Evan Vandermeer

Trading Post Coordinator

Evan started his professional journey at an industrious gas station and diner located on Oneida of the Thames. Throughout his twenties, he honed his skills in the hospitality industry and continuously sought out opportunities for further education and unique career experiences. In 2016, he transitioned to the real estate industry where he worked as a buyers agent and OSA. In his spare time, Evan has also run various pop-up businesses, including catering and teaching others how to cook and grow mushrooms. Currently, he is a B. Sc. candidate at the University of Waterloo and in May 2022, he founded a mushroom biotechnology company with the goal of supporting a sustainable future. This start-up has received recognition and grants from the Waterloo innovation community. Evan is excited to share his experiences with aspiring entrepreneurs and encourage them to embrace the uncertainty that comes with pursuing their passions.

Lily Viggiano

Program Design Lead and Trainer, GreenHouse

Lily Viggiano first engaged with GreenHouse back in 2014 with her kitchen-table idea, Empowering Proactive Youth in Communities (EPYC). GreenHouse students engaged with EPYC by supporting high school students to bring their community action ideas to life, as well as offering volunteers, speakers, and space. Lily spent the last four years in the Halton Region, working with Our Kids Network on the Halton Youth Initiative project. Lily is thrilled to be back in the Waterloo Region connecting high school students, post-secondary students, and community agencies together through a new pilot program, Changemaker Labs. 

Malak Sameh

GreenHouse Student Engagement Coordinator

Malak is a recent graduate of Global Studies with a specialization in International Development and an option in Social Entrepreneurship from Wilfrid Laurier University.  In April 2022, Malak founded Sporas Scattered to help uplift Palestinian identity within the Palestinian Diaspora youth community. As founder, she has hosted various cultural programs that have provided the Palestinian community in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region to connect with their roots. In 2021, Malak was awarded a fellowship from the Social Innovation Academy, deepening her understanding of social innovation and entrepreneurship while working alongside various social and environmental start-up projects. 

Malak looks forward to helping students discover their passion for social or environmental change and guiding them on through engaging with their target audiences.

Benjamin Ross Makela

Director of Trading Post

Benjamin grew up in a family-owned business that served the remote Indigenous communities of northwestern Ontario. This lifestyle cultivated his entrepreneurial mindset at an early age and instilled the need for more Indigenous-led businesses to serve our Indigenous communities.

Staying near to the family business of building material supply, he majored in Architectural Technology & Construction Management although realigned himself closer to his true passion for entrepreneurship after taking a Master’s degree focused innovation and entrepreneurship at the Smith School of Business at Queen's University where he deepened his knowledge of venture creation.

Since graduating, Benjamin has been working with a Toronto-based venture studio, working alongside seasoned entrepreneurs forming ideas into viable businesses. This experience has given him a wealth of knowledge and insight which he is excited to share with his fellow entrepreneurs at the Trading Post.

Tania Del Matto

Director of GreenHouse

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.

As Director of United College's GreenHouse, she 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 impacts, both in economic growth and improving the human condition.

Erin Hogan

GreenHouse Programs Manager

Erin was first introduced to GreenHouse as a student participating in the Workplace Innovation Program, where her team worked with the Multiple Sclerosis Society to improve disability support services. She led and coordinated multiple projects through various stages in order to simplify financial assistance applications. Erin graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (BKI) and specializations in Collaborative Design and Science, Technology, and Society. She also holds a Certificate in Adventure Tourism from the Westcoast Adventure College. 

Erin is excited about returning to GreenHouse as the Programs Manager and looks forward to supporting students engaging in innovative problem solving through social entrepreneurship. Erin brings a background in program design and delivery, with a special focus on experiential education for youth. She looks forward to applying her skills in interdisciplinary collaboration and creative problem solving to continue to improve GreenHouse's programs and processes. 

Jacob Crane

Indigenous Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Starting his career selling bubble gum at pow wows at the age of nine, Jacob Crane describes himself as a lifelong entrepreneur. Coming to United College from Tsuut'ina Nation in Alberta, Jacob brings two decades of experience and a passion for supporting Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States. Most recently, Jacob worked as the Executive Director for the SLC Air Protectors, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving Indigenous people in Utah. He also co-founded and runs a media production company called The Arrow’s Journey, which showcases the stories of successful small Indigenous youth-led businesses and non-profits across the United States. He has been recognized with several awards and grants for his efforts in supporting Indigenous communities. 

In his role, Jacob looks forward to making a positive impact on the economic futures of Indigenous youth and empowering them to take charge of their lives by gaining the critical skills that come from being entrepreneurial. 

Sami Iskandar

Manager, Marketing and Communication

Sami Iskandar is a graduate of Schulich school of business, and a master graduate of business, entrepreneurship, and technology from the faculty of Engineering at the university of Waterloo. Sami has long held the beliefs that it is one’s duty and privilege to serve and help others, and in so doing come to frame the best course of action forward.

Peter Pillsworth

Facilities Manager

Growing up in the small town of Englehart in Northern Ontario, Peter is the longest-standing staff member at St. Paul’s, having been with the College since 2009.

Stephen Prentice

Director, Student Life

Growing up in the small town of  Newcastle, Ontario, Steve has been a part of the UWaterloo community since starting his undergraduate degree, majoring in Anthropology and Religious Studies. Coming to campus accompanied by his twin brother, he lived at Ron Eydt Village and enjoyed the excitement of a large residence.