Meet our staff
Environmental Defence is a team of smart, creative, and passionate folks. We are policy experts and community members supported by scientists, business leaders, lawyers and community members working hard to protect Canada’s environment and human health.
Growing up in a household with a father who obsessively separated recyclables from garbage, Alex comes by her concern for the environment honestly. Her career raising funds for environmental organizations began with a summer job as a canvasser at a non-profit. The summer job grew into a seven-year stint in fundraising at Greenpeace in Canada and New Zealand, fuelled by her growing passion for a wide range of environmental issues. Alex is thrilled to be a Engagement Manager for Environmental Defence, an organization whose work she has long admired. In her spare time, Alex dabbles in knitting, silversmith, and carrying on her father’s legacy of neurotically punching the little plastic windows out of envelopes for recycling.
Allen loves sharing information. He also loves movies, music, running, riding his bike through the Greenbelt and breathing the fresher air ever since Ontario shut down its coal plants. Allen’s interest the environment led him to work for Greenpeace. He holds a degree in film studies from Simon Fraser University and has worked for a variety of film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival where he was co-director of learning. He was also Communications Manager at Rethink Breast Cancer where he helped produce documentaries that told the stories of young women facing breast cancer. Allen is excited to be working with Environmental Defence where he can fuse his enthusiasm for environmental issues with his passion for sharing stories. Read Allen’s blogs here.
Ashley grew up on the shores of Lake Ontario. From a young age she was concerned with environmental issues – always pestering her friends to switch to reusable water bottles, take action against climate change, and consider alternative modes of transportation. While studying biology at Western University, Ashley realized her passion for sustainability could fuel her career. After completing a master’s of Environment and Sustainability, she spent several years working for Evergreen, connecting urban dwellers with nature through education and hands-on action. Motivated by what diverse stakeholders and communities can accomplish together, and a love for swim and surf, Ashley is thrilled to lead Environmental Defence’s efforts to safeguard Canada’s freshwater. Read Ashley’s blogs here.
A child of the 80’s, Brett grew up when environmentalism was becoming a global phenomenon. Issues like acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer made a big impression on Brett. She knew her career would be connected to the environment. After graduating from ecosystem management at Fleming College, Brett worked abroad on bird conservation projects. Her first job in Toronto was as a canvasser for Environmental Defence. After a three year stint as Coordinator of the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station, Brett returned to Environmental Defence to coordinate the Blue Flag program. Through her involvement with Blue Flag, Brett enjoys working with communities across Canada that are helping to restore shorelines and lake ecosystems, improve water quality and raise awareness about the importance of clean water and beaches. Read Brett’s blogs here.
As Development Manager at Environmental Defence, Brenda manages the donor database and assists with the annual and monthly giving programs. Her areas of expertise include information management, donor privacy, database management and reporting. Brenda believes her love of nature and information are perfectly combined in her role at Environmental Defence. She especially enjoys thanking donors for supporting Environmental Defence’s work to create a world Canadians are proud to pass on to their children. Previously, Brenda worked in both the non-profit and corporate sectors where her roles included Database Manager at West Park Healthcare Centre, Information Coordinator for BMO Capital Markets, Data Specialist for the United Way and Case Manager with CIBC. Brenda has an honours degree in Environmental Studies from York University. When not in the office, Brenda often visits her hometown of Georgian Bay, where she continues to enjoy the outdoors.
Calista brings significant experience from the financial and charitable sectors. She loves working at Environmental Defence because she believes deeply in its vision, and that we cannot live healthy lives without a healthy environment.
Casie worked with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres before joining the Environmental Defence team as the Executive Assistant. She cares about the environment and strongly believes that decisions we make today must take into account the impacts they will have seven generations from now. Casie believes everyone has a responsibility to protect Mother Earth. She is proud to be part of the team at Environmental Defence making positive changes to protect to our environment.
Catherine comes to Environmental Defence after spending more than 20 years working in the financial services industry. Her work primarily focused on relationship management and sales in the public and corporate sector. She is thrilled to be part of Environmental Defence’s development team, where she specializes in grant fundraising and stewardship. Catherine came to Environmental Defence with the belief that we cannot have healthy lives without a healthy environment.
Possessing a unique wealth of corporate and non-profit experience, Corinne began her career working with companies like Oracle Assistance Services and Zurich Canada building customer loyalty programs before switching to the ENGO world. As an independent strategic consultant she worked with ENGOs to develop effective marketing, communications and outreach programs. Then, as Director, Marketing and Sales at Stratcom, she helped numerous not-for profits develop industry-leading fundraising and engagement strategies She also created the consulting firm’s social media strategy and new marketing materials. Committed to giving back to her community, Corinne also spent several years as a part-time professor at Seneca College, where she developed courses on global economic issues and macroeconomics and introduced forward thinking concepts such as “natural capital.” Corinne holds an Honours and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario (Ivey) and enjoys baking delicious treats for her family and staff at Environmental Defence.
Dale grew up in northeastern Quebec, roaming the boreal forest that began at his family’s backyard fence and, during the one month it was possible, splashing around the North Atlantic. During a mechanical engineering degree at McGill University, Dale discovered he was much more interested in the natural world and the systems needed to let it flourish than working on built environments. This realization led to a degree in environmental science, followed by a master’s degree in resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University. For 15 years, Dale has worked on environmental protection, mostly related to energy and climate change. Policy research and advocacy in Vancouver and Ottawa was followed by two years in Cambodia to assist people and communities most vulnerable and impacted by climate inaction. As National Program Manager at Environmental Defence, Dale works to move Canada towards greater action and responsibility on climate change and towards clean, modern renewable energy technologies, while phasing out all fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. Read Dale’s blogs here.
A child of the suburbs, Erin grew up with a firsthand view of suburban sprawl as neighbouring farmland and natural areas began to disappear and the Oak Ridge’s Moraine faced serious threats. The impact unsustainable planning had on her community inspired Erin to run for municipal council. She spent a decade in office representing her community of Markham, serving on the city’s planning, budget and environment committees just to name a few. She quickly became known as one of Ontario’s greenest politicians. Erin worked to ensure that sound land-use planning and environmental sustainability permeated all of Markham’s actions. She spearheaded many initiatives protecting air, water, nature and prime farmland. She encouraged renewable energy investment, local food systems, smart growth and the creation of Ontario’s Greenbelt as a founding member of Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt. She participated provincially and nationally as a member of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council, and board member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. After retiring from politics, Erin came to Environmental Defence where she is thrilled to work with local communities to protect the jewel that is Ontario’s Greenbelt and advance smart growth planning in the province. Read Erin’s blogs here.
Farrah comes from a background in both the non-profit and corporate sectors. While having great experiences in both, she has come to realise that her true passion lies in non-profit organizations. At Environmental Defence she manages major and corporate donor relations, a role she enjoys because of the opportunities to directly build relationships with donors and corporations. Having completed her Honours BSc from UofT in Environmental Science, her interest and knowledge of the environment has always been strong and only continues to grow.
Access to lakes and trees and rocks and streams throughout her childhood sparked Janet’s passion for the environment, and a wonderful grade school teacher instilled a responsibility to protect it. After living in several countries in Europe and Asia, earning a degree at McGill University, and a brief stint at film school, things came full circle for Janet when she decided to work in the environmental arena. Janet spent over a decade raising funds for environmental organizations. In a few of her past roles, she organized events large and small. Inspired by working face-to-face with members of the public who share a sense of responsibility for Canada’s environment and human health, Janet moved into the role of Engagement Manager to help facilitate increased public participation in Environmental Defence’s work. Part of her current role includes managing a team of highly motivated and talented Outreach Team members in Toronto, Ottawa, Guelph and London.
Since she was a child, Jen has always had a passion for protecting the environment. It just seemed natural for her to work for Environmental Defence one day, combining her love of communications and taking care of the planet. Jen first started her career while in university, and since then has worked in the media and communications fields, including experience in print, television, and radio journalism. In 2005, she traveled to Rovaniemi, Finland to work in communications with the University of the Arctic – a NGO which focuses on post-secondary education in the Circumpolar North. After returning to Canada, she joined the Canadian Red Cross (2007) as a provincial communications co-ordinator. She became a communications manager at Environmental Defence in 2012. Jen has an Honors BA with Distinction in History and Media, Information and Technoculture (2002) and a MA in Journalism (2003) from the University of Western Ontario.
Jessie has a background in English Lit from Memorial University. Her passion for reading and research then led her to the University of Western Ontario, where she completed a Master of Library and Information Science. Embarking on her career she quickly realized that a paycheck at the end of the week was not the fulfillment she was seeking from her work. Coming from a place like Newfoundland and Labrador, with seemingly endless terrain to explore, she learned early on the importance of appreciating and preserving our environment and knew that she wanted to play a role in its protection. Leaving her corporate gigs behind her, she has happily landed with the development team at Environmental Defence, with her role focused on grant writing and reporting.
Keith was born in the ‘burbs just outside Toronto, but his passion for the environment was born in a canoe on the rivers and lakes of Northern Ontario. Keith pursued a Bachelors of Environmental Sciences from the University of Guelph and then worked for a number of years in the environmental consulting field before enrolling at York University where he earned a Masters of Environmental Studies. The move from scientist and consultant to advocate was provoked by the recognition that more science cannot solve the environmental challenge on its own. Our challenge lies not in knowing what must be done, but in doing it. We cannot choose between the environment and the economy. We can and must have both. It is this outlook which ultimately led Keith to his current role as the Program Director at Environmental Defence. Read Keith’s blogs here.
Born and raised in Toronto, Mikayla grew up enjoying Ontario’s many unique lakes, lands and cities. She received her BA in Geography and Biology from Concordia University in Montreal, focussing on the connections between ecosystems and human health. Inspired by the necessity of understanding and protecting our environment, Mikayla became involved in the environmental sector in a number of roles, including: as a research consultant to international conservation organizations; as a LEED-certified ambassador for sustainability in institutions of higher education; and, as a sustainability consultant to Fortune 500 companies. She is thrilled to bring these experiences to Environmental Defence as Clean Economy Campaign Coordinator, where she is determined to help Ontario demonstrate leadership in addressing climate change and transitioning to a clean economy. Mikayla also moonlights as a National Geographic Explorer. She has led marine conservation projects in far-flung places including Fiji, Hawaii, the Solomon Islands, Philippines and Indonesia.
Growing up in different parts of the world allowed Muhannad to learn at an early age about the intricate links between the environment, human health and equity. After completing a master’s degree in public health policy at the University of Toronto, Muhannad helped develop and implement chronic disease prevention policies and environmental health frameworks for municipal and provincial governments. With his passion for fostering a healthy and just environment, Muhannad is working towards the elimination of toxic chemicals as Environmental Defence’s Toxics Program Manager. Muhannad also maintains a strong interest in global health policy issues, regularly contributing to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s national healthcare reports. And as an avid soccer player, he coaches in the U of T Varsity Development program. When not at work, Muhannad can be found experimenting with ingredients in his kitchen and recreating Syrian-inspired dishes. Read Muhannad’s blogs here.
Growing up in Hamilton, Sarah was always a short distance away from waterfalls, hiking trails, and farmers markets, feeding her passion for the environment and sustainable living. While studying International Development at the University of Waterloo and attending international climate negotiations, Sarah realized that she could turn her passion for the environment into a career. She had the opportunity to work in Vietnam in the sustainable agriculture and consulting field connecting people to the source of their food. After a year, she returned to Canada to work in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) sector for a Fortune 500 company. Excited to apply her learnings from abroad and in CSR, Sarah joined Environmental Defence first as a Communications Intern and now as a Program Coordinator for EDC’s Toxics Campaign. When not at work, you can find Sarah brewing a batch of kombucha, doing yoga, or making DIY health and beauty products! Read Sarah’s blogs here.
Born in Calgary, Naomi’s earliest memories are from camping trips in the Rockies. After moving to Toronto, Naomi enjoyed canoe trips in Algonquin Provincial Park and Killarney Provincial Park. These experiences rooted in Naomi a deep respect for our natural spaces. Following a masters of journalism from Carleton University, Naomi worked as a reporter for the Toronto Star. Later, as a freelance writer, she specialized in writing about green issues. Naomi’s work has been published by the Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, Report on Business, TorontoLife.com and other notable publications. She has lent her communications expertise to several non-profit organizations, including the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Parkinson Society Canada and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Naomi is thrilled to be at Environmental Defence, where each day she unites her love of words with her desire to protect the environment. In her free time, Naomi can be found visiting art galleries, plotting her next trip to South America and playing with a rebellious cat named Ezzie.
Patrick was born and raised in the Niagara Region and grew up enjoying its many parks, beaches and conservation areas. While studying political science and history at the University of Guelph, he discovered the power of political action to inspire positive community change. As a graduate student at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, he studied the international security dimensions of climate change and recognized the growing urgency of this deepening environmental challenge. This led Patrick to seek solutions through political and legislative change. After moving to Toronto, he worked as a political staffer at Queen’s Park, focusing on energy, environmental and health policy. His knowledge of Ontario politics and desire for progressive change led to a job in political organizing and government relations with a Canadian health care union. Patrick joined Environmental Defence in 2015, where he coordinated the Clean Economy Alliance and worked to make Ontario a climate leader while building a 21st century clean economy. In summer 2016, he began a new role leading Environmental Defence’s campaign to stop the proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline. Patrick enjoys cycling, hockey and camping, and can be found nerding out in Toronto’s east end. Read Patrick’s blogs here.
Stephanie’s love for nature began while spending summers at her grandparents’ camp north of Sudbury. As Director of Communications, Stephanie is responsible for the charity’s communications and marketing strategy and leads a team of bright communications specialists who love sharing stories about Environmental Defence’s work. Stephanie joined in 2010, following more than 10 years of public relations, brand building and marketing experience. She has developed award-winning public engagement campaigns for leading national organizations on issues such as clean energy, healthy lifestyle choices, and affordable housing. Stephanie holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Western Ontario and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College. When Stephanie is not leading a team of committed Environmental Defenders, you can find her trying out a new organic growing technique in her backyard garden.
Susan convenes conversations and provides strategic advice on smarter growth. As a former Deputy Mayor/Municipal Councillor she is always eager to engage in discussions about creating healthy communities. Susan has a Master degree in planning specializing in facilitation and land use planning policy. Read Susan’s blogs here.
Having grown up witnessing the depletion of natural resources in her country, Suzanne pursued a graduate degree in environmental geochemistry to take an active role in protecting nature and all its inhabitants. Suzanne made the leap from working in the corporate sector in the U.S. to the environmental sector with her move to Canada in 2008. After working in energy conservation on demand-side management projects, she moved to an operational role utilizing her analytical background and corporate experience to help deliver outcomes more effectively. At Environmental Defence, she oversees the internal operations and leads the public engagement strategy.
Tim grew up on the shores of Lake Huron and acquired his love of nature there. Tim has led the protection of wild areas and reform of forest and land use practices in Canada for over 25 years. He started his career as the Ontario Coordinator of WWF’s Endangered Spaces Campaign, worked as a regional Executive Director for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), as a project manager for WWF Central America and then as the National Conservation Director of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Most recently Tim was the Program Director at the Ivey Foundation. Tim is currently a member of the board of directors of the Cornerstone Standards Council, Evidence for Democracy, Blue Green Canada, Oil Sands Advisory Group (Alberta) and Ontario’s Great Lakes Guardian Council. Tim holds a H.BSc. from Wilfrid Laurier University and a M.Sc. from the University of Toronto. Read Tim’s blogs here.
NOT PICTURED: Carlos White, IT Manager; Mary Ford, Operations, HR Manager