, and an alumna of the Global Shapers, the youth arm of the World Economic Forum.

Steve MacDonald is currently Principal at +SM Advisory Services and Director at AltaLink. Previous to that, he was Chief Executive Officer for Emissions Reduction Alberta and served as Deputy Minister for the Government of Alberta in a number of portfolios, including human services, innovation and climate change. His current work is focused on innovation, change management and the energy transition. Mr. MacDonald graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce. He is also a graduate of the Canadian Securities Program and has received his ICD.D designation. Mr. MacDonald is also on the board of directors for the Canada West Foundation, Elevate Consulting, Modern West Advisory and the BC Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy Advisory Council. He is honored to be a member of the Kainai Chieftainship.

Velma McColl blends her deep understanding of business, government and policy to create opportunities for her clients. As a Managing Principal in Ottawa, Velma works on a range of economic and social issues including M&A, innovation, energy, environment and emerging technologies. She has been a driving force in the growth and diversification of Earnscliffe’s business.

Prior to joining Earnscliffe in 2004, Velma advised Federal Cabinet Ministers on political strategy, policy and communications. She has also worked provincially in British Columbia and Alberta. She has worked to find creative solutions across federal/provincial/territorial, North American and international boundaries. Her career includes success as an entrepreneur and experience working collaboratively with business, academia, think tanks, not-for-profit organizations and the public sector.

A proud mother and Westerner with twenty years’ experience in Ottawa, Velma studied at the University of British Columbia and the Banff School of Management. She is a co-founder of the Canadian Clean Technology Coalition and Women in GR. She has taken leadership roles with several organizations including Smart Prosperity, the Ryan’s Well Foundation and Ecotrust Canada.

As the CEO & Co-Founder of erthos, Nuha is on a mission to build a new standard for sustainable materials that put our earth first.

Nuha founded erthos while still completing her Business & Environmental Economics degree at the University of Toronto (Rotman). During her time at UofT, she actively contributed to the growth of young leaders in Canada. Under her leadership, Enactus, a student-run social innovation organization, grew from 7 to 70 members and her efforts were recognized by HSBC with the 2017 Woman Leader of Tomorrow Award. When her peers headed off to full-time jobs after graduation, she decided to go full-speed with erthos, scaling the company to a team of 20, raising over $7.3M and launching global manufacturing pilots to tackle the issue worldwide.

As an entrepreneur in an emerging technology space, Nuha plays an active role in supporting the development of the diverse innovation ecosystem in Canada. From serving as an advisor to National technology accelerators like NEXT Canada, to mentoring young entrepreneurs and women in STEM, she is dedicated towards supporting next generation leaders who are collectively working together to create a positive impact on this planet.

Nuha’s work in building erthos has been recognized globally, and the rapid expansion of erthos as one of Canada’s fastest growing cleantech companies, was recently awarded by Bay Street Bull 30×30.

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Meet The Leadership Council

Comprised of senior leaders from both Generate Canada and the Smart Prosperity Institute, The Leadership Council advises Generate Canada’s management team and supports collaboration and partnership between the two organizations.

Generating solutions to the complex challenges at the heart of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution gives me a strong sense of purpose which I hope will benefit future generations.

David Hughes has served as the President and CEO of The Natural Step Canada since 2016. Since then the organization has expanded its research and public policy expertise through a partnership with the Smart Prosperity Institute, and increased its scale, scope and influence through the development of a number of innovation-focused multi-stakeholder “Solution Spaces”. These now include the Canada Plastics Pact, the Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-food (CANZA), the Energy Futures Lab, the Nature Investment Hub, and Circular Economy Leadership Canada. Collectively these initiatives are enabling and incentivizing climate-smart and nature-positive systems change.  

David previously led Habitat for Humanity Canada and Pathways to Education Canada during periods of unprecedented growth and impact.   Prior to that he spent 10 years in senior positions at SOS Children’s Villages International which included postings to Africa, Asia, Europe, USA and the United Nations (New York and Vienna). Other management roles have included serving as Senior Vice President of YMCA Canada and President of AIESEC Canada. He also founded and operated The Impact Group, a management consultancy which provided strategic counsel to companies and not-for-profit organizations that were working to “bridge the gap between commerce and compassion”.

David is a Senior Fellow of the Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI), an inaugural member of the Business for Purpose Network (B4PN), and has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, AIESEC Canada, and the Canadian branch of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.  

He holds an economics degree from the University of Western Ontario, a postgraduate degree in social policy and not-for-profit management from the London School of Economics (LSE), an executive leadership certificate from Harvard University, and has been recognized as a Clean50 Honouree for “outstanding contribution to clean capitalism”.  

He lives in Toronto with his wife Laura and his two children, John and Alexandra, who collectively provide the inspiration and incentive to challenge the status quo and strive for a better future for Canada and our planet.

A strong and inclusive economy that thrives within nature’s limits: I could not be more proud to work toward this vision with such a smart and committed group of people.

Raised in New Brunswick, Mike began his career as a lawyer in Toronto, left to become senior policy adviser to the federal Environment Minister, and then went on to hold a series of increasingly senior roles in the Government of Canada working at the intersection of the environment, economy and innovation. During his career in government, he was responsible for creating the government’s clean air agenda, led Environment Canada’s environmental assessment program and spearheaded a successful public-private initiative to strengthen the role of sustainability in investment decisions.

Now, as Executive Director of Smart Prosperity Institute—Canada’s leading green economy research institute and think tank—Mike leads a dynamic and accomplished team, producing cutting edge research, policy advice and communications strategies for clean economic growth across the Canadian economy. Mike has long held a firm belief that ‘green’ and ‘growth’ can go hand in hand and a drive for making that happen. He brings passion and experience to his role at the helm of Smart Prosperity Institute, and to his more recent collaborations with The Natural Step.

With our team growing by 27% this year, we’re no longer just dreaming of a greener future – we’re propelled by optimism, a reminder of the strength of community

With a passion for modernizing the world of work, Cleopatra strives to develop transparent, efficient, and meaningful workspaces for all. She has lead process innovation across public, private, and start-up spheres, primarily focusing on recruitment and labour relations.

With a background in Industrial Relations from McGill, and Strategic HR from Cornell, Cleopatra is a champion of employee rights. She has been a member of the executive bargaining team for SSUO-PSUO and SEIU, and represented employees on a variety of working committees.

When she’s not at work you will find her at the gym, or on the treadmill, training for her next obstacle course race.

I’m motivated to work with people and organizations who are driven by hope, and doing the heavy lifting of building a liveable, equitable future, together.

George is a highly regarded not-for-profit and business leader, known for his ability to foster innovation through the start-up and operation of effective, inspiring and diverse initiatives in Canada and abroad.

He began his career co-founding and serving as CEO of Engineers Without Borders Canada, a leading innovation, advocacy and skills development NGO. Under his leadership for 14 years, EWB Canada grew into an organization of thousands of young leaders and engineers in Canada and across Africa. The organization invested in system-changing ideas to end poverty and inequitable development globally, and influenced engineering practice and education in Canada to bring a more global and sustainable development mindset in the mainstream.

He then took on the challenge of advancing open internet technologies globally as Director of Open Innovation Programs at Mozilla. In this role he led a variety of product and project teams to help the company realize “openness” as a business strategy. One of his highlights at Mozilla was the development of Common Voice, a project that mixed corporate collaboration with inspiring hundreds of thousands of language enthusiasts to contribute their voice to build the world’s largest open voice dataset across more than 50 languages. This is now used by globally leading technology companies to train speech recognition engines for their products.

Drawing from these and other experiences, George has impacted a number of other issues by serving as mentor, strategic advisor and consultant to several organizations, and through his writings and speaking engagements.

George is an Ashoka Fellow (2011), was awarded the Young Leaders Award by the Public Policy Forum (2007), named as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2005), and was awarded an Action Canada Fellowship (2004) on public policy. He is humbled to have received the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil) in addition to four honorary Doctorate degrees (University of Waterloo, McMaster University, University of Calgary and Queen’s University) along with a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo.

George’s life’s work sits at the confluence of organizational growth, technology and social change. He is at his best designing, growing and leading organizations and teams around powerful ideas. George takes pride in bridging perspectives, moving fluidly between the non-profit, business and government.

George is based in Toronto.

I’m here to work with the problem-solvers. Yes, the challenges are big and complex. Making progress is hard AND it’s possible. Our work proves that.

Jessie is a passionate, purpose-driven senior strategic communications executive with deep expertise in sustainable finance, ESG, and climate communications.

As an SVP at Argyle/Believeco: Partners, Jessie led a talented team of corporate communications and public affairs professionals serving clients across multiple sectors and industries (finance, tech, real estate and the built environment). She established the firm’s Sustainable Value portfolio, supporting businesses, NGOs, governments, and academic experts in their work to bring climate and sustainable economy solutions to bear.

Prior to her time at Arygle, Jessie was the founding Communications Director and brand architect for Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, helped launch the Smart Prosperity Leaders Initiative, and was the Head of Strategic Communications for WWF-Canada.

Jessie lives in Toronto with her two teen-aged sons, partner, and gigantic dog (Cooper). Her happy place is the muddy trail along Grenadier Pond.

I get up every day to passionately do everything I can to catalyze impact that will ensure our world and food systems are stewarded better today than yesterday.

Nick is the inaugural Managing Director for the Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-food. He is an action-driven, strategy-guided leader in building and deploying opportunities that drive positive climate impact across the agri-food industry. With a background spanning roles in farm associations, agricultural ministries, international industry associations, and global climate consulting, Nick’s unique perspective and experiences catalyze innovative and implementable solutions from boots to boardroom.

Through his 15+ years working in agricultural sustainability, Nick brings a robust international industry and academic network, experience in leading global initiatives in regenerative agriculture and a deeply seeded understanding and awareness of Canadian agriculture and farming communities.

Nick earned an B.Sc. in ecology from the University of Guelph, and MBA in leadership and sustainability from Cumbria University (UK), and holds certificates in sustainability reporting, farm transition planning, change management and Lean business strategy.

These big, messy challenges won’t be solved by a single person or organization. They require creative and collaborative responses. We’re a space to do that difficult work well, together.

Alison oversees the strategic direction and operations of the Energy Futures Lab, an Alberta-based social innovation lab that convenes diverse innovators and leading organizations to accelerate Canada’s energy transition and develop solutions for a low-emission and socially equitable energy future.

With over twenty years experience working at the cross-section of energy and environment, Alison is known for forging collaborative solutions to some of our biggest challenges – whether as engineer, sustainability advisor, or social innovator. She is passionate about transforming fragmented and polarized conversations into actionable solutions and has a strong background in building relationships across diverse groups and perspectives. Alison has expertise integrating sustainability issues and systems thinking into decision-making and design, analyzing emerging sustainable business opportunities, climate strategy and carbon management, and innovation lab approaches.

In her work with the Energy Futures Lab, she supports entrepreneurs, community leaders, industry, stakeholders and Rights holders in generating opportunities to identify, test and scale new initiatives and collaborations. Her leadership and advocacy has enabled a wider recognition of the spectrum of opportunities for Alberta to lead in the energy transition and build upon the province’s many strengths.

Alison is a professional engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta. She has a Masters of Science in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden with a focus on participatory engagement approaches to planning for strategic sustainable development.

I build relationships, foster awareness, and cultivate shared understanding within and among organizations because I believe this can lay the foundation for transformative solutions beyond what can be achieved alone.

Courtney leads partner engagement at the Nature Investment Hub, a collaborative initiative that seeks to stimulate a fivefold increase in investment directed toward the conservation, restoration, stewardship, and sustainable use of nature in Canada. 

Prior to taking on this role, Courtney worked for six years as a consultant with Stratos Inc. – a management consultancy specializing in environmental, social and governance issues. She brings experience working with federal government departments/agencies, private companies, industry associations and Indigenous organizations to advance their goals and achieve their objectives in a number of impact areas – including conservation and nature. She is most known for leveraging her natural ability to cultivate strong relationships and her convening and facilitation skills to ensure space is created for people to feel heard.

In addition to her work as a consultant, Courtney is an owner-operator of a commercial lobster license in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and brings over a decade of seasonal experience. It is in this experience that Courtney has come to develop a deep appreciation for the need to balance ecological outcomes with economic, social and cultural outcomes, to ensure today’s generation and future generations have equitable access to nature’s benefits.

Courtney holds a Master of Science in Environmental Sustainability from University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment as well as a Bachelor of Social Science in International Development and Globalization from University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Francis Xavier University.

I’m here because the work we do everyday, has real tangible impact.

Cher is one of Canada’s leaders in food system sustainability. She has dedicated her 20+ year career to enabling companies with embracing sustainability, purpose and circularity in order to create a more resilient food system. Her work has focused on many facets of circularity including circular plastics, food waste prevention, upcycling, regenerative culture and behaviour change.

Before founding Provision Coalition Inc., recently acquired by Anthesis Group, Cher’s career included time with the Guelph Food Technology Centre (now NSF International) where she established and directed the Sustainability Consulting Business Unit, and held several executive positions in environmental economics and policy with the George Morris Centre, a Canadian agri-food think tank. Cher holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Economics and Policy and is certified in both project and change management. Cher has also been the recipient of the Canadian Grocer Generation Next award for her leadership, innovation and excellence in sustainability within the food and beverage industry. Learn more at LinkedIn.

Dr. Mike Moffatt is the Senior Director of Policy and Innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Business, Economics and Public Policy group at Ivey Business School, Western University. Mike’s research at SPI focuses on the intersection of regional economic development, building child-friendly, climate-friendly housing and communities, and clean innovation. In 2017, Mike was the Chief Innovation Fellow for the Government of Canada, advising Deputy Ministers on innovation policy and emerging trends. He has also previously held the titles of Director (Interim) of the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management, Directory of Policy at Canada 2020, and Chief Economist for the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto. Mike has worked with politicians and policymakers of all political stripes in several countries to craft more effective public policy. From 2013 to 2015, Mike served as an economic advisor to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Mike holds a Ph.D. in Management Science from Ivey Business School and an M.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester. Outside of his clean economy work at SPI, Mike is a disability-rights activist.

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Meet the Generate Canada team

Our work advances solutions for a wide range of challenges, all of which are pieces to the puzzle of creating a better world — socially, environmentally, and economically.

Rebecca is the Communications Specialist at CANZA. Driven by her passion for nature, Rebecca pivoted from healthcare research early in her career to the environmental sector, where she has worked since 2019.
She has a breadth of experience working in government, academic, and non-profit settings, specializing in climate change and climate action communications, community engagement and education, and knowledge mobilization. Rebecca led the design and implementation of a climate change course for women in Canada before joining the environmental-economy policy space at Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI) as a communications associate.
Rebecca is looking forward to bringing her communications skills and experience to CANZA and helping elevate the impact of the organization’s work to reduce emissions in Canada’s agri-food system. Outside of work, Rebecca likes gardening, crafting, and skateboarding.

Karianne is a graphic designer and communicator whose passion is working with scientists and policy writers to transform their knowledge into public engagement and action. She specializes in crafting inspiring words and images to clarify complex topics for non-technical audiences.

Her passion for science communication began with her experience as a graphic designer and digital engagement strategist at the David Suzuki Foundation. Since then she has collaborated with a diverse range of organizations across the fields of environment and health. Recently she has worked extensively with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to craft a series of public-facing infographics and reports on the links between climate change and ocean ecology.

Karianne holds a Bachelor in Design from Emily Carr University and lives in Montréal.

Emily has always been fascinated by the natural world. Growing up on a small island off the west coast of British Columbia, she learned early in life of the important connection between healthy communities, economies, and the environment. She is passionate about working collaboratively across sectors to support the implementation of sustainable environmental practices.

Emily is a recent graduate of the Master of Environmental Management program at the University of New Brunswick, and holds an undergraduate degree in Geography from the University of Calgary.

As a Senior Associate, Sarah supports businesses and other organizations with integrated sustainability visioning, strategy and implementation as well as organizational learning. Previously the lead of The Natural Step Canada’s Advisory Services Team (and a member of this organization since 2007), Sarah has worked with a wide range of partners to share her expertise on sustainability and strategy development, including a sustainability strategy and visioning program for Pratt & Whitney Canada; a comprehensive sustainability training, strategy, visioning and implementation program for The Landmark Group of Builders; and a strategic positioning and organizational change program with ISL Engineering and Land Services. Other clients include multi-national chemical company Rohm and Haas (now Dow Advanced Materials); SMART Technologies; BC Hydro; Accommodation and Real Estate Services of British Columbia; the City of Ottawa, the County of Hawaii; and many others. Sarah also provides training with international Natural Step offices.

Prior to her work here, Sarah was a natural building instructor, working to enable communities to create structure from locally available, minimally processed materials. She has worked with people from over 22 countries in this capacity.

Sarah holds a master’s degree in “Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability” from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden and an undergraduate degree in Geography from Mount Allison University.

Julie is a connector, collaborator, and coordinator working towards a sustainable, equitable, and resilient energy future. She has over 15 years of experience with innovative and complex projects in the sustainability and energy sector, working with a diverse range of players across Canada ranging from communities, utilities, system operators, regulators, technology providers, manufacturers, and renewable energy developers. Her work has included community resilience, digital innovation, smart grid and distributed energy resource adoption, renewables integration, and regulatory assessment, all while bringing various voices to the table in a collaborative way. Through her work she has built an understanding of the interconnectedness of energy systems. Today, Julie is providing coordination support to the Alberta’s Electricity Future Team with the Energy Futures Lab, where she had been a Fellow with the lab for 3 years. She is also the Chair of the Board of Directors for a women-led start-up focused on innovative ways to create an equitable, regenerative, and democratic energy system. Julie is also a Mom of two small humans, and a black lab, who are a harder team to manage, but the most fun. Julie and her family love camping in the mountains near their city of Calgary, planting a large vegetable garden, and heading home to the east coast every summer.

Mark is President From Here to There Consulting and Associate of Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement. Mark’s current focus is building the practice of Developmental Evaluation integrating real-time feedback and learning in emerging, complex, and fast-moving environments.

Shalyn (she/her) studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, with degree specialties in Biochemical Engineering and Communications. Prior to joining CPP, Shalyn has over 8 years of experience in the food and pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, providing project and operations management expertise at greenfield GMP manufacturing facilities. She has also worked with Métis Nation – Saskatchewan as an Environmental Program Manager, facilitating delivery of climate change, conservation, and consultation programs to Métis communities and citizens in Saskatchewan.

Jean Paul (JP) Gladu is currently Principal of Mokwateh and dedicated to creating innovative partnerships and solutions to reveal equitable opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous business communities.

JP previously served as the President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) from September 2012 until April 2020. Anishinaabe from Thunder Bay JP is a member of Sand Point First Nation located on the eastern shores of Lake Nipigon, Ontario. JP completed a forestry technician diploma in 1993, obtained an undergraduate degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University in 2000, holds an Executive MBA from Queen’s University and the ICD.D from Rotman School of Management University of Toronto. JP has over 30 years of experience in the natural resource sector. His career path includes work with Indigenous communities and organizations, environmental non- government organizations, industry and governments from across Canada.

Currently, JP serves on the board of Suncor, Institute for Corporate Directors, Broden Mining, First Nations Major Projects Coalition Advisory Centre, Chair of Canada’s Forest Trust, as well BHP’s International Forum for Corporate Responsibility committee. He previously served on the Board of Ontario Power Generation, Noront Resources and past Chair of the Mikisew Group of Companies. He is a senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and served as the Chancellor of St. Paul’s University College Waterloo from 2017 to 2020. His previous appointments include Canadian Electricity Association Public Advisory Panel, Colleges and Institutes Canada (previously ACCC), the Northern Policy Institute, Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, advisory member to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a committee member to the Ontario Provincial Forest Policy Committee.

JP is a sought-after public speaker both nationally and internationally, sharing insights into the challenges and successes of Indigenous business and the growth of the Indigenous economy within Canada today. His achievements are being recognized by the Public Policy Forum as a 2024 Honouree.

I’m here because we need to find solutions that enable us to coexist harmoniously with nature.

Moojan’s unbridled creativity and passion for driving positive change led her to study journalism at Carleton University. From speaking out on the damaging effects of toxic cosmetics to raising awareness about plastic pollution to tackling the environmental and social impact of food waste, Moojan has strived to amplify conversations around the need for innovative solutions that promote sustainability. Now with more than 10 years of experience working in the writing field, Moojan has developed her expertise in communications, marketing, and fundraising. She has written countless stories and created compelling campaigns that have elevated the brand and mission of various nonprofits and businesses. Moojan sat on the Board of Directors at Foodsharing Ottawa, which is an organization committed to reducing local food waste. She is currently writing a fictional short story collection on the effects of climate change.

Kiana is the Program & Communications Coordinator at CELC. She has a B. Arts Sc. from McMaster University and an M.A. specializing in Environmental Sustainability at the University of Ottawa. Kiana cares deeply about sustainability which reflects in her lifestyle, studies and professional work. Her personal passion is on the circular economy in textiles, and appreciates the opportunity to work towards exploring pathways for change in this area, as well as many others, in her work at CELC.

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Meet the Smart Prosperity Institute team

The expertise of the Smart Prosperity team is an essential ingredient in Generate Canada’s success–bringing world-leading research and policy expertise to help shape, inform, and guide our Solution Spaces’ work. 

Aneesa Ally is the Program’s Officer within the PLACE Centre, a Smart Prosperity Institute initiative. She supports the delivery of projects and programs within the PLACE Centre by improving our overall ability to influence groundbreaking environmental and economic change.

Aneesa has a diverse educational and professional background in law, public administration, employment advising, and the non-profit field. Aneesa’s professional experience in international and domestic development organizations has a strengthened her passion for helping create a sustainable society. Aneesa hopes to continue to leave a positive footprint where-ever she goes!

Talha is an interdisciplinary researcher whose interests lie at the intersection of nature, human health, and social equity. He holds a Master of Urban Planning from McGill University where he conducted a research project on using urban nature-based solutions to promote health and address environmental inequity in the City of Montréal. Before joining SPI, Talha worked as an intern at Nova Scotia Environment’s Climate Change Unit and as part of Œuvre Durable’s policy brief team, advancing climate change adaptation in informal settings in Latin America and the Caribbean. In his free time, Talha enjoys playing soccer, spending time in nature, and sketching.

Sara is a third-year PhD Candidate in Environmental Sustainability at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment. She brings nearly a decade of experience as a research and advisory specialist within a regulatory and corporate affairs function in the energy industry overseas and holds a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. She is a proactive and engaged professional pursing a PhD in order to best continue supporting decision-makers in putting people and planet at the heart of action. Her doctoral research interests include the impact of mandatory climate disclosures and net-zero transition plans on firm behavior. In her spare time, you can find Sara on the trails or waterways of Gatineau Park.

Mariana is a fourth-year student in Communications with a minor in Environmental Studies at uOttawa. She’s passionate about sustainability and nature-based solutions. Based in Ottawa, she hopes to grow mushrooms and work with mycomaterials.

Previously she worked at the Office of Campus Sustainability, where she now enjoys volunteering.

I am a Posdoctoral Fellow and Researcher at the Smart Prosperity Institute at the University of Ottawa. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, where I studied topics at the intersection of economics and the environment. At SPI my main job is conducting research on nature-based solutions for climate, with a particular focus on market mechanisms to store more carbon in forests, while also conserving biodiversity and helping develop sustainable Indigenous economies.

My other research interests include investigating the impact of newspaper closures on monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations in the United States. Other projects I have focus on developing countries, more specifically on how internal migration can offset losses in consumption caused by weather and climate shocks in Indonesia, and on lead pollution and education outcomes in Mexico. Before joining UBC, I worked as a research analyst for the Office of the Chief Economist, Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank in Washington DC, on projects based in Latin America. When I am not in front of my computer, you can find me here.

Environmental economics
Climate change economics
Applied econometrics
Nature-based solutions

This is the work of our lifetimes. Every day, I thrive to challenge the idea that prosperity and sustainability are mutually exclusive.

Elizabeth holds an MSc in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Ottawa, a BA in Government from St. Lawrence University, and a Certificate in Law from the Université de Montréal. She previously worked at Public Services and Procurement Canada in the Greening Government Directorate focusing on sustainable buildings. She has also worked on the mapping of species at risk with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys skiing, hiking, gardening and baking.

Policy governs every aspect of life. I am motivated to share the best possible scientific evidence with policymakers, to facilitate better decision-making and positively impact the lives of millions.

Dr Hem Dholakia is a Senior Research Associate at the Smart Prosperity Institute, where he supports the work of the Clean and Resilient Growth team. Before joining SPI, he brings eleven years of international experience managing climate risks for infrastructure, mitigating air pollution and strengthening public health.

Providing strategic advice to senior government officials and multilateral organizations has been integral to his experience. Hem is passionate about communicating science to different audiences and has contributed to several knowledge products, workshops, webinars and conferences.

A recipient of the International Visitor Leadership Programme Award (US Department of State), he was nominated to the UNFCCC Expert Roster by the Government of India in 2021. He holds a doctorate in Public Policy from the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), and a Masters in Exercise Science from the University of Brighton (UK).

Stewart Elgie is a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa, and director of the University’s interdisciplinary Environment Institute. He received his Masters of Law from Harvard, and his doctorate (J.S.D.) from Yale. He is also the founder and chair of Smart Prosperity Institute (formerly Sustainable Prosperity), Canada’s premiere green economy think tank and policy-research network. His research involves environmental and economic sustainability, with a particular focus in recent years on market-based approaches.

Elgie started his career as an environmental lawyer in Alaska, litigating over the Valdez oil spill. He returned to Canada and founded Ecojustice, now Canada’s largest non-profit environmental law organization; he was counsel on many precedent setting cases, including four wins in Supreme Court of Canada on constitution and environment issues. He was later hired by Pew Trusts as founding executive director of the multi-stakeholder Canadian Boreal Initiative.

Prior to his faculty position at University of Ottawa (2004), Elgie held appointments at several Canadian universities (U.B.C., Alberta, York). He has served on or chaired many advisory bodies in the environment/sustainability area. In 2001, Elgie was awarded the Law Society of Upper Canada medal for exceptional lifetime contributions to law – the youngest man ever to receive the profession’s highest honour.

Tej Heer is a Senior Research Associate on the Land-Use, Nature, and Agriculture (LUNA) team at the Smart Prosperity Institute. Prior to joining SPI, Tej held a variety of policy and research roles across the academic, public, and non-profit sectors. He has experience working on a range of environmental and policy topics, including the circular economy, scientific integrity, and conservation biology. Tej holds a PhD in Physical and Environmental Sciences from the University of Toronto Scarborough and a M.Sc in Climate Change from the University of College London. 

Jesse Helmer is Senior Research Associate at SPI, where he focuses on climate-friendly housing policy and the real costs of urban sprawl. Based in London, Ontario, where he has served two terms as a city councillor, including six years on the planning and environment committee, two years as deputy mayor (2018-2020) and eight years on the transit commission. He is particularly interested in the intersection of housing, mobility and climate policy and actionable strategies to build cleaner, greener and more affordable cities and communities. He was named one of London’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2019.

Jesse is a graduate of University of Waterloo (BA) and Queen’s University (MPA) and is currently a PhD Candidate in political science at Western University, where his research focuses on the political participation gap between homeowners and tenants (www.greatsuppression.ca). He teaches part-time at Western in the local government program and at Huron University College in the governance, ethics and leadership program. Jesse lives with his wife, Kate Graham, and their daughter, Flora, in Old North.

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