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.
Alex’s love of the outdoors was instilled at an early age, from summers spent paddling the lakes of Algonquin Park to winters skiing in the Horseshoe Valley. Alex has worn many hats throughout his career: he served as a constituency assistant to a Member of Parliament, a communications intern at Ontario Nature, to more recently working at a public relations agency. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University and a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Centennial College. When not working, you’ll find Alex running the Bruce Trail, eagerly planning his next adventure into the wilderness, and likely exploring a craft brewery or two along the way.
Aliénor’s interest for human and environmental rights started during her childhood in the South of France, where she became vocal on topics of biodiversity loss, women’s rights, refugee rights and climate change. These interests led her to the intersectional topic of climate justice, but it was only when she moved to Canada at the age of 17 that she truly understood the need for broad and collective mobilization for climate action. This led her to co-founding and coordinating Fridays for Future Toronto while completing a degree in Economics and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Allie’s happiness comes from being with others, and in her free time she can be found exploring Toronto’s parks and cafés with friends.
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 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.
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.
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. At Environmental Defence 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 pet rabbit, or reading in a park.
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.
Cassie was raised on the shores of the St. Lawrence and spent her childhood exploring Ontario’s woods, beaches and waterways. She holds a B.A in Environment and Development and M.Sc. in Capacity Development and Extension from the University of Guelph. Cassie is passionate about protecting communities, kids and water, and has spent the last two decades working on environmental research, justice and advocacy, with a focus on environmental health.
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.
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.
Grace is passionate about driving change towards a sustainable and liveable future, and she believes that justice, peace and dignity is all tied to how well we steward and protect the planet and the people who live on it. Grace has experience working for a number of ENGOs in the UK on projects that range from forest protection to empowering local farmers to become climate resilient. Grace received her masters degree in Applied International Development at the University of Reading and she is excited to work at Environmental Defence, where she is part of a team that engages the public to take action on climate change issues. In her spare time, Grace enjoys reading books and running outdoors when the weather is nice.
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.
Julie has always advocated for environmental justice and environmental preservation. She focuses on shifting investment capital for equitable climate action. Having previously managed a portfolio of impact investments, Julie believes that investments should advance positive social and environmental outcomes. Julie completed a Bachelor of Commerce at McGill University. She volunteers with various community and youth-led environmental groups and advises on strategies for impact investing. Julie has won national and global awards for her work integrating environmental justice into sustainable finance. As a child, she was known to run across the room to shut off a neglected running faucet. Julie loves learning new things.
Karen has worked as a journalist and as a labour and community organizer. She has participated in her downtown Toronto housing co-operative for more than 20 years. An active transportation enthusiast who favours walking, cycling, and public transit, Karen has never owned a car. She is a voracious reader and has spent her adult life trying to unlearn the common belief that humans should strive for domination over each other, over other animals, and over nature itself. She’s passionate about helping to get plastics out of the environment. Read Karen’s blogs here.
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.
Lana has been campaigning on environmental justice issues for the past nine years. She has been actively engaged in grassroots climate organizing in Ontario and has done extensive Indigenous Solidarity organizing. She has worked at a number of social justice organizations including Greenpeace Canada where she was an Offline Campaigner for the Forest, Plastics, and Climate teams. Most recently she ran a campaign for Grassy Narrows First Nation to secure a Federal commitment to build and operate a Mercury Care Home & Treatment Centre for community members on reserve. Lana is passionate about supporting frontline communities and advocating for concrete policy changes that will effectively rein in climate change.
Lauren was practically raised in the woods. The majority of her childhood was spent camping, hiking and learning to love and respect our shared environment. When not outdoors, Lauren could be found obsessively rewatching Sir David Attenborough’s BBC Earth documentaries. Struck by the storytelling and imagery of these films, she realized she wanted to learn how to get people excited about science and conservation, just like Sir David did. With two degrees focused in science communication under her belt, Lauren is excited to use her skillset to help mobilize knowledge about our natural world and the threats it’s facing. When she’s not working, things look about the same as they did throughout Lauren’s childhood – you can find her hiking Toronto’s ravine system, at the cottage, or camping in Algonquin Park.
Michelle’s passion for the natural world and to become a water protector was sparked from a young age by the worldviews and values that were passed down to her through her Métis heritage. During university, Michelle pursued a BA in Environmental Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto and went on to obtain her MASc in Environmental Applied Science and Management at Ryerson. Over the course of her Master’s, she worked on water governance and policy issues affecting the Great Lakes and Ontario. She has worked as a researcher and analyst for organizations such as the Great Lakes Policy Research Network, the International Joint Commission, and the Canadian Environmental Law Association before coming to Environmental Defence. Michelle sees water as a living relation and is passionate about water justice and climate justice. She is excited to be working at Environmental Defence to advocate for water protections. Read Michelle’s blogs here.
Miranda has a deep sense of appreciation for the natural world. This led to degrees in Environmental Studies at York University, where her master’s research focused on the intersections between biodiversity conservation and digital science communication. Her passion for the environment was further fueled by investigating eco-system approaches to disaster reduction in Belize and conservation in Costa Rica. Miranda co-founded The Community Climate Council, a local non-profit focused on climate literacy. Through her work, she aims to inspire and inform others on local environmental issues, so that we can collectively drive solutions towards climate and community resilience. In her free time, she can be found on the trails making new nature discoveries.
Nate is passionate about shifting to clean mobility and building more sustainable cities. His background is in public transit advocacy, spending over three years in a policy role at the Canadian Urban Transit Association, where he helped shape policy and government relations efforts to achieve billions in emergency transit funding during the pandemic. His academic background includes a Masters degree in political management from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies from UNB’s Renaissance College. In his free time, Nate enjoys listening to heavy metal music, seeing movies with friends and exploring nature.
Paula’s mission to advocate for the health of people and the planet comes from her lifelong reverence for the interconnectedness of nature. After graduating from the Advertising and Marketing Communications program at Georgian College, Paula has honed her expertise in branding, campaign development, content creation and digital marketing strategy for various organizations over the past decade. She is deeply passionate about environmental issues, and you’ll find her raising awareness and inspiring others to make non-toxic and eco-conscious choices in her community, on social media and sharing sustainable swaps on her blog. She also spearheaded numerous initiatives as Digital Manager for North America’s leading Green Parenting magazine. Paula lives a plant-based lifestyle with her husband and four children in the countryside of Kingston, Ontario. An aspiring homesteader and DIY’er, one day she’ll build an off-grid eco-home in the woods.
Phil is a land use planning and environmental lawyer with a background in landscape ecology, landscape architecture and 10 years of experience advising and representing provincial policy-makers, select small builders, and concerned residents. He joined EDC to advance “big-picture” approaches to problems he has dealt with case-by-case – a comprehensive alternative vision for development and industry that meets people’s needs while preserving Ontario’s natural spaces, farmland and other “greenfields” in perpetuity. Having spent his early summers searching out berries, moose tracks and rabbit burrows in the woods and barrens near his house, he has been pleased to introduce his three children to the many similar pleasures available in Toronto’s own urban ravines. Read Phil’s blogs here.
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.
Sharvani pursued her graduation in Fashion Marketing and Retail Management from Nottingham Trent University, UK and post-graduation in Strategic Relationship Marketing from George Brown College, Canada. But her career choices were driven by her zeal to be the changemaker. She has worked with several social impact organizations focusing on youth, education, community development and humanitarian work. She is always involved in volunteering and social work within her society. After recently moving to Canada and seeking opportunities within the impact sector, she has decided to walk the same path as her father, an Environmental Engineer back in India, fighting the rising levels of pollution each day. She plans to encourage society and people to become catalysts in facing and addressing some of the most critical environmental challenges. A big animal lover, she wants to do good for their natural habitats and as an eco-conscious person, she wants to do good for future generations. She is a social butterfly, an adventure seeker and a big foodie (turning vegan for a sustainable future).
Simon holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University. He is passionate about working in the non-profit sector and was led to Environmental Defence by his hopes for a greener tomorrow. While living in Hamilton, he worked and volunteered with Stewards of Cootes Watershed, an environmental non-profit trying to clean the area’s waterways. Simon appreciates the beauty of our planet and is happy to put in the work to ensure that beauty never fades. In his free time, Simon enjoys reading and forcing his friends to eat his vegan cooking.
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.
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. 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.
Growing up with a forest in her backyard and spending summers on the shores of Lake Huron, Vanessa built a connection with nature from an early age. With a background in international development, she noticed that so many of the issues she worked on were exacerbated by or tracked back to the human causes of climate change. Having worked with nonprofits, United Nations agencies, and think tanks, Vanessa brings a range of experience to managing the climate-focused grants at Environmental Defence. With a Masters in International Public Policy, Vanessa is determined to advocate for policies that safeguard clean water, clean air, and biodiversity. While not at work, you’ll find her hiking local trails, frequenting farmers markets, and exploring Algonquin Park.
NOT PICTURED: Carlos White, IT Manager