Leadership Breakfast Series
Join us for the third Leadership Breakfast Series, an initiative of the Faculty of Environment giving all Environment students the opportunity to connect with and learn from alumni through discussion and networking over breakfast.
Fall 2017 Topic
The topic of focus for September’s breakfast is “Coping with Change: Passion, Purpose, and Legacy”—learning how change affects our lives and aspirations in different ways.
Student's please register here to attend; space is limited.
Please note: If you register for this event but do not show up without notifying the Advancement Office by September 13, 2017, you will not be permitted to attend LBS events for the next 2 terms.
Alumni in Attendance
Elena Weber-Kraljevska Energy Conservation Officer, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
Elena wants to share her experience with new students because it is important for them to know that nothing is impossible. Elena initially started in Computational Mathematics. At first she wasn’t sure if this field was really for her and decided to take a few electives, one of which was Geography. She absolutely loved it and a semester later she switched to Geography. She loved everything about the program, especially the freedom to choose courses from various sub-disciplines in Geography and courses from other departments within and outside the Faculty of Environment.
What coping with change means to Elena is learning to take care of yourself. “Understanding that one needs to adapt to new ways of life. It can definitely be hard to adapt to change because it is a process and it can be overwhelming, even if it is a positive change. Change teaches you a lot about yourself and helps you grow as a person. University life will definitely challenge you in many ways. You will work and live with people with different personalities, experiences, work ethics. But at the end of the day, you will still need to place a priority on eating properly, exercising, getting good sleep, and your mental health.”
Elena would be glad to connect with students after the event via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more about Elena's experience, click here
Elena Weber-Kraljevska is a sustainability professional and a public speaker. Elena holds a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies (Geography) from the University of Waterloo and a Certificate in Green Buildings from the Technical University of Vienna.
As an Energy Conservation Officer for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, Elena monitors the energy, waste and water usage. She also works on the development, promotion and implementation of sustainable programs in school facilities.
Elena is a committee member of the Residential sector for ClimateActionWR and she also works with local organisations such as REEP Green Solutions and Sustainable Waterloo Region. Elena is also a member of the Sustainability Professionals group in the Waterloo Region, as well as the OASBO’s province-wide subcommittees OMC-Energy and the School Board Environmental Representatives Association.
Elena has a great passion for sustainable education, community development and engagement, and green buildings. She tries her best to support local businesses and food growers and is a great proponent of zerowaste and minimalistic lifestyle.
Project Director, Canadian Division Technology, Manulife
Jennifer wants students to know that change, especially during their career, is a part of life, and it shouldn’t be feared. Since graduating from the University of Waterloo, Jennifer has worked primarily in the financial services industry, and has worked with Manulife for 23 years. Change, in fact, is a big part of her career, with the constant, changing state of modern technology and the competitiveness in the marketplace. “There’s never really a position where there won’t be any change,” she says, “it’s best to just gather your lessons learned and move forward from there.”
When Jennifer was a student, she had limited opportunity to interact with people that were active in the job market related to her academic program. She therefore hopes to help current students see the bridge between their education and their career, whether or not they are working in their academic field.
Jennifer is happy to interact with students after the event through email.
To read more about Jennifer's experience, click here.
When Jennifer graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1992, she was hired on to the Claims Department with Prudential Assurance, a British multinational life insurance and financial services company.
Jennifer then moved to Manulife, and has been working with them for 23 years. Currently, she is a Project Director in the Canadian Division Technology department. Her main role is to act as a liaison between the company and the vendors from which they obtain their technology and infrastructure services, collaborating on large scale projects that deliver technology such as servers, laptops, telephones, network printers, to employees across Canada and the United States.
Tania Del Matto
Director, St. Paul's GreenHouse, University of Waterloo
Tania Del Matto is an experienced sustainability professional, having worked with a variety of private sector industries, public sector institutions, non-profits and social-purpose businesses. She is also an experienced social entrepreneur, having started and operated My Sustainable Canada, an enterprising social venture with a national mandate to help organizations use their purchasing decisions to drive social change.
To read more about Tania's experience, click here.
As Director of St. Paul's GreenHouse, Tania now pursues her passion of mentoring and connecting social innovators and entrepreneurs to create, launch and amplify projects and startups that tackle pressing social and environmental problems. Tania ensures that the activities and partnerships that GreenHouse engages in directly align with the University of Waterloo's vision to be recognized as a uniquely entrepreneurial university that applies innovative approaches to technology, social innovation, and social entrepreneurship in ways that create recognizable impact, both in economic growth and improving the human condition.
Program Coordinator, Project and Program Management, City of Guelph
As a certified environmental professional, Brigitte has extensive knowledge in environmental compliance, pollution prevention, management system audits and more. Even so, change is an ever-present part of her life, and is always a challenge. “If there’s one sure thing, it’s change,” she says. “Keeping that open mind and quickly adapting is probably your best skill.”
To read more about Brigitte's experience, click here.
After graduating from the University of Waterloo in 1996, Brigitte began her career as a Quality and Environment Coordinator at Kuntz Electroplating Inc., where she gained experience in environment policy, auditing and risk assessment. After five years with Kuntz, Brigitte began working as the Pollution Prevention Coordinator, as well as Senior Environmental Auditor, at the Canadian Association for Surface Fishing. During her time there, she conducted over fifty pollution prevention and environmental compliance audits at metal fishing sites.
In 2004, Brigitte moved to WESA Group Inc., an environmental consulting company, as an Environmental Management System Specialist. Her focus with WESA Group was primarily to conduct compliance and management system audits at industrial and municipal drinking water sites, as well as to assist the implementation of management systems.
In 2008, she moved to the City of Guelph as a Quality Assurance Coordinator, where she managed multiple processes related to municipal drinking water licensing, risk assessment, emergency response plans, and compliance reporting.
Currently, Brigitte works as the Program Coordinator, Project and Program Management with the City of Guelph, as well as a Trainer with the Walkerton Clean Water Centre. She is also an alternate Community Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Guelph.
Brigitte is a certified Environmental Professional as an EMS Lead Auditor.
Manager, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo
Dana recognizes that change is rarely easy for anyone, especially for the solution-seeking homeowners, communities and businesses she works with to limit the effects of climate change. It is, however, often inevitable. “Purely ‘coping with change’ suggests to me that you ‘put up with’ change,” she says, “whereas ‘embracing change’ means that you have a mindset where you welcome change where it’s needed.” To Dana, change for its own sake rarely makes sense, but she advises that one should never shy away from it because it’s “different.”
Dana is excited to give back to current students at the University of Waterloo, and is happy to connect after the event via email.
To learn more about Dana's experience, click here.
Through her co-op experiences and career since graduation, Dana has sought opportunities that challenge her and lead to growth. She recognizes that change is often part of the process of learning to adapt.
As a co-op student, Dana gained extensive experience during her studies at the University of Waterloo in the Environment and Business program. Dana sought to travel with her co-ops to learn about new geographic places and experience different working environments. She worked as a photographer for a zip lining company in Whistler, BC, as a quality assurance technician for a tax company in Calgary, and as an assistant environmental technician for the federal government in Ottawa. For her last co-op, she worked with a professor at the University of Waterloo and continued as his research assistant for her final year of school, co-creating a carbon trading game that was used in undergraduate classes.
After graduation in 2013, Dana gained a wide range of experience in sustainable business operations, reporting and research across corporate, government and non-profit sectors. In 2014, she worked as Operations Coordinator with Sustainability CoLab for nine months, where she was the cornerstone of the company, performing a variety of functions that both enhanced capacity and increased efficiency. Her responsibilities included project management, social media and website content, recruitment of new volunteers and staff, and fundraising. Dana then moved on to become a Sustainability Analyst with Sun Life Financial, where she led the submission of sustainability rankings, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. She also conducted policy research, connected with employees on sustainability initiatives, and managed the internal sustainability website.
Currently, Dana is a Manager at the Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo, a national research centre that works with businesses, homeowners and communities to create solutions to limit the effects of extreme weather and climate change. In her day to day role she manages the Intact Centre’s operational functions (e.g. human resources, communications, finance and administrative functions), leads a research project on health and flooding, and provides research support for the Centre’s team members.
In her spare time, Dana is currently completing a Masters of Sustainability Management part time, and she organizes Meetup events for the LGBTQ community in Waterloo Region.
Program Coordinator, Digital Innovation Skills Certificate (DISC), Nautilus Consulting
Throughout her career, Maria has happily embraced continual change through contract work. From internships to self-employed consulting, she has had many different experiences in the short time since graduating. In fact, change is a recurring, and in Maria’s opinion, a beneficial aspect in her life. “In my career, I’ve seen the continuous need to keep learning and to keep up with my network and have real conversations with mentors,” she says, “I think change is something we’re all coping with in the 21st century.”
To read more about Maria's experience, click here.
Maria began developing her career during her undergraduate studies as an Administrative Assistant with the University of Waterloo, where she delivered financial reports, drafted grant proposals, provided organizational support and served as an internal liaison with other University departments. During her master’s degree, Maria worked as an Assistant to Teaching Fellow, where her primary duties were to liaise with departments and faculties during promotional activities, maintain the faculty website and to create teaching and resource manuals for new faculty.
After graduation, Maria took on a contact job with the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation as the Project Development Intern. She then moved into the role of Energy Programs Coordinator with REEP Green Solutions, where she was tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the operation of the company’s energy services and outreach efforts.
After a little over a year with REEP, Maria moved onto self-employed tourism consultancy, where she partnered with organizations like Manulife Financial, the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, and the County of Oxford.
In September 2015, Maria became the Communications Coordinator at the Back to Nature Network, where she primarily planned, developed and implemented different web-based communication strategies and vehicles. She also recruited and engaged new members, managed databases and spreadsheets, and developed funding reports.
For the past three months, Maria has been the Program Coordinator for the Digital Innovation Skills Certificate (DISC) under her own sole proprietorship company, Nautilus Consulting.
Environmental, Health & Safety Canadian Technical Practice Lead, AECOM Canada Ltd.
Shannon has gained over ten years of experience in environmental health and safety since graduating from the Environment and Business program at the University of Waterloo. To Shannon, change is about taking calculated risks, being aware of the boundaries you can work within and what rules you can break based on your calculated risks. Coping with change requires being open to new possibilities and new ideas no matter how much they challenge the 'norm' or take you out of your comfort zone. Change needs to be measured over time to monitor its effectiveness.
Shannon is driven to give back to younger generations looking for mentors and contacts to get their careers started. She looks forward to working with new cohorts to understand strategies they apply to cope with change, which help her to continue to manage effectively in her own organization. She is happy to connect with students via LinkedIn.
To read more about Shannon's experience, click here.
When Shannon graduated from the Environment and Business program at the University of Waterloo, she was offered a job as an environmental consultant at Jacques Whitford, which was later purchased by Stantec Consulting.
Shannon worked at Stantec for eight years, where she specialized in environmental, health and safety auditing, regulatory applicability reviews, strategic planning, and development, implementation and maintenance of management systems, including ISO 14001 (2004 and 2015) and OHSAS 18001-compliant systems. Her principal focus was assisting clients in identifying and prioritizing their environmental, health & safety risks and implementing processes to minimize these risks while maximizing cost savings.
In 2014, Shannon moved to AECOM to perform similar work as an Environmental, Health and Safety consultant, as well as execute business and technical development as well as Project Management within the Canadian EHS team. AECOM is a multinational engineering firm that provides design, consulting, construction, and management services to a wide range of clients.
President, Premier Environmental Services Inc.
David is the founder and President of a successful nation-wide environmental science and engineering business, established in 2002. Before starting Premier Environmental Services Inc., David gained extensive experience in the environmental consulting industry and government across Canada.
“Change is an inevitable part of all life on Earth,” David says. “Coping with change is really coping with life, in my mind.”
David remembers being a first year student and encountering a variety of situations he didn’t really expect. He hopes to give back to the community that gave him a great start, and is excited to share his experience with current students. If you wish to follow up with David, give him a phone call or send him an email.
To read more about David's experience, click here.
David is the founder and president of a successful environmental science and engineering business, established in 2002. Premier Environmental Services Inc. provides environmental site assessments, soil and groundwater remediation, terrestrial and aquatic ecological services, asbestos and designated substances services, and risk assessments. Premier is based in Cambridge, with offices across Canada.
After graduating from the University of Waterloo in 1987, David started his career at Environment Canada at CCIW in Burlington, Ontario where he conducted research on the fate and persistence of PAHs in soil and groundwater. He believed it was a great place of make connections, but prefers a faster paced environment. He then moved into the world of environmental consulting where he worked for various engineering firms in Vancouver, Toronto and Kitchener. During this time, his main focus was contaminated site remediation, during a time where there was little to no guidelines in Ontario for the practice. Today, David works and lives in Cambridge, Ontario.
David is an advocate for the community, and believes volunteering is a great way to make a positive impact with others.
President, Abe Erb Brewing Co. & Settlement Co., Entrepreneur & Investor
Rob has a long history of successful entrepreneurship, from creating the Ryerson Academy private school, to opening his own brewery/pub and coffee roaster, Abe Erb Co. and Settlement Co., respectively. In spite of his successes, there are challenges that come with coping with change, which means learning to be comfortable with the unpredictable. “Automation and factoring is predictable,” Rob says, “the human element is more difficult.” Being a great boss, and learning to adjust his expectations as his employees grow and change, is a key challenge he is aspiring to overcome.
Rob is excited to hear and learn from students, and is happy to connect through LinkedIn.
To read more about Rob's experience, click here.
Rob, who began his career as a teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board in 2000, began his entrepreneurial livelihood by founding the Ryerson Academy private school. He eventually grew the school to three separate locations with over 400 students before selling the business in 2006.
In January 2007, Rob broke into the food and beverage industry by establishing the first Cora’s restaurant, a popular breakfast and lunch diner, in Waterloo. He owned the restaurant for over six years before founding his own coffee roaster and eatery in Waterloo, Abe Erb Brewing Company and Settlement Co.
Rob hopes to combine authenticity and design with community engagement with Abe Erb Brewing Company and Settlement Co. He has since expanded his business into craft beer, which launched last year at the LCBO. He has since received the bronze level 2017 Canadian Brewing award for Abe Erb Brewing Company’s 1857 Kolsch-Style Lagered Ale, as well as three Ontario Beer Awards.
Rob is a judge for the Jack Rosen Memorial Competition for Environmental Innovation at the University of Waterloo, a Dragon’s Den-style pitch competition for environment students. He also sits on the Him & Her Studio Design board of Kitchener-Waterloo, as well as sits on the Business Improvement Area (BIA) committee for Uptown Waterloo and Downtown Kitchener.
Rob strives to make Abe Erb and Settlement Co. sustainable companies. They have many certified organic and fair trade products, and also owned their own grassroots farm for chickens and pigs.
Wendy de Gomez
Corporate Services Analyst, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
Since graduating from the University of Waterloo in 2011, Wendy has developed a wide range of skills through work experience and the completion of multiple certificate programs, which have given her an edge a competitive job market. To her, being prepared for the inevitability of changing circumstances is an important skill. “I have learned that adaptability is the key to success,” she says. “Each time you start something new, you learn and thus build up an ability to become resilient.” Wendy recognizes that change is the only constant in life, and the only thing to do is embrace it.
When Wendy encounters change, she deals with it by helping other people; giving herself “a purpose when the purpose of things may be unclear.” Her goal for this event is to help students know that, first and foremost, life is about change. She is happy to get in touch with students after the event through email.
To read more about Wendy's experience, click here.
When Wendy first graduated from the University of Waterloo, she decided to stay home with her newborn son for fifteen months before entering the work force so that she had as much time as possible with him. During this time, Wendy was able to co-publish an academic article called Civil Society in Canada with a University of Waterloo colleague. She also volunteered to help set up the Save the Bala Falls environmental movement.
Starting in 2011, Wendy worked on completing different certifications, including a Specialization Certificate in Population Health Data Analysis and multiple Certificates in Linear and Logistic Regression. She has now started working on the completion of a Certificate in Business Essentials.
Wendy currently works at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board as the Corporate Services Analyst. Her main responsibilities include updating partnership agreements and leases, assisting the Executive Assistant with workflows, and working within different corporate service departments to understand, document and recommend changes to business operations in order to enhance operational efficiencies. She is also currently an active volunteer with the St. Anne Catholic School Parent Council.
Manager, Ecology (Kitchener), WSP Canada Group Ltd.
For Kristen, change can take many different forms – location, career path and choices, role changes, and corporate transitions. “Sometimes we crave the idea [of change],” she says, “but the reality is scary. It can immobilize you. Inertia can really prevent us from finding what’s next.” Coping with change typically means using the things she can influence (something as simple as a haircut, for example) as mechanisms to deal with change that she cannot control. It means trusting that a choice between two directions isn’t bad either way, and knowing that no choice is permanent when it comes to a career.
Kristen is happy to chat and meet with a couple of students at a time after the event through email or through small mentoring sessions.
To read more about Kristen's experience, click here.
Kristen graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2004 with a degree in Geography. She began her career with contract work, as a GIS Technician with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Afterward, she decided to return to school to complete her Master of Science in Wetland Ecohydrology.
After completing her Master’s Degree, Kristen obtained more contract work, with Bird Studies Canada in the Marsh Monitoring Program, with TRCA as an Environmental Outreach Professional, and with the Ministry of Transportation as an Environmental Planner. Finally, in 2009, Kristen landed a full-time job with Ecoplans, and environmental consulting firm, in Kitchener-Waterloo.
She currently worked as the Manager, Ecology with WSP Canada Group Ltd, formerly MMM Group Ltd and Ecoplans. In addition to the official title, she is currently the ‘office representative’ for the Kitchener office, which has a multidisciplinary team of engineers (roads, aviation, municipal, LEED design, sustainability), planners, hydrogeologists, ecologists, archaeologists, and more. Kristen is the direct manager for seventeen ecologists.
Laurel Davies Snyder
Laurel has had the tremendous opportunity to work for multiple municipalities—the City of Waterloo, the City of Cambridge, Woolwich Township and with the Town of St. Marys—and is thus accustomed to changing circumstances. “Something that worked in one place may not work in another place,” and, according to Laurel, “recognizing that the way you implement what used to work will be different depending on the situation” is an important factor when coping with change. “You need to be sensitive to every different situation. Every community is different.”
To read more about Laurel's experience, click here.
Laurel began her career as a Planner for the City of Waterloo during her master’s degree with the University of Waterloo. After a year, Laurel moved to the City of Cambridge, Ontario, where she worked as a Downtown Planner and Core Areas Project Manager for over nine years.
In December, 2008, Laurel became the Economic Development and Tourism Officer with the Township of Woolwich. After seven years, she became the Manager of Culture and Economic Development with the Town of St. Marys.
Correspondence Writer, Government of Ontario
Cara has been an Ontario government employee since graduating from the University of Waterloo in 2000. To her, coping with change means taking a healthy approach in response to the inevitable changes that life brings. She understands, however, that change is often accompanied by stress and anxiety. “To be honest, coping with change used to be very difficult for me,” she says. “Today, I’m better at it because of the skills and resilience I’ve developed.” Good habits like eating healthy and daily exercise help her better cope with the stresses of unexpected change.
Cara looks forward to helping students by sharing her experiences and ideas. She is happy to follow up with students after the event through email.
To read more about Cara's experience, click here.
Cara began working for the Ontario Government several months after graduating the University of Waterloo in 2000. Cara’s current position is Correspondence Writer with the Ontario government, and has held the position for about twelve years. Before that, she held positions in policy and program operations with the Ontario government.
Cara’s current responsibilities include researching, writing and editing responses to correspondence for the signature of the Minister, Deputy Minister or Parliamentary Assistant. She also provides professional proofreading and copyrighting services, creates Minister’s greetings for event materials, and verifies that outgoing correspondence is in plain language, accurate, and adheres to protection of privacy requirements. Cara works closely with both political and ministry staff.
Senior Sustainability Planner, City of Kitchener
Sarah is a part of Kitchener’s Long Range & Policy Planning team, where her focus is on issues related to energy, climate change, and sustainability in the planning and development process. Change is a critical part of working within the sustainability field, particularly around energy and climate change. To Sarah, it’s all about coping with a massive, global change and trying to spin it in a positive way so that we can embrace the changes. “Personally, coping with change brings to mind having the tools—the support system—to recognize periods of change and find ways to work through it confidently,” she says, “so that we’re coming out the other side better off than before.”
Sarah loved the Faculty of Environment’s community, as a student, alumni and staff person. She very much appreciated the opportunities she was given to network with students and alumni, and so she would like to give back to the school. She would be happy to speak with students after the event through email.
To read more about Sarah's experience, click here.
After finishing her master’s degree in Urban Planning at Queens University, Sarah returned to the Waterloo Region to work with ClimateActionWR, a collaboration between REEP Green Solutions, Sustainable Waterloo Region and the Region of Waterloo, to work on the “Community Climate Action Plan” as Project Manager. Her responsibilities included working between the organizations to develop a partnership between companies and municipalities, with the end goal of developing an action plan and target.
After three years, Sarah moved to the Interdisciplinary Centre for Climate Change at the University of Waterloo, a research entity that aims to provide relevant scientific input to improve decision-making in business, government and civil society for responding effectively to climate change, where she worked as the Associate Director. She worked across campus on climate change issues.
Less than a year ago, Sarah finally moved to her current position, Senior Sustainability Planner with the City of Kitchener, where she focuses on issues related to energy, climate change, and sustainability in the planning and development process. She also helps local businesses works toward greenhouse gas reduction goals and land development progress.
Principle, Momentum Development
Brian is a successful entrepreneur in the real estate industry and co-founder of Momentum Developments, a real estate developer and builder based in Waterloo. Brian believes that, as a self-employed individual, you need to adapt, look out, and make necessary changes for day-to-day operations, and if needed, your own values and principles. “You’ll fall behind quickly if you don’t adapt,” he says, “and you need to question yourself daily to make sure you’re on the right track.”
Brian believes that his success has a lot to do with the fact that Waterloo is a university city, and the real estate market is the way it is because of the university culture. He therefore wants to give back to the University of Waterloo and its students, and share his own experiences.
To read more about Brian's experience, click here.
Brian began his university career as a Planning student, but realized soon after that he was better-suited for Geography. After graduating from the University of Waterloo, Brian began work as a GIS Applications Specialist with Angus GeoSolutions Inc.
In June of 2003, he moved into real estate development, where he managed and leased as many as thirty residential units, both family and low-income housing in Cambridge and Chatham. He was also involved in the redevelopment of students properties throughout Waterloo.
In 2006, Brian co-founded Momentum Developments, a condominium developer and builder in the Waterloo region. Over the last ten years, the company has earned a reputation as a best-in-class builder, and is well known for many of their development projects across the Waterloo Region. Their most recent project involves the development of a high rise building, One Victoria.
Managing Director, the Water Institute, University of Waterloo
Kevin has gained a vast amount of experience in the environment sector since graduating from the University of Waterloo, from consulting, to international development, to environmental standards. Kevin therefore understands that, when planning your career, people and circumstances change, and the best way to cope is to go with the flow. “‘Coping’ is such a harsh, glass-half-empty word,” he says, “it’s better to embrace change, and let things work out for you the organic way.”
Kevin thinks that the Leadership Breakfast is an important event for the University to host; bringing people with different experiences, at different points in their career together to share their perspectives with each other is invaluable. He is happy to connect with students after the event through email.
To read more about Kevin's experience, click here.
After graduating from the University of Waterloo, Kevin worked in the Environmental Consulting industry for ten years, where he performed a variety of water-related projects throughout North America. He then moved onto international development. Kevin spent four years in Indonesia as an independent environmental consultant in the water sector, focusing on capacity building and training. He then returned to Canada to work in environmental standards with the Canadian Standards Association and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), where he helped facilitate the development of environmental sustainability standards, both locally and internationally.
In July 2011, Kevin became the Managing Director at the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo.
Principal Planner, Transit Development, Region of Waterloo
Eric has obtained an extensive amount of international planning experience since graduating from the University of Waterloo in 2011. The first thing to understand about change, to Eric, is that it is an inevitable part of life, and an ongoing thing. Coping with change is therefore finding the good in change, regardless of how unsettling it may be. “There may be some disruption,” he says, “you may have to do something differently, the way you may not want to, but you’ve got to find the good in it.”
To read more about Eric's experience, click here.
Eric was able to spend a few months travelling once he had graduated from the University of Waterloo, from Hawaii to Europe, before landing a summer job with the City of Ottawa. In the fall, he moved to England to complete a master’s degree in planning at University College London. During his degree, he worked over the summer with the London Borough of Camden, a local authority there.
Eric moved back to Waterloo at the start of 2013, and has since worked with the Region as a Principal Planner. In this role, Eric coordinates and implements many transit development projects and strategies. His purpose is to help create a transit-supportive community, enhance quality of life, and encourage sustainable development within the region.
Cultural Heritage Supervisor, Region of Waterloo
Since graduation from the University of Waterloo, Kate has successfully received a master’s degree from the University of Guelph as well as gained a range of experience from a local nonprofit to working multiple roles within the Region of Waterloo. To her, coping with change means being flexible, thinking strategically about each step you take and how that step will bring you closer to your end goal. “Change brings opportunity,” Kate noted. “People are always afraid of change; they have to realize that it brings opportunity to make things better.”
Kate has had strong mentors throughout her career, and believes it is important to give back what was received. She is happy to connect with students through her email.
To read more about Kate's experience, click here.
Kate Hagerman, Cultural Heritage Supervisor at the Region of Waterloo, works collaboratively with municipal partners and community stakeholders to support local cultural development and to conserve cultural heritage resources throughout the Region. Over the past thirteen years, her professional work as a cultural heritage planner has focused on strategic planning and policy development, cultural mapping, public art commissioning, heritage bridge recognition, scenic road preservation, identification of regionally significant heritage resources, cultural heritage landscape conservation, and protection of archaeological resources. Kate has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, a Master of Science in Rural Planning from University of Guelph, and worked previously in the non-profit sector promoting heritage appreciation and education. Expandable text.
Planner, Dillon Consulting Limited
Since graduating in 2013, Zahra has gained a great deal of experience through volunteering and training programs. As a result of a challenging job market, Zahra always had to hold onto the vision of how she wanted her life to be when coping with change, and learned to be flexible and fluid in adapting to whatever life brought her. “Life does change, and it may seem like it’s moving you away from your path but may, in fact, be moving you closer to it,” she says. “Widening your scope a little bit to see the opportunities as they present themselves is what really matters when coping with change.”
Zahra was fortunate enough to have had mentors take the time to share their experience and wisdom at various stages of her career and education, so she is happy to have the opportunity to pay it forward. Students who wish to contact Zahra after the event may do so through email.
To read more about Zahra's experience, click here.
Zahra graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Master of Environmental Studies degree in Planning in 2013. Because her undergraduate degree was in a different field, she had to catch up on core software and planning skills on her own time.
After graduating, Zahra volunteered remotely with companies in Pakistan, Kenya, and Dubai. The job market, at the time, was highly competitive, and oftentimes she found the need to take a proactive approach to identifying potential opportunities by scheduling informational interviews and building a network often through cold-calling prospective employers. Zahra was accepted into a unique ten-month program at a consulting firm where she worked across multiple different disciplines and offices across the country, ultimately settling into a full-time position in Kitchener at the end of the term.
Zahra currently works as a Planner at Dillon Consulting Ltd, a Canadian consulting firm.
Anna Marie Cipriani
Sustainability Coordinator, City of Waterloo
Anna Marie has gained a wide range of knowledge and experience since graduating from the University of Waterloo, from starting work as a general labourer with the City of Waterloo, to getting accepted to medical school, to finishing a master’s degree in Planning. To her, coping with change is simply “meeting life on life’s terms.” Specifically for Anna Marie, meditation has built her capacity to be able to meet life on life’s terms from moment to moment. “It provides a really strong foundation to live on,” she says. “It’s not that life is made easy—there is just a real capacity that develops to be able to meet change as it unfolds with grace.”
Anna Marie is excited to offer what she has learned and experienced to students, and is happy to connect with anyone interested after the event through email or telephone.
To read about Anna Marie's experience, click here.
When Anna Marie graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1998, she worked with the City of Waterloo as a general labourer, planting vegetation and doing grounds-keeping. Her ‘Plan A’ was to become a doctor of naturopathic medicine, and even went back to high school after completing her undergraduate degree to obtain the prerequisites to apply to medical school. Though Anna Marie eventually got accepted to medical school, due to unforeseen circumstances, she chose to pursue her ‘Plan B’ of becoming a Planner.
In 2001, Anna Marie returned to her previous job with the City of Waterloo, and spent some time doing contract work. Then, later in the year, the moved into the role of Environmental Enforcement Officer with the City of Waterloo, where her main task was to manage human interaction with green space, as well as encroachment work. Anna Marie enjoyed the positive environment at the City of Waterloo, and the feeling of being grounded in her community.
With the support of the City of Waterloo, Anna Marie was able to complete a master’s degree in Planning at the University of Waterloo.
In 2008, a desire for the organization to refresh their environmental strategy emerged as climate change became a more prominent issue among corporations. The Sustainability Coordinator position was thus created in 2015, and Anna Marie moved into the position.
Environment, Health & Safety Consultant, Toronto Hydro
Aaron’s primary area of responsibility is sustainability at Toronto Hydro, concentrating on minimizing environment impacts such as waste generation and GHG emissions. He is also responsible for compiling the annual corporate responsibility report. As a professional, Aaron has to keep a level head when dealing with change and adversity, whether it is turning it into something positive, or owning up to mistakes. “Things are going to go different that you planned, and you’re going to have to make the best of it,” he says. “The big thing is to not get comfortable—the more comfortable you are, the more difficult it is to deal with change.”
Aaron is excited to share his own experience with students, and relay the importance of taking a co-op job seriously. He is happy to communicate after the event via email.
To read more about Aaron's experience, click here.
As a graduate from the co-operative Environment and Business program at the University of Waterloo, Aaron was able to gain a range of experience in his field, from environmental management systems to environmental site assessments.
Aaron began working with Toronto Hydro once graduated in 2013 as an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Analyst, a support role within the organization. His main duties included developing and communicating a solid waste management program and audit, reviewing and providing feedback for various EHS programs and procedures, and maintaining EHS management software by providing assistance entering and editing inspections, incidents and audits.
After a year in the position, Aaron moved into the role of EHS Associate, where he conducted various environmental audits, prepared audit reports for management, coordinated a waste diversion pilot program aimed at increasing waste diversion rate, and liaised with both federal and municipal environmental officials.
Finally, in March 2015, Aaron moved to his current position as EHS Consultant.
Deb Adams Jasinski
Freelance Senior Floral Designer, Purple Freesia Designs & Executive District Manager, Arbonne International
Deb works as a professional floral designer, and has worked for four different flower design studios in Ontario and Quebec over the last 22 years. Her roles included working as an event organizer, to hire, train and manage design teams, and to order flowers from growers and suppliers. Recently, Deb has gone through a major career change that she is embracing wholeheartedly. As a result, it is taking her to places she had never imagined for herself. “Change is a scary thing for many people,” she says, “we often avoid it for fear of the unknown. But change is what keeps life from becoming stagnant – it allows us to develop new skills and meet new people.”
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
Deb is happy to connect with students after the event via email.
To read more about Deb's experience, click here.
Deb is a professional floral designer. For the last 22 years she has managed four different flower design studios in Ontario and Quebec. Her responsibilities within these companies ranged from event organizing; hiring, training and managing design teams; and ordering flowers from growers and suppliers. She has, over the years, worked in famous venues/locations, providing floral designs for politicians, royalty, scientists, athletes, major corporations, musicians and actors.
In 2015, Deb was introduced to the network marketing industry. She began to build a part time business for herself with Arbonne International, a company that distributes pure, safe, and beneficial health and wellness products, as well as teaches others how to do the same. Deb is currently an Executive District Manager for Arbonne.
In February 2017, Deb left her position as Flower Studio Manager. She is no longer associated with any one particular studio, but rather has taken her floral design skills to the freelance level. Studios, wedding/event planners, and venues contact Deb for design assistance when they have advanced level projects.
Regional Sustainability Initiative Member Engagement Coordinator, Sustainable Waterloo Region
Samantha is the Member Engagement Coordinator for the Regional Sustainable Initiative at Sustainable Waterloo Region. To her, having the right attitude when you experience change is critical. It’s best to keep in mind that any feelings of unease or apprehension are temporary, and a good mindset can turn anything into an exciting opportunity. “I would say that there is going to be a lot of change,” she says, “but even though things are a certain way, they don’t have to be like that. It can be really exciting.”
Having participated in the previous Leadership Breakfast, Samantha is excited to share her experiences with a new set of students. Her experience as a University of Waterloo student, with her professors, classes and co-ops were wonderful, and she is eager to give back.
Samantha is currently on maternity leave; she would prefer to connect with students after the event through LinkedIn.
To read more about Samantha's experience, click here.
After finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo, Samantha moved on to complete a master’s degree in climate change policy at Queen’s University. During her master’s, Samantha worked as the SGPS Sustainability Coordinator.
After completing her degree, Samantha moved to Whistler, where she worked on the Whistler Olympic Committee, in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. She then spent a year travelling through Asia and India, and even spent some time working in Australia.
Samantha then returned to Canada and joined the Otesha Group, a travelling volunteer theatre company, for their Phenomenal Food Tour. The tour focused on the personal choices that people make, and worked to stress how one person’s choice can make a difference. In an effort to “walk the talk,” the group biked everywhere they went; no gasoline or cars were used for the entire two-month tour. They also ate an exclusively vegan diet and frequently volunteered on farms.
Afterward, Samantha returned to the corporate world, and worked events and marketing for two years, during which she did a significant amount of travelling through Canada and the United States.
Currently, Samantha is employed with Sustainable Waterloo Region, a membership-based non-profit focused within the Waterloo Region. They primarily help organizations with their greenhouse gas inventory, waste diversion, and water foot-printing by helping to set targets and realistic reductions, as well as integrating sustainability policies and initiatives in organizations’ business practices.