Jason Bevan (MES ’06) – Director of City Planning Strategies, City of Mississauga
Jason Bevan has extensive professional consulting experience with community improvement plans, economic development, municipal long-range planning and development charges most recently with Hemson Consulting Ltd. In this role, his clients included the Ministry of Transportation, Region of Peel, Toronto Economic Development Corporation and several cities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Prior to his work with Hemson Consulting Ltd., Bevan worked as an Associate with R.E. Millward & Associates.
In addition to his professional work, Bevan has taught on municipal finance at both Ryerson University and York University. Bevan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics as well as a Master of Environmental Studies (Planning) degree both from York University. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP) and is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.
Tristan Costa (MES ’18) – Planner, City of Brampton
As a professional planner, I am committed to community innovation and resilience. I strive everyday to help build more sustainable, connected and vibrant neighbourhoods and communities for current and future generations. My area of work includes policy planning and community engagement.
Anique Jordan (MES ’15)
Award-winning artist, writer and curator, Anique Jordan, looks to answer the question of possibility in everything she creates. Working for over a decade at the crossroad of community economic development and art, Jordan’s practice stems from and returns to the communities that inform it. As an artist, Jordan’s work plays with the foundations of traditional Trinidadian carnival and the theory of hauntology challenging historical narratives and creating, what she calls, impossible images. She works across temporalities bringing historical data towards a contemporary analysis. This work creates space to reinterpret the archives offering a new and speculative vision of the future.
Jordan has lectured on her artistic and community engaged curatorial practice as a 2017 Canada Seminar speaker at Harvard University and in numerous institutions across the Americas including University of the West Indies, MIT, University of Toronto and UCLA. She has received numerous awards, grants and fellowships, participating in residencies around the world and exhibiting in galleries such as Art Gallery of Guelph, University of Toronto, the Wedge Curatorial Project, Art Gallery of Windsor, Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of York University, Gallery 44, and Y+ Contemporary. She is represented in public and private collections nationally, including the Wedge Collection, Toronto Dominion Bank, and the University of Toronto.
In 2017 Jordan was awarded the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist of the year award, she recently completed a 2017-2018 artist residency at the University of the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago) and was the 2018-19 Osgoode Hall Law School Artist-in-Residence.
Evans Rubara (MES ’15) – Manager, Programs and Research, Foundation for ASM Development (FADev)
Over 10 years, Evans has contributed in the development and management programs on Action Research, Stakeholder Engagement and influencing within the international development landscape. Evans’ focus has been on communities and the extractive industry. His work has given the opportunities to work and learn in the East and Southern African Communities (EAC and SADC), the African Continent, and internationally.
Evans has engaged at different levels in programme development and management, research and resource person, tutor and mentor for young and upcoming professionals interested in the Extractive Industries (mining, oil and gas) landscape, a critical voice and community mobiliser on socioeconomic and ecological justice against destructive extractivism.
Currently, Evans is the Manager for Programs and Research at Foundation for ASM Development (FADev), a local non-Governmental Organization he co-founded, working with partners and communities in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) sector in Tanzania.
Rochelle Strauss – Director of Education, Toronto Botanical Garden (MES ’94)
Rochelle Strauss is an award-winning children’s author, freelance writer and education consultant in Toronto, Ontario. A graduate of McGill University and York University, Rochelle specializes in the development and implementation of education, communication, and outreach initiatives. Rochelle has consulted on national and international projects and has worked with museums, public gardens, architects, designers, parks, NGO's, governments, schools and school boards.
In addition to her consulting work, Rochelle is also an accomplished children's author. Her best-selling books, Tree of Life: the Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth (Kids Can Press 2004) and One Well: the Story of Water on Earth (Kids Can Press, 2007), have been published internationally and incorporated into curricula across the US. Her new book, The Global Ocean (Kids Can Press) arrives spring 2022.
Through her work, Rochelle combines her love of nature and passion for stories to teach children about the wonders of the natural world.
Jonathan Cheszes (MES ’09) – President, Compass Renewable Energy Consulting Inc.
Jonathan Cheszes is the President of Compass Renewable Energy Consulting Inc. ("Compass"). Compass serves the commercial and utility scale renewable energy market place across Canada and the U.S. by providing strategic, technical and operational support throughout the renewable energy development lifecycle. In addition, Compass performs early stage development and engineering for solar projects across Canada and the U.S. While pursuing his Masters in Environmental Studies at York University, Jonathan joined the Conservation Bureau and then later joined the Ontario Power Authority (now the Independent Electricity System Operator), where he worked on the design and development of Ontario's Feed-in Tariff program among other renewable energy procurements. In 2010 he joined Navigant Consulting (now Guidehouse), before joining Compass in 2013.
Prior to his Masters at York, Jonathan completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Finance at McGill University and worked in his family jewellery business.
Derek Cheung (MES ’09) – Senior Policy Advisor, Government of Ontario
Derek Cheung is a graduate of the MES program at York University (Class of 2008) and has spent the last eleven years at the Ontario Public Service, where he currently serves as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Ministry of the Solicitor General. In addition, he has worked in previous policy roles at the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Most recently, he worked on legislation and regulation on various public safety initiatives such as: policing reform, fire code harmonization and disclosure of information in police record checks in Ontario. During the early stages of the pandemic, Derek assisted with the provincial emergency orders to ensure public safety was maintained while providing flexibility to public safety organizations and the public.
Derek is also member of the Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous Racism Working Group at the ministry, which is developing policies to help drive educational, policy and equitable workplace change.
Gayle Chong (MES ’07) – Associate Director, GlobeScan
Masters in Environmental Studies (York), and Hon.B.Sc. in Biology (University of Toronto)
I'm a research and sustainability consultant, passionate about building a better world through the power of business and purpose. I help companies to develop ambitious sustainability strategies for meaningful social and environmental impact while driving business success and positive change.
A strategic-insights professional, I bring research and data to life to help clients make decisions and tell compelling stories of their sustainability pathways. I have strong knowledge of corporate citizenship, consumer engagement, and sustainable development.
Currently at GlobeScan, I help to influence and advise the planning, strategies and communications of organizations that touch the lives of billions across the world working with influential organizations like 3M, Colliers, Maple Leaf Foods, Natura, PepsiCo, RBC, SC Johnson, Sun Life Financial, and WWF. Gayle has worked, lived and studied in Hong Kong, Costa Rica, and Malawi.
Liana Di Marco (MES ’98) – Published Artist-Writer-Instructor-Wellness Coach
IHCC Integrative Health Coach, Quantum Reflex Analyst, Quantum i-packing, Quantum Nutritionist, Pain management Coach in addition to artist-instructor-writer.
Published: "Beyond Pain: Livin' La Vita" (book), music recordings and visual arts
Maralyn Ellis (MES ’10) – Psychotherapist
I began my solo practice as a Psychotherapist in January of 2020. My background includes career counselling at Futures Found and job skills development with Autism Job Club. I am passionate in recognizing and honouring individual differences and in being a catalyst for change in order to help find the unique path forward for clients. My formal education is in psychology, eco-psychology, environmental studies, and psychotherapy.
Kelly Galaski (MES ’09) – Managing Director, Symphony Tourism Services (Division of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association)
Kelly Galaski is a sustainable tourism professional with over 20 years of experience across hospitality and tourism businesses in the private and non-profit sectors. She worked for several year
s in hotels and then spent over 10 years in community tourism development and responsible travel with international organizations Planeterra and G Adventures. She is now the Managing Director of Symphony Tourism Services, a subsidiary of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association based in Kelowna, BC, Canada, providing research, marketing, consulting and skills development services to communities and tourism businesses throughout the province.
Alex Gatien (MES ’18) – Development Planner, City of Cornwall
Alex is a development planner with the City of Cornwall. He performs a wide range of land use planning tasks, from Committee of Adjustment meetings to updating
the City's Zoning Bylaws. Alex graduated from MES in 2018 and has also worked at the Centre for Active Transportation.
Elizabeth Gresh (MES ’10) – Executive Director, The Gaia Project
Lizzy (she/her) is a passionate environmentalist who believes in fighting against climate change one project at a time. As Executive Director of The Gaia Project she is helping build school-based programs that engage and inspire children and youth to take climate action now at school and at home. Prior to joining Gaia, she worked for a number of national non-profits, including Learning for a Sustainable Future, Evergreen Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. Lizzy holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Acadia University and a master’s in environmental studies an
d a business and environment certificate from York University. As she leads The Gaia Project, she is raising three growing girls with her husband Matt.
Femida Handy (MES ’79) – Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Femida Handy obtained her MES and Ph.D. at FES and is a proud alumnus. Currently, she is a Professor at the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Ph.D. program. Her research and teaching focus on the economics of the nonprofit sector, volunteering, philanthropy, nonprofit management-- topics related to the nonprofit sector. She has published widely in various scientific journals on various nonprofit-related issues, and her work has garnered many awards for her work. She has published several books, including an award-winning book on Global Philanthropy. One area of prominence is her scholarship on volunteering and philanthropy in an international context. She has also wr
itten on environmental issues related to Korea, Israel, and the USA, including a children’s book, “Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint,” introducing the ecological footprint to young readers.
Irene Hassas – VP Business Development and Partnerships, InnoPartners Global (IPG)
Irene’s enthusiasm in building and growing companies as well as economic development of communities and the province has been the driving force in leading many projects in both private & public sectors. In private sector, she has managed sales, ope
rations & business development in Cleantech industry in the areas of air, water & wastewater treatment in different jurisdictions. Prior to joining private sector, she served in public sector liaising with different stakeholders, recommending innovative solutions to industry. She has completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University, an executive training from Harvard Business School in Aligning Strategy and Sales as well as Business Leadership Development from Ivey School of Business. As the managing director of InnoPartners Global, working with innovative technology companies, government, NGOs and different stakeholders in industry, she leads strategic planning activities, helping small and medium size companies to expand into emerging markets and geographies.
Nicolas Houde (MES ’01) – Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal
A PhD graduate in geography, Nicolas Houde is Professor in the Department of Political Science, UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), Canada since 2012. His main research and practice interests focus on the negotiation of natural resources co-management arrangements between Indigenous communities and the State. Current research specifically focuses on the adaptive governance of Indigenous protected areas and the revitalisation of traditional political cultures within minority groups. Throughout the past eighteen years, Nicolas has assisted, through his work, the Atikamekw Nation Council (Québec, Canada) with regards to land- claims and natural resources management issues.
Leslie King (MES ’73) – Professor, Royal Roads University
Leslie King is Professor of Environment and Sustainability and program head of the Masters in Environmental Practice and the new Science and Policy of Climate Change programs at Royal Roads University. She directs the Canadian Centre for Environmental Education and holds degrees from the University of BC, York University, University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. King was faculty at the University of Vermont, the Founding Chair of Environment at the University of Northern British Columbia, Founding Dean, Faculty of Environment at the Univers
ity of Manitoba and Vice President Academic at Vancouver Island University. She has developed environmental programs in Canada, the U.S. and Africa. Her research sites are primarily in Africa and the Arctic as well as in Indigenous and local communities in North America. She is currently PI of the SSHRC funded research program, Northern Knowledge for Resilience, Sustainable Environments and Adaptation in Coastal Communities.
Amit Lahiri (MES ’18) – Chief Sustainability Officer & Associate Professor, O.P. Jindal Global University
Amit is the Chief Sustainability Officer at O.P. Jindal Global University in India, an Associate Professor cross-appointed between the JSES (Jindal School of Environment and Sustainability) and the IIHEd (International Institute for Higher Education Research & Capacity Building) and the Executive Director of CECRAS (Center of Excellence in Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability). His latest environmental studies project is Ecologies, Communities & Markets, which examines biodiversity conservation through the agency of sustainable livelihoods creation and creating a Sustainability Action Lab, which fosters interdisciplinary research and approaches to tackle food-water-energy nexus challenges. He combines a master’s degree in Environmental Studies with a graduate diploma in Business & the Environment from the globally ranked Schulich School of Business, both earned at York University in Canada. His earlier education are a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Life Sciences & Chemistry from the University of Mumbai, India.
Andrew Macdonald (MES ‘99) – PAC Next Project Manager, PAC Packaging Consortium
Andrew Macdonald works on packaging sustainability and circularity for the PAC Packaging Consortium and as Principal for Planetary Boundaries Consulting.
Sara Marino (MES ’98) – Independent Director/PhD Candidate
I direct natural history programming, and am a PhD candidate at EUC. I use arts based methods to research sonic and spatial assumptions in nature representation.
David Merredew (MES ’04) – Team Lead: Community & Customer Initiatives, City of Calgary (Waste & Recycling Services)
I am an environmental education professional with 20 years of experience specializing in environmental education and behavior change. I am currently the Leader of Community & Customer Initiatives for The City of Calgary, Waste & Recycling Services. In this position I am responsible for helping the City reach its waste diversion goals. I played a key role in building the city's Blue Cart (recycling) and Green Cart (composting) programs and am currently working on moving the City towards zero waste through Circular Economy initiatives.
Masani Montague (MES ’00) – Managing Director, Canadian Reggae Music Association
Playwright, producer, novelist and journalist. Artistic director for the music festivals, Rastafest and Sistahfest. Owner of Masani Productions for the past 41 years. Writer of the novels, Dread Culture and To Sheba with Love.
Steve Orsini (MES ’86) – President and CEO, Council of Ontario Colleges
Steve Orsini is President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). Prior to this role, Steve held several leadership positions in the Ontario Public Service, including Secretary of the Cabinet, Deputy Minister of Finance and Secretary of the Treasury Board, and Deputy Minister of Revenue. Steve also held several leadership positions at the Ontario Hospital Association, including Vice-President of Policy and Public Affairs. Steve is a member of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Commission, a Senior Fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute, an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. Steve holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Urban and Regional Planning and a Master’s in Environmental Studies.
Jessica Pang-Parks (MES ’12) – Senior Manager (Volunteer Engagement), Pathways to Education Canada
Jessica Pang-Parks is highly skilled at stewarding relationships, coaching and mentoring others, and developing and improving processes. With over ten years of experience as a leader of volunteers at both small and large organizations, Jessica has proven success at providing subject matter expertise and leading volunteer engagement learning experiences. Jessica works at Pathways to Education Canada and serves on the Board of PAVRO (Professional Association of Volunteer Leaders- Ontario). She is incredibly passionate about doing good and doing it well.
Aria Popal (MES ’20) – Urban Planner, Sajecki Planning
Aria Popal is an MES (Pl) grad that conducted her research on Missing Middle housing in Toronto, under the supervision of Dr. Luisa Sotomayor. She is an Urban Planner with a variety of experiences in planning, consulting, research, policy and community development work. As an Afghan woman from Scarborough, Ontario, she strongly believes in the power of community, and is excited to swap stories, share space and engage with students!
Bonnie Rose (MES ’78) – Executive Vice President, Niagara University
After graduating from MES, I worked as a consultant with not-for-profit, government and indigenous communities for over twenty years. The focus of this work was on cooperative development, community-based planning, program evaluation and policy development. I also completed my Ph.D. in sociology at York during that time. I then went on into a career in academic leadership, first as Vice President Academic at Niagara College in Ontario and then as Academic Vice President and Executive Vice President at Niagara University across the river in New York.
Successful and cooperative innovation was the primary thread throughout my career. In retirement, I have continued to learn and enrich my life through meditation, yoga, and music. It is all good!
Paul Scrivener (MES ’76) – President, Paul H. Scrivener & Associates
Graduated from MES in 1976. Worked in Cabinet Office (Resources Secretariat) and Ministry of Environment (Policy Branch). Started my government relations consulting firm in 1986, specializing in representing corporate and org clients at Toronto City Hall and Queen's Park. Issues include competitiveness, Red Tape, environment, transportation, etc. Long time passion for the protection of urban nature areas - serving on the management team at Toronto Nature Stewards, a group affiliated with UoT Daniels Forestry dedicated to stewarding Toronto's urban natural areas.
Al Shpyth (MES ’91) – Executive Director, International Minerals Innovation Institute
Al Shpyth joined the IMII in December 2015 and became executive director on January 1, 2016. Al brings more than 25 years of consulting, government and industry experience related to mining and the minerals sector to the IMII. A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan (in 1986), he obtained his masters degrees in environmental studies from York University (in 1991) and in environmental law and policy from the Vermont Law School, where he graduated with highest honours, in 2014.
Reka Sivarajah (MES ’13) – Senior Project Manager, Bousfields Inc.
Reka is a Senior Project Manager with the Community Engagement practice at Bousfields Inc. She has experience developing strategies and recommendations to achieve clients’ public and stakeholder engagement goals. With a focus on genuine and inclusive community engagement, Reka also brings experience in the development and implementation of engagement processes for various projects. She promotes best practices in community engagement, especially the application of multiple engagement methods to encourage meaningful participation of diverse individuals and groups.
Rob Smith (MES ’93) – Principal, Midsummer Analytics
Rob is an experienced consultant with an international reputation as an environment-economy expert. He has a broad knowledge of the science, policy and economics related to natural capital, climate change, natural resources, ecosystems, wastes, environmental technologies and environmental expenditures. In addition, he has deep knowledge of official statistics, including the national accounts. He is especially known for his work developing and promoting the concept of natural capital and its use as a basis for measuring sustainable development. Rob worked for more than 20 years at Statistics Canada, Canada’s national statistical agency. During this time, he was responsible for moving the agency’s environment statistics program into many new areas: climate change; natural resource wealth; household environmental practices; industrial and agricultural water use; ecological goods and services; municipal water treatment and others. Rob left Statistics Canada in 2013 to establish Midsummer Analytics.
Linda Starodub (MES ‘79) – Chief of Human Resources, United Nations Development Programme
Originally trained as a city planner in Toronto, Linda had a long career with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) covering: human resources management, facilitation, change management, volunteer programmes, and the management of development projects. Before retiring, she headed Human Resources for UN Volunteers (Bonn) and UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime (Vienna).
She now pursues a variety of interests as a volunteer: assisting a local English theatre; supporting film festivals, film shoots and English-language publications; career counselling; facilitation; chorale singing; refugee support.
Linda holds a BA in Geography, a Masters in Environmental Studies, an MBA and a PhD in
Cross-Cultural Organization Development. She has worked in more than 50 countries, and with longterm assignments in a half dozen African&Asian countries. She has excellent writing and editing skills, has worked in French and Spanish, continues to learn German and still aspires to learn Italian.
Michael Young (MES ’13) – Ontario HIV Treatment Network
I'm a writer and communications specialist who's worked in nonprofits in the Environmental Sector and more recently in Public Health. I'm interested in the way communications can shape public narratives and understanding of environmental and social justice issues.
Additional Alumni Attendees
Mary Bernard (MES ’81) – Professor and Head Doctor of Social Sciences, Royal Roads University
I was a MES student from 1978 to 1981 studying social policy and planning. I also have a PhD in Sociology from York (1998). I taught and supervised grad students at FES for 22 years. I also was Research Coordinator for Native/Canadian Relations Theme Area, and Coordinator for Action Learning Resources, among other roles during those decades. I took a position at Royal Roads University in 2000 as the university's founding Associate Vice President Research, a position I held for 17 years. I returned to faculty ranks as Professor to head the Doctor of Social Sciences Program in 2017. I also chair the university's ethics board.
Mary Parekunnel (MES ’99) – Teacher, Henry Ford College
After completing MES, I did a PhD in Environmental Toxicology in University of Windsor. Now I am teaching in HFC and the Environmental Studies Program Lead.