Kady Cowan is Founder of the Sustainability Studio. She invites organizations and institutions to collaborate in the Studio where they have time to learn and practice combining sustainability, environmental protection, climate safety and a wholistic ecosystem perspective into both strategic and everyday activities at work. Kady facilitates the adoption of positive environmental behaviours while integrating ecological decision making in complex work settings. This tailored experience helps create conditions for effective staff and executive engagement so that transformative solutions emerge and persist for the long term.
Board of Directors
Maureen is a former librarian at Toronto Public Library, the world’s busiest urban public library. Maureen holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Toronto. She has long been interested in the intersection of public services and the community. A former president of the Toronto Public Library Workers, she led a campaign to prevent the closure of libraries and highlighted a deep commitment to her city. She worked tirelessly at the local, provincial, and national level in CUPE to show the negative impact of precarious work on not only workers but the health of their communities. She was a long-time labour representative with United Way Toronto and Chair of the Municipal Committee of the Toronto and York Regional Labour Council. Marueen is currently Recording Secretary for the Toronto Workers History Project and Book Club coordinator. Also sits on The Refugee Next Door Project at Labour Community Services.
Melissa Jean-Baptiste Vajda is a Human Rights lawyer currently working as a Human Rights and Equity advisor at a french catholic school board where she advises on key human rights and equity issues in order to help ensure that the school board meets its mandate of providing inclusive and equitable access to education to all students while also ensuring that all processes and procedures are compliant with the Ontario Human Rights Code. Melissa is also a former community legal clinic lawyer who practiced in downtown Toronto in the areas of Housing, Human Rights and Workers’ Rights. She is a dedicated advocate for social justice.
Lisa is a practicing lawyer in Toronto, specializing in human rights and mental health law. In the course of her career, she has worked on a number of precedent-setting cases, always striving to advance equity and human rights principles in workplaces, compensation, and healthcare settings. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Lisa holds a Master of Arts in Women's Studies and Feminist Research from the University of Western Ontario and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Queen's University. Prior to law school, she worked at a number of nonprofit organizations supporting people in accessing and maintaining safe and affordable housing.
Michal is the Executive Director of Progress Toronto, a not for profit that advocates and organizes for a more democratic, socially just, and progressive city. Michal was 2017 Campaign Director for Jagmeet Singh’s successful NDP Leadership Campaign. She is Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Broadbent Institute and a founding board member of The Urban Worker Project. She was one of Chatelaine's Top Women in Canada of 2017. For six years, she served as Chief of Staff to Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton, where she worked on a wide range of policy issues and city-wide campaigns. In 2014, she was Field Director for Olivia Chow'sToronto Mayoral Campaign. From 2008 to 2011, she worked at the Toronto Environmental Alliance. Michal has helped to train candidates and activists on organizing. Through work and activism, Michal has had leading roles on a number of issue-based and electoral campaigns at the municipal, provincial and federal levels across Canada.
For twenty years Simon has worked in non-profits and in the public sector to build activism and capacity. Half of that time was spent as a social worker. He currently works as a researcher for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Simon has previously sat on the advisory boards of the CCPA-Ontario and Columbia Institute (Ontario). Of special interest is the preservation of public services and how the public sector can contribute to meeting the challenges of climate change and create a policy framework for improvement of the environment.
Edward Xie works as an emergency physician and assistant professor at the University of Toronto. He is a fellow of the Centre for Sustainable Health Systems and a PhD student in the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation where he studies issues focussing on pharmacare and resilience to climate change. He has worked with the Decent Work and Health Network, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and MSF on structural determinants of health.
For over 20 years, Jin has worked and consulted in government and multiple non-profit sectors, including the immigrant and refugee serving sector, LGBTQ+ health, community arts, social housing and the environment. She holds two post-secondary degrees in environmental studies. As a consultant and senior manager, she has worked on strategic and systems planning initiatives, change management, program development, partnership/team building, staff learning and development, and conflict resolution. Currently, Jin runs her consulting practice while also working as a Program Director in a multi-service community organization located in northwest Toronto called North York Community House. Throughout all this work, she brings a passionate commitment to equity, anti-oppression, and social, environmental, and economic justice. Jin lives with her partner in east Toronto and spends most of her spare time chasing after her energetic toddler and her shy rescue dog. Her hobbies also include cycling, camping, reading, singing, and watching movies.
Nour Alideeb is a student at the University of Toronto Mississauga, completing a major in Economics and a double minor in Biology and Women and Gender Studies. There, she got involved in the Ministry of Environment where she helped create and implement green initiatives on and off campus. Nour went on to serve two terms at the University of Toronto Mississauga Students' Union as the Vice-President University Affairs & Academics, then as President. She is now the Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario, representing over 300,000 students across the province. Nour is the official spokesperson for the organization and helps with the development and implementation of a wide variety of campaigns and services.