As a mix of full-time staff and volunteers, our team is a dedicated and passionate group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. One thing we all have in common: we are committed to working towards a future where environment, economy, and human well-being are synonymous. Here’s a bit more about the people who make our work possible.
As Fund Animator, Alysha is responsible for creating engagement strategies to communicate CoLab’s Incentive Fund to Network Members. Her background includes numerous roles in financial and statistical analysis as well as stakeholder engagement. She holds a B.A. in Financial Mathematics and a B.BA. in Finance from Wilfrid Laurier University. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, fire spinning and playing board games.
As Member Experience Manager, Lauren is responsible for all facets of the support Network Members receive from CoLab. She has nearly a decade of experience in public, private and non-profit sectors, having worked at places like Habitat for Humanity and the TELUS Spark program in Calgary. Lauren joins CoLab from the University of Toronto where she was the go-to-connector and resource at the Sustainability Office. She is a firm believer in multi-sectoral approaches to collaboration, and is passionate about the ways in which CoLab Network Members are guiding businesses to take action along their sustainability journey. Lauren has a Master’s degree in science communication from Australian National University and is a resident of Burlington, Ontario where she lives with her husband and two young kids.
Melissa leads the design and implementation of Sustainability CoLab’s fund to incentivize deep GHG reductions across the network. She is experienced in advancing action on climate at local, national, and international levels, having supported stakeholder engagement for Waterloo Region’s climate change action plan development while at Sustainable Waterloo Region, and most recently having worked on the Partners for Climate Protection Program at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Melissa is passionate about enabling Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. She was named a Top 25 Environmentalist Under 25 by the Starfish Canada in 2012 and 2014, and holds a B.E.S. in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo. When offline you can find Melissa hiking in the mountains or biking along the Ottawa canal.
Ana has volunteered with CoLab in a variety of areas over the past few years, and is currently working as Member Experience Specialist, supporting the development and delivery of Member Benefits to CoLab Network Members. Ana graduated from Environment and Business at the University of Waterloo in 2015, and is passionate about climate change solutions, impact investment, and economic development. You can usually find her reading a book, playing with her dog, or swimming.
Katrina Kroeze, Network Development Strategist
As the Network Development Strategist, Katrina is exploring new opportunities for the CoLab Network outside the province of Ontario. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience as the previous Executive Director at Niagara Sustainability and current Program Lead with Carbon 613 at EnviroCentre in Ottawa. She’s passionate about the work of CoLab and is excited about the progress towards the low carbon economy.
Priyanka oversees all aspects of CoLab’s operations and member support as the Managing Director for Sustainability CoLab. She holds a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, an M.Sc. in Biochemistry from McGill University and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University. Priyanka brings a variety of business, non-profit and entrepreneurial experiences to CoLab. She founded and led a robotics program for elementary school students, a lab waste reduction task force and recycling program at McGill University, and a Net Impact Chapter at Laurier to engage more MBA students in solving the world’s social and environmental sustainability challenges. Priyanka has also held marketing and supply chain roles at Novartis Consumer Health and Frito-Lay respectively, and was the business development manager for REEP Green Solutions.
Bonita is currently completing her Master’s degree in Sustainable Development at Uppsala University in Sweden. She is passionate about sustainability, and is interested in corporate social responsibility, environmental consulting, climate change mitigation, and sustainable tech innovation. Prior to joining Sustainability CoLab she graduated from Carleton University with a BA Honours, and worked as a journalist and as a communications manager in the Fairtrade and Fairmined industry. Bonita enjoys hiking, climbing, completing hackathons, and is a seasoned nomad and photographer.
As the Member Experience Coordinator, Bryson helps to support CoLab’s Network Members. He is a graduate of the Knowledge Integration program at the University of Waterloo where he focused on how to create effective collaborative practices and how to use design thinking to tackle complex problems. A newcomer to environmental sustainability, Bryson has experience as a coordinator and facilitator in the for-profit, non-profit, and volunteer sectors. He is currently working on Canoe, a pan-Canadian undergraduate program that would see students complete each year of their degree at a different university. Originally from the Yukon, Bryson enjoys the outdoors, basketball, and a fine single malt.
Natalie assists with creating standard methodologies of GHG Inventory reporting for all Network Members of Sustainability CoLab. Natalie is passionate about climate change solutions, social innovations and economic resilience. She graduated with an M.Sc. in sustainable development, management and policy from MODUL University Vienna in 2014. Natalie has presented at a workshop for the United Nations on the development of human settlements and was a regional finalist for the HULT Prize Competition. Since moving back to Canada, she has volunteered with various organizations, including Niagara Sustainability Initiative and Trillium Health Partners, to support their sustainability efforts.
Mike is the founder of Sustainable Waterloo Region and the Executive Director of Sustainability CoLab. Recently named an Ashoka Fellow, he is one of 37 Canadians within a global community of leading social entrepreneurs, each with a new ‘knock-out’ idea and high potential to scale their impact. Mike is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, has been selected by The Waterloo Region Record as one of Waterloo Region’s inaugural 40 Under 40, and was recognized as Young Alumnus of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year by WLU’s Alumni Association and the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, respectively. Mike is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, where he concurrently completed a BBA and a BSc.
As Communications Manager, Jennie helps to shape and tell the stories of the CoLab Network. She has spent over 9 years leading non-profit communications and fundraising, most recently at Tides Canada. Jennie brings a diversity of experience from her past roles as Staff Accountant at KPMG and Teaching Assistant in Financial Accounting and Organizational Behaviour at the Rotman School of Management. She holds a B.Com from the University of Toronto. Jennie is passionate about learning, beautiful and practical design, and the Toronto Blue Jays.
As Operations Coordinator, Alia works directly with the Managing Director to ensure the organization runs smoothly. Alia recently graduated with a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University. Her background includes roles in administration, community engagement and project management. With the support of Sustainability CoLab, Alia helped launch Sustainable Kingston’s Green Economy Kingston program. Alia is passionate about community-driven, collaborative approaches to sustainability, and strives to be a social connector of people, ideas and intent.
As the Program Innovation Manager, Sarah works alongside Network Members to develop tools, resources, and new approaches that can help drive program growth and impact. She has over 16 years of experience working with diverse levels of government and Indigenous, non-profit and business partners to develop better policy and program solutions. Sarah has worked across a number of ministries and sustainability issues to support the greening of Ontario’s economy, including polluter pays, circular economy, and renewable energy policies. She began her career with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and was most recently a senior manager of Municipal Governance Policy at Municipal Affairs for the government of Ontario. When not working to create meaningful change, Sarah describes her approach to down time as “pursuing mediocrity in a wide range of areas”, from art to music to sports.
Jeff is a Fine Arts graduate from the University of Waterloo, and holds a post-graduate diploma in Film Production from Sheridan College and a Bachelor of Education from Queens University. He is currently completing a Masters of Inclusive Design from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Jeff founded the Joy Apparel project in 2006, a socially conscious t-shirt company and was recognized as the St. Jerome’s University Alumni of the year in 2009. Jeff brings a diversity of experience as a social entrepreneur, educator and inclusive designer. He is currently the director of the New Media Lab at APIS in Seoul, Korea. In his spare time Jeff makes stop-motion films, rides his bike and takes photos of random strangers.
Paul Bubelis is the Executive Director of the Sustainability Network which he co-founded in 1997. He is a also founding Director of Sustainability CoLab and sits on advisory committees for Ryerson’s Certificate in Sustainability Program, Green Living Enterprises and the Ontario Nonprofit Network. He judges Earth Day Canada’s Hometown Heroes Award and the City of Toronto’s Green Awards. Prior to his work at Sustainability Network, he served as Executive Director of the Ontario Environment Network and spent 5 years at Environment Canada managing a community funding program. He has also consulted to grantmakers, government and NGOs. Paul obtained a biology degree from the University of Guelph, attended the University of Victoria and has a MSc from the University of Toronto.
Since 2008, Karen Clarke-Whistler has been TD’s Chief Environment Officer, responsible for developing and leading the bank’s environmental strategy, which has been key to its rise to the top of the league tables for environmental performance in the North American banking sector. Under Karen’s leadership, TD became the first North American-based bank to be carbon neutral. In 2012, she led the design and launch of TD Forests, which aims to help grow and protect North American forest habitat. An environmental scientist who is widely recognized as a thought leader, Karen has been named one of Canada’s Clean16 for her outstanding contribution to clean capitalism.
Tim Draimin is Executive Director of Social Innovation Generation (SiG). He guides SiG’s support for Canada’s growing network of academics, practitioners, social entrepreneurs, allied institutions and partnerships expanding Canada’s Social Innovation ecosystem. Tim was the founding CEO of Tides Canada Foundation, leading the Foundation’s expansion, established Canada’s first national support system for social entrepreneurs – Tides Canada Initiatives – and supported a globally replicated model of integrated conservation: BC’s Great Bear Rainforest initiative. He is a frequent advisor to government, non-profit associations and business. He has worked for or consulted in Canada and abroad was involved in many UN activities representing civil society. In addition to CoLab, Tim is on the board of Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), Trico Foundation, Centre for Social Innovation, Sustainability CoLab, and advises Grand Challenges Canada, Partnership Brokers Association and the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.
Matthew Hoffmann, Board Chair and Treasurer
Matthew J. Hoffmann is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. He is also Co-Director of the Environmental Governance Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Professor Hoffmann has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the George Washington University. His research and teaching interests are centered on climate change politics and global environmental governance. He is the author of Ozone Depletion and Climate Change: Constructing a Global Response (SUNY Press 2005) and coeditor with Alice Ba of Contending Perspectives on Global Governance (Routledge 2005). His most recent book is Climate Governance at the Crossroads: Experimenting with a Global Response after Kyoto (Oxford University Press 2011).
Ken Whyte is President of Quarry, a marketing and advertising agency in Waterloo Region. Ken is proud to represent Quarry as a bronze-level GHG emissions reductions member of Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Regional Carbon Initiative. As Quarry’s President, Ken focuses on leading the business and ensuring Quarry has the resources and skills needed to transform brands for complex businesses. Ken lives and breathes Quarry’s core beliefs—take accountability, act with urgency, be a builder, seek collective wins and grow with purpose—and over the past 25 years at Quarry, has consistently challenged the team to ‘imagine something better’ for Quarry clients, the organization and themselves. Ken is a past Board of Director for the Waterloo-Wellington Local Health Integrated Network, one of 14 LHINs set up across the province of Ontario to bring health care leadership, integration, and funding to a local level, as well as past Director of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. Ken holds a BBA (Honours) from Wilfrid Laurier University, is a father to seven, and feels he is “truly blessed by having met and married his soul mate, Colette.”
We are a lean organization that works at a quick pace to achieve meaningful impact. Our team brings good judgment, a sense of humour and passion for grassroots sustainability and systems change.