Fall 2017 Leadership Breakfast SeriesExport this event to calendar

Monday, September 18, 2017 — 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM EDT

Fall 2017 LBS PosterLeadership 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 WeberElena 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 elena.weberkraljevska@wcdsb.ca.

Jennifer HollisterJennifer Hollister
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.

Tania Del MattoTania 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. 

Brigitte RothBrigitte Roth
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.”

As a University of Waterloo alumni and generally helpful person, Brigitte is happy to help guide and provide answers to our students. She would be delighted to connect via email or LinkedIn.

Dana DecentDana Decent
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.

Maria legaultMaria Legault
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.”

Maria is very willing to connect with students over email, LinkedIn, or even a cup of coffee.

Shannon MajorShannon Major
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.

David WadeDavid Wade
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.

Rob TheodosiouRob Theodosiou
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.

Wendy de GomezWendy 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.

Kristen HarrisonKristen Harrison
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.

Laurel Davies SnyderLaurel 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.”

Laurel recognizes the importance of maintaining a good connection to schools and students, and is happy to get connected via email or LinkedIn.

Sarah BrownSarah Brown
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.

Brian PrudhamBrian Prudham
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.

Kevin BoehmerKevin Boehmer
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.

Eric PisaniEric Pisani
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.”

Eric is excited to be participating in his second Leadership Breakfast. He is happy to follow up with students through email or LinkedIn.

Kate HagermanKate Hagerman
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.

Zahra JafferZahra Jaffer
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.

Anna Marie CiprianiAnna 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.

Aaron WilhelmAaron Wilhelm
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.

Deb JasinskiDeb 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.

Samantha TavenorSamantha Tavenor
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.

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