Research Partners

Jodi Mucha is the Executive Director of BC Healthy Communities, a BC-based provincial not-for-profit organization that delivers capacity building services to communities and local governments for building healthier, resilient, sustainable communities. Jodi brings extensive experience in community engagement, partnership development and multi-sectoral collaborations. With expertise in both environmental sustainability and health promotion, Jodi brings a 'systems thinking' lens to the research, policy and practice work at BC Healthy Communities. Using the Healthy Communities approach to guide all of their work allows Jodi and her team support communities to learn and think about complex community issues in a holistic and comprehensive way.

Ellen Pond develops leading edge climate change and sustainable energy solutions in collaboration with municipalities, regional governments and First Nations. In her prior work at the University of British Columbia’s Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning, Ellen designed and evaluated climate change planning processes with local communities. Recent projects include a study on sea level rise adaptation options with the Corporation of Delta, and “Visualizing Neighbourhood Energy Futures” workshops with Vancouver citizens. Ellen is a member of the B.C. Society of Landscape Architects, and holds a master’s of landscape architecture from UBC. Her award-winning graduate project explored how to re-design existing residential neighbourhoods to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from homes and transportation.

Jane McRae is CEO of Sustainable Cities International (SCI), a registered not-for-profit headquartered in Vancouver, and working in cities around the world to advance urban sustainability. Prior to SCI, she worked with senior officials in energy companies to develop programs for sustainability within their companies and institutions. Jane's expertise working with institutions and municipalities on issues of energy and sustainability, respectively, relates to local governance, interacting and dynamic influences of communities and institutions, internal architecture of institutions/organizations and critical determinants and inhibitors of sustainability action. She has considerable experience in designing effective engagement processes and learning exchanges that build and mobilize relevant knowledge.

Maureen LeBourdais is a senior manager at the Fraser Basin Council. As Manager of their very successful Smart Planning for Communities, she contributes knowledge of community conditions that hinder and/or advance sustainability in BC. Through the Partners Group Dialogue, she convenes sustainability leaders from all sectors engaged in discussions of theory and practice for community sustainability planning. She has extensive knowledge about models for advancing integration of climate change mitigation and adaptation implementation via integrated sustainable community planning. She has access to professional networks across the province that work to build integrated planning approaches and processes throughout communities in BC; and thus seminal expertise about where and when it works, and why.

Ben Finkelstein is Manager of Green Communities in The Carbon Neutral Government and Climate Outreach section of the BC Climate Action Secretariat in the Ministry of Environment. The Secretariat leads change to achieve the Province of British Columbia’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Ben supports the work of the Ministry of Community and Rural Development, Union of BC Municipalities, The Green Communities Committee and local governments as they work towards achieving Climate Action Charter commitments. Prior to joining the Secretariat Ben worked in the Environmental Stewardship Division of the Ministry where he worked on strategic initiatives such as youth and environment projects, stakeholder engagement and partnership development. Previous to his work in British Columbia, Ben worked in the NGO sector in Ottawa and overseas on development and aid initiatives in Southern Africa and South East Asia.

Cathy LeBlanc is a Senior Planner with the Intergovernmental Relations and Planning Branch of the BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. In support of the Ministry’s green, sustainable and resilient communities’ initiatives, she is the Ministry representative on the BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative and other provincial adaptation committees. She was editor and contributor for three adaptation guides designed for local government. She has provided local government perspectives and support to: the Plan2Adapt web tool from Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium; adaptation pages on the BC Climate Action Toolkit; the Water Conservation Calculator and the Water Balance Model. She has reviewed adaptation documents for federal/ provincial agencies, academia and RAC (Sea Level Rise Primer) and given adaptation presentations to Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Planning Institute of BC conferences (2011 and 2012) and to provincial/local staff. Previously she helped to establish Union of BC Municipalities’ Strategic Wildfire Prevention grants.

Devin Causley (Manager, Climate Change Programs) has worked with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) since 2003 where he is responsible for managing and developing programs on climate change, energy and sustainable community planning, including the Partners for Climate Protection program. Devin holds a Master of Applied Environmental Studies in Local Economic Development and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Planning from the University of Waterloo. He is a registered professional planner with the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and trained facilitator. Beyond his work with FCM, he is an active member of several external working groups including the PIEVC committee of Engineers Canada and CIP’s National Policy Committee. Drawing upon these experiences, Devin regularly publishes articles on climate change and sustainable planning. In his time away from work Devin is an avid traveller and has visited more than 35 countries.

Yuill Herbert is a founding director with Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG). Yuill has worked on sustainability consulting projects in the spheres of community planning, sustainability assessments and green buildings. Major projects include the development of an open source model to evaluate the climate change impacts of municipal plans, the development of a carbon neutral course for Cascadia Green Building Council and a sustainability assessment for Concordia University. Yuill also helped introduce the LEED for Homes rating system in Canada. He has advised municipal, provincial and federal governments on policies related to sustainability and is active in sustainable development.

Dr. Marlo Raynolds is senior advisor to the Pembina Institute. He held the position of Executive Director until January 2011 and has worked with the Institute since 1995 in the development and practical application of triple-bottom-line decision-making tools, strategies for sustainability, and policy research and advocacy. Marlo has worked with a wide range of clients including many of the large Canadian energy companies. He holds a PhD in mechanical engineering (University of Alberta), a B.Sc. in systems design engineering (University of Waterloo), and a master's degree in management and leadership for the voluntary sector (McGill University). He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary and was recognized as one of Canada's "Top 40 Under 40" for 2008.

Peter Robinson is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the David Suzuki Foundation. He began his career working as a park ranger in wilderness areas throughout British Columbia, where he was decorated for bravery by the Governor General of Canada. After his park career, he worked at BC Housing, a provincial crown corporation, eventually becoming their CEO. Before joining us in January of 2008, he was the CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), the country's largest outdoor equipment retailer. During his eight-year career at MEC, he led the organization through a period of sustained sales and membership growth across Canada. Since joining the David Suzuki Foundation, Peter has also been appointed a member of the Province of British Columbia's Climate Action Team and the Ontario Premier's Climate Change Advisory Panel.

Jared Wright is the Director of Advocacy and Government Relations for the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and also has acted as a Senior Policy Analyst for Environment. Jared’s role with UBCM includes advising on the development and implementation of environmental policy, managing the environmental portfolio, and representing local government interests on intergovernmental, industry, and non-governmental committees and boards. His specific policy focuses include climate action (carbon neutrality), water stewardship, brownfield redevelopment, product stewardship and recycling, species at risk protection, sustainability, etc. Jared also provides staff support to the Environment Committee of the UBCM Executive Committees.

Dale Littlejohn is the Executive Director of Community Energy Association. Dale and the CEA team have conducted extensive practical research on climate action for local governments. Dale’s planning experience includes directing 20% of the community energy plans in Canada and leading the Carbon Neutral Kootenays 5-year 30-local government program. Prior to joining CEA in 2006, Dale managed large-scale change initiatives in the public and private sector while at Deloitte consulting.