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 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.
Anuja knew she wanted to pursue a career in environmental sustainability and policy when she became a certified scuba diver in her teenage years. She spent her summers exploring the depths of the coastal Red Sea and participated in the ‘dive against debris’ movement to eliminate plastic waste from our waters. Anuja has an Honors BA with high distinction in geography and international relations from the University of Toronto. Her academic background and her time spent living in and traveling to different parts of the world often leads her to think critically about the shape of urban and environmental landscapes. Her career kicked off as an intern at the National Geographic Traveller Magazine in Mumbai, after which she found her goals align with the non-profit world. At Environmental Defence she is the program coordinator of the Livable Communities campaign, which involves protecting and expanding Ontario’s Greenbelt, and promoting smarter city growth in large urban centres. Read Anuja’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 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.
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.
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.
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 Director of Development 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 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’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 Coordinator, 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.
Deepa loves working with data, and has over 15 years of accounting and database management experience. Six years ago she decided to focus on finding purpose and meaning in her work, and, as a consequence, moved from the corporate to not-for-profit sector. Deepa has not looked back since, finding personal satisfaction in working for causes that are close to her heart. Having seen first-hand how air quality impacts one’s life, she feels fortunate to be part of Environmental Defence’s efforts for a cleaner, pollution-free environment for everyone.
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, trees, 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 and a MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. Read Jennifer’s blogs here.
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 paycheque 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 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 Program Director at Environmental Defence. Read Keith’s blogs here.
Kelsey was raised in Northern Ontario, where forests and lakes surrounded her every move. From an early age, her parents and grandparents demonstrated how to respect the natural environment and live off the land. This passion for nature followed her to post-secondary studies at Laurentian University’s School of the Environment. Her undergraduate degree sparked a passion to keep learning more, so she made the move to Ontario’s banana belt to complete a Master of Sustainability Science at Brock University. There she studied water stewardship in weak governance zones around the world. Kelsey is passionate about the human right to water and conserving our precious Canadian freshwater resources. She brings experience with the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, and work with northern communities in water science education programs to Environmental Defence and to Blue Flag. She is proud to work for an organization that champions science and environmental sustainability. Read Kelsey’s blogs here.
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.
Rachel grew up surrounded by muddy dogs and muddier fields in the English countryside, but it was six months in urban China that taught her the real value of clean air and clear water. As a recent arrival in Canada, she has already fallen in love with Ontario’s beautiful lakes and wide open spaces. After completing an MA in International Politics at the University of London, she fell happily into a career in the non-profit sector, spending three years working on disability equality with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association before making her move across the pond. Read Rachel’s blogs here.
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.
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.
Patrick was born and raised in the Niagara Region and grew up enjoying its parks, forests, and beaches. Patrick’s love of nature led him to study the international security dimensions of climate change as a graduate student at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Following a stint as a political staffer at Queen’s Park working on health and environmental issues, he moved into political organizing and government relations with a Canadian health care union. Patrick joined Environmental Defence in 2015, where he coordinated the Clean Economy Alliance, working to advance climate action policy in Ontario. As Climate & Energy Program Manager he led Environmental Defence’s campaign to stop the Energy East tar sands pipeline until the project’s cancellation in 2017, and works to accelerate climate action in Canada, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and align energy projects with climate policy. Patrick enjoys cycling, hockey, live music, 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.
For over 20 years, Susan has been advocating for sustainable communities. Her career veered from the private sector to community advocate when she and a group of citizens won a fight to stop a ‘Big Pipe’ that would enable sprawl on the edge of the GTA. Following this victory, she was elected to Council in 2000, and served for one term. While on Council, she brought together a developer, citizens, the TRCA, City of Toronto and Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust to turn a proposed golf course development into a protected valley and forest on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Susan is always eager to engage in conversations about how we can create healthy communities. Prior to starting her own planning practice, she held executive and management positions in the non-profit sector including the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust, the Greenbelt Foundation and the Green Economy Centre. Susan has a Masters degree in land use planning. When she isn’t working, Susan is gardening, hiking on the Oak Ridges Moraine or spending time with family and friends. 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