Our Staff - Environmental Defence

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.
Allen Braude | Senior Communications Manager

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 in 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.


Amensisa Neway | Accountant

Amensisa Neway was born and raised in Ethopia, the horn of Africa. He has more than seventeen years of experience working for international development organizations in Ethiopia and Sudan taking on several roles such as a finance officer, internal auditor and program accountant. Child Fund International, Concern Worldwide, and the Embassy of the United States in Ethiopia are just a few of the places he worked at before becoming an Accountant at Environmental Defence. Amensisa enjoys being part of a team that makes a difference in the lives of people and the environment.


Angela Zhang | Development Manager, Grants

Growing up in a family of environmental scientists, Angela learned early on about the devastating consequences of water and air pollution, deforestation and climate change. In 2013, Angela spent six months in China working with a team of environmental psychologists to research the health and social impacts of e-waste and biomass pollution, which fueled her passion for advocating for systems change in environmental policies and protection. After completing a Masters in Organisational and Social Psychology at the London School of Economics, Angela embarked on a career in non-profit fundraising, and has worked for social justice organizations both in the UK and in Canada. Angela manages foundation grants and reporting at Environmental Defence. In her spare time, she’s either dozing off with a book and her cat, scouting around vintage shops or getting lost in museums.


Ashley Wallis | Program Manager, Water | On parental leave

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 in 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.


Barbara Hayes | Communications Manager

Barbara owes it all to Ranger Rick. The gift of a magazine subscription from her grandparents sparked a life-long passion for environmentalism, and a belief that we have both individual and collective power to protect the planet. That belief lead her to co-founding the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, where she helped mobilize a strong youth voice around climate action. Since that time, she has worked with a variety of organizations, developing communications programs on issues as diverse as sexual and reproductive health, transportation, and electoral reform. She holds a Master’s in Public and International Affairs from the University of Ottawa, where she focused on public discourse around climate policy. She’s thrilled to join the team at Environmental Defence, where she returns to her roots pushing for federal action on climate change. When not at work, she can be found roaming the hills of Gatineau on her bike, spoiling her two pet rabbits, or reading in a park.


Casie McGonegal | Executive Assistant

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.


Corinne Berman | Development Director

Corinne possesses a unique background that encompasses the corporate, educational and non-profit sectors. She has an Honours and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario (Ivey), and spent the first decade of her career focused on creating unique customer loyalty experiences at multi-national organizations. Her passion to protect the environment guided her journey, as she taught global economic issues and used her expertise to consult to the NGO world. During this time she introduced forward thinking concepts such as “natural capital,” which looks at the world’s natural resources as finite assets which need careful management. As the Development Director at Environmental Defence, Corinne has found the perfect way to leverage her business skills to help protect our precious environment. When Corinne is not raising funds for EDC, she can be found baking – with chocolate of course – or puttering around her garden.


Dale Marshall | National Program Manager

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. While undertaking 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.


Daniella Niddery | Engagement Manager

Daniella’s love for the environment stems from her obsession with wildlife. Growing up on National Geographics, she quickly came to appreciate the complexities of nature, and the need to protect it for animals and future generations. After graduating from Brock University with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Environmental Studies and Human Geography, she went on to pursue a master’s in Integrated Water Management at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Returning to Canada, Daniella spent the summer volunteering for Environmental Defence. Recognized for her passion and commitment to Environmental Defence’s public outreach efforts, she soon became an outreach team member. A people-person who loves to share her learnings, she decided to complete a postgraduate certificate in public relations and communications at Humber College. Now, as Engagement Manager, Daniella helps to educate and engage the public on Environmental Defence’s campaigns. When not at work, she’s out walking her dog Lola, swimming at the cottage, or planning her next adventure. Read Daniella’s blogs here.


Farrah Hasan | Development Manager, Major Donors

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.


Jennifer Mayville | Communications Manager

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 and a MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. Read Jennifer’s blogs here.


Julia Levin | Program Manager, Climate & Energy

@lev_jf

Julia’s earliest memories as a child are of protecting wildlife, planting trees and cleaning up litter. This interest led her to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology from McGill University. She then moved to Italy where she worked as a secondary school science and geography teacher. A desire to combine her interest in education with community organizing led her to complete a Masters in Adult Education and Community Development from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Since then, she has worked at Greenpeace Canada and Oceana Canada. For over a decade, Julia has been involved with grassroots climate justice organizing across the world. Julia is very excited to work with Environmental Defence, where she advocates for climate action and the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies. Read Julia's blogs here.


Keith Brooks | Programs Director

@keithdbrooks

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 Bachelor 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 Master 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 Programs Director at Environmental Defence. Read Keith’s blogs here.


Kelsey Scarfone | Program Manager, Water

@kascarfone

Kelsey was raised in Northern Ontario, spending countless days canoeing, hiking, fishing and snowshoeing. Her passion for nature followed her to post-secondary studies at Laurentian University’s School of the Environment. After learning more about climate change and water scarcity, she pursued a Masters of Sustainability at Brock University where she studied corporate water taking and the human right to water. Kelsey is passionate about restoring the Great Lakes and protecting our precious Canadian freshwaters. She brings experience with the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, and work with northern communities in water science education programs to Environmental Defence. She is proud to work for an organization that inspires change. Read Kelsey’s blogs here.


Kieran Alkerton | Senior Engagement Coordinator @kieranalkerton

Kieran grew up discovering the waterfalls of Hamilton, but spent much of the last decade travelling and working as a tour guide around the world. His desire to have a positive impact on the planet quickly led him to transition to the non-profit sector in Central America. He eventually returned home to join the environmental movement in Canada. Kieran is excited to be on the engagement team using his storytelling skills to mobilize the public in defence of the environment. Kieran loves gardening, rock climbing, craft beer and exploring Ontario. When he’s not at work you’ll most likely find him on a beach or a dock by a lake.


Muhannad Malas | Program Manager, Toxics

@mmalas

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.


Sarah Buchanan | Program Manager, Clean Economy @sbuchananTO

Sarah began her environmental activism at age six, when she proudly began wearing a t-shirt with the word RECYCLE spelled out in silver sequins. Once the shirt disintegrated from overuse, she moved on to naturalizing her schoolyard, biking, hiking, camping, and learning about compost. In her professional life, Sarah has worked for the last 15 years in advocacy, media, and politics in both Ontario and British Columbia. She has worked for a City Councillor, managed programming at an independent radio station, led advocacy campaigns, and helped create a non-profit organization to empower young women in music. She was inspired to join Environmental Defence’s team through a desire to drive swift action on climate change, and now works as the Program Manager for the Clean Economy program in Ontario. Read Sarah’s blogs here.


Sarah Jamal | Communications Manager

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. At Environmental Defence, Sarah manages the communications for the toxics program. 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.


Sharon Thomas | Development Coordinator, Database

Sharon has experience in finance, fundraising and database coordination in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. While having great experiences in both, her true passion lies in non-profit organizations, including the Rouge Valley Health System and the Toronto East General Foundation, where she provided fundraising and database support. Sharon enjoys cooking and spending time with family. She is proud to be part of the Development team at Environmental Defence and making positive changes to protect our environment.


Shruti Mittal | Development Manager, Grants

Shruti grew up in India where harmonious living with nature is an integral part of life. She saw things change drastically and environmental resources being exploited heavily, creating an imbalance. With her graduate degrees in economics and environmental studies, Shruti decided to use her skills to promote sustainable development and help find a balance between economy and environment. She has worked with non-profits, corporations and educational institutions on building partnerships to enhance climate action and environmental conservation for several years. As Development Manager at Environmental Defence, Shruti helps raise funds and leverage resources for climate action in Canada. Shruti spends her free time experimenting with food - more eating, less cooking - and travelling.


Stephanie Kohls | Communications Director @kohlsie

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.


Suzanne
Karajaberlian | Managing Director

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.


Tessa Soltendieck | Senior Engagement Coordinator

Tessa is passionate about mobilizing people to take action on the issues they care about most. With years of work in the non-profit sector, Tessa has consulted on a wide range of sustainability and education programs focused on preserving and maximizing environmental integrity. At Environmental Defence, Tessa is proud to be part of the team that focuses on growing supporters and engaging the public on issues that impact their health and well being. Tessa earned a Masters of Development Practice from the University of Waterloo, which focuses on interdisciplinary solutions for sustainable development. When not at work, you’re most likely to find Tessa exploring the great outdoors, spending time with family, or in search of the city’s best doughnut shop.


Tim Gray | Executive Director

@CanadaGray

Tim grew up on the shores of Lake Huron and acquired his love of nature there. He has over 25 years experience developing and implementing environmental policy change efforts. These have included major shifts in land conservation, forest practices and climate change. Starting out his career as a biologist and policy analyst, Tim has spent a lot of time learning skills that move complex environmental issues toward resolution. He has worked with other change makers on the front lines of conflict and has also taken his skills inside to work on government advisory committees and in complex negotiations with industry. Tim completed an H.BSc. at Wilfrid Laurier University and a M.Sc. at the University of Toronto. Read Tim’s blogs here.


Vito Buonsante | Plastics Program Manager @Vito_in_Canada

Vito was born on the shores of Lake Michigan but grew up on the coast of southern Italy where he developed a deep love for the sea. He undertook a law degree with the dream of becoming a human rights defender, but soon realized that access to a healthy environment is a basic human right. He then focused on how laws can protect people and the environment from the widespread impact of the toxic chemicals that surround us. As Plastics Program Manager, Vito leads Environmental Defence's campaign to reduce plastic waste, and ban plastics that are harmful for people and the environment. When not fighting plastic pollution, you can find Vito cycling in the Greenbelt and trying to replicate his mother’s southern Italian recipes. Read Vito's blogs here.


NOT PICTURED: Carlos White, IT Manager; Mary Ford, Operations, HR Manager