Hear from industry leaders

Catherine McKenna

The Hon. Catherine McKenna

Former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change 

As the former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, The Honourable Catherine McKenna has spearheaded ground-breaking environmental initiatives across Canada. She was a lead negotiator of the Paris Agreement, has successfully defended landmark legislation to establish a carbon price, and led the efforts to phase out coal, reduce plastics, and double the amount of nature protected in Canada. McKenna is dedicated to drastically reducing global emissions by 2030 to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations. 

In addition to serving as the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (2015-2019), she was also the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities from 2019 to 2021. In this role, she made historic investments in sustainable infrastructure, including leveraging private sector investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and led the development of Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment to drive net-zero emissions by 2050. McKenna is Founder and Principal of Climate and Nature Solutions.

Barbara Zvan

Barbara Zvan

President and CEO of University Pension Plan (UPP)

Barbara Zvan is recognized globally for her leadership in sustainable finance and as an ambassador for defined benefit pensions. As President and CEO of University Pension Plan (UPP), and former Chief Risk & Strategy Officer at the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, her experience in integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions is both pioneering and influential. 

She is also a member of the Government of Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance. Barbara is the co-founder of the G7 Investment Leadership Network and a board member for the Global Risk Institute and the Responsible Investment Association. She is an experienced advisor for the Institute of Sustainable Finance at the Smith School of Business and the Investing to Address Climate Change university charter. Notably, she is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and holder of the Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D). Barbara is an Honouree of Canada’s 2020 Clean50 and 2008 Top 40 under 40.

Michael Torrance headshot

Michael Torrance

Chief Sustainability Officer at BMO Financial Group

Michael Torrance is the Chief Sustainability Officer at BMO Financial Group, overseeing sustainability strategy and leading bank-wide initiatives on climate change, environmental and social risk, ESG focused investor relations, sustainability related disclosure, operational sustainability and sustainable finance. Michael founded and oversees the BMO Climate Institute as part of the banks’ net zero focused Climate Ambition.

Prior to joining BMO Michael was a partner at a major international law firm where he led client advisory on environmental and social risk matters. He has served on the Global Steering Committee of UNEP-FI, the Global Steering Committee of the Equator Principles Association and Chaired the Social Risk Working Group and North America Working Group and is the author of numerous articles as well as a guidebook on international sustainability standards. Michael hosts the BMO Sustainability Leaders podcast. 

Tracy Mann

Tracy Mann, CA, CPA (Illinois), MAcc

Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) at Definity Financial

Tracy Mann, CPA, CA, CPA (Illinois), MAcc, is the Vice President, Enterprise Risk Management and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) at Definity Financial. At Definity she has held various senior positions in the Finance and the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) departments. In ERM, Tracy supports front-line management to identify and manage risks and opportunities.  As CCO, Tracy champions regulatory compliance risk management. 

Ally Karmali

Ally Karmali

Partner, KPMG's ESG Practice

Ally has over 15 years of experience working with mid-to-large tier institutions across Canada, United States, Europe and the Caribbean. He began his sustainability journey as a prudential regulator working with various supervisory bodies to identify and address climate risk to asset and liability holders. Ally then joined a climate risk management firm specializing in climate risk analytics and alternative risk transfer mechanisms to identify and address balance sheet impact due to climate change.

Ally joined IBM Canada, where he developed and led their national sustainability practice. He applied exponential technology solutions to drive operational efficiencies and positive environmental and social impact for clients across multiple sectors. His practice focused on enabling solutions for energy transition, responsible sourcing, responsible computing, GHG management, sustainable agriculture, sustainable mining, and sustainable finance.

Ally has published several articles on sustainability, presented at sustainability conferences, and participated in expert panels with the Globe & Mail, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, and the Globe Series on topics such as ESG reporting, ‘SustainableTech’, Climate Change Policy, ESG standards and regulations.

Frances Edmonds

Frances Edmonds

Head of Sustainable Impact at HP Canada

Frances Edmonds is the Head of Sustainable Impact at HP Canada, where she is responsible for business development and oversees Corporate Social Responsibility programs nationally. With a focus on sustainable procurement, Frances is driving meaningful change cross-sector that supports a more circular and sustainable economic future for Canada. With more than 30 years of experience, Frances is recognized as one of Canada’s top sustainability professionals having received two Clean 50 awards, is listed on the Canadian Women in the IT Channel Hall of Fame and has led HP to became the most sustainable technology company in Canada. 

Passionate about driving change through education, Frances has developed and implemented volunteer programs globally for HP. She is Vice Chair of the board of Learning for a Sustainable Future and serves as a consultant for customers and academic institutions on sustainability strategies. She also sits on the Sustainable Development Advisory Council for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada as well as having completed work on the Expert Panel on the Circular Economy in Canada as assembled by the Council of Canadian Academies. 

Catherine Abreu

Catherine Abreu

Founder and Executive Director, Destination Zero

Catherine Abreu, Founder and Executive Director of Destination Zero, is an internationally recognized, award-winning climate justice advocate with 15 years of experience in the heart of the global climate movement. Recognized for her diplomacy, communications, and coalition-building skills, she's one of the world’s top 100 climate policy influencers according to Apolitical.

Catherine is honoured to have been named 2023’s National Hero by Canada’s Walk of Fame. She is one of 14 appointed members of Canada's Net-Zero Advisory Body, the legally-mandated expert body tasked with providing advice to government on pathways to meet its climate commitments. She serves as an advisor to the Canadian Climate Institute and sits on the Boards and steering committees of several organizations, including Climate Action Network Canada, the Global Gas and Oil Network, and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. Catherine is the recipient of the 2020 Jack Layton Progress Prize for her transformative work, and was named to Canada’s Clean50 in 2018.

Her expertise makes her a vital figure in climate policy and action, shaping global discussions on the transition toward clean energy.

Geordie Hungerford

Geordie Hungerford

Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Financial Management Board

Geordie is the Chief Executive Officer of the First Nations Financial Management Board, one of three national fiscal institutions created under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act to support First Nations economic development. 

He brings deep experience in finance and financial law, with experience as a securities regulatory lawyer at the BC Securities Commission, financial tribunal Chair and CEO at the Financial Services Tribunal (BC), management consultant at McKinsey & Company and investment banker at Broadview (now Jefferies). He has also practised Aboriginal and corporate law at a national law firm, and driven economic development initiatives for the Gwich'in Nation. 

Geordie served as a member of the Independent Review Committee on Standard Setting in Canada that conducted a review from 2021 to early 2023 to ensure Canadian audit and accounting standard setting will continue to be independent and internationally recognized and recommended the creation of the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board. 

In December of 2022, the Chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board appointed Geordie as a Special Advisor to provide strategic counsel on issues relating to natural ecosystems and just transition. Geordie is a member of CFA Canada’s Canadian Advisory Committee for investment policy and on the Board of the Responsible Investment Association Canada and the advisory board for the Peter Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics (UBC Sauder). 

Geordie is Gwich'in (Northwest Territories. Yukon and Alaska First Nation). 

Tracy Primeau

Tracy Primeau

Founder & Principal, Agile Bear Consulting 

Tracy is one of the few women to become a CNSC licensed operator at Bruce Power and was the first to do so at Bruce A.  She is the only woman to ever work her way up to Shift Manager from the shop floor where she started as a nuclear operator in training in 1990 at Pickering.  She worked shift for most of her career and before retiring in 2021 led multiple teams in operations and maintenance.  She is a current member of the Women in Nuclear Canada Board, the United College Board of Governors and the Ontario Power Generation Board.  She is also the Founder and Principal of Agile Bear.

Raising her two boys with her husband Dave, Tracy has always been active in her community.  She has years of volunteer and board experience both in the energy industry and in various other organizations. 

She is a proud member of the Nipissing First Nation and strives to use the Seven Grandfather Teachings in her leadership.  

Ewa Jackson

Ewa Jackson

Managing Director, ICLEI

Ewa Jackson is a leader in the field of municipal climate adaptation and resilience. Ewa Jackson has worked with municipal governments for over 20 years in the fields of sustainability, public participation, and climate change.

In addition to managing ICLEI Canada’s operational and program activities, Ewa Jackson is project manager for many ICLEI Canada consulting activities and has worked on numerous adaptation and sustainability monitoring and evaluation projects, including those of local, national, and international scope.

Ewa Jackson’s particular field of interest is in the area of climate communications, and how effective and targeted communications can be used to move forward with the implementation of adaptive actions. She works with specialists in the field to keep officials at the forefront and responding to the advancements being made. She often speaks publicly on the state of adaptation planning across Canada and internationally.

Tom Ewart

Tom Ewart

Associate Vice-President of Sustainability, The Co-operators Group

Tom Ewart is Associate Vice-President of Sustainability at The Co-operators Group. He and his team help the organization realize its vision of being a “catalyst for a resilient and sustainable society.” Their efforts have resulted in Co-operators being recognized as the most sustainable insurer in the world, the most sustainable co-operative in the world, and among the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada for more consecutive years than worth counting, including #1 most recently in 2019-2020.

Prior to joining Co-operators, Tom was the founding Managing Director of the Network for Business
Sustainability (NBS.net)—a network of more than 6,000 researchers and managers committed to
advancing sustainable business. Alongside this work, he also taught courses in Western University’s
Masters of Environment and Sustainability program, and in the University of Waterloo’s Environment
and Business Program.

Nenone Donaldson

Nenone Donaldson

Vice-President, Advancement, University of Waterloo

Nenone leads a high-performing team at the University of Waterloo that works to inspire donor and alumni engagement, building a pan-university culture of philanthropy. She is a strategic thinker who consistently develops strong relationships and creates beneficial alliances and partnerships.

A professional fundraiser since 1998, Nenone joined the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering in 2004 during Campaign Waterloo as one of the institution’s first Faculty-based fundraisers. In 2013, she launched the highly successful Educating the Engineer of the Future campaign that raised over $100 million. In 2017, Nenone was promoted to lead the advancement team in Engineering, a portfolio that includes marketing, communications, recruitment, events, alumni relations and fundraising.

Beyond her professional roles, Nenone volunteers on not-for-profit advisory boards that support youth (including the Amici Camping Charity) and gives strategic guidance to technology start-ups on leadership, communications and human resources management.

Helen Slinger

Helen Slinger

Executive Director, Knowledge and Learning, Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) 

Helen Slinger is Executive Director at Accounting for Sustainability (A4S), leading our work to provide finance professionals with the knowledge, skills and practical guidance to embed sustainability into their business-as-usual. Whilst at A4S, Helen has led the development and delivery of the A4S Academy and driven the substantial expansion of A4S’s knowledge hub. 

During her time as Head of Sustainable Business at Yorkshire Water, Helen championed a transition to a sustainable business model. She was instrumental in formalising governance structures for their transition to net zero and advancing their TCFD, sustainable finance framework and multi-capitals impact reporting.

Previously at PwC, Helen supported a diverse portfolio of clients in addressing their sustainability challenges across governance, strategy, reporting and assurance.

Sarah Burch

Dr. Sarah Burch , PhD

Executive Director of the Waterloo Climate Institute

Dr. Sarah Burch is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, and holds a Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Governance and Innovation.  

She is the Executive Director of the Waterloo Climate Institute, a Lead Author of the United Nations’ Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and helped to lead expert input into the development of Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy. Her research uncovers transformative responses to climate change at the community scale, the political and justice dimensions of energy transitions, and the unique contributions that small businesses can make to this solving these complex challenges. 

Dr. Burch holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. She was named to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars in 2017, one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40TM in 2018, and one of Canada’s Clean 50 in 2021. 

Blair Feltmate

Dr. Blair Feltmate

Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo 

Blair Feltmate is the Head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo. Previous positions he has held include Vice President, Sustainable Development, Bank of Montreal; Director, Sustainable Development, Ontario Power Generation; Partner, Sustainable Investment Group/YMG Capital Management.  Blair has written textbooks on Sustainable Banking and Aquatic Ecology. 

Blair is on the Advisory Table, National Adaptation Strategy, Canada.  He is Sustainable Finance Council member, Global Risk Institute, and he is a member of Climate Proof Canada (Insurance Bureau of Canada).  Blair is on the Science, Innovation and Policy Board of Canada’s Forest Trust.  He is on the Climate Advisory Board, Minister of Environment (Ontario). Blair was Chair, Federal Government of Canada Expert Panel on Climate Adaptation. 

He holds a Ph.D in Theoretical and Applied Ecology (University of Toronto), Master’s in Sustainable Development (Wilfrid Laurier University), Master’s in Zoology (University of Toronto), and Hon. Bachelor’s Biology (University of Toronto).  

Jennifer Lynes

Dr. Jennifer Lynes

Co-Director, Sustainability and Financial Management Program, University of Waterloo

Dr. Jennifer Lynes is associate professor at the University of Waterloo in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development and co-director of Canada’s first undergraduate program in Sustainability & Financial Management. Her area of expertise is at the intersection of sustainability and marketing, with a particular focus on how organizations communicate information about climate change.  She holds an advisory position with the Privy Council’s Program of Applied Research on Climate Action.  

For over two decades she has demonstrated leadership in sustainability through her research, teaching and long-standing support of community initiatives. This includes 10 years as a board member for REEP Green Solutions and six years as director of Canada’s leading program in the environment and business. 

Dr. Lynes holds a PhD from the Griffith University (Australia), a Masters in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from the University of Guelph. Her work has been featured in the Nature Energy, the Globe and Mail and on CBC’s The Current

Jennifer Roedding headshot

Jennifer Roedding, CA, CPA, ICD.D

Executive in Residence at the Hub for Sustainability Integration, University of Waterloo

Jennifer is the Executive in Residence at the Hub for Sustainability Integration. Jennifer is President of Roedding Associates Management Consultants Inc., which provides business transformation expertise across multiple sectors internationally.

She is an accomplished and innovative Corporate Director, Executive Leader, and Business Transformation Consultant. She has a proven track record of adding value, having assisted hundreds of organizations to transform to achieve greater profitability, efficiency, and effectiveness in alignment with their strategies. Jennifer’s distinguished career in both audit and consulting includes 25 years at a national firm, where she was National Consulting Partner for telecommunications and technology.

Jennifer is a Corporate Director for Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) and Chairs its Audit and Risk Management Committee. She also Chairs the Board of Directors for Alimentiv, an international biotech and clinical research organization operating in 62 countries. Jennifer is currently an elected member of CPAO Council, serving her second term.

Blake Phillips

Blake Phillips

Director, School of Accounting and Finance, University of Waterloo

Blake Phillips is the director of the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo and co-director of the Bachelor of Sustainability and Financial Management jointly offered by the School and the Faculty of Environment.

Blake received a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia in 1996, a Master of Forestry and Master of Business Administration from the University of Alberta in 2004 and a PhD in Finance also from the University of Alberta in 2009.  Prior to commencing his doctoral studies, Blake was a Registered Professional Forester and Registered Professional Biologist in British Columbia, where he was a managing partner with an ecosystem restoration consulting firm.

If you have any questions, please contact uwsustainabilityhub@uwaterloo.ca.