Mentorship Circle

Katie Gingerich speaking to mentee over laptop

The Grebel Peace Incubator Program supports peace-related start-up initiatives through mentorship, training opportunities, and seed funding in order to validate their concepts and secure sustainable funding to effect systemic change. We know that making connections with the right mentors is a crucial ingredient in the success of a start-up.

This Mentorship Circle is intended to deepen and expand the ability of the Centre for Peace Advancement to support members of the Peace Incubator program. The Mentorship Circle does not encompass all of the many individuals throughout the Centre for Peace Advancement’s networks that provide mentorship to incubator members on an ad hoc basis. Members of the Mentorship Circle gather each semester to:

The Mentors:

Cassie Myers smiles at the camera

Cassie Myers

Cassie a Waterloo-based entrepreneur that is passionate about women's rights, Black rights and helping companies grow inclusion+equity. She gets to do this work in a few ways. At Lunaria Solutions, she uses technology to help communities, people and companies grow diversity, equity and inclusion. When she is not at Lunaria she is a support line volunteer at the Sexual Assault Support Centre in Waterloo Region, mentor at Technovations and a board member at YWCA-KW. She recently completed her Master's at Wilfred Laurier University where she researched the impacts of anti-Black racism and DEI initiatives on the visibility of Black women in the workplace.

Cassie is always happy to chat research and support people starting out, especially other Black and women entrepreneurs.

Dough Blair headshot

Doug Blair

Doug (he/him) is a financial professional with over 15 years of experience who looks to make a positive impact as an investor, advisor and philanthropist. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Wilfrid Laurier University and Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) from University of Waterloo.

Doug began his career at Meritas, a mutual fund company that helps investors align their portfolio with their social, ethical, governance and environmental concerns. He then worked over 10 years in the executive offices of Scotiabank in progressively more senior roles based in Toronto. Most recently, Doug was a participant in the Grebel Peace Incubator program with Demine Robotics, a Canadian/Cambodian company advocating and developing technology to safely dispose anti-personnel landmines.

He currently serves on Grebel’s endowment Investment Advisory committee, treasurer and secretary of the board of Silver Lake Mennonite Camp, and Erb Street Mennonite Church’s finance committee.

Katie Gingerich headshot

Katie Gingerich

Katie Gingerich (she/her) is the founder and executive director of The Ripple Effect Education. She holds a BA in Peace & Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo and a certificate in Conflict Management and Mediation from Conrad Grebel University College, along with a Master of Education (MEd) from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Since 2012, she has developed peace education programs for camps, community groups, and classrooms and is passionate about giving youth the tools they need to transform conflict and seek justice. As a peace educator, facilitator, and charitable nonprofit leader, Katie is experienced in equity-centered community design, critical pedagogy and peacemaking practices. She is the recipient of the 2019 Kitchener Youth Action Council’s Youth Ally award and the 2021 Canadian Voice of Women for Peace's Kim Phúc Award for Youth Peace Leadership. 

Katie has stepped into a new role as Manager, National Program Operations at SHAD Canada.

Nada Basir

Dr. Nada Basir is an Assistant Professor at the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business at the University of Waterloo. She holds a PhD in Strategic Management and an M.SC and B.Sc in Molecular Biotechnology. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Basir worked in the pharmaceutical industry in marketing and business development.  For her doctoral research, she was interested in studying the innovation process and patent strategies in large organizations. As she was developing her doctoral proposal, the Arab Spring broke out and she became heavily involved in building a non-profit organization to deal with the Libyan crisis. This became especially challenging as civil society in Libya had been completely suppressed prior to the regime. Dr. Basir found herself fascinated with how civil institutions were being built from scratch at such an incredible rate in post-Gaddafi Libya. She re-focused her doctoral research to understanding how social innovation happens, especially in volatile regions. Her current research interests explore inequality, social change, and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on identity and emotions. In another stream of research Dr. Basir explores how star entrepreneurs and star scientists emerge. Dr. Basir has entrepreneurial experience in both the for-profit and non-for-profit worlds. Bringing these two worlds together Dr. Basir teaches and mentors students interested in leveraging businesses for social impact. She brought the Hult Prize, the largest international competition on social impact, to the University of Waterloo in 2015 and it is now one of the largest competitions on campus. She teaches courses in Entrepreneurial Strategy, Organization Design and Social Entrepreneurship.

Nolan Andres Headshot

Nolan Andres

Nolan (he/him) self-identifies as a consummate idealist geek of many stripes. Passionate about making diverse efforts work for good, he is an inspiring public speaker and senior leader as well as an enthusiastic aficionado of everything from technology to business/finance to appliance repair to just being a dad.

The founder of PeaceWorks Technology Solutions in 1996, Nolan has been involved in social enterprise for over 20 years. He acted as PeaceWorks’ CEO until 2013, spending 17 years affordably bringing the benefits of technology to charities and not-for-profits in the K-W area and Winnipeg. He then made the transition to Kindred Credit Union, where he is the Chief Innovation and Technology Officer. Nolan serves as board chair for incubator alumnus Pastors in Exile (PiE) and also serves on the board for the Credit Union Services Association (CUSA).

Nolan has a B.Sc. (Computer Science – University of Saskatchewan) and an M.Math (Computer Science – University of Waterloo), as well as a diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies from Conrad Grebel University College. He is the recipient of the 2009 K/W Record’s 40 Under 40 Award and the 2006 Conrad Grebel University College Distinguished Alumni Service Award. And while all of that is really nice, given the opportunity, he would generally rather be backcountry canoe tripping with his family.

Pamela Fehr overloking the countryside

Pamela Fehr

Pam is passionate about catalyzing social change.  She is currently working as an independent consultant, taking on projects that feel challenging and exciting and have the opportunity to fuel community transformation. 

Pam spent ten years working with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) with a focus on building business solutions to poverty, living and working in countries such as Nicaragua, Haiti, Mozambique, Peru and Egypt among others.  After settling in Waterloo and building a family she spent ten years as Vice President Marketing at Kindred Credit Union where she had the privilege to lead the renaming, rebranding of the credit union and to develop their community engagement strategy.  Recently Pam has been working at a systems level, seeking to create positive change in the affordable housing and children’s mental health sectors here in our community. 

When she isn’t spending time trying to catalyze her four kids toward independence, you can find her on her bike riding the roads of Waterloo Region.