Nick Barnes

Sr. Human Environment Specialist

​MSc Biology

BSc Biology


Nick has more than 30 years of professional experience in the environmental industry.  He has developed a keen interest in working to understand how a project can affect the complex environmental and socio-economic linkages and relationships and developing mechanisms to deal with potential adverse effects. He works hard getting to know the local people affected by a project and in developing positive professional relationships with regulators so that issues can be addressed in a collaborative, rather than adversarial manner. 


He received his BSc shortly after moving to Canada from England.  He spent the next several years gaining experience in the mining, forestry and agriculture sectors, for federal / provincial governments and private industries, in a variety industrial, laboratory and remote field settings.  After receiving his MSc in Fisheries Biology he joined an environmental consulting company specializing in fisheries studies.  He then joined a national consulting company where he broadened his experience to environmental planning and then multi-discipline project management, on a wide variety of environmental planning, assessment and regulatory approvals projects in jurisdictions across Canada.  He has worked with clients in almost every industry sector, including transportation, utilities, agriculture, military, mining, and municipal infrastructure.  

He joined Manitoba Hydro in 2000, during the start of a new phase in major capital development, where he managed the environmental planning, assessment and regulatory approvals of new multi-billion dollar major hydroelectric generating station projects, as well as rehabilitation of older hydroelectric and diesel generating stations and several new transmission lines.

Nick’s experience ranges from fisheries biology, to managing large complex environmental assessments, to providing senior executives with strategic regulatory advice.  His tenure at Manitoba Hydro including serving as a senior corporate advisor on environmental legislation and he served on several national utility organizations examining changes to the federal Environmental Assessment Act, and on a provincial-First Nation co-management board responsible for natural resources and land use planning for a large remote area.

He has led numerous public and Indigenous engagement processes and complex technical workshops with regulators.  He enjoys developing large, complex regulatory approvals documentation that balances the necessary technical details with plain language that can be readily understood.

Fun fact

In his spare time Nick writes for his local community newspaper, usually on nature or recreation topics, and he has received several community service and leadership awards for volunteering.

Mark Brown

Sr. HR Business Partner

Diploma of Management 


Mark is a solutions focussed executive with an aptitude for strong lateral thinking and commercially savvy thinking. An experienced human resource professional, he is also an exceptional business partner, consultant and leader.


His multifaceted business acumen is particularly strong in the field of human resources and he’s trained in a range of highly sought-after skills such as: workplace investigations, equal opportunities, return to work coordination, executive coaching, change management, dispute resolution.


Mark’s proven track record of problem solving, excellent communication and creativity has helped him offer the very best in workforce planning and succession management solutions. He is a change expert, experienced end-to-end recruiter and has helped resource two of the Australian State of Victoria’s largest infrastructure projects.  


Mark’s work with the Department of Treasury and Finance, also in Victoria state, saw him manage and coach a small team of human resource professionals in what was a significant time of leadership change. Mark wore many hats including diversity, particularly in relation to Indigenous relations; industrial relations; policy positions and employee relations. He was instrumental in helping develop a new government department that helped give advice when implementing new infrastructure projects.


In his human resource role with a state government agency in Victoria Mark worked with regional managers to focus on strategic priorities. He also delivered a diversity and inclusion strategy, managed Indigenous affairs for the agency as well as designing and delivering a contemporary workforce plan.


Mark has also garnered many years of experience in previous human resource roles.

Fun fact

When not traveling the globe—which he has done nine times—Mark takes the time to observe life experiences from the countries he's visited. A small example is when he travelled in countries as diverse as Bolivia, Egypt, Cuba, Pakistan and China.  His appreciation and curiosity about history and development has seen him grown into the consummate global citizen.

Peggy Clarkson

Community Health & Wellness Lead

MA Art Therapy

BA Psychology

Peggy is a registered clinical counsellor, clinical supervisor, trauma informed therapist and registered art therapist. A strong desire to create a sense of balance through using clinically sound practices to facilitate social change is woven into all aspects of her work.


Peggy has 20 years of direct experience spanning all aspects of trauma related care. Currently an art therapy professor for a master’s program in Counselling Psychology at Adler University and the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute, Peggy’s career is as extensive as it is diverse.


Having worked in an Indigenous health leadership capacity for over a decade, Peggy has utilized a variety of trauma-informed clinical care support and art therapy paradigms to support many remote, rural BC Indigenous communities including Haida Gwaii and Waglisla where she lived on-reserve.


Peggy has accepted many clinical supervision responsibilities, specializing in helping victims of violence, sexual abuse, and critical incidents—including those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.


With a specialization in trauma, program development and team building, Peggy thrives in positions of leadership and community development.


In the field of Critical Incident Stress Management, she has worked as regional manager for Canada's largest employee and family assistance company providing support for over 300 trauma clinicians, in over 6 provinces and territories. Peggy drew upon her extensive knowledge to provide counsellors with consultation, supervision and leadership and offered support to a number of organizational traumatic events.


She also has experience, and is an educational thought leader, in the field of vicarious traumatization, particularly within the field of art therapy, First Nations and non-profit teams.


Peggy also developed and adapted curricula in multiple sites including child sexual abuse and trauma; dual diagnosis facilities. She has presented at various international conferences including Budapest, Hungary, and Hawaii.

Fun fact

Peggy is also a mixed media artist and painter with a studio in North Vancouver. At this stage in her career, although she likes to joke that clinical work gets in the way of her painting practice, in actual fact the two are deeply intertwined. Peggy strives for balance in both her work and self-care, enjoying kayaking, yoga and art.

Juan David Correa

Human Environment Specialist


Juan David is an anthropologist with extensive experience in the oil and gas, mining and infrastructure sectors. He specializes in the design, direction and implementation of strategic relationships between the suppliers, authorities and communities they serve. He has also worked in population resettlement processes pertaining to mining and mass transit.

He has more than fifteen years’ experience in the following: stakeholder management; the evaluation, design and implementation of socio-environmental impact mitigation plans; environmental licence monitoring; the formulation and execution of social investment projects; the implementation of prior consultation processes with Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities.


With a strong conviction that non-standardized approaches have to be utilized to address the current social trajectory of energy and mining operations, Juan David believes that project information ought to be communicated to local stakeholders in ways they can properly understand. In order to achieve this objective impact analysis should start with a detailed understanding of the cultural and organizational structure of grassroots communities. The consequent social licence to operate is built upon a triumvirate of project legitimacy, its interlocutors’ and the company itself.


Within this framework, Juan David seeks to contribute to the success of operations in the energy and mining sectors by designing, directing and implementing action plans focused on an early and prolonged involvement of interested parties.

Fun fact

Juan David is a fan of Dungeons & Dragons role-playing tabletop games. He’s been playing them since 1991!

Helen A. Cruz

Senior Human Environment Specialist

PhD Rural Sociology

MSc Development Sociology

Med Educational Guidance

BA Social Work


Helen’s 40+ years of experience is as diverse as it is vast. A respected development consultant, she is particularly adept at harnessing a soft power approach to gather information at the grass roots. Fluent in Indonesian, Malay and Tagalog, with a good working knowledge of Arabic, Portuguese, and Spanish, her career has taken her throughout Central and Southeast Asia, North America and beyond.


As Impact Resolutions’ Senior Human Environment Specialist, Helen draws upon an abundance of social science research processes she has applied including:


  • Participatory rural appraisal: often used by NGOs to incorporate the knowledge and opinions of rural peoples’ in the planning and/or design of a project/programme development cycle. It’s comprised of: planning/design; implementation; monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Helen has experience in all three aspects, most intensively M&E pertaining to water and irrigation management projects and dam projects

  • Logical framework approach: an analytical method used to design, monitor and evaluate international development projects

  • Environmental monitoring: water and irrigated agriculture management; watershed and protected area management; environmental impact assessments in oil, gas and multi-purpose dam projects

  • Gender mainstreaming (to promote gender equality): women’s empowerment

  • Good governance: transparency, accountability and anti-corruption

  • Institutional/organizational strengthening: training and development where cross-cultural sensitivity, interpersonal skills and language proficiency are essential


Helen has provided advisory and support services to multi- and bilateral aid agency-funded programs of governmental and non-governmental organizations. Assignments have taken her to Afghanistan, Canada, China, East Timor, Indonesia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan (ROC), the Philippines, the United States and Vietnam. 


Fun fact

Helen is a fitness enthusiast and regularly exercises at her local gym. While working in Indonesia, she enjoyed climbing Mount Kerinci Seblat—the country’s second highest—at least once a month! Helen is also a keen member of a local book club and the BC Humanist Association.

Simon Cuerden

Communications Director

MA Media and Communications

BA Sociology


Simon is a highly skilled communications specialist with over ten years experience in information management, labour relations, and marketing.


Working on multiple liquid natural gas projects, he’s used powerful stakeholder information management software to implement a records management system for tracking First Nations’ community engagement, consultative records and project agreements. With a keen eye for detail Simon knows what to look for, as well as common pitfalls, in building a solid, reliable infrastructure. Able to clarify complex information to make it more understandable and accessible, experience has taught him that choosing the right operating system is only just the beginning. If implemented properly from the start, it can be transformational and an indispensable factor in the success of the project. 


Specific areas of expertise include stakeholder engagement, data analysis and interpretation, database management, marketing and sales initiatives and brand recognition strategies. Simon’s combination of skills and experience enable him to effectively compile, organize, and analyze data, and efficiently communicate outcomes in accordance with multi-stakeholder objectives. 


Simon also has many years experience as a labour relations specialist in the advertising industry. He worked in partnership with union stewards; with an expert knowledge in the interpretation of multiple collective labour agreements, he tracked usage and rights of commercials and worked with industry self-governing regulatory bodies to ensure pre- and final clearance.


Fun fact 

Simon is a keen traveller and has visited almost a third of the world's countries. He aims to steadily work towards half.

Marcus Edino

Senior Human Environment Specialist

PhD Sustainable Development

MSc Energy and Environmental Management

MSc Geography with Environmental Management (Pollution and Waste)

BSc Geography

Recognized as a high energy, goal-driven sustainability specialist, Marcus has a firm grasp of regulatory and policy challenges in environmental/natural resource management. With a strong conviction in the principles of sustainable development, he has successfully managed projects and developed strategies for many ventures throughout Africa, Europe and North America.

Marcus has worked on several international environmental, social impact and socio-economic assessment initiatives. He has experience in a wide variety of risk, performance management and capacity building multi-stakeholder projects and has collaborated with government, non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations and Indigenous communities.

He draws upon a formidable range of research and data collection techniques that include: monitoring and evaluation; quantitative and qualitative analysis; interviewing and surveys; and measuring performance against a set target. Marcus is able to effectively analyze data to produce meaningful reports and make key recommendations that highlight potential challenges as well as opportunities.

Marcus diligently works on building rapport to develop inclusive, trust-based relationships, and has moderated, managed and facilitated discussion for numerous focus groups across the sociological spectrum. Projects have ranged from leading health impact surveys to assess the potential connection with local oil and gas infrastructure; to a role as manager of a resource development project in Alberta, Canada that involved over 40 indigenous communities. Marcus has also worked with almost 80 participants from 18 First Nations as a senior field supervisor on an Intergenerational Transfer of Knowledge Project in British Columbia, Canada.

Skilled in the finely balanced intricacies of conflict resolution, Marcus developed a bottom-up framework to address conflict between Indigenous communities, multinational oil corporations and government forces in the Niger Delta, Africa’s largest oil producing region. This framework is currently addressing mineral resource conflict and facilitating the issuance of social licence to resource development companies while equally promoting responsible resource development.

Marcus has lectured, taught and designed syllabi for British and North American universities—he is a proud recipient of the prestigious Teaching Excellence award in the category of Effective Teaching that Inspires and Motivates Learning.

Fun fact

In his spare time, Marcus enjoys going on road trips; taking walks in the park; or escaping to the wilderness and getting lost in the beauty of nature. Known to be very afraid of towering, aggressive canines, Marcus has adopted a clever strategy of smiling, rather than frowning at them and their owners.

He also loves soccer, although has yet to score a penalty kick. He looks forward to attending a World Cup final one day.

Tanja Gutmanis

Public / Government Relations Specialist

BSocSc Political Science (with Psychology)

A communications and marketing professional with considerable energy sector expertise, Tanja has served in a variety of European and Canadian leadership capacities and worked in Brussels on many European Union initiatives such as the European Energy Union, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the Fuel Quality Directive. She has a particular interest in the challenges of integrating transatlantic and global perspectives into Canadian energy policy making.


With more than a decade of political and public relations experience in both the Canadian and European parliaments’, she has been active in several federal and provincial election campaigns, including having run as a candidate herself.


Tanja is a youth empowerment and leadership advocate and has co-chaired the City of Toronto’s youth advisory board. She represented Canada as a delegate to the Young European Council, debating issues related to the Energy Union and climate change. She was also a Young European Leadership delegate for the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Passionate about giving back to her community, Tanja mentors for the Urban Native Youth Association and was recently selected as a Vancouver Global Shaper—a World Economic Forum initiative encompassing a global network of young change makers.

Fun fact

Tanja loves travelling and has been to more than 33 countries. She is of British, Greek, Egyptian and Latvian heritage.

Arshad Jami

CEO (Pakistan)

MA Sociology


A highly-motivated sociologist with over ten years development sector experience, Arshad has been involved in various multi-layered hydropower infrastructure projects throughout Pakistan. He has worked under the auspices of several banks and donor agencies including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Arshad has acted as liaison between various government departments, non-governmental organizations and field partners with proven experience in monitoring and evaluation, project management, field staff management, budgeting and reporting.


He has worked closely with stakeholders impacted by rural, urban, seasonal or involuntary migration. With a particular emphasis on creating effective mechanisms to build awareness for the monitoring, reporting and evaluation of resettlement programs, Arshad developed action plans to facilitate results based solutions. 


Arshad has also held regular meetings with local communities, traditional assemblies and public health teams to raise awareness and manage community healthcare issues, such as HIV / AIDS and human trafficking.

Fun fact 

Arshad loves the great outdoors and enjoys rock climbing and camping, especially in mountainous areas. Well regarded in hockey circles, he has been winning numerous titles since an early age.

Pepita Elena McKee

CEO and Founder

MA Sociology and Anthropology

BA Sociology and Anthropology 


Pepita is an award–winning and highly skilled researcher, engagement specialist, and social strategist.


As founder of Impact Resolutions, she has lead the creation of a ground-breaking and transformative human environment company. Hands on experience and an extensive network of contacts helped her think carefully about company culture to curate a diverse, passionate and experienced team—a team with the combined experience to work together and focus on common goals to tackle a multitude of challenges.


Pepita has over 16 years of experience in a diverse range of domestic and international projects including socio-economic research and analysis; Indigenous, community and stakeholder engagement; development of collaborative negotiating frameworks; effects assessments; and social management planning and implementation.


What distinguishes Pepita from others in this particular field is her ability to rapidly develop rapport with key stakeholders, stimulate engagement, guide difficult negotiations, and provide practical management solutions that align with industry best practices and international performance standards for high-risk situations.


Fun fact

In her spare time Pepita enjoys camping, golf, road trips and nature walks with her family and puppy. She also likes tapping out a few tunes on her electric drum kit.

Andrew Mathewson

Senior Human Environment Specialist

MA Conflict Analysis and Management (inter-group conflict / negotiation)

Graduate Certificate Conflict Resolution (inter-personal conflict / mediation)

BA (Hons) History and Philosophy


Andrew is a specialist in Indigenous and public engagement; social risk and responsibility. He brings over 20 years of experience working with and for Indigenous groups, industry and government. He focuses on building effective relationships, while managing community participation in project activities through training, employment and contracting. A collaborative problem-solver, with extensive on-the-ground experience as a facilitator, Andrew is an innovator in social risk management.  A social impact assessment professional, he works with and applies provincial, national and international regulations and standards and social responsibility best practices.


Fun fact

Andrew paints—mostly abstract watercolours and acrylics. He’s an avid traveler, interested in music, writing, people, cultures, big ideas, science and tech… and lately having fun on his new black Vespa!

Paolo Nuguid

Researcher and Community Liaison

BA Sociology and Education

Paolo has lived in Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines—this has given him a global mind-set for an ever-changing social and political landscape as well the ability to communicate with individuals from all walks of life. In fact, exploring Southeast Asia has been one of the most enjoyable and eye-opening experiences he's ever had. Whether it be the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam, or exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Paolo continues to seek interesting experiences and vibrant cultures wherever they may be. Paolo’s work in customer service and retail has helped foster a strong sense of empathy and a calm understanding demeanour.

Fun fact

Paolo is a keen musician and in his spare time loves to play the piano as well as the guitar.

Suzanne Rashad

Senior Human Environment Specialist

BA Communications and Liberal Arts


Suzanne is a professional communications and project specialist with over 25 years of project management and stakeholder engagement experience across a wide range of corporate, cultural and not-for-profit sectors. During her career she has worked with prominent individuals and on high-profile, and at times controversial projects. Suzanne’s proven ability to manage multiple projects, production schedules and personalities simultaneously is coupled with her demonstrated skills in strategic planning and direction of entire projects from concept development to delivery. She has designed and implemented engagement plans while acting as an intermediary between clients and diverse stakeholders to ensure success. 

Suzanne has lived and worked in multiple countries and has travelled extensively around the world. She is able to bring a global perspective and a real-world audit to the projects she works on. Suzanne is passionate about bridging the communications gap between cultural initiatives and business objectives. Her multi-disciplinary interests, combined with a background in both publishing and education curriculum development, make it easy for Suzanne to break down complex bits of information into bite-sized chunks that everyone can understand, while keeping the essence of the information intact. 

Fun fact

Suzanne loves to travel and attend live performances. She is always up for an adventure, the more off the beaten track the better.

Simon Ross

Senior Community Wellness Specialist

MA Leadership and Training

Hailing from Nlaka'pamux First Nation in southern British Columbia, Simon has more than twenty years of successful experience in the areas of post-secondary, non-profit, healthcare and Indigenous development.


With multidisciplinary interests ranging from community health, career development and leadership training to adventure tourism and environmental development, Simon has worked throughout western Canada as well as Hong Kong and the UK where he lead corporate wilderness training and personal development programs.


Throughout his career, Simon has stood at the forefront of developing meaningful connections and has built a reputation as a catalyst in championing the empowerment of individuals and communities. As a senior health program advisor, he partnered with healthcare providers to better understand the diverse needs of First Nation communities in planning quality programs and services. In the areas of education and career development, Simon worked as liaison between Indigenous workers and future employers; and initiated culturally-based Indigenous and non-Indigenous skills and leadership training programs. He provided operational leadership in funding; program advancement; strategic planning; board governance; and community and governmental relations.


Jennifer Schvimer

Researcher and Community Liaison

BA Anthropology and Spanish


Jennifer has worked as a researcher, community liaison, translator and event coordinator for projects promoting environmentally conscious development. She has international experience in Mexico and Peru, most notably leading research about sustainable urban agriculture in Lima, which impacted municipal policy changes in support of public farming spaces. Jennifer has also spent time coordinating cycling events throughout Metro Vancouver, such as Bike to Work Week or Bike the Night, that promoted sustainable and active transportation in addition to cycling education. 

She is fascinated by the ways that sustainable choices can create healthier and more connected communities, and is interested in Latin American human rights and anti-corruption initiatives which she studied throughout her BA in Anthropology and Spanish at the University of British Columbia. 

With a keen focus on the intricacies of migration and ensuing complications of status and identity, a career highlight has been conducting and transcribing interviews with Guatemalan and Mexican seasonal agricultural workers for a documentary exploring Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers program. 

Fun fact

A few broken ribs haven’t dampened Jennifer’s enthusiasm for surfing—she still gets out on the water as often as possible.

Catherine Searle

Senior Human Environment Specialist

PhD Politics and International Relations (in progress)

MSc Middle East Politics

BA (Hons) Archaeology


Catherine Searle has a 25+ year portfolio career in Australia and the UK, as an interim executive in UK local government, including executive board roles on multi-billion-pound urban regeneration programmes; project and programme management; political advisor roles in defence and environment portfolios in Australia and the UK; and cultural heritage impact assessment on infrastructure projects as a qualified archaeologist specialising in Australian Aboriginal heritage. She has worked on a wide range of developments in mining, transport, water and sewerage, telecoms, urban regeneration and architecture, including project management of specialist health and social care facilities.

She also provides community and stakeholder engagement on controversial infrastructure projects, having developed a unique, conflict-preventative methodology to build a robust evidence base for social licence, to support development, transformation and economic growth. 

Catherine also has a special interest in the Middle East, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has an MSc in Middle East Politics, with a dissertation on the World Bank’s feasibility study for the proposed Red Sea / Dead Sea water conveyance project. She is currently undertaking a PhD to develop a framework for peace and conflict impact assessment on development projects in regions prone to conflict.


Fun fact

Catherine is a two-time cancer conqueror, including one with a terminal prognosis in 2001. After beating her last cancer, Catherine completed a MSc in Middle East Politics, went skydiving in the Middle East, took up amateur boxing, and authored a book entitled How to have a mid-life crisis.

Gracelyn Shannon

Researcher & Community Liaison

Dip. Civil Engineering


Gracelyn’s experience is in municipal infrastructure management. She is passionate about the roles that informed politicians, empowered staff, and an engaged public can all play in sustainable community planning. 

Her main project after graduation focused on infrastructure performance data collection and analysis for municipalities throughout Canada. She would translate the results and facilitate discussions with management teams to support informed, data-based decision making. 

She is now implementing and managing an infrastructure sustainability program for the Town of Gibsons, located in British Columbia, Canada. Gibsons is recognized as a world leader in municipal natural asset management. Gracelyn works actively with town council, management, and crews to advance the municipality towards a common goal of community sustainability. The question is: How do we best care for the services we value with limited resources? 

Gracelyn has a keen sense of the social impact of sustainability efforts on communities and those internal to the organizations. She believes in building relationships, staying curious, and sharing knowledge. 

Fun fact

Gracelyn is working towards her private pilot’s licence—a lifelong dream of hers.


Murray Slezak

Operations Director

BA Administration


Murray brings to the table over 36 years of industry-wide experience in corporate social responsibility of social impact and non-technical risk management.


He spearheads Impact Resolutions’ commitment to promoting responsible corporate behaviour. Decades of experience coupled with unparalleled expertise of stakeholder engagement have helped him to not only build relationships with Indigenous communities and other impacted stakeholders but also develop a deep understanding of stakeholder concerns, expectations and needs. This understanding is applied to help design and implement mutually beneficial strategies and plans.


Murray’s knowledge and experience helps businesses understand the management of project impacts and ensuing economic benefits. Companies are increasingly understanding that responsible business practices not only benefit local communities and minimize negative impacts but also make good business sense. Murray’s ability to work in different cultural and socio-economic contexts, combined with proven, effective engagement skills with all levels of internal and external stakeholders, make him uniquely positioned to offer clients effective strategic guidance on a multitude of opportunities as well as potential pitfalls.


Murray has experience with stakeholders ranging from federal, provincial and municipal government officials to Indigenous groups, business owners, labour union representatives, local residents, post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations.


Fun fact

In his spare time, Murray enjoys camping, gardening and cheering on his favourite sport teams. He also loves spending quality time with his grandchildren.

Cameron Swinton

Finance & Risk Specialist

MFin Master of Finance | CRM designation | BBA International Business


Cameron is a financial and risk specialist with experience pairing technical solutions with business requirements and establishing channels of communication across organizational and cultural silos. Cameron is passionate about how data-driven decision making can empower governments, communities and corporations and enhance stakeholder relationship management. 

Cameron studied International Business in Quebec and South Africa and obtained a master’s degree in finance from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. Cameron’s research interests focus on due diligence assessments, alternative risk financing instruments and compliance.

Cameron has three years of experience conducting financial and risk assessments for operational expansions and capital restructuring projects. Cameron’s knowledge and experience consolidating, and analysing complex sets of financial and non-financial data and in applying advanced research methods to help create and implement mutually beneficial project plans provides him with a unique set of experiences and approaches to project finance and risk management.

Cameron has experience with stakeholders ranging from academic research institutes, municipal government officials, First Nations groups, business owners and unbanked populations.


Fun fact

In his spare time, Cameron enjoys rock climbing, weightlifting, and skiing. He can speak three languages fluently and can converse in a fourth.

Jeremy Valeriote

Human Environment Specialist

MA Leadership Studies (in progress)

BASc Geological Engineering

Jeremy is a professional engineer with 20 years of experience managing people and projects.  He is passionate about local government and how it can tangibly improve the lives of residents and businesses.  Jeremy has direct experience in both the administrative and political realms, including governance, public policy and public engagement.  He has a proven track record of clear and effective communication, strong relationships, and community engagement that builds trust and a clear vision for the future.


In 2014, Jeremy was elected to public office as a councillor in the Town of Gibsons, BC.  In this role, he was highly motivated to promote evidence-based decision-making and consideration of multi-layered perspectives in the public interest. Jeremy has a deep and personal understanding of numerous complex public policy issues, including solid waste reduction, transportation, development pressures, service delivery, housing affordability, climate change adaptation, environmental risk management, and municipal natural asset management.


Prior to this, Jeremy studied Geological Engineering at the University of BC and worked as an environmental engineering consultant, navigating the interface between human development and environmental protection.  He has worked on large mine closure planning projects, environmental impact assessments of proposed projects, and contaminated site assessment and remediation.


Jeremy prides himself on a grounded, integral approach to public engagement and project management, and is committed to successful outcomes.  He believes strongly in healthy communication, critical path and systems analysis, good faith negotiation, and data-driven decision making.

Fun fact

Jeremy refuels in his downtime through the peace and flow he feels while skiing in deep, fluffy powder. He has toured and mountaineered on skis all across BC, and is devoted to appreciating the beauty and power of nature (and especially mountains!) with his spouse and 5-year-old twin girls.

Phong Hong Vu

Human Environment Specialist

PhD Sociology

Master of Public Health

Master of Medical Anthropology

BSc Sociology

A sociologist with over fifteen years of social and cultural research experience, Phong began his research career as a gender analyst with a local Vietnamese NGO. He took a keen interest in issues ranging from reproductive and sexual health, urbanization, and climate change to substance abuse, ethnic minorities, disability and livelihood restoration pertaining to resettlement.


Phong’s technical expertise enables him to employ a variety of social research methodologies to analyze data and report the findings—these tools include EpiData, Stata, NVivo and SQL. Using these methods, Phong is able to develop a reliable monitoring system with valid performance indicators to be used in baseline, midline or end-line evaluation reports.


Phong worked as a socio-economic specialist on the US$9 billion Nghi Son Refinery and Petroleum oil refinery project, one of the largest infrastructure developments in Vietnamese history. His primary responsibility was to assess the impact of various livelihood restoration programs as well as delivering a final end-line report pertaining to International Finance Corporations Performance Standard 5 (pertaining to land acquisition and involuntary resettlement). The final report analyzed looked at whether displaced households were able to maintain or improve their livelihoods compared to before the project began.


Phong’s wide ranging academic experience includes societal perceptions of disabled people, civic organizations and charitable donations. He was instrumental in assisting with a media strategy to turn research findings into key messages in order to encourage the public to change their perceptions of gender roles, ethnic minorities, substance use and rural development.


Phong has also taught in numerous academic and private sector training programs in medical sociology and data analysis.

Fun fact

Phong loves to analyze stock market trends and make key predictions—not so dissimilar to his data analysis skill set! When he’s not busy trying to predict the future, he loves spending quality time playing games with his young son.

Tanya Wahbe

Indigenous & Conservation Programs Specialist

PhD Applied Conservation Ecology

MSc Applied Conservation Ecology

BSc Biological Sciences

Tanya is an ecological and cultural resource management specialist interested in the environmental-human health intersect, Indigenous community health, and landscape connectivity initiatives that promote ecosystem resilience and food security. For 25+ years she has worked as an applied conservation ecologist and has contributed to the conservation of species- and ecosystems-at-risk, Indigenous community-based initiatives, and strategic conservation partnership building.


Tanya earned her MSc and PhD in wildlife ecology and population genetics from the Centre for Applied Conservation Research in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. She has enjoyed working for Canadian and U.S. universities, provincial and national non-profit organizations, Canadian and U.S. government organizations, and the private sector. Her international engagement projects have taken her to Peru, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Lebanon, and Ecuador.


Throughout Tanya’s career, Indigenous scholars and elders have provided her with cultural competency training including: ethical protocols for engagement; community-based participatory action research; cultural heritage and values; and respectful, reciprocal, relevant and responsible relationship building. During postdoctoral training at the UBC Institute for Aboriginal Health in the College of Health Disciplines, Tanya evaluated impacts of environmental contaminants, specifically heavy metals, on the traditional foods and medicines of Indigenous communities along the coast of British Columbia.


Tanya’s experience in co-governance and collaborative management framework development, and effective community engagement following culturally-appropriate protocols have contributed to successful conservation projects in Canada and internationally. She has successfully negotiated and fundraised $1.2+ Million. Tanya has led and managed 80+ habitat conservation projects, implemented 50+ conservation area management plans, and improved management outcomes for landscape-scale conservation plans. While she was the Director of the West Coast Program for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Tanya collaboratively managed ecologically and culturally significant lands, implemented land securement strategies, and successfully facilitated the creation of the first protected area co-owned by a private land trust and an Indigenous government. To promote knowledge transfer, she delivered 40+ cross-cultural and cross-sectoral presentations, including community engagement and outreach. Tanya is a highly proficient writer with 10+ peer-reviewed scientific publications, 20+ public reports, 15+ briefing notes and internal reports. She has delivered 10+ live, web and print media interviews.


In Haida Gwaii, Tanya served on the Integrated Advisory Committee for the Marine Planning Partnership providing guidance on the marine protected area design framework and draft engagement and monitoring protocols for two years. In partnership with Indigenous people in Ecuador and Canada, and funded by the Indigenous Peoples Partnership Programme of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Tanya co-led a cross-cultural and cross-generational exchange project focussed on food security and environmental conservation that promoted youth leadership and gender equality.


With solid technical roots in scientific research development and implementation, Tanya has strategically built interdisciplinary partnerships and respectfully collaborated within multi-sectoral teams. As program and research manager at the Grizzly Bear Foundation, she contributed to the successful engagement of 25 First Nation representatives from across B.C. and Yukon to create the first Indigenous roundtable for grizzly bear conservation. Tanya has a strong desire to support the process for successfully integrating different ways of knowing, particularly western scientific and traditional knowledge, to achieve biodiversity conservation and Indigenous community health outcomes.


Tanya is an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems collaborating on urban Indigenous food security research and range-wide population genetics of species-at-risk with U.S. colleagues. She is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Fun fact

When not exploring the wilderness with her family, Tanya enjoys playing musical instruments (especially accordion and guitar), dancing (Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African styles), improving her mother tongue (Arabic) and expanding her fluency in Spanish.


One of her most vivid memories while working internationally is having to respectfully consume the traditional meal of a whole roasted cuy (guinea pig) offered by an Indigenous project partner in the Ecuadorian Andes. Teeth exposed in its gaping mouth, the sharp nails on its outstretched claws, and having been a vegetarian for 20 years made this especially challenging, though Tanya learned to enjoy this high-quality protein on her return trips.

Lee White

Senior Community Wellness Specialist


With over two decades of experience as an adventure guide and experiential educator, Lee’s professional and educational background is in program development and management, facilitation, conflict resolution, and negotiation. He specializes in transformative change processes and has a unique ability to foster self-organization within communities and work collaboratively to identify creative solutions for complex challenges.


Lee’s prior involvement in post-apartheid South Africa as part of Nelson Mandela’s Reconstruction and Development Programme and as advisor to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Restorative Justice was a watershed for his work back home in Canada.


Lee is involved in all aspects of capacity development for First Nations communities and agencies, with specific focus on:


  • Self-determination: Lee helps foster a leadership vision to deliver negotiation strategies including intergovernmental; industry; title; and rights

  • Developing administrative capacity: Lee facilitates a well-rounded approach to good governance that includes strategic planning; leadership coaching; bylaw and policy development; business planning; budgeting; organizational reviews

  • Community development: with an awareness this can encompass many forms, Lee collaborates on targeted plans ranging from training and employment to leadership

  • Economic independence: a strategic focus enables Lee to concentrate on economic development planning towards an goal of long-term self-sufficiency


An empathic sensitivity and global context are a driving force in Lee’s ongoing determination to help remove barriers, build capacity and generate economic participation and social development for First Nation communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.


Fun fact

In his spare time Lee loves to go on an outdoor adventure. Whether it be mountain biking or skiing off-piste, the best adventures are always with his wife and children. 

Silas White

Governance and Policy Specialist

MA Public Administration

BA English Literature

Public service as a long-time school board chair, municipal councillor, regional district director and vice-chair of one of the largest public employers’ associations in British Columbia (BC) has exposed Silas to extensive experience in governance reform, public policy, strategic planning, public engagement, nonprofits, economic development, media relations, human resources and collective bargaining—all balanced with a professional life as one of Canada’s top book editors.


While chairing the Sunshine Coast Board of Education, Silas led a tremendously successful governance and policy restructure that replaced an externally constructed, outdated policy framework with an effective and publicly transparent decision-making model based on local values and role clarity. He also founded VOICE, a nonprofit group to strengthen intergenerational dialogue and civically engage the “silent demographics” of Millennials and Gen-Xers in his community.


As director and vice-chair of BCs Public Schools Employers’ Association, Silas oversaw labour relations and bargaining support for all the province’s sixty school districts—and he tirelessly represented school boards at the table for the highly publicized eighteen-month BC Teachers’ Federation negotiation in 2013–14. In 2014, he was elected as a Town of Gibsons councillor with the highest number of votes in community history.


Silas’s thirteen years as an elected official have given him a deep understanding of the dynamics of community development, leading him to complete IAP2 Public Participation Techniques and Planning training in 2017. The combination of his elected experience and Master’s in Public Administration offer an unparalleled perspective on building strong organizations, public policy and governance structures to faithfully and ethically represent local communities.


Silas’ other great passion is literature. Hailed as one to watch by Quill and Quire, a magazine of Canada’s book trade, he’s the founder and president of Nightwood Editions, a publishing company that has launched over 100 books by primarily emerging and diverse writers. He is particularly committed to promoting Indigenous voices, working closely with authors such as Gregory Scofield, Carol Daniels, Philip Kevin Paul and Lisa Bird-Wilson.

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