Climate Leaders Lab Team

Meet the speakers and moderators of Climate Change Reset: Learning from a Global Pandemic

Joanna Ashworth

Joanna Ashworth, EdD, is the Director, Professional Programs and Partnerships in the Faculty of Environment at SFU. She spearheads programming on issues in climate change, green infrastructure and renewable energy transitions, among other initiatives. Joanna is an educational designer, filmmaker and dialogue convenor. She has led the Dialogue Programs at SFU's Wosk Centre for Dialogue for 10 years. As a United Nations program officer based in Latin America, she led sustainable community development initiatives in Colombia and Bolivia.  


Tzeporah Berman

Tzeporah Berman BA, MES, LLD (honoris causa) has been designing environmental campaigns and working on environmental policy in Canada and beyond for over twenty years.  She is International Program Director at Stand.Earth, the Chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Committee, and also an Adjunct Professor at York University.

Jesi Carson 

Jesi Carson is a design researcher and interaction designer specializing in community engagement and creative facilitation. As co-director of the Vancouver Design Nerds, Jesi produces design jam events and urban installations, contributing to a more awesome city through participatory engagement rooted in design thinking. Jesi also leads design for Participedia, an international research community and open-source platform crowdsourcing knowledge and stories about public participation and democratic innovations. Find her on social @jesicarson.

Olive Dempsey 

Olive Dempsey is a process designer, facilitator and strategist who supports individuals, teams and organizations to skillfully navigate complexity and change. She has led environmental leadership programs, designed award-winning community engagement processes, and provides organizational development and leadership training for public sector, non-profit and advocacy organizations across Canada.  

In addition to an MA in environmental education – in which she researched the psychosocial dimensions of environmental leadership – Olive has professional certifications in Co-Active Coaching, Authentic Leadership and Human Systems Dynamics. She regularly facilitates workshops and speaks and writes on questions of psychological resilience and well-being in times of climate crisis and ecological uncertainty.

Kendra Fanconi

Kendra Fanconi is a theatre creator who works with the natural world, a playwright and director, and artistic director of Vancouver-based company, The Only Animal. Her recent projects include Year of the Typewriter (a year of walking on the mountain where she lives with a typewriter rigged as a backpack to try to translate the voice of wilderness), the development and direction of the world premiere of Bryony Lavery's climate play Slime, and the adaptation and direction of Paul Harding novel's Tinkers, staged in an old-growth forest. Kendra is recognized nationally as a theatrical innovator and has taught her unique creation style of design-based dramaturgy at University of British Columbia and Playwrights Theatre Centre. In all it does, The Only Animal works towards solutionary outcomes for the climate emergency. The Only Animal is happy to be theatre-company-in-residence at David Suzuki Foundation for the next three years with their shared initiative: the Artist Brigade, to bring arts and artists to the front line of the climate battle. 

Emilee Gilpin

Emilee Gilpin is a Michif nomad currently living in Bahia, in the northeast of Brazil. Emilee is the Managing Director of National Observer's 'First Nations Forward' series, dedicated to stories of success and self-determination in First Nations communities in B.C. Emilee is a contributing editor for a Discourse Media/APTN partnership and gives workshops and presentations on decolonizing journalism and anti-oppressive media. Emilee has been nominated twice for the Canadian Association of Journalists’ 'Emerging Indigenous Journalist' award.

Shane Gunster

Shane Gunster teaches in the School of Communication at SFU and is a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His work focuses upon news and advocacy communication about the politics of energy and climate in Canada. His latest co-authored book is Journalism and Climate Crisis: Public Engagement, Media Alternatives (Routledge, 2017). 

Petros Kusmu

Petros Kusmu is Deloitte's Global Civil Government Specialist, where he works to expand the firm's impact and offerings to governments globally. He is also an advisor to and organizer with the Hogan's Alley Society — a non-profit focused on building affordable housing and cultural spaces for people of African descent in Vancouver.

Oliver Lane 

Oliver is the Executive Director at SPEC, a sustainability non-profit organization based in Vancouver, BC. He brings 20 years of experience in project and organization management both in Argentina and in Canada, where he has worked in the areas of environmental education, integrated water management and micro-finance. He earned a master's degree in sustainability planning from the University of British Columbia, a graduate diploma in non-profit organization management, and a BA (Hons) in business economics. Oliver is grateful for the opportunities in life to stay connected with nature and to share this with the people he loves.

Tara Mahoney

Tara Mahoney is practitioner, educator and researcher in emerging modes of civic engagement. She holds a PhD from the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. Her dissertation explored emerging forms of participatory political culture in Canada. Tara is currently focused on how to  empower millennials to participate in the climate movement and the transition toward renewable energy.

Kamyar Razavi

Kamyar Razavi is a PhD candidate at the SFU School of Communication, and a television news producer with a major Canadian news outlet. His PhD dissertation examines the role of solutions-oriented journalism in engaging audiences on climate change. He has an M.A. from Tsinghua University in Beijing, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto. 

Jocelle Refol 

Jocelle Refol (she/her) is a second-generation immigrant with ancestral roots in the Phillippines. She cares deeply about the role of intersectionality and the environment in health. With this passion, she advocates for climate justice with Shades of Sustainability. To keep herself grounded she writes, dances, and goes on nature walks.

Andrea Reimer 

Andrea is a long-time community organizer on issues of social, environmental and economic justice. In her four terms elected to local government, she took the lead on many transformative initiatives including the bold and award-winning effort to make Vancouver the world's Greenest City and committing Vancouver to be the first major city in the Americas to transition to 100% Renewable Energy. She currently teaches at UBC and SFU, and serves on the UBC Board of Governors and the World Future Council.

Julien Thomas

Julien Thomas is an artist and designer living and working in Amsterdam, and a member of the Vancouver Design Nerds. He is initiator and developer of the Perception Design Studio, a multidisciplinary art and design practice that explores the senses as a basis for language, meaning and politics. He has a BA in International Studies and Communications from Simon Fraser University (2012), and an MFA in Designing Democracy from the Sandberg Instituut (2016).   

Jestinne Punzalan

Jestinne Punzalan (she/her/hers) is a member of the Shades of Sustainability team, a community project that centers the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) in the environmental movement through storytelling and dialogue. Jestinne enjoys community involvement and the power that youth have in creating sustainable and meaningful changes.

Sophia Yang

Sophia is a passionate agent of change, a creative communicator and a daring problem-solver working at the intersections of climate, justice, and equity. Sophia currently works as an Educator with Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC). She is also the founder of Threading Change, an ethical fashion organization centring climate and gender equity through education, storytelling, and creativity.

Canada's National Observer publishes investigative reporting, in-depth analysis, solutions journalism, multi-media features, opinion and daily news coverage. We pursue stories that seek to identify and explore problems in society. We also cover success and innovation to ensure that decision makers and members of the public are empowered to make informed choices. We have a special focus on how governments and industry make decisions as well as the factors that influence their policies.